Re: Art, EA, music, tonality...

Subject: Re: Art, EA, music, tonality...
From: Eliot Handelman (
Date: Tue Mar 01 2005 - 17:37:00 EST wrote:

>Quoting Eliot Handelman <>:
>>Music isn't about sound so much as recog.
>Exactly. It is about the recognition of sounds;
You're misquoting me. I wrote:

"Music isn't about sound so much as
recog. that we can elicit certain emotional/whatever effects with sounds
appropriately arranged."


Music is about knowing that we can elicit emotional/etc effects with certain
kinds of arrangements of sounds.

 You might recall I mentioned earlier an idea about a "tactical force"
in music, the idea that we listen because we think something is going
to happen to us by listening.

To my mind this issue came up in a performance by quasar sax. quartet
last night in Jean Baptiste church, an hr-long comp. consisting of
ritualistic waving of drone-producing pseudotrumpts made with (I gather)
sax mouthpieces and long tubes with a trumpet bell. SOme of the noises were
nice -- at one point 2nd order beating filled my ears with the kind of
head-generated melody that I only ever heard in Maryanne Amacher's music. This
could have been a sort of dense physiological music that really screwed with
your head and hearing. And that would have constituted a strong tactical force,
I want to keep listening in the expectation that the music/sound is really doing
something to me. Instead, I found the music and performance emphasized the
"ritualistic" as though some sort of secret rite with sound,with benedictions doled out as
so manyt communion wafers. It was like a kind of mass promising some kind of redemption.
Perhaps someone with a catholic church background
might have been able to grasp a sort of political force in the fact that
it took place in a church dedicated to the pATRON St. of quebec. AT any rate
I found the performnace more of a symbol of some kind that like an experience.

mass, ritual, redemption etc seemed here to be offered as this so-called "tactical
force." Note this has nothing to do with sound as such. It could be about "the
belief that sound can work redemptive purposes." The idea that "sound is holy," etc.

>But from the point of view of the audience, art loses its creative aspect and
>becomes an object to be studied. From this perspective, I can no longer
>associate music to dreaming.

Dreaming is when the brain takes autonmous charge of the production of
reality. I find a connection
in this to music. It's an idea, not something I'm expecting people to
associate with music.

>>(Newton pointed out that the rays that we perceive
>>as colors are actually colorless),
>(aside) This statement is disturbing to me. inguish.

The point is that the color is in our brain, not in the
vibrations/photons. We're using
properties of waves to invent a perceptual correlate called "color." The
color as
such doesn't exist unless a brain translates it into the experience of
color. (this is why
GE Moore had the problem of how to explain "red" to a blind man --
there's nothing
about "red" that's external to your experience of it, and so nothing to
"point to,". or
however Moore thought language worked.)

-- eliot

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