archive: Re: SETI Music to ETIs?

Re: SETI Music to ETIs?

Matthew G Cheung ( mgcheung1@juno.com )
Mon, 21 Dec 1998 06:51:42 -0500

>But how do you convey the purpose of music??? Suppose ETI have no
>analog to
>music, then what is music? What is the purpose of music?
>Furthermore, how
>can the purpose of music be conveyed via a binary bit stream to an
>intelligence that has no analog? Because we "enjoy" it? How do we
>convey
>the feeling "enjoy" or feelings at all for that matter? I think that
>the
>majority of information conveyed between humans are descriptions of
>feelings
>that will likely not translate at all in non-terrestrial contexts.
>
>So if the vibrations of Mozart or Handel should land on the external
>sensors
>of ETI what would it mean to them? What is the underlying purpose
>and
>intent?

It seems to me that conveying the idea of pleasure and other emotions
should not be that much of a problem. We evolved with primitive emotions
to help us deal with certain situations, or at least that's the way it
seems to me. Especially after our ancestors got to the ground, they had
be able recognize danger. Some emotions like fear must have originated
as a mechanism to get out of danger, but over the millions of years they
evolved to more advanced emotions. Should we assume that if other
species evolve to form complex civilizations like ours that they would
not have complex emotions?

P.S. It is true that music would be distinguished from noise because in
a song there are usually themes repeated sometimes by different
instruments and sometimes it maybe different in that it could be twice as
fast or twice as slow. This just what you learn after being in the
school band for five years. Another thing that I found was that on my
metronome (a device that helps you keep the beat when you practice.)
after my highest beat setting it just plays a tone of 440 hertz. I
thought it was weird that it was 400 hertz higher than what was
mentioned.
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