Wednesday, September 14, 2011

notes and music

     Music isn't just notes.  Notes are notes.  I would say that music is notes intentionally joined together, by someone or something, in an organized and meaningful way.  A person can yell, and its sound is a particular note, or several notes, but it is not music.  A cat mewing, or even a pot hitting the stove can sound a note, yet it is not music.  And wind through the trees may sound beautiful, but I would deny that it is music.
     Music is intentional, and not an accident.  If a pianist is improvising and playing random notes, and stumbles upon some combination he or she likes, and decides to play them again, that choice would give the notes intention, and make music.  Likewise if I am intentionally randomly humming a made-up tune, it is music.  And if a child strikes a pot several times and several different ways, and means it to be music, then it is.

Is a birdsong music, or language? 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

emotion transforming, yet retaining, the music.

     Beethoven wrote his ninth symphony almost 200 years ago.  He conducted only the tempo of the piece, as he was deaf, for its first performance, and shared the directing with another conductor.  It was the first choral symphony ever to be written.  I wonder how what he wrote was altered that evening by these facts.  The second conductor, Beethoven's deafness, the chorus, the soloists, the orchestra, and the audience - their emotions, moods, and energies all changed, even in a small way, this piece of music forever.  And each time the ninth symphony has been conducted, played, sung, and listened to in all these years since, more small changes and alterations occurred.
     The music belongs to each participant, in a way, and their reactions to the music make their experiences different, or the same.  But I would maintain that the music of this symphony, however gently altered in so many ways and so many countless times, retains its original beauty and intent.  Those things are at the heart of the music, and do not alter; each participant experiences them, however uniquely.

 Is music inherently emotional?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Q and A, 1

     An epistemological claim in "Aesthetics", by the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, might be, "For one can describe works of art, often enough, in terms which relate primarily to the emotional and mental life of human beings.", found on page 2. This claim shows the nature of our knowledge of art, and how we come to know art.   
     An ontological or metaphysical claim, in seeking what art is and how it works, might be, "Pure beauty, in other words, simply holds our mind's attention: we have no further concern than contemplating the object itself.", found on page 1.
     Suggesting that art's value is subjective, an axiological claim might be, "...'Aida' and 'The Sound of Music' have equal value for their respective audiences.", found on page 2.

     An example of intellectual courage is found as well on page 2, where George Dickie argues, "... the artwork as a thing in itself.", concluding that the aesthetic attitude "reduced to just close attention to whatever holds one's mind in an artwork, against the tradition which believed it had a certain psychological quality," etc... This courage continued on pages 5 and 6, where the nature of creativity was explored, and all the players involved in any one artwork, and getting at the heart of what it means to create art.  These ideas are put forth in the face of what others had previously thought, and perhaps in more depth.
     A critical thinking example is on page 3, where Timothy Binkley talks about imitations of art resembling the original art, but being very differently perceived because of each piece's individual history, and that of its artist.  This is building on others thoughts, but questioning deeper.
     A judgment is made on page 5, declaring that, "unless we believe that fictions are real, how can we, for instance, be moved by the fate of Anna Karenina?", and Radford's, "'the paradox of emotional response to fiction' was unsolvable."

     A deductive argument is found on page 3, where the author talks about David Best, "Task sports have less 'art' in them, since they are not as creative as the purposive ones."
     An inductive argument might be where the author echoes Kant, saying, "The shared enjoyment of a sunset or a beach shows there is harmony between us all, and the world."

1. If someone says they like or dislike an artwork, does that tell you anything about the artwork?
2. Can the art of an artwork be separate from the emotion of the audience, or the artist?