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HacKING
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11 Jun 2021, 9:19 pm

I was thinking about the type of music that tends to be popular. What is the common element that is in most popular genres in the 21st century. Repetition. From the rhythmic snares of trap to the repeated synth lines and choruses of pop, repetition seems to be king in popular music. This inclination towards repetition made me think of another concept- shamanism. Now, I'm no expert on it but I know that a common practice of shamans was to give an individual some kind of psychoactive drug like Ayauahsca and then play a repetitive, rhythmic song on drums. The combination of the drug and the music puts the subject into a trancelike state so that the shaman is able to tap into their mind and help them work through their internal demons.

To me this sounds very much like a club/party/rave environment. Popular (repetitive) music is played loudly as people often consume drugs/alcohol which combined with the music puts them into a trance where whatever the DJ says they follow. So in a sense the DJ plays the role of shaman.

Just an interesting parallel I thought of, perhaps there is something about repetition in music that inherently appeals to people, like the knowing what to expect. That's what tonality is often about; resolving chords in a way that people expect to tie it in a nice bow. Perhaps repetitive/popular music takes that idea of predictiveness and tonality and leverages it for mass appeal.



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12 Jun 2021, 9:37 am

HacKING wrote:
I was thinking about the type of music that tends to be popular. What is the common element that is in most popular genres in the 21st century. Repetition. From the rhythmic snares of trap to the repeated synth lines and choruses of pop, repetition seems to be king in popular music. This inclination towards repetition made me think of another concept- shamanism. Now, I'm no expert on it but I know that a common practice of shamans was to give an individual some kind of psychoactive drug like Ayauahsca and then play a repetitive, rhythmic song on drums. The combination of the drug and the music puts the subject into a trancelike state so that the shaman is able to tap into their mind and help them work through their internal demons.

To me this sounds very much like a club/party/rave environment. Popular (repetitive) music is played loudly as people often consume drugs/alcohol which combined with the music puts them into a trance where whatever the DJ says they follow. So in a sense the DJ plays the role of shaman.

Just an interesting parallel I thought of, perhaps there is something about repetition in music that inherently appeals to people, like the knowing what to expect. That's what tonality is often about; resolving chords in a way that people expect to tie it in a nice bow. Perhaps repetitive/popular music takes that idea of predictiveness and tonality and leverages it for mass appeal.


aha , would you happen to be a musician yourself.

let's just say ive put almost the 10,000 hours in so everything is starting to blend in terms of subject matter .

repetition can be considerred hypnotic if the length of the riff is closed / repetitive enough .

they say if you want to commit something to memory , repeat it 18 times . ( Amir 'Quest Love' Thompson ) .. who btw definately appears to be on The Spectrum .

the shorter the repitition the quicker said pattern syncs / sinks into the pysche .

no coincedence from your observation .

i used to make 2 bar , even 1 bar loops . My Mum said it sounded like " Brainwashing Music " .. i was probably accustomed to this length of riff due to my Autistic Nature .. almost Auditory Stimming myself in the process .

.. back to your original topic . it would make perfect sense , and the comparison is spot on . Raving , if done correctly is very Spiritual .. and hence people take substances to elevate the experience, aswell as allow themselves a sense of Unblocking .

The Drums in the Ritual are simply a tour guide to the Higher Euphoria / State of Being & Mind



HacKING
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12 Jun 2021, 10:05 am

An interesting thing to note is that repetition wasn't always the prevailing aspect of popular music. In the baroque era it was all about spontaneous ornamentation and in renaissance it was more about singing with polyphony with less emphasis on instrumentals at all. In the classical period they seemed to then focus on reflecting the rationality of the enlightenment through elegance, then in the romantic era the emphasis was on dynamics and tempo changes to reflect turbulent emotions. It wasn't until minimalism and the rise of blues/rock n roll/country that repetition seemed to really go on the rise.

Of course I am referring more to the art music of these times. Folk may have been a different story. And also this is just in the west; places like India used repetition for quite a long time.



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18 Jun 2021, 6:28 pm

Qawwali has a lot of these shamanistic elements. It's a kind of Sufi Islamic religious music from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. The vocalists do sing verses and short improvisations, but it's dominated by the chanting of refrains, such as "Ali maula Ali maula Ali dam dam". (Repeat X 32...) The tabla player sticks to a short, driving drum pattern and doesn't improvise much. It's a charistmatic and hypnotic style. Qawwali was very popular at the height of the "World Music" craze, and is enjoyed by Hindu as well as Muslim audiences in India.


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20 Jun 2021, 4:23 pm

I sometimes think I'm simply not 'normal' enough to know what works from other people, and yet enough people are 'strange like me' in ways to throw subgenres out there that I can really deeply relate and get pulled into.

Thinking of people who've recently hit on this topic - Jamie Wheal brings this up often in his interviews around 'Recapture The Rapture' where he gets into the ways in which, when the tribe was under stress, we'd party and make music together as a healing mechanism and as a way to bring down the better spirits and make us more at peace with one another, forgive and forget, etc. a bit more easily for the small stuff.

I think the psychoactive side of this is there but when I listen to pop music, and especially when it's an American girl trying to fake a half-british accent repeating herself over what sounds like commercialized house music or something that Sia made and forgot about while she was doing who knows what else, it seems like it's part of the glue that holds Madison Avenue, reality TV shows, public shopping districts, the whole Debord 'spectacle' together. It seems like it's there more in the interest of increasing bandwidth between various commercial interests and forms of power that are really trying to get the public out to feed more money or more attention into it. Please don't misunderstand me - it's not a problem that it exists (we haven't figured out a better economic system yet to keep western civilization going), it's troubling if this is as far as many people go for 'meaning'.

To that last point the flavor of what I might think of as mall-grade pop music seems like a parody of teen-age dreams, something for kids to think they're supposed to idolize or the kinds of adults who never wanted to grow up and obsess over their childhoods (like the guy in Napoleon Dynamite obsessing over 1982 or 'she's still preocuppied with 1985') want to go back to.

Someone else may get a completely different set of things out of it but for me it seems like it's corporate addiction music - stuff to make people feel great for just showing up to shop or have their FOMO scratched by turning on the television.


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21 Jun 2021, 1:22 pm



nick007
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10 Jul 2021, 10:50 pm

HacKING wrote:
To me this sounds very much like a club/party/rave environment. Popular (repetitive) music is played loudly as people often consume drugs/alcohol which combined with the music puts them into a trance where whatever the DJ says they follow. So in a sense the DJ plays the role of shaman.
This reminds me of my high-school pep-rallies. They would play loud snippets of energetic popular songs & the cheerleaders would dance & tell the crowd to yell things & wave their hands or whatever & the crowd would follow along without really thinking about it.


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