FAQs

Glenn+Gould+Young++with+dog

[1] What are the principal merits of OMS?
[2] How does OMS relate to the field of Music Cognition?
[3] In what respects is the use of OMS subjective or objective?
[4] Do OMS Evaluations apply to a composition/score or to a performance?
[5] What does an OMS Evaluation actually measure/evaluate?
[6] Does OMS generalize to forms of art other than music?
[7] Can OMS be computerized in some way?
[8] Can OMS be validated?

[1] What are the principal merits of OMS?

[a] OMS is a genuine model of music.

It is the first significant new model in several hundred years. (What do I mean by this? The history of Western music has been dominated by just one model, which I will call the “note-centric model”. The note-centric model goes back to Rameau or even earlier; it reached an advanced evolution with Schenker.  OMS is the first significant alternative to the note-centric model of music.)

[b] OMS is an outstanding tool for analyzing individual works of music.

[c] OMS is an outstanding tool for analyzing the “great questions” of music – questions about meaning, beauty, greatness, …

[d] OMS integrates well with new and alternative views. OMS itself allows for expansion, changes, and alternatives within the model (OMS can be “customized”.). It also provides a structure for development/statement of alternative points of view.

[e] OMS is comprehensible: Succinct, minimal jargon. It can be understood by non-specialists.

[f] OMS is well-grounded – in musical tradition, in scientific method, in philosophical traditions. Even when the reader disagrees with OMS, she will find it to be stimulating and cogent.

[2] How does OMS relate to the field of Music Cognition?

Music Cognition is a young and rapidly developing field with potentially a huge scope. Depending on how Music Cognition evolves, OMS may eventually be viewed as having a close relationship with Music Cognition.

That being said, it currently appears that OMS is outside the mainstream of Music Cognition research. The primary activity in Music Cognition currently seems to be in evaluating specific cognitive responses to certain kinds of music. (A typical question might be: “What kinds of features in a melody are most easily remembered?”).  This is different from developing a model of the music in general.

OMS certainly draws on some results from Music Cognition.

 

[3] In what respects is the use of OMS subjective or objective?

Strictly speaking, OMS (Basic model) is subjective in its application. I.e., two listeners could apply the  Basic model to the same musical performance,  and produce different evaluations. Furthermore, OMS does not prohibit a listener from altering the categories in the standard Profile. However:

[a] It is believed that there will be considerable consensus among various listeners, for the following reasons: [a] In ordinary musical discourse, there is considerable consensus among various listeners – especially listeners who are talented/knowledgeable in music. [b] The OMS (Basic model)  evaluation method is closely related to some of the common ways in which music is ordinarily evaluated by listeners.

[b] The categories in the standard OMS Profile were the result of extensive analysis of mainstream music in the western tradition – classical and popular. So the (categories in the) OMS Profile represents a kind of consensus view of how music is ordinarily evaluated.

So in the above senses there is a limited “objectivity” implicit in OMS.

[4] Do OMS Evaluations apply to a composition/score or to a performance?

Strictly speaking, an OMS evaluation always applies to a specific performance of a composition, not to the composition or score.

This distinction is more important for some works of music than others.  With some music,  (e.g. a pop tune such as “My Favorite Things”) there is extremely wide variation among performances, with wide variation in how the various performances stimulate or affect a listener. However, in many cases (e.g. a performance of  a movement from a Bach Brandenburg Concerto) there seems to be something like a standard or mainstream performance standard, without a great deal of variation at the professional performance level. In such cases, once could speak (in a qualified sense) of an OMS evaluation of the composition or score.

In this website, we are cognizant of the above distinctions, but will highlight them only where the seem to be important for the immediate discussion.

[5] What does a Basic model Profile actually measure/evaluate?

A Basic model Profile measures/evaluates the depth and breadth of the stimulation provided by a musical performance. This is correlated somewhat with other factors: [a] The listener’s subjective experience of the performance; [b] The aesthetic quality or value of the performance.

[a] The listener’s subjective experience is of course somewhat correlated to the stimulation imparted by a performance – but great variation is possible. For instance, a listener may not be sensitive to certain kinds of stimulation. Or at a given time, a listener may not be attentive or receptive to certain kinds of stimuli.

Additionally, it is possible for different listeners to have widely varying reactions, and “inner experience” to the same stimulation.

[b] It is certainly possible for a listener to take the position that certain kinds of stimuli are much more important than others with regard to the aesthetic quality or value of a musical work or performance thereof. So for instance, a listener with an avant-garde sensibility might consider it unimportant whether a music work has luscious melodies or ingratiating dance rhythms. Another listener may consider “emotional/personal” aspects of music to be of greater importance than other aspects. Part of the value of OMS is that it allows different listeners to construct highly articulated profiles which can disclose issues like this.

[6] Does the Basic model generalize to forms of art other than music?

Yes, the Basic model appears to generalize to all forms of art major and minor. E.g. Film, VisualArt, Drama, Fiction, Poetry, Jewelry, Wine, StandUpComedy, etc. We have already explored a number of these generalizations in detail.

[7] Can the Basic model be computerized in some way?

Probably so. Specifically we believe that the behavior of  most (all?) of the principal Receptors could be emulated by a neural network. The result would be an automatic mechanism which could listen to a musical  and generate a fairly good OMS (Basic model) analysis. Our belief is based on extended research which is not published on this website, and which is proprietary.

[8] Can OMS be validated?

I think the primary test of the value (“validity”) of OMS is whether it provides insight into specific experiences of music. Regarding validation via scientific method: Some aspects of OMS could be evaluated in this way, but I would question why this is important (in various fields there are models which are considered useful which have not or perhaps could not be validated using scientific method).