Re: art not music

Subject: Re: art not music
From: macCormac (
Date: Mon Feb 28 2005 - 01:02:44 EST

1st Nation (west coast canada) put their babies by th windows and let th rain
be th lullaby . .

Eliot Handelman wrote:

>Was the first lullaby necessarily musical?

Was it accompanied by rocking? Was the effect to calm the
baby? How did it do this? Was it repetitive?

Eliot Handelman wrote:

> > So, what did music evolve from?
> Jury's out on that -- not known what "evolutionary
> advantage" a faculty for music ensures.
> Note that there IS a faculty for music -- the disorder
> called "amusia" is evidence that something musical is
> brain-based.
> We probably do guess that we're not the only musicians
> around -- as others here have pointed out. Animal cognition
> studies are suggesting that the dividing line between us + them
> is based on some additional stuff in us, to be sure -- but
> not that much additional stuff.
> Chomsky's new view (the "minimalist program") says that what's
> unique about us is our capacity for recursion or recursive
> thought -- musically speaking, that translates into our
> capacity for big embedded structures (as I claim can be
> found even in very simple melodies). C. thinks music studies
> potentially seminal in opening up question.
> My thought is that music is related somehow in kind to
> dreaming and hypnotic states (ie, lullaby-potential), about which
> we also know very little or nothing. Music isn't about sound so much as
> recog. that we can elicit certain emotional/whatever effects with sounds
> appropriately arranged. This isn't exactly a hypothesis about
> anything, rather a suggestion that music is one of the
> manifestations of our own mystery. Music is a way of dreaming
> out loud, potentially causing the dream to be activated in
> others. If we can discover why we need to dream we might discover
> in that why we also need music.
> The need to dream was explained by Freud in his way, and Crick
> saw it as garbage collection, using lisp as a model of the mind,
> in which storage cells have to be reclaimed. This seems
> wooden and uninsightful. Our need to dream is possibly related
> to the fact that people often hallucinate in conditions
> of sensoryt deprivation. One of the earliet chroniclers
> was Arthur Koestler, in Darkness at Noon, where he described
> it as a "waking dream" that was something prisoners looked
> forward to. Subsequent research (via Hebbs and others)
> didn't turn up much else of account. One idea is that dreaming
> comes first, and world-perception later. It's not likely we're
> soon going to know very much about this.
> This is a huge area, obviously, and my best summary is
> "keep an open mind."
> The aliveness of the mind, its insistence on objects of
> perception, the fact that all perception is already construction
> of a world (Newton pointed out that the rays that we perceive
> as colors are actually colorless), etc. Music is somehow
> contained within those requirements, capacities, etc. Visual
> perception seems to be structured like a ghrammar of some sort:
> almost certainly music "perception" as well. (quotes because
> music is ALSO about the tactuality of sound, pre-grammatical,
> complicated area about which we know nothing but can sort of guess,
> as we're both doing here.)
> You could say "isn't EA about that tactuality?" Only some
> pieces.
> > Was the first lullaby necessarily musical?
> Was it accompanied by rocking? Was the effect to calm the
> baby? How did it do this? Was it repetitive? It may not have
> been a tune so much as a sort of strophe (so someone once suggested
> to me) that goes back and forth between two tones (I'm told,
> something like a lower fourth, down and up, and then repeat) but
> obviously we can't know. Does the infant feel love in the voice
> and in the singing? Is love built-in?
> The Evol. psychs say yes, because we see a clear advantage in
> big-brained heavy-headed creature that needs years of pampering
> protection etc. Music related to love? Complicated issue:
> I'll discharge a simple "almost certainly" here.
> >
> > EA
> > Music Language Other
> >
> > ALthough it's not exactly clear yet, I have recently come to a new
> > understanding of EA. The general root EA branches into music, language and
> > other. I understand EA as sound-based understanding.
> I see what you're trying to get at, but I don't think I'd call
> that EA for two reasons. First, music/art isn't about understanding
> -- that's the theorist's job, which he usually fails at. music/art
> is about activating, to my mind -- creating "impression" by way
> of "expression." That's complex and unpredictable and becomes
> like language at the point where the expressive or impressive potential
> has been exhausted. viz "shock of the new," etc.
> Second, what intrests me about EA is the idea of making
> the creation of sound a sort of concrete operation, like
> wielding a paintbrush or concretizing the role of the
> orchestra conductor. I think the most interesting stuff is
> about conveying exciting qualities of this new creative freedom,
> always on the increase. Perhaps this is also why I feel
> reservations about how the outcome could possibly be more
> important than something undertaken with much more modest means
> (recall thread of some years ago about making music by waving
> sticks, which I found could pierce more quickly to the soul
> by reason of its greater modesty and simplicity).
> Superduper complicated technological art is always going to be
> problematic, especially when we divide up those active and
> those who are supposed to sit still and listen.
> Everyone will eventually bcom eactive anyway and it's
> the condition of EA to be avant-garde in its refusal
> to acknowledge any such distinction. This is mostly why
> the 'art" thing doesn't seem relevant to me, yet does impinge
> on some sort of reality -- a universal creative practice and
> a capoacity to be affected based on experience of practice,
> rather than on a passive sentimentality.
> As to mom #1 stuff, you might look up "mitochondrial eve," our
> commmon mom, though not the first hs. At any rate good enough
> for common music origin.
> As to what is man, in me view, he is a musician. So that
> rather begs the question but at least helps us know we're doing
> something we should be doing.
> -- eliot

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