Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning by Daniel Chua

By Daniel Chua

This booklet examines the highbrow heritage of instrumental track, specifically the assumption of absolute song. It attempts to teach how yes principles in philosophy, theology and the sciences impact the that means and, certainly, the lifestyles of instrumental track, and the way, in flip, instrumental song is used to solve or exemplify convinced difficulties in sleek tradition. rather than current in a natural and self sustaining shape, tune is woven again into the epistemological cloth and entangled with a number of discourses, hence demonstrating the centrality of tune within the development of which means.

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By hibernating in the aesthetic sphere instead of marshalling the universe, absolute music syncopates against reality as an autonomous work that seems to divorce art from truth. ‘The symphony of the universe’, as Novalis calls it, is only a nostalgia for enchantment in a world where there is nothing to enchant. As J. M. Bernstein writes, ‘every conception of the alienation of art from truth is simultaneously a work of remembrance, a work of mourning and grief, even for those philosophers who doubt that such an “original” state of union ever existed.

Music represents words. It was the Protestant ascetics who most vehemently split music to 11 12 14 15 16 17 Cicero, Republic, quoted in Edward Lippman, A History Of Western Aesthetics (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), 7. See Macrobius, Commentarii in Somnium Scipionis, vol. 2, ed. J. Willis (Leipzig: B. G. 13 Teubner, 1970), comm. 4, 2–3. See Plato, Republic, 616d–17c. Tomlinson, Music in Renaissance Magic, 62. , 136. Also see D. P. Walker, ‘Ficino’s spiritus and Music’, in Music, Spirit and Language in the Renaissance, ed.

That the ritornello means nothing, however, does not mean that Monteverdi is incapable of making its nothingness meaningful. Indeed, its presence, or rather its absent pres38 39 Susan McClary, Feminine Endings: Music, Gender and Sexuality (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1991), 42. Philip Pickett, ‘Behind the Mask’, liner notes for his recording with the New London Consort of Claudio Monteverdi: L’Orfeo, CD 433 546–2 (L’Oiseau-Lyre, 1991), 18–19. 38 On opera ence, is critical in the opera as a signification of nothing.

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Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning by Daniel Chua
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