weird title, I know, but what I'm trying to get at is... what is music supposed to be, if anything? I started thinking about this a while ago, but it wasn't until last night when I finally downloaded Nine Inch Nail's "Ghosts I-IV" and subsequently turned off the lights and tried to fall asleep while listening to it through my iPod. I say 'tried' because, I should have known better, I have a huge Ghost Phobia and the melancholy piano and background noises of doors slamming and the occasional breathing sent me into a nervous wreck, thinking the undead were creeping into my bedroom. Was that the intention, or just my interpretation because that's who I am? Is that the whole point, to create something of interpretation to every person?
The reason I ask this is because it made me wonder if Ghosts was really 'music' at all. It was sound, it was imagination, it was an experience no doubt... but what makes an experience of imagination and sound actually music? And even if it was music, what makes each track 'a song'? This just makes me think about what the purpose of what a song is... to create an atmosphere for dance? To set a romantic mood? To provide music nerds something to analyze down to the last hammer on and synthetic "bleep"? is it all those things, can it be all those things?
The simple answer I guess is that music can be whatever you want, it's just a conduit for a variety of purposes and experiences. But at what point does "sounds" become "music" and at what point does "music" become an experience? And more specifically, what do certain types of music hope to achieve? Outside of personal expression, what is Ghosts I-IV really FOR? I'm not going to suddenly have the urge to listen to track 4 in my car on the way to work, nor will it show up in any kind of party mix of mine... what is the point of owning such a thing? is it purely for the experience? I liken it a little to my other "lights out and nothing but music" experience of The Grateful Dead's 'Terrapin Station' which is the closest thing to Disney's Fantasia in terms of a musical soundscape that evokes imagination in the listener.
Sorry if this seems like a very abstract or esoteric kind of post, Trent Reznor just raped my brain all night and I'm not a normal state of mind, lol. What is music, what should it be, why should we buy it and why do we like it?