If one reads the formal definitions of music and noise it would seem that the consensus is that musical sound is periodic and somewhat regular, while noise is not. Music is also said to generally be pleasing to the ear and mind…. and noise is not, or maybe noise is more properly, “unpleasant.” Obviously, such definitions are subjective. As it applies to the music I make in the Mindspawn projects, and I do consider the tracks that I create under the guise of Mindspawn to be music, the definitions that distinguish between music and noise are certainly blurry at best, and to some degree they are not terribly useful or accurate. Sometimes the Mindspawn sound will follow “traditional” musical formulae, and will contain elements such as song structure, melody, arrangements, and so on. On other occasions the sound I seek to convey might be made up of a field recording of a construction site, or random sounds generated from a modular synthesizer, or samples of space “sounds,” elements that are often categorized as noise. Quite often I employ elements from both “traditional” music and what is “traditionally” described as noise.
Something to keep in mind is that I’m not trying to redefine how the populace at large defines my sound or anyone else’s for that matter. Rather, I seek to point out that noise and music are by definition, subjective. How many times have teenagers been told by their parents to “turn down that noise,” “that noise” being the latest recording from an artist the teenager and many of their peers may view as having extraordinary artistry and incredible depth of emotion? To the parent the latest grindcore hit from the Slavering Hounds might sound like noise, but to the teen it is artistry and music at the purest level. By definition, both parties are correct, and this illustrates the subjectivity of how an individual perceives sound.
My personal definition of what is noise and what is music is most certainly slanted toward most, if not all, sound as being musical, it simply depends on the context from which you are listening. I would also posit that, contextually, even sounds that most people agree are music might also be considered noise, and here I would offer an example of really loud elevator music being relentlessly played at high volume for hours on end… that, at least to me, would most definitely be noise and not music. While not always successful, I spend much of my daily active listening finding the music in the everyday sounds around me… my varying level of success at “finding the music” usually has more to do with my mind’s perception than it does the actual sounds. Even I occasionally start hearing every sound, from Mozart sonata to the whine of a hard drive, as noise. At other times, it’s almost impossible for me not to hear the music of the cars passing on a bridge or from the mechanized sounds from a factory assembly line.
Your mileage may vary….