Talk:Experimental music

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Experimental music:
  • Address excessively long 'artists' list. (Split? Trim? Remove?)
  • Rewrite beginning section. Make it more introductory
  • Add additional sections, each dealing with facets of the subject. (Brainstorm more on discussion page)
    • History
    • Academic v. popular experimental music
    • Scientific v. artistic experimentation
    • Why experimental? Section discussing the motives of experimental composers and performers
  • Compare to other Music Genre articles to get ideas for improvement.
  • "Techniques" section contradicts the idea that experimental music defies tradition; attributing techniques makes it systemic, which means it is no longer groundbreaking, which means it is no longer experimental.
  • Article focuses exclusively on European traditions of experimental music. Is there any reason at all for this?
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WikiProject Classical music
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Intro para reads;

Experimental music, or avant-garde music, is any music that challenges the commonly accepted notions of what music is.

Are avant garde music and experimental music necesarilly the same thing or can distinctions be made? quercus robur 17:06, 23 Dec 2003 (UTC)

It's hard to say, as they're both difficult (impossible?) to define - everybody has their own idea about what the terms mean, I think. I'll fiddle with the article so it doesn't suggest the two are necessarily the same thing. --Camembert
Definitely. Some may define some bands (like The Locust, which is American, by the way) as noise rock (I probably would), while others would just consider it punk. It has quite a few noise elements, but is heavily punk-influenced as well. A lot of Melt-Banana songs are referred to as Avant-Garde, Noise Rock, Noisecore, Punk, and on and on. I keep it as noise rock, as a subgenre of experimental music. Idolcrash
Experimental music and avant garde music are two different things. Nyman makes a clear distinction in his book "Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond" (indeed, it is the main theme of his book); David Cope also makes a clear distinction in "New Directions in Composition," and elsewhere. the origins of the avant garde are primarily European, whereas the origins of experimentalism are primarily American. The avant garde is primarily concerned with creating 'time objects'; the experimentalists are more insterested in 'process', frequently indefinite and non-repeatable. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:36, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Major Issues with This Article[edit]

Now, this article is quite underdeveloped right now, but I think that's ok. developing it further would be a terrible idea because it is having an identity crisis which first needs to be resolved.

The problem with this article is it can't seem to be able to tell whether it's trying to be about the subgenre of late 20th century (and later) "classical" music that developed in a radical experimental avant garde direction (John Cage and his followers within the composing tradition, who often support the most experimental forms of "popular music" and may even sound similar, but still usually have limited ties with the pop world), or all music, whatever its tradition, that radically challenges conventions.

Early in the article there is a line saying "Experimental music" does not apply to such forms of experimentation within the tradition/culture of popular music, which I found very strange because 1. it is exactly the artists operating in the "classical" experimental music tradition who would be most likely, among all the artists of the academy, to affirm such a radical spirit as of equal experimental value in whatever tradition or "genre" it appears (at least I think/hope) and 2. the majority of artists currently listed in the article operate firmly within the pop music tradition, however marginal and independent. Some of them (i.e. Radiohead) are even well known and popular as rock bands, and certainly "rock" enough to be designated as "art rock" instead, or designated with other additional labels like "Electronic music" or something depending on the album. In fact I suspect each and every one of the experimental music bands listed here could be designated more specifically by some more specific "experimental" subgenre of pop or indie rock music.

This article's identity crisis is directly related to the identity crisis of the and the vague and disorganized Art rock article, and the dismal and seemingly pointless Avant rock (aka "Experimental rock"), which I have proposed for merging with either this article, or the art rock article, depending on what the people at this article want.

I did not really want to take out this article's repudiation of popular music experimental traditions as belonging only in "art rock," because that may well be a good idea for some of the bands-- although others are not exactly rock, but some other more marginal form of popular music such as industrial, no wave or noise, and would have to fit somewhere else.

I do feel an article focused only on experimental music in the "art music" (i.e. composed/"classical") tradition would be very well justified, especially as pop music listeners who listen to a wide variety of very challenging so-called popular music still tend to be unaware of the experimental music composed in the "art music" tradition, even when this more academy-based experimentation approaches the exact same ideals, sounds, and techniques as do their preferred radical artists and bands. Thus this article, if fit into that narrower topic and then properly expanded, would be informative and interesting for a wide range of people into alternative forms of popular music, as well as classical music.

It does bother me that "art rock" has "progressive rock" connotations however you try to define it, and the words "progressive rock" have by now turned into meaning the opposite of what it actually sounds like they would mean. "Art rock" has a very wide potential meaning, but I feel it would almost amount to original research for Wikipedia to include many truly experimental bands into it. On the other hand it is surely original research to claim Radiohead is "experimental music" in the same way as John Cage (or even, Nurse with Wound). They surely don't belong in this article, and are more of an "experimental rock" band. But, "experimental rock" and "avant rock" have never caught on as real names for an actual genre. They are excellent to categorize an album, say, but Wikipedia requires articles to be written about its genre categories.

To use the Radiohead example again, a rock album like OK Computer surely qualifies as "experimental rock" by any standard, but at the same time is extremely far from being "experimental music" as defined in this article, or even anything close to "avant pop" with its meta implications. "Experimental rock" is a bad term, because it's not used widely (except maybe on All Music Guide), so using it implies a value judgment. While as a Radiohead fan I may have read interviews and hear OK Computer as experimenting within its genre, a fan of Stone Temple Pilots may want to call the album where they experimented with psychedelia "experimental rock," and may even be right too. "Experimental rock" as a proper article would thus be doomed to being constantly watered down to include whatever form of experimentation everybody's favorite band had done, ending up little more than like the term "alternative rock" or "indie rock," except without any real historical basis in a particular scene like those terms, and without ever caught on enough as a trendy catchphrase outside a few music reviews to justify an article on it.

How do you write an article about Experimental rock that's separate from an article on Art rock? If you read the introduction to both articles, you see they're just two ways of saying the exact same thing, one ("experimental") seemingly more acceptable to a modern indie rock audience. There may be a legitimate way to define "avant rock or pop" apart from "experimental rock," as it has clear postmodern, meta, art world connotations. So David Bowie can be avant pop or something (among many more sound-specific genres). Perhaps if the "experimental rock/avant rock" article was renamed primarily "Avant pop" and focused on pop music of whatever style that espouses a consciously postmodern/avant garde attitude and is likely to appeal to theoreticians (whatever its musical qualities), while the "art rock" article remained for the broader category of rock music that is obviously experimental with its sound, style, construction, lyrics etc... I give up!

Does there really need to be such a distinction? The term "Experimental Music" has been used to describe innovative new forms of music in every style, not just western classical music. And categorizing non classical experimental music into "art rock" or something similar would just mislable a whole lot of artists. I do agree with you though - the article needs change. It's unfocused. Mabey instead what is needed is a very general indtorudction to experimental music in all forms, and then seperate pages for experimental trends in certain genres of music. 03:38, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

How about saying that experimental music is defined by it's method, rather than it's intent? I'm not an expert, but I've found that this personal definition seems to work quite well-- it covers the extraordinary range of "results" that experimental musicians have recorded and performed, allowing for practically anything-- but it also recognizes that the outcome is unknown. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Daephex (talkcontribs) 05:25, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Mink Coat Album[edit]

Has anyone heard of "The Mink Coat Album" or something like this? Apparently, it was an album of sheet music, which, instead of music, had inside of it instructions to go out and buy a mink coat. And the music that ran through one's head as they ran their hand along the inner lining of this coat (which, of course, has nothing to do with the mink fur) was the album. I Just heard about this bizarre thing and was wondering if anyone else had heard of it.

I do not know for certain, but that sounds strikingly like a Fluxus composition. If so it may be documented in the "Fluxus Catalog" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:36, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Nice work[edit]

Page looks super good now, compared to before. Nice work. Zeno Izen 17:19, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Why does The Experimental Music Catalogue link remain when all others have been excised? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:32, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

I would say that that link connects people to JEMS, which is free, online, peer-reviewed and without advertisements, which makes it, to me, an excellent experimental music resource. Other links have been removed for a variety of reasons, e.g. self-promotion. Doctormatt 06:21, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

edit 17. june 2007[edit]

added the definition by John Cage; changed indeterminate music into indeterminacy in music (to get closer to cage's and the commonly used term; added some further readings. Intuitive 18:50, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

I think your revision of the opening paragraph significantly improves the article's focus. However, I believe you forgot to include the title of the book by Smith Brindle that you added to the reading list (and his surname is compound: "Smith Brindle, Reginald", not "Brindle, Reginald Smith".--Jerome Kohl 20:08, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

What happened[edit]

User:YuriLandman renamed this article Experimental classical music and turned this article into what is now at Experimental music genres. I undid the change to this page, but in the process have lost the history of the article. I've asked Mr. Landman to discuss his intentions before making drastic changes again. If an administrator could repair any other damage done (e.g. replacing histories) that would be terrific. Doctormatt 18:51, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

The article should be called Experimental music (classical) instead of just Experimental music. Rock is music, exp. rock is also exp. music. First the dictionary, then the musicologist terminology. I don't care how Cage called it in 1945, a lot new music was develloped experimentally after he used this term, not only in art music. See also, which proves there is a lot of misunderstanding what is exp. music or what is exp. classical music. There should be two topics, 1 for people interested in experimental music and 1 for musicologists interested in exp. contemp. art music. YuriLandman 08:08, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Rubbish. Experimental music is either experimental, or it is not. The definition by John Cage quoted in this article should be sufficient.--Jerome Kohl 08:35, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
It seems to me that the term experimental music applies to music that involves experiments in what music is, while, for instance, experimental rock music involves experiments in what rock music is. These are quite different things, and one is not a subcategory of the other. Yuri's point that many articles link here shows that many people use the adjective "experimental" in a casual, imprecise way. People like the word experimental, and like to apply it to music they create or that they like to listen to: it's cool to be "experimental". We need a better basis for articles here on Wikipedia. I note that Experimental rock has no references whatsoever. Perhaps improving that situation will make it clearer what the connection and differences are between that topic and this article's. Doctormatt 19:32, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Exactly what I was trying to say. If (as Cage defines the term) the outcome of an act ("composition", or any other act) is not foreseable, then it is impossible at the point of creation to know whether the result may by chance turn out to be a recognizable genre, and there should be only an infinitesimal chance of that occurring (like the infinite number of monkeys using an infinite number of typewriters eventually producing the works of Shakespeare). "Experimental music", as defined in this article (and in Nyman's book), is exterior to genre entirely.--Jerome Kohl 20:52, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

No Wave?[edit]

While not doubting a connection between No Wave and Experimental music, this section fails to explain this at all. As it stands, just about everything said seems to contradict such a connection. For example, "Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca composed multi guitar compositions in the late 70s". So what? multi-guitar compositions have been composed since at least the 18th century. "Lydia Lunch started incorporating spoken word with punk rock …". So what, again? Spoken word with music dates back thousands of years, so how does this relate to Experimental music? "Mars explored new sliding guitar techniques." This is vague, but if we are talking about pitch-glides, this is not even new, let alone experimental. Consider Dobro and Hawaiian guitar, for example. Even linking the movement to transgressive art is doubtful, since Experimental music (as defined in the opening paragraphs) is not necessarily or even usually about causing outrage. It seems to me that this section needs thorough revision, making it plain why No Wave is part of Experimental music, instead of just a movement that was partly influenced by it.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 20:48, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

You seem to appear as some kind of a curator on this subject and are erasing every addition related to pop music. Like said: 2400 interwiki links are attached to this article, so the term 'experimental music' is much broader used by 'the audience' than by musicologists. Wikipedia is not a source, but the 2400 links are a fact and prooving the term is not so exclusively used for aleatoric music. It's not only the Cage involved people who make experimental music. Eno's approach in the Warszawa (song) of Bowie is without a doubt experimental, just like Guitar Trio of Rhys Chatham is. Brancas and Chathams work are very closely related and based on the work of La Monte Young, Partch, Ligeti. The mutliple guitar symphonies are not just 5 guitars playing a composition. They function as one body in the music, generating a strange audio spectrum, listen to it in a live set up and you'll understand Chatham's work is not just ordinary punk rock with an arty statement. Aphex twin incorporated pictures in sound spectra and return that spectra back to audio. Check this link for more information Is that not experimental music? (talk) 08:49, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry for the fast reaction above. I now reread it and apparantly there is a double interpretation of 'experimental music'. Am I understanding it right there seems to be this (classical?) genre 'experimental music' as well as people who call music 'experimental' 'music' which is music which has an experimental consideration when it was created (let's reject the rules we were used to follow and try out something new). The first one is where the topic is about, and that article is written very well and well sourced. The second one with the 2400 links however is being excluded in this article. Therefore there should be 2 topics, just like Landman mentioned in 2007. Dr Matt's answer about experimental rock only crosses rock borders is totally wrong. Art rock and Experimental rock is all about crossing the borders of what music is, like he mentions. The use of audio feedback, 3rd bridge, , circuit bending, effect looping, vocal distortion, beating scordatura tunings is pure audio research and not genre border crossing. I propose a redirect page with a split up towards two topics: Experimental music (Contemporary classical music) or something and Experimental pop music just like there exists Alternative music and Experimental rock which both also don't have a clear outlined definition. The problem lies within the existence of experimental rock and non rock popmusic. You can't ignore 2400 links, which describe much pop bands as being experimental music. Their links need a follow up to a proper section which isn't present in this current article. No Wave could just like Throbbing Gristle, Fluxus, This Heat (there is no very clear big difference between those subjects) function as a bridge between Experimental music (Classical) and Experimental pop music. This because I expect nobody really likes to call the noise terror of Throbbing Gristle and others being 'pop music', I assume? They are not popular at all, so it's not pop, but art. (talk) 10:07, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I discovered the existence of this article: Experimental music genres and included it in the top of the article, to clear out some more for other (pop music fanatic) contributors. Hopefully this helps a bit. Please adapt and improve to solve this issue. (talk) 10:47, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
You have done a yeoman's job with the No Wave section, thank you. As to your other questions, first of all, Experimental music, as defined by Cage and Nyman (neither of whom, by the way, are "musicologists", unless you define the word as anyone at all who discusses music in words—in which case you are going to have an impossible task documenting what the rest of the musical world may or may not think) cannot reasonably be construed as "classical", "popular", "jazz", or any other category. The word "experimental" is indeed bandied about very freely, and I think you are right to suggest that there needs to be two (or more) articles dealing with the various more specific notions. If any music that "crosses borders" is to be regarded as "experimental", then surely Guillaume de Machaut, Monteverdi, Beethoven, Wagner, Ives, Stravinsky, Bartók, Britten, Gunther Schuller, and Woody Herman all count as experimental, not to mention the Post–World War II avant garde that Nyman specifically excludes from his definition. As a matter of fact, this article so far almost completely fails to mention another group often labeled "experimental", which is to say the American Experimentalists of the pre-1945 period (with Charles Seeger, Henry Cowell, and Partch at the head of the list).
Very good. All you mention makes sense to me. And indeed I was missing Partch in the article. (talk) 19:51, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
My problem with your earlier additions had mainly to do with the complete lack of reliable sources. Interwiki links, no matter how numerous, mean nothing at all, except that some editors have been interested enough to write those articles. Your excellent new material on No Wave also needs citations, though at least we do not any longer have the absurdities I pointed out above. However, it is also true that "generating a strange audio spectrum" and the like is much closer to the European avant garde (Xenakis, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Höller, Lindberg, etc.) and the French spectralists (Murail, Dufourt, Grisey, Radulescu, etc.) than it is to Cage, Nyman, Feldman, Tudor, and Wolff. In fact, if this broadened definition of "experimental" were to be insisted upon, it would encompass the majority (perhaps the overwhelming majority) of non-popular music of any real stature.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:31, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm reserved in putting too much sources all the time. If people believe it in general, no source is needed. I only put one in if requested. The book about No Wave is a very good book, which covers almost all the aspects of the movement very accurately. Now that I realize there is a topic experimental music genres and the topic experimental pop music I agree this article should content the information as it does now. Branca and Chatham def. belong in this article, because of their spectral works. The other artists of this movement are more speculative. No Wave however is just like Fluxus a hanging section between pop culture and art music, performance art and other artistic expressions. Just like Throbbing Gristle. That's a bit difficult. Because those movements and involved bands don't belong anywhere. No art, not art music, not pop music. It's inbetween all of that. I would appreciate a section with cross over forms. Also the work of almost all Sonic Youth members outside Sonic Youth should be mentioned. The do performances all the time with audio feedback droning, very spectral and minimal in approach. People often describe their rock as experimental rock, but they put out more spectral EAI albums than regular albums. I think their work is also (classical) experimental music as well.
And we still have the anomaly: Warszawa (song). That appears to me as one of the rare examples of pop music mixed with experimental music. Or is it not experimental music to your opinion? (talk) 19:51, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
There is no "book about No Wave" in the reading list for this article … oh, I see! You mean the one by Masters that you linked to the publisher's website. Yes, that should be an adequate source, though it really ought to appear in the Sources list, as it does in the main No Wave article (and the phrase "All Books" shouldn't appear in the publication information, as if it were the place or publisher). I'll tend to that. As far as Branca and Chatham are concerned, their "spectral" works might qualify them for the Spectral Music category (though from what I know of Branca's work I very much doubt it) or, more likely, would place them near the "composing with sound" composers of the European avant garde (Varèse, Xenakis, Stockhausen, Kyburz, etc.).
I don't know enough about Spectral music, so it's a bit hard for me to compare those composers with Branca. All I know is he used multiple guitars tuned in 1 tone on each guitar and those had a just intoned relation. Following he let the guitarists play their tones and together they played the chords. When more guitar player were added something similar like a Shepard tone appears. I don't know if this is in the genre Spectral music, but you can't trace if the tone is higher or lower all the time, it's like a sea with waves never ending. (talk) 08:21, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
The (mainly French) spectralists are not so much interested in creating spectral "auras" like this, as in projecting the partials of an analyzed timbral structure to create large-scale form. See for example the articles on Gérard Grisey's Partiels (which is formed on the large-scale projection of the attack transients of a single trombone note), and Tristan Murail's Gondwana (which similarly projects two sounds, one a bell and the other a trombone tone). As far as I am aware, Branca has no interest in such techniques. This is of course another example of a word (in this case "spectral") having quite different uses in different contexts. If you scan down to the "notable works" section of the Spectral music article, you will see some confusion of these two senses there. Stockhausen's Stimmung, for example, composes with and within the spectrum of an overtone series, but its form is not created from an analysis of such structures (as he did in Gruppen, for example, although the structures are not analyzed from nature, as is usual for the French spectralists).—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:20, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
I've not heard Warszawa, but from the description in that Wikipedia article it sounds like the techniques used are very close to the aleatory found in much of the post–WWII European avant garde. Eno's "planned accidents" correspond exactly with what Boulez and others usually call "controlled chance" or "aleatoric music" (though the latter term has often been misapplied to Cage's brand of indeterminacy). The idea is that a certain amount of randomness either doesn't matter to the outcome (which can therefore be regarded as foreseen), or is desirable as a sort of improvisational freedom, within a framework that is in all other respects clearly structured. So I would say that this is well out of the area of Experimental music.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 20:51, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Okay, clear. As far as I know it's one of the well known minimal pieces present in pop music. Indeed with the aleatoric aspect in it. Later on covered by Glass (I think for that reason). (talk) 08:21, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

And a funny other one: Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict. Ever heard of this one? Does this also belong to this section? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:55, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

I've never heard of that one, either, though again the description suggests improvisation rather than unforeseen results of the sort Cage and Nyman mean. Still, this would be closer to the spirit of experimentalism, I suppose.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 20:51, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
The bandspeeding etc. is more experimental I assume. Not really improvisation, because with improvisation you listen to the notes before and anticipate on it (with emotion). This was recorded layer over layer and the animals not really listen to eachother's tones. It's like 200 muppets talking with eachother or making 'music' by tapping. The tapping makes it very musical, so it's not a soundscape. It's an important track if you are interested in art music, without a doubt. Waters also made an album with Ron Geesin but that one is a bit too funny, I think. This one is better. (talk) 08:21, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Ah, much clearer now. When the character of the sampled sounds is deliberate and reasonably uniform, the result of such multi-tracking is easily foreseeable the more so as the density increases. So this is another example of aleatory, of the kind employed by Stockhausen in the so-called "complexes" of voices, pulses, and sine tones in Gesang der Jünglinge, and the stochastics of Xenakis, first used in Metastasis. Cage made some similar textures in the 1950s, by superimposing fragments of recorded sounds. The first of these, I believe, was Imaginary Landscape no.5 from 1952. The big difference here, from both Stockhausen and Waters, is that the composition specifies "any 42 recordings", so that no two realizations will likely be even similar. (One may use 42 recordings of spoken words, another 42 recordings of sine tones, a third may mix all sorts of sounds, etc.) This is the essential difference between the technique of aleatory on the one hand (which can be put in the service of any number of compositional strategies and styles), and the aesthetic of experimentalism and its associated technique of indeterminacy, on the other.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:20, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Language or music genre?[edit]

Although I clearly understand Jerome's POV about the subtracted term 'experimental music', I still have doubts about this topic with 2400 wrong interwiki-links to it. The topic Experimental mentions:In scientific inquiry, an experiment (Latin: ex- periri, "to try out") is a method of investigating particular types of research questions or solving particular types of problems. The experiment is a cornerstone in the empirical approach to acquiring deeper knowledge about the world and is used in both natural sciences as well as in social sciences. An experiment is defined, in science, as a method of investigating less known fields, solving practical problems and proving theoretical assumptions.

So if you combine this with music, 'experimental rock' for instance is 'experimental' 'music'. Therefore I propose a different name for this topic, for instance Experimental music (music genre) and Experimental music as the main topic refering to all involved genres and related topics which are regarded being 'experimental' according to the definition of that particular word. I understand this new topic will raise quiet some debat what is experimental and what is not. (talk) 18:44, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Cage was quite specific that he did not mean the word "experimental" in the scientific sense of trying to solve a problem. I suppose that, in this sense, Cage was grossly misusing the term, but it has stuck nevertheless. Apart from Cage's own writings on the subject, I recommend Frank X. Mauceri's article "From Experimental Music to Musical Experiment", which explains quite clearly why Experimental Music, as an "historical category . . . informed by a social agenda" cannot be regarded as either a language or a genre. As I have said before, the term "experimental" has been used in conjuction with "music" in a bewildering variety of ways, but this article is about the Cage/Nyman definition. If you wish to start a new article on some other application of the term, then that is your prerogative, but please don't add to the general confusion by trying to incorporate every conflicting usage in one blanket article.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:33, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Ah thanks, I'm going to find that article somewhere. I didn't mean this article should be named Experimental music (music genre) specifically. Experimental music (Cage/Nyman) could also be an alternative. Think one out to exclude discussions about the liguistic content and how Cage/Nyman perceives the term. Cage wrote the text before pop music went into experimenting (1961, long before Pet Sounds and Sergeant Pepper). I might be a bit out dated to stick to a term someone used that long ago. And as you also mention he misused the word in the scientific sense. What's your opinion about the name of Experimental music (....?) for this article? (talk) 08:49, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
In case it is not clear, the Mauceri article is cited amongst the Sources at the end of this article, and is the second source used in the opening sentence. You will find it in Perspectives of New Music 35, no. 1 (Winter): 187-204. As to when pop music "went into experimenting", I suppose that depends on how you define "experiment" in the pop-music context. I think that most people familiar with his work would describe much of Les Paul's work from the 1940s onward as experimental within the field. At around the same time, Bebop was certainly very innovative, "experimenting" with what jazz might be. One large problem here is that popular genres are extremely restrictive by nature. They are in fact defined as genres by those restrictions. As a result, a rock song in 3/4 time might easily be described as "experimental", whereas it is unthinkable that a waltz composer would be so radical as to "experiment" by trying to write one in any other meter. This is why terms like "experimental jazz" or "experimental rock" are on a completely different plane than "experimental music". It is perfectly true that jazz and rock are music, but it does not necessarily follow that their experimental fringes constitute experimentalism within the broader field of all music. Indeed, what one so often finds in these areas is that "experimentation" involves nothing more than the incorporation of some alien elements that are perfectly ordinary in other genres.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:16, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Oh, and I never said that any interwiki links are "wrong"—only that a Wikipedia article cannot be used as a reliable source to establish verifiability in another Wikipedia article.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:38, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. 2400 is not a reliable source, but it is pointing out the term is widely used, or misused if you prefer, in a much broader sense. The fact that it is being misused must not be overlooked and must plainly be described IN the article, I would prefer in the 2nd sentence to clear this out as much as possible. Just like for instance acupuncture is a alternative medicine, while it is regarded by some people as a contemporary medicine. Do you see the difference? I'm not saying you are wrong in perception, but pointing out the difference between 'experimental music' and 'experimental' 'music' seems very reasonable to put in an article with so many wrong interlinks. Otherwise this discussion will come back again. Therefore I propose a move of this article to Experimental music ( may fill in) and move Experimental music genres to this place. Prepared guitar, Scordatura, Circuit bending and Experimental musical instrument are not a music genres, but very obvious have to do with experimenting and music, so it should have a very prominent place in an article about 'experimental' 'music'. (talk) 08:49, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
About reliable sources. You have a tendency to cite people who have an opinion and regard this as a reliable source. I'm not very fond of that approach. Although Cage for sure is a well known person his POV is never a reliable source on its own. Cage's or whoever's definition of what 'experimental music' is is not 'experimental' 'music' at all in the linguistic way. Starting a topic with a quote is not very strong. A quote added to a general explanation of the term is nice to do, but in paragraph 2 and not in the heading. What you assume to be a reliable source must be taken with some accurate reconsideration. Cage doesn't have a proof for the correctness of his definition. It's not science based on facts, but an artistic opinion. An opinion is never a reliable source. (talk) 08:49, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Cage's statement is a definition, not an opinion. This is reinforced by the citations from Mauceri, Nyman, and others. If you like, I can dredge up a few hundred more, but the present number seems sufficient to me.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:16, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
this is a pointless discussion, the definition as presented by Kohl is representative of the bulk of sources that use the term, anon IP has not presented any evidence of reliable secondary sources that support the contrary interpretation, and until such sources are offered, it's an opinion push based on an OR perspective, therefore is has no place in this encyclopedia. Measles (talk) 00:00, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

It is not so pointless. I took a step to Google and just typed 'Experimental Music Radiohead' or 'Experimental Music Bjork'. You find tons of links mentioning their music is experimental music. Maybe you will notify this as unreliable, I think you are just wrong if it is so broadly used. Here a few examples:

Now for sure these are not very reliable, I agree, I just mention them, because my claim lies within the general use of the term, whether it is used correct or incorrect doesn't matter. If it is so widely misused, this should be mentioned prominent in the artcile.

Besides that I also found more reliable sources also using the term:

And this is probably the most convincing source:

A book about Experimental Music from the Beatles to Bjork, that should do right? If you need more sources I can find some on google. (talk) 08:41, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Citation style[edit]

A suggestion that the Chicago Style citations used in this article would better be replaced with something else has been placed on the References section, at the same time that about half of the references cited in the text were removed from the list. What gives?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:58, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

European bias?[edit]

I see that a "to do" list has been added to this discussion page, with some good suggestions. However, I do not understand the last point. At all. It says "Article focuses exclusively on European traditions of experimental music. Is there any reason at all for this?" Perhaps this template got stuck on the wrong article, because there is almost no European content here (Nyman, Bryars, Cardew, and Tilbury are just about all—the other Europeans mentioned are the ones excluded from this category by Nyman). One could, on the other hand, object that there is too much American content, but that would be a little bit like objecting that the article on Sushi has too much Japanese focus. Experimental music was, after all, an American invention originally. Is it possible that whoever posted this template does not know who is European and who is not?

Come to think if it, this really must have been put on the wrong article's talk page, since the very first item says "Address excessively long 'artists' list. (Split? Trim? Remove?)" There is no artists' list at all, so splitting zero into two zeros would increase the length, right? Trimming or removing nothing is nonsensical.

Let me just address one more of these items: "Compare to other Music Genre articles to get ideas for improvement." I think the article makes it crystal clear that "experimental music" is not a genre, so what is the point of comparing it to genre articles?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:30, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

"Experimental music was, after all, an American invention originally." Nice joke, I laughed. (talk) 20:16, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Sources cited directly in the text[edit]

To Editor Measles: The two in-text citations (to Schaeffer 1957 and Hiller and Isaacson 1959) that you seem to be overlooking are both in the section "Origin and definition". The former is cited in the first paragraph: ""Publication of Schaeffer's manifesto (Schaeffer 1957) …", the latter in the section's final paragraph: "In the late 1950s, Lejaren Hiller and L. M. Isaacson (1959) …". Would it be helpful if this one was recast as "In the late 1950s, Lejaren Hiller and L. M. Isaacson (Hiller and Isaacson 1959) …"? It is not usual to repeat the authors' names in this way, but clarity is always better than rigid adherence to rules.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:23, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

OK I was under the impression that the general rule is: if an authors publication is mentioned by a secondary source, you cite the latter, not the former. From my reading it appeared that Mauceri mentions Hiller & Isaacson's work but, nothing was cited directly from the Hiller & Isaacson's publication, but that may have been down to formatting. Also, the reading of "Publication of Schaeffer's manifesto (Schaeffer 1957)" who is reporting on the publication of the manifesto? ideally we cite the source that noted it's publication, not cite the publication, because that's self-referential, or primary, if you see what I mean, so, technically the editor who does this is engaging in OR. Anyway, none of this is unverifiable so it's not such an issue. Measles (talk) 11:57, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

It is my understanding that, if a book or article is mentioned in the text, even with a secondary source naming it, that it should be referenced, as well as the secondary source. This can either be done within the sentence flow (in this case, "Publication in 1957 of Schaeffer's manifesto "Vers une musique experimentale" came four years after its composition in 1953 …") or with a reference citation (far the more elegant solution here, I think). The publication itself must be unambiguously identified, provided that the secondary source does this. (Otherwise, the sentence should say something like "Author X states that author Y published a manifesto sometime in the 1950s …", to make it plain that the primary source is not clearly identified in the secondary one.) In either case, it is necessary to include it in the list of References, so that the reader can obtain the publication details for verification of content. I do not see how this is self-referential, nor do I agree that citing an item referred to in the text constitutes OR, unless the secondary source does not properly identify the primary one.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:24, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

OK I'll take your word on it, sounds OK to me, I just thought the other method avoids misattribution, and that's what they thought me at school, so what do I know really?? : ) Measles (talk) 22:32, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

There is the danger of improper attribution (or even misattribution), but it is ridiculous to pretend a primary source doesn't exist, when it is named in a cited secondary source. In Wikipedia articles, no editor may invoke personal experiences or qualifications, but perhaps here on the talk page, I could mention that I have sixteen years experience editing an academic journal, and that does have some bearing on knowing what should and should not be cited.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:35, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Too Difficult to Understand[edit]

The main article needs to be simplified, as the current edition is too hard to understand. (talk) 04:05, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

It is a difficult term, because too many people have used the word "experimental" in mutually contradictory ways, and on radically different levels. If you have some ideas on how to make the article clearer, they would be very much appreciated.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:15, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

Additional citations[edit]

Why, what, where, and how does this article need additional citations for verification? Hyacinth (talk) 10:30, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

It looks like a lot of work has been done to correct this situation since that banner was placed in May 2008. I found only two remaining challenges, both in the New York School section. I have deleted those unsourced claims, and removed the banner.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:56, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

"Academic" vs "Popular"?![edit]

By definition, no "experimental music" is "popular". I really DETEST this perceived division of music into these two "strains". In what way can, say, Zeena Parkins, Elliott Sharp, Ikue Mori, Keiji Haino, etc. etc. etc. be described as "popular"? Their music is not created with the intent of procuring large sums of money. They are not well-known. Much of their music is through-composed. Yet still artists such as these are labelled "popular" by supercilious and ignorant academic musicologists - and we're aiding and abetting them? Just because guitars and drums feature in music doesn't mean it's in any way, shape or form "rock" music. Rock = rock 'n' roll, riff-heavy music. Just because it features brass instruments, doesn't mean it's "jazz". You classical "people" can be so bloody arrogant. These divisive notions are obsolete and suppress quality music, dismissing it all as "popular". Beethoven is FAR more "popular" than any of the music I listen to, and, were he alive today, would be significantly wealthier than any of them, too. I doubt any valid sources will concur - they're all the typical musicologists I remarked on earlier - but it's a truly sorry state of affairs. Such an elitist paradigm. (talk) 08:29, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

I don't think that is the point at all. Within the realm of (undoubted) popular music, there is a tendency to label anything that does not conform rigidly to the norms of popular music as "experimental". Hence, an otherwise perfectly conventional song in 3/4 time may be so labelled. Obviously, there is a continuum from such minor transgressions of the status quo all the way up to what undoubtedly qualifies as "experimental". Exactly the same thing pertains to "academic" music, very little of which (by definition) can seriously lay claim to being "experimental". And, BTW, Beethoven never held down a professorship at an institution of higher education, so his music doesn't qualify as "academic", either. I do sympathize with your view of "classical 'people'" but, since classical music is by definition non-experimental, I don't see the relevance of venting on this subject here.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:07, 29 October 2012 (UTC)