Mark Applebaum: The mad scientist of music

TED speakers seem to always have intriguing ways of speaking to an audience and keeping them engaged.  Mark Applebaum’s TED talk breaks the rules of composing in eccentric ways. Mark’s talk is based around the concept of music steadily becoming boring and how a different approach can make it more interesting. Mark inspires his audience with comedic jokes to keep them engaged in the talk. He also uses visual examples to show the audience what he is talking about, which helps to support his theories on boredom and music. (Mark Applebaum 2012) “Is it music? … This is not the important question. The important question is, is it interesting?” (p. 1) Mark’s view on making music more engaging has pushed him to do projects such as the metaphysics of notation.

This new way of composing landed him a 1-year display in the Cantra Art Center museum. Mark has built trust in the audience by sharing some of his knowledge for creating more engaging music. One of these examples is the instrument he created called The Mouseketeer. This instrument was built out of doorstops, combs and junk that makes an incredible amount of sounds.

Mark’s talk helped me better understand the value of the saying; just cause there is no music playing doesn’t mean it isn’t music.  For instance notation can become a little monotonous at times. I learned that the traditional way we notate isn’t the only way to; we can change it up to make it original and new to us. Another example mark showed the audience was the orchestra playing the musical piece Concerto for Florist and Orchestra. The meaning in this example was that hearing the orchestra alone didn’t show us much but with the added florist it spoke volumes for the character. This can be true for films as well, the music we hear may hold a story but we wont visualize it until we see it coincide with the intended characters. In addition, Mark shows the audience that music doesn’t have to be conventional it just has to be interesting to the listener. This talk will continue to inspire me to tread new ground when it comes to composing and staying fresh and excited with my niche.


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