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How/why music causes emotion?

by Avichal
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Pythagorean
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Jan14-13, 04:09 PM
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I also think it should have some consistent thytmical structure. I wouldn't say Gregorian chant had NO consistent rhythmical structure, just very little (as it says in your link).

But Gregorian chant is right on the cusp between no music and music... (it's often considered the first music) so you might argue it's pseudo music.. underdeveloped music.
atyy
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Jan14-13, 05:47 PM
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How could Gregorian chant be the first music? Didn't the Sumerians have music? Isn't dance mentioned in the Old Testament?
Pythagorean
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Jan14-13, 06:30 PM
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Yeah, I must have missed some qualifier from my humanities class. Maybe oldest western, or oldest western written music. I didn't realize Gregorian was so recent in human history. Didn't even know it was Christian music.

Anyway, remove the confusion of specific instances, same argument. Music developed from stuff that didn't have rhythm or integer ratios. Certainly the more integer your ratios, the more people are bound to like it (i.e. pop music with the I-IV-V, a small excerpt of the circle of fifths).
BenG549
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Jan14-13, 07:25 PM
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Quote Quote by atyy View Post
I think it's like the "rhythm" of prose or of free verse. While both are unmetred, the best authors clearly care about the rhythm of their prose or free verse. In the sense that music is heightened speech or narrative, then it need not have the "consistent rhythmical structure" that BenG549 mentioned. Many old forms such as Gregorian chant and the Baroque recitative very naturally have no "consistent rhythmical structure". I think it is also interesting to consider speech as a form of movement. Some movements such a jump for joy or changing bed sheets have no obvious repeated structure, but many such as heart beats, breathing, walking, running and ballroom dancing do. So we would expect all of these "rhyhms" to feel natural.
That's quite an interesting point, I certainly wouldn't disagree.

Quote Quote by Pythagorean View Post
Yeah, I must have missed some qualifier from my humanities class. Maybe oldest western, or oldest western written music. I didn't realize Gregorian was so recent in human history. Didn't even know it was Christian music.
lol, you should probably at least run a quick google search to clarify your arguments before posting them. Other wise you are pretty much just making stuff up ;) .

Quote Quote by Pythagorean View Post
Certainly the more integer your ratios, the more people are bound to like it (i.e. pop music with the I-IV-V, a small excerpt of the circle of fifths).
In western culture maybe, the musical concepts we are 'used to' are not ubiquitous across all cultures, some have very different ideas of what constitutes 'pleasing' music... there are examples posted above. Gamalan is one of the first that springs to mind*, and this article** is one i posted earlier about the cultural differences in rhythmical structure in music as an example of how musical 'ideas and methods' are cultural... it's not necessarily that their music is 'less evolved' than ours.

* http://oro.open.ac.uk/17650/1/FreeRhythm.pdf

(no nice II-V-Is or I-IV-V chord structures in this, but things like this are written to be emotion invoking aids in Indonesian theatre)

**http://oro.open.ac.uk/17650/1/FreeRhythm.pdf
Pythagorean
#59
Jan14-13, 07:38 PM
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Quote Quote by BenG549 View Post
lol, you should probably at least run a quick google search to clarify your arguments before posting them. Other wise you are pretty much just making stuff up ;) .
That's great advice, but for me it's more about impulse control. I know what I *should* do, but often don't realize until after the action. That's a much more general problem of mine. Probably not something any amount of information will change, just practice (and old age, maybe). Anyway, impulsive people have their place in society. There will always be the donkey jumping off the cliff and the elephant too stubborn to move.

In western culture maybe, the musical concepts we are 'used to' are not ubiquitous across all cultures, some have very different ideas of what constitutes 'pleasing' music... there are examples posted above. Gamalan is one of the first that springs to mind*, and this article** is one i posted earlier about the cultural differences in rhythmical structure in music as an example of how musical 'ideas and methods' are cultural... it's not necessarily that their music is 'less evolved' than ours.

* http://oro.open.ac.uk/17650/1/FreeRhythm.pdf

(no nice II-V-Is or I-IV-V chord structures in this, but things like this are written to be emotion invoking aids in Indonesian theatre)

**http://oro.open.ac.uk/17650/1/FreeRhythm.pdf

Western-influenced pop music is the most popular music world wide. You might argue this is just because they (we) developed a stronger media faster, but you have to admit that it's a strange coincidence that it's so popular and also has such perfect ratios... and humans are known for their love of symmetry.

Nobody's making an argument for less evolved, btw. I don't think fish are less evolved than humans. However, I will note that our common ancestor looked a lot more like fish than humans :)
BenG549
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Jan14-13, 08:46 PM
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Quote Quote by Pythagorean View Post
Anyway, impulsive people have their place in society. There will always be the donkey jumping off the cliff and the elephant too stubborn to move.
lol, I totally agree. Pretty impulsive myself, nice analogy.

Quote Quote by Pythagorean View Post
Western-influenced pop music is the most popular music world wide. You might argue this is just because they (we) developed a stronger media faster, but you have to admit that it's a strange coincidence that it's so popular and also has such perfect ratios.
Yes that is exactly what I would argue. It's not a strange coincidence at all. For example there has never been any Korean pop music in the charts in the UK. You might conclude that people in the UK don't like Korean pop, it's not popular, but after major radio stations like Radio 1 played PSY's Gangman style tune for a few weeks it was number one and won a freaking MTV Award. People just buy what's fed to them, marketing sells.

And in this society we have incrementally developed a "liking" for certain musical intervals etc. because that's what's sold to us, but that's not to say that music as we know it couldn't have developed differently. People widely enjoy and accept different genres and types of music around the world, you can't really say they're enjoyed less just because they aren't as "widely popular", they might just not get the same marketing and radio coverage, it's not feed to the masses so to speak.

Quote Quote by Pythagorean View Post
Nobody's making an argument for less evolved, btw. I don't think fish are less evolved than humans. However, I will note that our common ancestor looked a lot more like fish than humans :)
Sorry I didn't mean "evolved from" in a human evolutionary sense.... I was referring to this comment you made:

Quote Quote by Pythagorean View Post
Music developed from stuff that didn't have rhythm or integer ratios.
Should have made that clearer, sorry.
zoobyshoe
#61
Jan14-13, 10:34 PM
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Quote Quote by BenG549 View Post
lol yeah, based on the complexity of whacking something against the complexity of developing or using resonant cavities attached to stings or even blow holes makes that assertion likely. Not sure it's totally relevant though. Just because it happened to be a big part of the way we used to do things, does that mean it has to be an integral part of how we do things now?
It would be a big argument in favor of it being basic, intrinsic, primal, hard wired, is my point.
Could 'audible art' not qualify as a definition for music? On face value it seems rather fitting as a definition actually.
I know an artist here who makes amusing little surreal gizmos. They're audible when they're running, and they're art. They're not music, though.

Edit: I could take that "CRAZY" drawing and install a thing where you pressed a button and heard maniacal giggling. I could then easily call that "Audible Art" but it wouldn't be music.
zoobyshoe
#62
Jan14-13, 11:01 PM
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Quote Quote by atyy View Post
I'm not sure if BenG549 would agree, but let me try to explain why it's no big deal not to have a "consistent rhythmical structure".
I actually already get this just from having heard the example. My question was half-rhetorical and I went on to sketch out my answer. When you say, " I think it's like the 'rhythm' of prose or of free verse. While both are unmetred, the best authors clearly care about the rhythm of their prose or free verse." you haven't described what might constitute rhythm in prose or free verse. I think I got more specific about it than you: "I think it is because all the little pieces of different rhythm (which have their own rhythmic integrity) are arranged in sequence with a definite eye (ear) to creating an overall structure that is actually quite satisfying. There's a good balance of slow rhythm, rapid rhythm, and silence. I feel like the composer had good instincts about varying that which is similar with that which is novel such that it comes off as deliberate and 'composed'." The "art" here is editing, just as it is in collage or flower arranging: given an set of random elements, arrange them relative to each other such that there's an artistic structure to the overall picture.

Rhythm is an extremely important part of visual art, but it's not a matter of metering. I'm damned if I can define it, but I know it when I see it:



I can, therefore, accept a sound composition having that kind of rhythm rather than the usual associated with music.


At any rate, though, look what Ben's original statement was: "Although just to add to that I wouldn't argue that a sense of rhythm is an essential part of music." What this says is a person doesn't even have to be able to keep time. Which is pretty crazy.
BenG549
#63
Jan15-13, 04:40 AM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
When you say, " I think it's like the 'rhythm' of prose or of free verse. While both are unmetred, the best authors clearly care about the rhythm of their prose or free verse. You haven't described what might constitute rhythm in prose or free verse."
OK well I guess that the temporal characteristics of speech; varying rate of speech for dramatic (or at least, non robotic) effect and not just speaking one word per beat in 4/4 time does give it some sense of rhythm it's just not strict. So in a sense I guess I'm actually starting to agree with you when you say "I think it is because all the little pieces of different rhythm (which have their own rhythmic integrity) are arranged in sequence". Watch out this doesn't happen too often lol!

So can we say that any music has to be in essence rhythmical, however, there are varying degrees of "Rhythmical integrity". So we can say that some of the examples posted above are rhythmical, but just to a far lower degree than, say, a drummer playing a beat. Because that works for me. Having said that, even though we haven't actually defined how you would measure "rhythmicality", we would have to say that you can measure the rhythmical qualities of any audible sound (i.e. time varying signal) whether our measure be subjective or objective, I'm not sure you could say in this sense that things have no rhythm, because it would be very hard to define the boundary between a low rhythmicality and not rhythmical.

OK how about this of a draft definition: Music must contain of both rhythmical and tonal components, to some degree. For something to be considered 'very musical' it will have a high degree of both, however something with very low "rhythmicality" that has a high degree of tonality (or vise versa) will be 'more musical' than something with a low degree of both. As an example.

Low(Rhythmicality)Low(Tonality) - White Noise
Low(Rhythmicality)High(Tonality) - A singe tone or filtered noise (used far more in western music than white noise)
High(Rhythmicality)Low(Tonality) - Drumming your hands on a desk
High(Rhythmicality)High(Tonality) - A tune played on a piano in a strict time signature.


It's a bit loose weave as a definition but are we on a potential line of agreement?

Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
you haven't described what might constitute rhythm in prose or free verse.
Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
Rhythm is an extremely important part of visual art... I'm damned if I can define it, but I know it when I see it:
In the same way that everyone can hear the rhythmical qualities of a voice speaking prose or free verse, but most people can't define them? we don't all sound like robots after all. Plus, that was a bit of double standard you're laying out there. You haven't described what might constitute rhythm in art.

When I look at that picture I don't see "rhythmical" qualities, I don't really know what you mean by that (but it's a bit of a side issue i guess)

Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
At any rate, though, look what Ben's original statement was: "Although just to add to that I wouldn't argue that a sense of rhythm is an essential part of music." What this says is a person doesn't even have to be able to keep time. Which is pretty crazy.
By my draft definition I would probably suggest that someone playing in time would be objectively more musical than someone playing out of time, but playing out of time can (and evidently is, given the above examples in this thread) a part of what a lot of people would consider musical.
Ryan_m_b
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Jan15-13, 05:39 AM
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Quote Quote by atyy View Post
How could Gregorian chant be the first music? Didn't the Sumerians have music? Isn't dance mentioned in the Old Testament?
Considering that there have been musican instruments dated as far back as 40,000 years the times you mention would be very recent http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_flutes

Coming late to this so apologies if this has already been discussed but doesn't singing count as music? If so the origin of music could be very nebulous, especially given that other human species had the potential to make the same sounds as us:

A Middle Palaeolithic human hyoid bone
B. ARENSBURG*, A. M. TILLIER†, B. VANDERMEERSCH†, H. DUDAY†, L. A. SCHEPARTZ‡ & Y. RAK*
THE origin of human language, and in particular the question of whether or not Neanderthal man was capable of language/speech, is of major interest to anthropologists but remains an area of great controversy1, 2. Despite palaeoneurological evidence to the contrary3, 4, many researchers hold to the view that Neanderthals were incapable of language/speech, basing their arguments largely on studies of laryngeal/basicranial morphology1, 5, 6. Studies, however, have been hampered by the absence of unambiguous fossil evidence. We now report the discovery of a well-preserved human hyoid bone from Middle Palaeolithic layers of Kebara Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel, dating from about 60,000 years BP. The bone is almost identical in size and shape to the hyoid of present-day populations, suggesting that there has been little or no change in the visceral skeleton (including the hyoid, middle ear ossicles, and inferentially the larynx) during the past 60,000 years of human evolution. We conclude that the morphological basis for human speech capability appears to have been fully developed during the Middle Palaeolithic.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal.../338758a0.html
atyy
#65
Jan15-13, 04:55 PM
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@Ryan_m_B, yes singing is universally believed to be the first music. Some people distinguish between speech and music based on the categorical perception of speech sounds, and the specialization of some areas of the brain for speech. However, I prefer an ideology that music is organized sound for communication, and would consider speech a subset of music (controversially). At the very least, prosody in speech has, I think, a claim to be "musical".
BenG549
#66
Jan15-13, 05:49 PM
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Quote Quote by atyy View Post
However, I would consider speech a subset of music (controversially). At the very least, prosody in speech has, I think, a claim to be "musical".
Yeah I said something like this a few pages back, it got mixed responses lol... mainly negative. To be honest I'm still very much of the opinion that anything audible could be considered music, I think my definition above could work reasonably well, bar the lack of objectivity in assessing rhythm. But even using that definition, you can't really have audible sound that isn't, to some degree, musical.

Although the origins of music are possibly vocal, and we can discuss when speech developed and how the brain deals with speech (I say we, I mean people that know anything about it, which excludes me lol) but it would be interesting to know when vocals were first used in an intentionally artistic and creative way. This obviously bares a few problems, for a start, how do we define creative and when did we even develop "creativity", for example 2.33 to 1.4 million years ago* Homo habilis started creating simple, single faced, stone tools; "these were functional but simple and unspecialised, and by our standards, not very creative"** and they didn't exactly have the means of recording sound a million years ago so we are unlikely to find any real evidence of "creative" use of language....

Anyway, went off on a bit of a side note there.

My point was just that I would consider speech musical.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_habilis

** Cambrudge Handbook of Creativity (2010) edited by Kaufman and Sternberg

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=1...tivity&f=false

That second link is really rather interesting!
zoobyshoe
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Jan16-13, 02:02 PM
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Quote Quote by BenG549 View Post
OK well I guess that the temporal characteristics of speech; varying rate of speech for dramatic (or at least, non robotic) effect and not just speaking one word per beat in 4/4 time does give it some sense of rhythm it's just not strict. So in a sense I guess I'm actually starting to agree with you when you say "I think it is because all the little pieces of different rhythm (which have their own rhythmic integrity) are arranged in sequence". Watch out this doesn't happen too often lol!
I think we are starting to converge toward something.

Let me develop my model further:

Objectively, one whole note equals four quarter notes. It also equals thirty two thirty second notes, and so on.

In speech there are other things going on besides counting time that allow a "whole note" to be balanced psychologically by, say, only twenty four thirty second notes. In particular, emotional valence. We can try to emulate that with sound. We could make up for the eight missing notes by having the 24 played louder than the whole note, by having them crescendo in volume as they also rise in pitch, or by playing them on some vastly different instrument than the whole note which calls attention to itself. Anything we do that psychologically makes up for the apparently missing "weight" of the twenty four thirty second notes will suffice. I think this sort of thing is going on in speech all the time. It's very hard to put your finger on and define, but we all know a nice, satisfying prose sentence when we hear it, and it certainly does not involve one syllable per beat according to some time signature, as you pointed out. Balance is being created by balancing things of different species. Apples are as good as oranges, and can be brought into balance psychologically. Two apples = one orange, if the apples are dusty and muted in color and the orange is polished and bright. And so on, in the same vein.

So can we say that any music has to be in essence rhythmical, however, there are varying degrees of "Rhythmical integrity". So we can say that some of the examples posted above are rhythmical, but just to a far lower degree than, say, a drummer playing a beat. Because that works for me. Having said that, even though we haven't actually defined how you would measure "rhythmicality", we would have to say that you can measure the rhythmical qualities of any audible sound (i.e. time varying signal) whether our measure be subjective or objective, I'm not sure you could say in this sense that things have no rhythm, because it would be very hard to define the boundary between a low rhythmicality and not rhythmical.
I'm with you, except that I think you're taking it in the wrong direction to call speech-like rhythms examples of "lower" rhythmicality. I'd actually characterized them as more sophisticated. More complex. If we think of conventional rhythm as many stacks of, say, 4 equal weights (4/4 time with each stack representing a measure) balanced against various stacks of whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth, thirty second, etc, notes, all in different proportions but each stack, again, equaling one measure, then we can imagine speech as being just as balanced, but balanced by all kinds of sophisticated irregular considerations, none of which have to literally be weight. A short, sudden crescendo of 8 sixty-forth notes might, psychologically, turn out to be just as "heavy" as two mildly sounded whole notes joined by a tie. If they do balance, then the rest of the two measures (the remaining unsounded 64th notes) might be required to be silence. I heard something like this going on all over the place in the piece linked to by atyy.

I think this mobile by Calder is a good analogy:

http://www.vmfa.state.va.us/uploaded..._200910_XL.jpg

One side balances the other, but both sides consist of irregularly measured weights and shapes.

I would argue that we're naturally tuned in to this kind of balance when it's translated to sound sequences, and that when it doesn't happen, we know it.

The rhythm is right in that mobile, even though it's unmetered. Same with the Duchamp, though that one is not literally hanging in balance to prove it.

By my draft definition I would probably suggest that someone playing in time would be objectively more musical than someone playing out of time, but playing out of time can (and evidently is, given the above examples in this thread) a part of what a lot of people would consider musical.
Consider the difference between the "wrong" proportions in a good caricature, and the wrong proportions in a portrait done by someone who can't get the hang of proportion.
zoobyshoe
#68
Jan16-13, 02:31 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
If someone wanted to argue that speech is a form of music, I think they could make a good case for it.
Quote Quote by atyy View Post
However, I prefer an ideology that music is organized sound for communication, and would consider speech a subset of music (controversially). At the very least, prosody in speech has, I think, a claim to be "musical".
Quote Quote by BenG549 View Post
Yeah I said something like this a few pages back, it got mixed responses lol... mainly negative. To be honest I'm still very much of the opinion that anything audible could be considered music, I think my definition above could work reasonably well, bar the lack of objectivity in assessing rhythm. But even using that definition, you can't really have audible sound that isn't, to some degree, musical
The problem with what you're saying, Ben, is that by your criteria we can call a tree falling over, or thunder, or an avalanche "music". Also, a guy shaving, the sound of a book page being turned, the sound of a car door closing, the sound of a plastic bowl being set on a kitchen counter, a guy belching, and a guy coughing. I don't think any of those sounds is music or musical. The reason we glom onto SHM exiting resonant cavities and keep working with that, is exactly because that has audible properties which are unlike the sounds I mentioned.
Ryan_m_b
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Jan16-13, 02:49 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
The problem with what you're saying, Ben, is that by your criteria we can call a tree falling over, or thunder, or an avalanche "music". Also, a guy shaving, the sound of a book page being turned, the sound of a car door closing, the sound of a plastic bowl being set on a kitchen counter, a guy belching, and a guy coughing. I don't think any of those sounds is music or musical. The reason we glom onto SHM exiting resonant cavities and keep working with that, is exactly because that has audible properties which are unlike the sounds I mentioned.
I don't see a problem with this. It's like art, it can literally be anything yet we still have a use for the word. The way I see it music and art are so loosely defined (not necessarily a bad thing) that it's isn't unreasonable to apply them to almost anything however they are still very useful as words because when we use them we're normally referring to a narrow range of things that we would collectively think of first.

IMO it's because there isn't necessarily any similarity between two recordings that people would call music or two objects that people would call art. It's the classic "music today is just noise" problem where for some people certain things count as music and for others they can literally be nothing but a collection of noises. Place what the latter think is music next to the former and you don't necessarily find similarities.
zoobyshoe
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Jan16-13, 03:02 PM
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Quote Quote by Ryan_m_b View Post
I don't see a problem with this. It's like art, it can literally be anything yet we still have a use for the word. The way I see it music and art are so loosely defined (not necessarily a bad thing) that it's isn't unreasonable to apply them to almost anything however they are still very useful as words because when we use them we're normally referring to a narrow range of things that we would collectively think of first.

IMO it's because there isn't necessarily any similarity between two recordings that people would call music or two objects that people would call art. It's the classic "music today is just noise" problem where for some people certain things count as music and for others they can literally be nothing but a collection of noises. Place what the latter think is music next to the former and you don't necessarily find similarities.
You're a biologist, right? If art can be anything, then biology is art. If biology is art, art must also, therefore, be biology. Therefore, I, as an artist, am a biologist. I honestly can't tell you what an enzyme is, but since everything is everything else, I am a biologist.

fuzzyfelt
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Jan16-13, 03:05 PM
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Sharing views similar to some points made by some like Ryan, Ben and Atyy, I’ve enjoyed how they’ve been expressed and illustrated very much.

http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=e...w=1111&bih=857
Ryan_m_b
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Jan16-13, 03:06 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
You're a biologist, right? If art can be anything, then biology is art. If biology is art, art must also, therefore, be biology. Therefore, I, as an artist, am a biologist. I honestly can't tell you what an enzyme is, but since everything is everything else, I am a biologist.

Lol funny but not quite firstly just because biology can be art doesn't mean that art is biology (all X can be Y but not all Y can be X). Secondly the term artist and biologist generally refer to people who get paid to do work in those respective fields so its easier to define.


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