File spoon-archives/nietzsche.archive/nietzsche_1995/nietzsche_Nov9.95, message 41


Date: Tue, 14 Nov 1995 16:39:42 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Music, Nietzsche, Rhythm


Reg Lilly and anyone who is interested,
I liked the analogy of post-tonal music (although I fear, I am not 
totally understanding what this might mean, reasons in a sec.) to Wagner, 
and postmodernity to Nietzsche.  Perhaps we could 'stick' with the word 
"trace" as a safeguard when considering the analogy here. 

Wagner, believe it or not falls within the traditional twelve tone 
system, that is, even though he would for example use nonharmonic tones 
for certain passages, his work remains tonal in the fullest sense.  I 
usually think of non-tonal or "post-tonal" as something that would exceed 
the traditional Western representation of music, such as music 
characteristic of South Indian heritage, the Carnatic tradition.  The 
problem is one of representation, at least comparitively between the 
twelve tonal system (which I say again Wagner 'is' a part of in many 
ways, perhaps not logically as you suggested, but relatively) *and* let's 
say South Indian representation of intervals.  We know thatthe Carnatic 
Tradition has intervals that fall between a perfect unison and a minor 
second.  These intervals when represented on a twelve tone scale are more 
or less the performer's "intuition".  Such as a "bend" on guitar 
notation, e.g. represented with an arrow and a fraction such as 1/4.
So I guess what I'm getting at is, HOW CAN YOU SAY WAGNER IS POST-TONAL?
I guess I'm not understanding what you mean.  could you explain further?
I have a book entitled "Harmony" fifth ed.  by WALTER PISTON, and wagner 
*is* cited many times throughout, examples of non-harmonic tones, 
(sometimes referred to as passing-tones, which effectively displace a 
melody, like a melody strictly coded to a specific key signature or mode)
what about phraseology, free rythm improvisation? could these be recorded 
and transposed in a twelve tonal systam as well.  I have a studio 
composition program with MIDI, I suppose it's possible although I haven't 
tried yet.

stevilbollweevil

On Mon, 13 Nov 1995, Reg Lilly wrote:

> I agree with at least one thing you indicate, that to render a judgement
> about music in a manner that doesn't absolutize the passive aesthetics of
> reception ('taste'), one must know how to read music, and for this one needs
> to know both the vocabulary and problematics of music.  To suggest that one
> can render an intelligent judgement on the nature and significance of
> Wagner, for instance, by looking out one's window at the Lincoln Center is
> as fatuous as rendering an opinion about Plato, Nietzsche or Rilke on the
> basis of loitering around the New York Public Library.  Statements such as
> 'Wagner was the rock and roll of his time' is, for me, not a musical
> statement, but a sociological one (and not a very illuminating one at that).
> Who was Brahms, then?  And Tchaikowsky or Liszt?  I do, however, think you
> are over-reacting to deny that there is a 'logic' to 19th century music --
> maybe not a trascendental logic, but clearly there is a relation of
> dependency.  For example, something fundamental happens to the nature of
> music with Wagner's Tristan chord which is not a matter of fainting women.
> The cadential and tonal character of music is irrevocably called into
> question; and that the tonal basis of music *could* be called into question
> in this way is, whether Wagner appeals to your musical sentiments or not, a
> decisive event (Nietzsche understood this quite well); there is a
> decentering to music that subsequent composers 'had to' deal with in one way
> or another and in fact, it would not be overreaching to say that all
> so-called post-tonal music is responding to Wagner is an analogous manner
> that so-called post-modern philosophy is dealing with Nietzsche.  I think it
> is fair to say that the collapse of tonality one finds in Wagner therefore
> is 'logically' related to the possibility of Schoenberg's twelve-tone system
> of composition.  It is on musicological grounds that one can and even must
> make such a judgement, a judgement which, however, is clearly not necessary
> from the standpoint of 'taste.'
> rsl
> 
> >pardon me for inquiring, but what the fuck does it mean to consider 
> >Wagner as some kind of logical step further; as if Beethoven's Ode To Joy 
> >was a premise.  Do the people that make such naive claims as this know 
> >anything about music composition? I'll give you the oppurtunity to 
> >explain yourself here.  Differences are there, and of course 
> >historically, which I assume is all you'll say about it.  as far as the 
> >subtletyof the phrases and passages of either/or, are any of you in a 
> >position to make such claims, if so...start writing...music that is.
> >well we have haydn and then let's see, logically mozart, and oh yeah, 
> >beethoven...then wagner...then debussy...can't forget stravinsky...and oh 
> >yeah frank zappa,...mr. bungle...what is really going on here?
> >Why yes dear, a fine cabernet, nietzsche, sex, and847598413uhefjef
> >Does anyone on this list read music well enough to call wagner's music 
> >the next logical step?  I've studied composition for awhile; by what kind 
> >of terms are you claiming this?  Tonality?  Modality? Principles of Voice 
> >leading? Texture? Rythm? Cadences?
> >point being, where is the first analysis drawn?
> >Did any of you fathom the relevance of other music texts? that is, 
> >implicit in a single composition?
> >
> >scholar ass slaves at it again....pretention, ostentation, 
> >condescension, are there subtleties here as well? 
> >
> >stevilbollweevil
> >
> >
> >
> >	--- from list nietzsche-AT-jefferson.village.virginia.edu ---
> >
> >
> 
> 
> 
> 	--- from list nietzsche-AT-jefferson.village.virginia.edu ---
> 


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