By Theodore Gracyk
Opinionated and example-filled, this super concise and obtainable publication presents a survey of a few primary and longstanding debates concerning the nature of song. The principal arguments and ideas of historic and modern philosophers are awarded with the aim of creating them as obtainable as attainable to normal readers who've no history in philosophy. The emphasis is on instrumental song, yet examples are drawn from many cultures in addition to from Western classical, jazz, folks, and renowned track.
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Extra info for On Music
My kitchen refrigerator has value as the kind of thing that it is because it succeeds in keeping food and beverages reasonably cold. Granted, one could keep a refrigerator after its motor dies, using it as a storage unit with a door. But that is not to value it as a refrigerator any longer. For Wagner, music drama always has a function, and the music is of value by advancing that purpose. For example, Act 3 of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg advances German nationalism. Purists, such as Hanslick, say that its success or failure is independent of that purpose, which is incidental to its status as art.
I think he’s calling attention to the fact that we couldn’t have “Donna Lee” and “Continuum” without the cultural bedrock of blues vocals and the African-American call-and-response format. To embrace Charlie Parker and Miles Davis is to embrace Sam and Dave, too. There is, then, continuity between Haydn’s “farewell” symphony, a Lamborghini Murciélago, the Taj Mahal, a poem by John Keats, and the album Jaco Pastorius. Apart from whatever else they are, they embody and respond to their particular cultural traditions.
More importantly, neither of these logical relationships can even be thought by someone who does not have language in which to express them. (Obviously, I do not mean that a language lacking the specific word “if” is incapable of expressing the sufficiency relationship. ) With music, the parallel issue is whether there are any musical relationships that become evident only for listeners who employ appropriate vocabulary. To put it another way, does my lack of a descriptive vocabulary ever demonstrate that I do not adequately comprehend the music that I hear?