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philosphical response to the "great tone" debacle (a bit ephemeral at times)

9/11/2000 7:32 PM
ken gilbert philosphical response to the "great tone" debacle (a bit ephemeral at times)
i don't know why i'm stirring the pot here, but i will anyways.. i find myself at the table, so i might as well ante up.  
some people say the tone that appeals to the greatest number of people is the closest thing to perfection. to some degree, that DOES address the question of human nature itself, but could we not consider that precipitously close to pandering to the lowest common denominator? and is the lowest common denominator really that which is perfection?  
anyway, gord proclaims:  
"I still believe that great tone in an absolute, and timbre is where the subjective aspect of tone comes in."
i take your above quoted statement to mean that there is the ONE TRUE tone out there, the tone that will bring you face to face with your creator, the one that will shrink you down to the planck length and expand you to consume the cosmos at the same time.  
it is the beginning and the end of eternity, simultaneously both ends of a diametrically opposed and heretofore incongruous and irreconsilible duality--precisely mirroring the inherent and unshakable realization that we, as men, are both immortal gods in breadth of mind, capable of containing the universe itself within the infinite expanse of our symbolic existences, AND, at the same time, tragically restrained by our flawed, doomed, mortal coils which will invariably prove our eventual demise.  
we all seek to be recognized for our uniqueness, our individuality, our singularity in the cosmos, but it simultaneously overwhelms us... who here has the power and strength to stand completely alone in existence, unsupported by brothers and sisters on this heap of earth? who here has the wherewithal to create his own meanings and justifications unto himself, and accept no others? he would have to be as god; he would have to be immortal.  
yet this is not so; we are NOT immortal. the body holds us back from reaching those stars so high above, and keeps our toes planted firmly on mother earth. it is the body that will feed the worms, and it is remnants of the body that will be turned into plasma as our sun explodes into a supernova in a few billion years... a blink in the eye of the universe.  
no, we cannot stand completely alone, and yet the thought that we are nothing special at all cannot be abided either. what separates one of us from the other? are we merely accidents of chemistry and physics? are we nothing more than parasites on the face of the earth, slowly consuming it and thereby killing ourselves? i can be sure i am not you, but that is all i am sure of: cogito ergo sum.  
we find ourselves sandwitched helplessly in between these extremes--extremes which are related to the extremes of psychosis, in which the mind is overwhelmed by the symbolic POSSIBILITIES of existence, and of depression, in which it is overwhelmed by the infintessimal NECESSITIES of existence. most of us here are "lucky" and reside somewhere in the middle, but aren't the psychotics and depressives really the ones who are more aware of the grim reality? after all, we all get on by lying to ourselves, deluding ourselves that any of this shit we do with our lives makes a difference--that it MEANS something, ANYTHING, right? it is the vital lie that we must tell ourselves to keep any semblance of our sanity.  
this one true tone gord speaks of is the sound of god. it is the junction of these two extremes, and all other extremes.  
as a mortal you can't hope to comprehend--nay, even HEAR any of this one true tone. it is the cacophonous symphony of superstrings as they resonate, giving shape and form to matter, forces, light itself. it IS the known universe, and it is all of us.  
to say that timbre is different than tone merely acknowledges the fact that we make machines that aspire to the one true tone, and that as creations of mortal men, they can only be approximations to the ideal.  
some iterations are better than others, but they are all flawed--and they always will be.  
so, gord, your absolute tone DOES exist, but only as a deep-rooted desire for reunification in our minds--the resolution of the human duality of possibility and necessity, of mind and body, of immortal and mortal. we all have this desire, whether we are aware of it, or acknowledge it, or not.  
plato would be proud.  
ken gilbert
And now, a word from our sponsors:

9/11/2000 8:30 PM

Absolute tone does exist.  
Trainwreck Express  
I believe my work here is done  
9/11/2000 9:17 PM

you know ken; all of that is fine and good, and I pretty much agree, but I look at it like this.  
If the search for the true great tone ever ended, what would be the point anymore. Guitar would no longer be fun, so a new revolution of tones would come about that were not perfect, and it would satisfy the human part of us because people were making ART again. In other words, if it were ever found, it would only start over the cycle.  
kind of like the answer to life the universe and everything, 42, you cannot simultaneously know both the question and the answer. (Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, by Douglas Adams)  
Its the question that drives us Neo?  
I like imperfections. Hell I even like noise, can't sleep w/o it.  
I would even go so far as to say Screw Tone-- Find what suits you and play yer f'in gueetar. At the same time, I like to try and tweak thigs for better tone. My own private idaho, my own duality of man. I'm not gonna try and pawn it off to some kid for 5k, let him do it himself if he really cares.  
My underwear must be too damn tight today;  
9/11/2000 11:07 PM

Maybe the perfect tone is just the one that fits that particular song or style. I don't think Norman Greenbaum would have had his one hit without that gawd-awful, fuzzed-out, ugly tone. It just happened to fit. (How DID he get that snarly-fart tone, anyway?)  
9/12/2000 1:52 AM
Eric H

"(How DID he get that snarly-fart tone, anyway?)"
Dang, that's ugly!  
I've wanted to know that for YEARS --one of the really great tones on record.  
BTW it was the way he played, that really made it work. Tone's only part of it.  
9/13/2000 7:07 PM

Rumor has it that the speaker in the guitar amp had a big rip in the cone. They used it anyway and the rest is history...
9/11/2000 11:33 PM
Dave Charneski
The One Perfect Tone?
If a universally appealing and acceptable tone exists, that is, the "perfect tone", then the perfect song exists...the perfect car, the perfect woman, the perfect politician. Unfortunately, one of the realities of life is that no human, nor anything created by him, is universally appealing and acceptable to all other humans. Hence the notion of perfect guitar tone is nothing but a mirage. It's something we all believe we see on the horizon. We vigorously persue it, but never seem to reach it. We may occasionally THINK we've reached it, However, inevitably, as is always the case, someone or some thing will make us realize we're actually drinking air...and then, all of a sudden, we realize it ourselves and keep moving.  

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