The Mission and Message of Music: Building Blocks to the Aesthetics of Music in our Time 1443818704, 9781443818704

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The Mission and Message of Music: Building Blocks to the Aesthetics of Music in our Time
 1443818704, 9781443818704

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The Mission and Message of Music

The Mission and Message of Music: Building Blocks to the Aesthetics of Music in our Time


Michal Smoira Cohn

The Mission and Message of Music: Building Blocks to the Aesthetics of Music in our Time, by Michal Smoira Cohn This book first published 2010 Cambridge Scholars Publishing 12 Back Chapman Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2XX, UK British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Copyright © 2010 by Michal Smoira Cohn All rights for this book reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. ISBN (10): 1-4438-1870-4, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-1870-4


Foreword .................................................................................................... ix Shlomo Giora Shoham Introduction to the English Version of the Book ........................................ xi Prologue..................................................................................................... xv The Importance of “Beauty” in Music Section A – Music as a Phenomenon Chapter One................................................................................................. 2 The Meaning of Sound Chapter Two .............................................................................................. 12 The Secret of the Movement of Sounds Chapter Three ............................................................................................ 16 The Eternal Renewal of an Ephemeral Movement Chapter Four.............................................................................................. 22 Measure and Time Chapter Five .............................................................................................. 29 The Concrete within the Abstract Section B – Music, Single or Plural? Chapter Six ................................................................................................ 36 Melody, Harmony and Rhythm Chapter Seven............................................................................................ 43 Sound, Speech and Movement – Three that are One Chapter Eight............................................................................................. 49 Voice and Instrument – Word and Sound


Table of Contents

Chapter Nine.............................................................................................. 58 Monophony and Polyphony Chapter Ten ............................................................................................... 69 Composer and Performer Chapter Eleven .......................................................................................... 77 Solo and Tutti Chapter Twelve ......................................................................................... 84 Performer and Listener Chapter Thirteen........................................................................................ 90 Music or Musics? Section C – Music and it’s Impression Chapter Fourteen ..................................................................................... 100 Between Man and God Chapter Fifteen ........................................................................................ 107 Between Man and his Fellow Men Chapter Sixteen ....................................................................................... 112 The Movement of the Sound and the Movement of the Soul Chapter Seventeen ................................................................................... 117 The Listeners Identification with what he Hears Chapter Eighteen ..................................................................................... 127 Association and Emotion Chapter Nineteen ..................................................................................... 130 The “Ethos” and the Theory of “Catharsis” Chapter Twenty ....................................................................................... 138 Experience, Gratification and Satisfaction

The Mission and Message of Music


Section D – Music as a Language Chapter Twenty One................................................................................ 144 Is Music really a Language? Chapter Twenty Two ............................................................................... 148 Sound Movements as Emotional Indicators Chapter Twenty Three ............................................................................. 154 Musical Motifs as Symbols of Social Traditions Chapter Twenty Four............................................................................... 159 The Meaning of Rhythm in Musical Communication Chapter Twenty Five ............................................................................... 165 “Agogics” and “Dynamics” and their Intercommunicational Meaning Chapter Twenty Six................................................................................. 169 Consonance and Dissonance, Affirmation and Negation in the Musical Sense Chapter Twenty Seven............................................................................. 175 The Scale Principle and the Tonal System in their Linguistic Meaning Chapter Twenty Eight............................................................................. 184 Tonic and Dominant – The Two Pillars of the Musical Language Chapter Twenty Nine .............................................................................. 189 The Meaning of Repetition and Contrast in Music Chapter Thirty ......................................................................................... 197 What do we mean by “Understanding Music”? Section E - Music as Art Chapter Thirty One.................................................................................. 206 What do we mean by Art? And what is the Art of Music? Chapter Thirty Two ................................................................................. 218 Is Music an Imitation of the World or is it a World of its Own?


Table of Contents

Chapter Thirty Three ............................................................................... 224 The Yearning for Beauty or the Commitment to Truth? Chapter Thirty Four................................................................................. 233 Form and Content or Form as Content? Chapter Thirty Five ................................................................................. 240 Musical Style: Meaning and Substance. The ” Classicism” as an Example Chapter Thirty Six ................................................................................... 249 Music as a Means or Music as an Aim? Section F - Dilemmas in the Musical World of To-day Chapter Thirty Seven............................................................................... 256 Music in the Age of Mass-communication Chapter Thirty Eight................................................................................ 263 The Importance and the Limitations of the Freedom of Creation and its Renewal Chapter Thirty Nine................................................................................. 270 Ethics, Aesthetics and Humanism Epilogue................................................................................................... 275 Where has melody gone? A Personal Confession Bibliography............................................................................................ 279 Index........................................................................................................ 285 * The notes appear after every chapter.


This is a profound, clever and engaging book. Michal shows us that music, as a vocation, has to be a dialogue. In Greek, dialogos is the relationship between the performer and audience by means of the word. And in this, she threads in the path opened by Tolstoy, the intellectual müzik, in his book: “What is art.” He highlights the basic truth that many have tried to refute, that art is communication. Everyone who writes, paints, or composes music, even if only for the cupboard, wishes that a kindred spirit will be exposed to the creation and feel how beautiful and exciting the creation is. Hence, we may doubt Max Brod when he said that Kafka asked him to burn his writings. In all probability, even Kafka, the tortured soul, longed for readers to read and be impressed with his trials and the aesthetics of their expression. Indeed, Michal differentiates, and rightly so, between the heard music, like the logos, and visual art. In Judaism, there is indeed a clear difference between the hearing, the logos ingrained in the basic exhortation “Hear O Israel Your Lord God is One” and between the seeing, the Greek “eidos” which is a basis of “eidolon,” the graven image, which is the basis of idolatry. Michal, in her presentation of the absolute abstraction of music, points out the link between the abstraction of the sacred logos and the abstraction of the one who pronounces it, the abstract Jewish God, which cannot be seen but only heard. Hearing is not external, but within the soul; and, indeed, Michal is right when she says: It is not enough that the creation should be heard. We should open up to it, to internalize it and only then do we reach the relationship between the creator and his audience. This is also the test of the authentic music: the authentic creators, Mozart, Bach, Mahler soar with their music and leave their chronic history towards eternity. Then we are opening up to this eternal music, and we experience this music in the continuous present outside of diachronic time as if it has been created right now. But lo and behold! A calamity befell this music: in the second half of the twentieth century, music lost the syntax, the boundaries, and the structures and it stopped



being a language communicating between the creator and its audience. The dialogos was disrupted. The new syntax; the dodecaphonia, and the serialism innovated by Arnold Schönberg have been discarded and today we face anarchy. There is no need for talent; everything is permissible and everything is possible. Like Evan Karamazov said, if everything is possible, nothing is true. Indeed, the Vanity Fair of postmodernism is in vogue today. Everything goes – there is no art, no aesthetics, no dialogue. All the false prophets, the fake “creators,” the hypocrites the fools, and the fooled are pirouetting in a solipsistic manner, in a way misunderstood by everybody, and there is no clever boy to announce that the king is naked. The Talmud says: “There is no free man except a slave” and the interpreters add that only when there are limits to behavior and creativity, and there are clear rules, can the freedom to create be sublime; but the freedom for self-delusion and the deluding of the public is a boring false pretence which is debilitating. Hence, we have become the slaves of the rating, the vulgar excitation of the senses accompanied by the leaving of the dialogue which is inherent in authentic art. The work of Michal is important and engenders admiration for her courage and her expression without fear and without hesitation. In this, she acts like her late beloved husband Justice Haim H. Cohn. In his private and social life, he regarded the worst trap to be the denial of a crisis. By pointing out the trauma that modern music experienced, and the quandary in which it is today, Michal presents a forceful diagnosis which also has a therapeutic value. First of all, we have to diagnose the crisis and then only will we find the effort to mend it.


The urge to dive into the meaning of music and search after its secrets and deeper message has accompanied me for very many years. My first conversations about the aesthetics of music and its importance, which I held with my esteemed colleague, Herzl Schmueli, and with whom I wrote the first Hebrew Version of this book, dates back 50 years . But I needed many more years of reading, teaching, writing, researching, gathering material and enough experience in musical policy making, until I dared to put my thoughts on paper. I started drafting this book 12 years ago. After having designed its structure and formation, and after having written the first five chapters, I became apprehensive, asking myself whether I had overestimated my ability, and turned to my good friend Herzl Schmueli, suggesting that we write this book together. He immediately agreed. Writing such a book, he maintained, was a long time dream of his. We succeeded in writing together the following twenty chapters of the book, and spent two lovely and thought-provoking years doing so. On the 23. of March 2001, Herzl Schmueli passed away. Shmueli, whose original first name was Hermann, was born in November 1920, in Constantinopol, Turkey, enjoying a mostly German education, and he immigrated to Israel in 1933. With time professor Schmueli earned great esteem as a leading musicologist. He served as director of the Music Teachers Training College, ( a responsibility that was held previously by Professor Leo Kestenberg). Later he was named head of the Department of Musicology at Tel-Aviv University, and after several years was nominated Dean of the Faculty of Arts in the same univerisity. He was posthumously awarded, the Israel Prize, for 2003. Herzl Schmueli was a great scholar and a lovely human being . His death was a great loss to his family, to the Israeli musical world and to the musicological community, as well as to me personally, and to our common work in particular. I shelved the manuscript.


Introduction to the English Version of the Book

Two years later I took it up again, writing the last 15 chapters. The book was published in Hebrew, by “Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan, Dvir – publishing house “ in 2007. It created havoc. I do not remember any book that concerned itself with thoughts about music, that ever received such attention, and brought about both criticism and enthusiasm. Most of Israels contemporary composers were up in arms against this book, and it took some months until their angry assaults died down – unfortunately Shmueli was not with me to “face the music” . * Our main premise is threefold: A. Recognising music as belonging to the family of languages, and thus maintaining that music is a message in sound that moves, at a given time, from performer - as the “locum tenens” of the composer – to the listener. B. Putting the listener at the forefront, and maintaining that the mission of Art Music contains, by its very nature, a covenant between composer and listener. And claiming that only an aesthetical Weltanschaung and the rules that are derived from it, can assure the wellbeing and strengthening of this covenant C. Realizing that the lion’s share of contemporary Art Music, has released itself from all aesthetical rules and regulations, and with the help, or rather the misplaced interference of the mass media and the electronic revolution, the bond with the listener has been broken, and the listener has been divorced from the musical experience. With this development the survival of Art Music has been turned into a very questionable proposition. * When the possibility arose of publishing the book in English, I decided to re-write it. The English version, that is herewith presented to the reader, is written according to the same principles, ideas and conclusions, as the original Hebrew version, although it is less didactic, and more accessible to the intelligent reader. I have left out some chapters and have written two additional chapters. Obviously I cannot hide any longer behind the broad shoulders of my much esteemed colleague, Herzl Shmueli, and have to shoulder the

The Mission and Message of Music


reponsibility all by myself. But I do wish to dedicate this book to Shmueli’s memory in admiration and with a basket full of thanks. My thanks are also due, to my friends Freda Keet, who took responsibility for my English wording and phrasing,. Additional thanks go to the “Cambridge Scholars Publishing”, for their confidence and help. May the book encourage the reader to enrich his thoughts and understanding about the different meanings in music, and draw his own conclusions, concerning this magical elixir of sound. —Michal Smoira Cohn Janiuary 2010


The essence of "beauty in music", or the "aesthetics of music” as it is commonly known, lately tends to elude the grasp of those who try to inquire into its meaning. Since the discipline of the aesthetics in music has been partly taken over by musicology, from under the hitherto sole sovereignty of philosophy, it has been fading away, as if dissolving into thin air. In his article “Aesthetics Today,” 1 Peter Foltin protests the absence of an aesthetics discipline in music, and argues that in the twentieth century, not only aesthetics but also philosophy has been pushed aside, and in its stead new subdisciplines have been fostered, seemingly better suited to the realm of scientific concepts. Whereas the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries have left us with an abundance of opinions on the subject, expressed by both composers and theoreticians, the twentieth century has neglected to deal with, let alone advance, this field. Consequently, these issues have not been applied in contemporary Art-Music. According to Foltin, the inability of audiences to understand new music is owing to a lack of aesthetic criteria, accepted both by composers and audiences. Although I principally agree with Foltin, I wish to remind the reader that until the twentieth century, each new style of music has sprung forth owing to a remarkable acceptance of new musical syntaxes and forms. These elements were formulated in accordance with the aesthetics of the period, revealing the new concept of the “beauty in music”. I am well aware that Foltin’s ideas, which I share, are only a minority opinion today, as the quest for the beauty in music is no longer pursued. Furthermore, this pursuit emits a strong scent of dilettantism, inconsistent with scientific criteria. The new musicology, however, craves acceptance as a science, using scientific means to prove its hypotheses. Moreover, the very concept of “beauty” is no longer likely to spellbind either composers or the more sophisticated audiences; it no longer holds a worthy challenge. This opinion was expressed, for instance, by Carl Seashore, who asserted that aesthetics comprises physics, psychology, physiology,



anthropology, philosophy and metaphysics. Seashore suggested that only the first four components represent the scientific approach to the theory of beauty in music. This scientific approach enables us to grasp and understand the "musical mind" and to reach the realm of its beauty. Although philosophy and metaphysics have greatly contributed to aesthetics, their time has long since passed. Now, in the scientific era, when we posses the necessary tools to conduct scientific research, the question of aesthetics has become a purely scientific problem. The scientific research of today has taken the place of the aesthetics of the past. Thus, according to Seashore, one can divide the science of aesthetics into four domains: the medium of music, the form of music, the message of music, and the reaction of the listener to the music. Even if one accepts Seashore's views, one still needs to consider the importance of the last two domains: the medium of music and the listener's reaction to it. In this book, I aim to delve into the innermost meaning of these two domains. * A few years ago, the Israeli writer Abraham .B. Yehoshua has published a book, entitled “The Terrible Power of a Minor Guilt” 2. The book deals with the question of morality and its connection to the literary text. In the Foreword, Yehoshua claims that contemporary literature and literary critique neglect to address the moral issues of a book, a play or a screenplay. Literary critics do not refer to the moral behavior of the characters, and questions of good and bad are entirely ignored. It seems as if fundamental moral issues have ceased to interest. Yehoshua writes that the main issues that occupy present-day critics are the credibility of the plot, its complexity and depth, and mainly, the novelty of the book and its style. Only rarely, do the values of morality, of wrong and right, of good and bad are being tackled. In the Epilogue of his book, Yehoshua draws two lists: one comprises the best books that were written in the first half of the twentieth century, and the other the best books written in the second half of that century. Yehoshua writes that he has little doubt that most of us would prefer the first list. He furthermore adds that the reason for this preference is that in the beginning of the twentieth century, authors still addressed moral issues, often making them the focal point of the theme, thus continuing the tradition of the great classical novels of the nineteenth century. Yehoshua concludes by saying that he will not stop trying to assimilate into his

The Mission and Message of Music


novels not only exciting and remarkable aspects of his story, but also subjects of good and evil, morality and immorality. These remarks of Yehoshua have not only warmed my heart, but strengthened my decision to write this book. They encouraged me to renew my thoughts on the criteria according to which musicians, musicologists, and music critics measure the quality of the compositions written in the last fifty years. We tend to talk mainly about the complexity of these compositions, about their credibility, about how well they sound (whatever that may mean), if they are interesting enough, if they really go in depth into the musical material, and first and foremost, if they bring something new, unheard of before. Only rarely, if ever, do we speak about the aesthetic values of music, about the good or rather, in our case, about the beauty of the music that is played to us. Although Yehoshua has not mentioned this, one may imagine that if the authors of the second half of the twentieth century had not cast off their obligation to moral issues, our society’s behavior would well have been more moral and ethical. Is it unreasonable to suppose that great writers in every generation have taken upon themselves not only to write good literature but also to mold a better society through their writing? Do we not tend to look up to them and to believe that they are not only great professionals but also important spiritual leaders? Returning to the aesthetics of music, the “ethics” and “morality”, which Yehoshua so eagerly seeks in literature, may be replaced in music by “aesthetics” and “beauty”. Undoubtedly, because of the absence of aesthetical criteria, the music composed in our times often looses not only the objectivity we expect of it, but mainly the ability of listeners to be mentally restored by its message, which is music’s final aim after all. As a result, our society – which has always been greatly influenced by music – looses its “togetherness”, becoming frustrated and thus increasingly violent. Consider, for example, the noisy and hate-provoking heavy metal bands that roam the suburbs, or the rappers, talented as they may be, who can not overcome their anger, hatred and frustration. The problem lies not only in disregarding the importance of the aesthetical value, but also in its very definition. In itself, the concept of beauty no longer satisfies the interest we are looking for. What is more, beauty is only applicable to the eye but not to the ear, and thus it does not fill the function of listening to music. One must, therefore, look for definitions and criteria that are more appropriate and satisfying. For too long, and to this day, the search for beauty and the answers to the “beautiful in music” were based on non-musical values. According to



these variable answers, the different stylistic periods were named post factum; consequently, their resultant harmonic rules, music's form and syntax, were laid down. The consonance and dissonance, the rights and wrongs, the tone structure and interval succession, music’s social mission and its social status – all were part of the aesthetic rules and regulations, which have changed for ever with the changing stylistic periods, taking place in society at large and in its art and music in particular. It is well known that these changes happened in the world of music in one of two primary ways: "revolutionary" and "evolutionary". A revolutionary change usually follows a change of the tonal system that constitutes the language of music, its alphabet. This language is the basis of the musical composition at large. Naturally, any revolution may lead to additional changes in other components of the musical creativity. The transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque brought about in music a transition from the modal language to the tonal language. The stylistic upheaval was so far reaching that it was impossible to accept the enormous change at once. As a result, the Baroque was the proud owner of two distinct musical languages: “stile antico” (ancient style) and “stile nuovo” (new style). During this period, which lasted 150 years, these two aesthetics coexisted side by side in good harmony. The greatest composers of the period, for instance, Johann Sebastian Bach, excelled in expressing themselves in both languages. A similar process occurred in music during the transition from late Romanticism to A-tonal music, which we still refer to as Modern Music. The twentieth century brought forth not two but dozens of musical languages, and this time the turbulence was so great that it involved overall changes in both musical aspects and components. An attempt was even made to create a completely new tone by separating the sinus tone from its overtones and combining all or part of them in new combinations. The newly-discovered electronic means enabled the creation of completely new tones and new sounds. Moreover, not only tones but noises of every kind became eligible factors in the musical composition, a form of music known as musique concrète. Enormous enrichments in rhythmical punctuation were introduced, and harmonic rules were thrown into the dustbin of our musical history. These changes were so extreme that, in their final stage, they lead to an utter abolition of rules and regulations. Since the seventies of the twentieth century – after having overcome "dodecaphony" and "serialism", introduced by Arnold Schönberg and his followers – the musical language, as a common, known bridge between composers and listeners, (and with it musical aesthetics) vanished completely.

The Mission and Message of Music


The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein is of the opinion that to describe in full an aesthetic system is to describe the culture of an historic period.2 If this is true – although it seems that Wittgenstein went too far – then our period is devoid of any culture. * For many years, the thought that "beauty" meant "good" has prevailed. In other words, the more an object, a story, or a behavior was good and moral, the more beautiful it was. Although widespread in the Middle Ages, this idea takes its roots from ancient Greece. In Lysis, for example, Plato's dialogue on friendship, Socrates says to Lysis, "Now I maintain that the good is beautiful."3 In the Middle Ages, this “Weltanschaung” was of great appeal. Nothing could be beautiful if it did not represent the good. Nota bene that during the time, religion exemplified all that was good and moral. It is clear that under these circumstances, a devil could never have possessed a beautiful form. Art was thus completely subservient to religion and was looked upon as its truest servant. Music, in contrast, has been relegated to a secondary place, as if to play the role of a double, accompanying the verses of prayer: its diapason was narrowed so it would not stand out; it was composed for one voice so listeners could better understand the words of the prayer; its independence was stripped off when it was forced into loosing its own rhythmic expression, and its length and duration were fixed by those of the words of prayer. Music has, therefore, become the closest companion of religion, identified with all that was considered "good", and thus "beautiful". In the beginning of the second millennium, during the late Middle Ages, "good" has somewhat changed its face. Art was called upon to express not only the "good" but also the "bad", even if the bad only served to protrude the good. It is as though this new realistic tendency were trying to be more attached to the "truth", a truth that can distinguish between good and bad. The walls of Notre Dame are not only covered by sculptures of saints, but also by gargoyles – their jaws are wide open, revealing their large teeth, as if craving to swallow you – as if to let you know that not only good exists in the world. This balance between good and bad enriched art and especially music. During the Gothic period, the Ars Antiqua of the thirteenth century, the pinnacles of churches rose, as if aiming to reach the sky, and choirs sang, as if wishing to fill the vast space around them. The voices joined each other, and their simultaneous sound heralded a new age of polyphony



and rhythmical independence. At that time, new rules were established on how to attach one voice to another, the scale system was finally accomplished, and the musical composition of art-music, as we know it today, came into being. The art of Renaissance, during the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries, has successfully liberated itself from the shackles of the church. Man returned to the center, a place that he has held in the ancient Greek culture. Indeed, the term "classical" refers not only to Greek aesthetics but also to that of Renaissance. True to its name, Renaissance strived to revive the ancient classical period, especially Greek culture. Or, better said, it revived what Renaissance artists thought that ancient Greek culture was all about. Israeli philosopher Pepita Haezrahi writes that for over a thousand years, Europe has been blind to the beauty of ancient Greek sculptures, owing to religious sensitivity and the focus of the Church on supernatural godly images. The humanistic viewpoint – which was open to see human bodily beauty and its utmost expression in the sculptures of Greek gods – did not awaken until Renaissance4 This independence from religion, which already took root in music at the Ars Nova period,(1300) a hundred and fifty years before Renaissance, (1450), allowed music to escape the closed doors of the Church, and to step outside into nature. Musicians composed love songs, shepherd songs, and dances songs for chorus or instruments. Inspired by folk music, which always took to joyful expressions, art-music has found joy again, The Baroque (1600-1750) stood for the right order of things. During its reign, beauty without rational order was inconceivable. The music of this period took upon itself to fulfill this obligation to the utmost. Order and rational organization governed the sound patters of music. Inner organization, which dictated the correct path in which many voices should simultaneously meet and then go their separate way again, became the uppermost rule. While listening to this impressive music, one cannot deny that the more the rules of harmony and form are strictly defined and kept, the deeper the musical composition succeeds to transcend the regulations and patterns that form it and to reveal its riches. Freedom through limitation is the most significant rule of any aesthetics. This is especially true in the art of musical composition. Because music is primeval and abstract, because one can neither touch nor see it, because it vanishes almost as soon as it is heard – because of all these peculiarities, binding rules and regulations are a necessity for music. The new set of values that emerged in the eighteenth century, has liberated, for the first time, the "beautiful" from its conjugation to "good",

The Mission and Message of Music


"truth" and "order", making it worthy in its own right. From this time on, all forms of art have been called fine arts, les beaux arts, literally, "the beautiful arts". Therefore, writes Helga de la Motte, it was necessary that the claim that art represents beauty would not depend on subjective judgment. Beauty, she argued, can be beautiful only if everybody agrees that it is beautiful. Therefore, there was a need to determine definite criteria and general standards to guide man's tastes4. In 1757, Edmund Burke published his treatise:”Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautifull”. On the topic of the beautiful sounds, he writes that through our hearing sense, we discover our capacity to be impressed in the most subtle and delicate manner. The connection between agreeable sounds and beauty as such, however, depends on the experience of each listener.5 When the beautiful in music was finally released from its bond with values which were not its own, many aestheticians – first and foremost Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten, who is considered to be the father of German music's aesthetics – tended to see beauty as part of a higher ideal and as the image of this ideal. These aestheticians sought to see aesthetical judgment as part of the integrity of reason. Indeed, the musical composition of this period has found a perfect balance and an ideal equilibrium. In a short period of time, known as the Viennese classicism (1750-1800), the main musical compositions withdrew into an almost single form, mostly that of the sonata. Symphonies, sonatas, concertos, and the whole corpus of chamber music did not differ in their formal structure, but rather in their instrumentation. The Sonata's form, which was adequately strict and flexible, and its basis on an accepted and well-known scale system, have made it a loved and understandable language by all. This balance was also transferred to other components of the composition at large. It was slow but not sluggish, quick but not hasty, sad but not depressing, happy but not vulgar, quiet but not soft, loud but not wild. Symmetry and balance – these were the aims. This classicism (whose main representatives were Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven) was considered the peak of the age of tonality (1600-1900), and was so short-lived that it seems as if it has never existed. Haydn, the first classicist, was still very much in keeping with the rococo style; Mozart, who contributed to classicism much of its basic essence, also developed nonclassical expressions, such as the opera; And Beethoven, who gave classicism its crowning achievement, was also responsible for its destruction by enthusiastically storming toward romanticism.



In the nineteenth century, the tables have turned. The idealistic philosophy tried to find a metaphysical anchor, changing art into religion, writes De la Motte. This religion, in her view, was basically a musical one, although the great philosophers attributed only a secondary role to music. One should understand Eduard Hanslick’s book: “Vom Musikalisch Schönen” (On the Beautiful in Music) not only as a statement of defence for absolute music – i.e., instrumental music that does not posses a nonmusical content, in contrary to program music – but also as an attempt to understand music as a part of the world of ideals. According to Hanslick, the content of music means “Tönend Bewegte Form” (A form of moving sounds), and it attests to the logos, which is found beyond human beings' ability to see things as merely beautiful and pleasant. In the romantic period, music has worshiped the rapidly disappearing classicism, but did not succeed to keep its rules. The delicate equilibrium has become a thing of the past. The place of subtle balance was taken over by extremism: the “andante” turned into “adagio” or even “largo”, the “allegro” became “presto” or “prestissimo”, the “piano” turned into “pianissimo”, and the “forte” into “fortissimo”. The undefined “beauty” was elevated to “sublime”, and in the spirit of this extremism, the aesthetics of “ugliness” soon appeared, as if out of thin air. Edmund Burke’s suggested that the “beautiful”, which was understood in the baroque as nice and pleasant, does not suffice anymore. Therefore, he argued that the time has come to crown it as lofty, noble and sublime. His suggestion was accepted as a convention. The aesthetics of the “ugly”, in contrary, has not gained any support at the time. The romantic period was not yet ready to accept the “ugly” as a part of the arts. The “beautiful”, or better said, the “sublime”, has won the heart of romanticism, although nineteenth-century art, including its music, quickly advanced toward accepting ugliness. The twentieth century, in contrary, welcomed ugliness with such open arms that it nearly became the trademark of this tormented century. Beauty was seen in this century as false, and the composers of the century saw it as their duty to describe the truth, reality as it is. Since reality is far from beautiful – it rather seems ugly and despicable, inspiring sadness and misery – the artist was perceived as having no choice but to describe what is ugly and bad, what is sad and sorrowful. This, in a nutshell, was the Weltanschauung of aesthetics in the twentieth century. “Kunst ist der Notschrei Jener die an sich das Schicksal der Menschheit erleben”5 (Art is the crying out of those who experience in themselves the fate of humanity). There are no better words to describe the aesthetic outlook, which prevailed in the twenties and thirties of the

The Mission and Message of Music


twentieth century, than these words, expressed by Arnold Schoenberg, who has paved the way toward modern music. The twentieth century has thus embraced ugliness and dissonance, losing pleasantness and grace, which were replaced by intentionally harsh and shrieking sounds. This century has cruelly cut off sounds from each other in order to better describe the loss that people felt in those days; it has interrupted and cut open melody, gave up the musical language understandable to all, and has utterly turned the tables. In the early sixties of the twentieth century, when the Israeli composer Oedeon Partos has returned from a visit to Donaueschingen, Germany – in those days the stronghold of avant-guard music – he told me, in a private conversation, how a certain composer appeared on stage, holding a piglet in one hand and a sharp knife in the other. The composer pierced the piglet’s heart and cut his belly open with the knife. The shrieks and wails that the poor beast uttered while being murdered served as the musical composition that the composer presented to his audience. Such a horrible scene may well have impressed some of his listeners. They may have even understood its horrifying message (especially in light of the Holocaust that happened only a few years earlier). Such a performance, however, can never speak to a listeners' heart, let alone touch it or be spiritually restored by it. Instead, listeners are likely to turn their backs to such a scene. This may represent the beginning of the big crisis, which occurred in the midtwentieth, between the composers and their audiences, damaging the musician-listener connection.5 In the twentieth century, fascistic regimes committed an unforgivable sin by banning all modern art forms. Stalin and his minister of culture, Zhdanov, threatened modern composers and prohibited their works from being played on concert stages. Hitler – who had named this art entartete Kunst, degenerate art, has ostracized it entirely. This vicious political intervention served only to enhance and strengthen the composers' outcry. After the Second World War and the fall of the Third Reich, Germany went out of her way to advance modern art, which has been banished until then, as part of the Wiedergutmachung (literally "to do good again"). National radio stations were set up in each of the eleven states of western Germany. Back then, the non-cultural term “rating” was not yet invented and the number of listeners played no role whatsoever. The main cultural obligation of these radio stations was to enhance music and art, and they fulfilled this obligation wholeheartedly. Heinrich Strobel, director of music at the small Baden-Baden radio station, increased and augmented this obligation. His studios commissioned, recorded and broadcasted the best known music of the time. He paid the composers generously from



state budget, and has made them famous. Other directors of music soon followed. Thus, the national radio stations of the mid twentieth century became the most important institutions to advance the music of their time. As mentioned, the public’s reaction to their broadcasts was of no interest to them. The broadcasting studios, as opposed to concert halls, were closed to the public as a matter of principal. The public was left behind and often appeared to be completely superfluous. Today, it seems, that Art-Music regrets this extremity, but it still has great difficulty to find its future course. From its backyard various and new kinds of music have appeared, catching the fancy of a big and especially young audience: Jaz, Blues, Dixieland, Rock, and Pop of different kinds and styles, Ethnic Folklore, Styled Folklore, and World Music. Even contemporary Art-Music – an unsuitable term, used here merely for lack of a better one – is giving up its place for the art-music of the past. Such a practice has rarely been witnessed before, and it is taking place in most concert halls to his day. In Mozart’s time, for example, no one had expected to hear music written by Monteverdi or Bach, whereas contemporary listeners, who have suffered the brutal cut of the musicianlistener connection, demand to hear again and again known compositions of bygone times; times in which this necessary musician-listener connection still existed. In her book, Pepita Haezrahi laments this tragic phenomenon.6 She writes that European have learned to accept beauty of every kind, even if it differs from what they were used to, and even if it contradict what they really long to hear. The question is how can we explain this aesthetic tolerance of Europeans nowadays? It seems that we no longer believe it is important to make decisions; we have lost the seriousness and affirmation that come with every decision. From a moral standpoint, perhaps adhering to tolerance is the right thing, and yet there is a greater risk that tolerance may induce us to replace our own beliefs and preferences with those of others. From an aesthetic point of view, however, tolerance may dim our own sensibility. The demand to love every kind of art may lead to overspreading our aesthetic feeling, which may finally bring apathy and indifference. * This was but a short review, as if from a bird’s eye view, of the everchanging aesthetics, according to which the Weltanschauung of our music has been molded and its rules and regulations have been fixed. Of course, one must remember, however, the exception the last decades of the

The Mission and Message of Music


twentieth century, when all the rules and regulations were thrown overboard, and we have wrongly convinced ourselves that we could do without them. In contrary to "moral" and "ethical", the two values that are widely agreed upon, the questions of what is aesthetic and beautiful are still open to debate. How can we try to answer these key questions, especially in view of the near past? I believe that the time has come to leave behind the term “beauty” and to look for a more fitting one; a better term that would facilitate in fixing new, much-needed rules. The terms “impressive”, “exciting” or even “moving”, for example, are much more suited than “beautiful” for this purpose, but even they do not suffice. Beauty, or the answer to what is aesthetics today, must be understood as a very general concept in the broadest sense possible. I do not mean “beauty” in its narrow sense, meaning “nice”, “pleasant”, “lovely”, “delicate”, or even “likeable”; I mean “beauty” in its broader sense, as that which meets our expectations, that fills us with satisfaction and gratification, as something that confirms that what we have just heard has truly reached us, that we have internalized it, that it has succeeded to influence us and to affect us, and has made it possible to restore our spirits. This, in my opinion, is music's final aim, the mission it has taken upon itself. Music is a message in sounds that move from the musician to the listener in a certain time. The performer on the one side and the listener on the other are the two focal points between which music takes place. These two points – the musician and the listener – are of equal importance in fulfilling the mission of music, although their roles are distinct. Without its performance, music does not exist, and without reaching the listener, music does not fulfill its mission. Although the two functions – of the musician and of the listener – differ greatly from each other, one can not exist without the other. Knowing and keeping aesthetic rules is the first condition, but by no means the only one, which can ensure that music’s mission is fulfilled.7 Ludwig Wittgenstein maintains that only by developing a sense for the rules, can one say "no, this is not right, this is not according to the rules (…) had I not learnt the rules, I could not have passed any aesthetical verdict (…) the rules of harmony express the wish of the people to listen to chords that are organized by rules. All great composers adhered to them (…) one can claim that each composer changed some of the rules, but only slightly; not all the rules were changed. Music was still good by the standards of the old rules."6



Indeed, in the absence of rules and regulations, the art of music can never be complete, because the listener can not be captivated by it. In contradistinction to the laws of the state, which we all have to abide by, aesthetic rules do not compel anybody. In reality, they are nothing but guidelines that composers may use. Long ago, Immanuel Kant wisely told us that “beautiful art is the art of genius",7 and we know well that geniuses go wherever their genius leads them. But even Kant does not satisfy himself with this, and says that keeping the rules is a precondition of every art, without which art is not imaginable. Until now, learning the aesthetics of music consisted of knowing and understanding the different opinions on the meaning of music, as expressed by philosophers, writers, theoreticians, musicians and musicologists. Thus, we have learned that there were times in which “beauty” was everything symmetrical, or that beauty was all that was created according to the “golden cut”, meaning that the ratio between the sum of the whole and its larger part was the same as the ratio between the larger and its smaller part. We have also learnt that “beauty” expresses “unity within diversity"; or that beauty in music is all that expresses the music only, namely that its main beauty lies in its complete abstraction; or, then again, that beauty in music is everything that reflects an event or a feeling, meaning that its beauty lies in its realistic program. These are only but some of the definitions. Even if they are true, they still relate to a certain period or a certain style and to a small group of thinkers. This is why these definitions do not fit our purpose. They can not act as binding rules. What is more, they do not refer especially to music. The time has come to look for these rules in the phenomena of music itself, and from these phenomena, to form the aesthetical principals of music. It seems that these principals or criteria, if one so pleases, are the same in all of history and apply to all kinds of music. Thus, this book will try to identify and establish the rudiments of the aesthetic discipline of music, as derived from the medium itself.

Notes 1 Foltin Peter, Ästhetik Heute: Skizzen zum Gegenstand einer umstrittenen Wissenschaft., Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 2 (1977): pp. 99-103. 2 Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Prakim Be'estetikah (Tel Aviv: Hakibutz Hamewuhad Vesifriyat Poalim, 1994), p. 24. 3 Cooper, John M., ed., Plato Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1997), p. 700.

The Mission and Message of Music


4 De la Motte, Helga, "Das Schöne und das hässliche", Neue Zeitschrift für Musik: (November 1994): pp. 12-17. 5 When mentioning "musician-listener connection", I do not mean only musicians, but also composers and performers. 6 Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Prakim Be'estetikah, pp. 15-16. 7 Kant, Immanuel, Critique of Judgment, trans. J. H. Bernard (London: Macmillan and Co, 1914), p. 188.



Music is a phenomenon of sound, and sounds are the raw material out of which music is created. Let us, therefore, examine the nature of these sounds. The production of a sound that emerges from the human throat, is one of our most basic abilities. Equally the absorption of sound is another such basic ability, although we must bear in mind that the human ear can hear only a limited range of sounds. A sound is audible if its frequency is approximately between 16 and 20,000 vibrations or cycles in one second. Lower and higher sounds, as well as lower and higher noises that exists in the world around us, cannot be heard by the human ear. Moreover, the ear can not absorb a sound whose duration is less than a seventh of a second. On the other hand the sense of hearing develops much earlier than all the other senses, and is fully developed while the fetus is still in its mother’s womb. Scientific research has shown a subtle perception of sound, and a sensitivity to listening that shapes the fetus’s concept of music even before birth. * In order to ensure a common language with the reader, let me now reenforce the following definitions: * Noise is any acoustical phenomenon which is undefined and not necessarily identified * Murmur is noise, the intensity of which is weaker than ordinary noise. The substance of noise and murmur is a matter of subjectivity, but in general murmur is connected to whispers and mystery, whereas noise is extrovert and aggressive. * Voice is the smallest unit that constitutes both noise and murmur.

The Meaning of Sound?


* Sound, on the other hand, is a voice that possess a certain and definite altitude, colour, duration and intensity, and constitutes the raw material out of which music is made. * A sound is composed of a “Sinus tone” (the basic tone) and a series of “overtones”, which sound simultaneously, thus constituting the nuance of the sound. (In the same way as colour is composed of a spectrum of subcolours). * The altitude of sound is determined by the number of vibrations per second, created by the source of the sound. (A string over a resonance box, an air column within a tube of an instrument, a piece of stretched leather over a resonance box, or the voice- string that vibrates in our throat). The greater the number of vibrations per second, the higher the sound. * The intensity of sound is determined by the distance (amplitude) of the sound’s source from its resting position to its final point, bringing about a contrary movement , (like that of a pendulum).The greater the distance the louder the sound. * The duration of sound is defined both by the time of the string’s (column of air or stretched leather) motion, as well as by the dimension of the resonance box. * Composers are sometimes tempted to include in their compositions, in addition to the legitimate sounds, voices and noises that exist in the world around us. Towards the middle of the 20th century a whole new movement came into being, called “Musique concrete”. Composers like Pierre Schaeffer1 or Pierre Henry2 in France and representatives of the movement in Israel, composers like Zvi Avni3, Arik Shapira4, and Josef Mar-Chaim5, included in their musical scores the use of sirens, machine-guns, voices produced by haphazard dialing on a radio station, noises created by typewriters, sewing-machines, vacuum-cleaners, irrigation-pipes, wild animals, or the whistle of birds, the murmur of the river, even the blowing of the wind. There are those for whom “Musique concrete” is an exception that does not really belong in the musical framework, but was deliberately included in the score in order to create a strange phenomenon. Although it has an element of innovation, it does not really belong to the world of music. Others claim that the inclusion of the noises that surround us express the reality of the times, that they represent positive and desirable aesthetics, and that they are true to life. The last word concerning the importance of this music has not yet been heard.


Chapter One

* It may be worthwhile to dwell a bit more on the particulars of the over-tones that together with the sinus-tone constitutes sound (see the definitions in the beginning of this chapter): Josefh Souveur (1653-1716) describes, in the chapter: “Des son harmoniques” of his book, the quality of the “sinus tone” as apposed to the “overtones”, by saying that an overtone of a sinus tone produces a number of vibrations while the sinus-tone itself produces only one.6 One tends to be impressed again and again by the fact that even the smallest isolated factor within the whole, is not really single, but always a combination that can be devided, in our case, into a great number of overtones. This goes to teach us that as much as you try to single out one factor, you will always find a merger. Souveur discovered that if one looks into the order of the over-tones, one will find the following relations: 1:2 = an octave 1:3 = a duo-dezima (an octave +a quinte) 1:4= a double octave 1:5= a double octave + a terz Thus we will find that the relations within the over-tones as described by Souveur are identical with the harmonic intervals as determined by Pythagoras in ancient Greece7. (Interval, in this context, refers to the distance between one sound and the sound that follows). For his calculation Pythagoras used a monochord, a resonance-box with only one string. He found that if one divides a string into two halves and plucks only one half one hears the Octave (the eights tone in a diatonic scale) of the whole string; If one plucks 2/3 of the whole string one gets the Quinte ( the fifth tone in the diatonic scale) of the whole string ; if one plucks ¾ of the string one gets the Quarte (the fourth tone within the diatonic scale) of the whole string. Thus the following relations occur: 1:1 – Prima, (the interval between a sound and its identical sound) 1:2 – Octave, (the interval between a sound and the same sound only eight sounds higher) 2:3 – Quinte, (the interval between a sound and that sound, which is five sounds higher)

The Meaning of Sound?


3:4 – Quarte,(the interval between a sound and that sound which is four sounds higher) And that is how, years later, those pure intervals, that form the cornerstones of tonal harmony were formulated. It appears that the relations of the intervals and the order of the overtones are one and the same, namely that the harmonic rules regarding the simultaneous combination of sounds are already inherent in the very nature of the single sound. In other words; the “single” sound is an integration of the sounds that were much later attached to it by the harmonic composition. In addition, it seems that the basic intervals, meaning the quintessential consonants, that occur by the division of a string, are those that sounds first in the row of the “overtones”. (Consonants being compatible or matching intervals, as opposed to Dissonances being harsh and discordant intervals) Thus we will find out that, for example, in a sound whose basic (“sinus”) tone is C, its first overtone (that of course sounds simultaneous) will be the higher C, the second will be G (a Quinte higher), and the third will be F (a Quarte higher). After them we will find the triad chord (C,E,G, which, as we know, forms the basis of the tonal harmony) and above it the small Terz, B, which is a nuance= interval loaded with an engaging sentiment having an important meaning in the language of music, especially during the tonal age. In this way we may base the whole tonal harmony on the very “nature” of the sound itself. * In light of all this, there is little wonder that the composers of the 20th century, who were so anxious to free themselves from the tonal yoke, understood, even subconsciously, that this liberation would succeed only if they could get rid of the natural order of the “overtones”. As if this order stands in the way, so to speak, of overthrowing the dictatorship of tonality, so that the tonal association will be broken, both for the vertical melodic line as well as for the horizontal harmony. In this way of thinking, there exists also, even if only subconsciously, the importance of the invention of electronic music. Because this is the only system that enables the change, by electronic intervention, of the order of the “overtones”. It enables the separation of the “sinus” tone from


Chapter One

its “overtones”, or the application to one “sinus” tone, all, or some “overtones”, that do not belong to it “by nature”. The electronic invention that in this way interferes in the very nature of the “single” sound, seems like the end result of the voyage of liberation from the chains of tonality, that modern music has been attempting for over 80 years; a voyage that has yet not found its destination. Great expectations were attached to this skyrocketing electronic invention. It seemed as if music was really standing before a new and very promising age, the miracles of which could only be imagined. From now on, thought the composers who championed the course of electronic innovation, we will be the masters of the very creation of sound; We will return to the beginnings, to the molding of sound itself. 8 It is easy to grasp the immensity of these hopes, as if music was standing before the creation of a brave new world. But these hopes were to lead nowhere, and the composers that attached such great expectations to the new possibilities, found themselves standing before an empty cradle, as if the baby had passed away before it had a chance to develop. Today, after three generations of electronic creation, it seems that its peak is already behind us, and that with all its fantastic innovation electronic music has failed to fulfill its promise. The new electronic sound with all its innovated “overtones” did not succeed in finding a worthy place not even in the world of constantly evolving new music. It is now retreating into the background of events, serving mainly commercial and applied music, or being attached to acoustic sounds as a sort of an addition of colour or shade. I would suggest that the greatest failure of electronic music has been its divorce from the performer: It is the interplay between the two great factors, the composer and the performer of his music, that gives the essential and inspirational quality of the connection between the music and its audience. Electronic music is created mechanically, produced and performed entirely through the use of tape and thus the interaction is only between the composer and the technician. In spite of the enthusiasm that welcomed electronic music, it is clear that the dilemma of an escape from the basic binding order of the “single” sound, has not yet been solved. * This is the place to suggest that the sound is but the beginning of music. It does not form the smallest unit of music because sound, by itself, has no musical meaning. Music is really a moving event, its

The Meaning of Sound?


existence is continuous, and that is why the beginning of music is apparent not in the sound itself but in what happens between at least two sounds. We call this happening “the movement of music”. The smallest unit of music is therefore the interval, namely that certain something that takes place between two sounds. This suggestion, that may not be agreed upon by my readers, needs therefore some further explanation: It is based on the assumption that the single sound does not really awake in the listener any musical meaning. Its sense is not musical but physical. Music has to be understood as a dynamic phenomenon; all its existence lies in the movement of sounds that, during a certain period of time, flows from the producer of sound to the listener. And the listener, who is eager to understand what is played to him, tries to follow the journey of the musical movement, the whence and the where-to of the music. This assumption may resemble the meaning of literature. Here the meaning will be found not in the single letter but in the joining together of one letter to the other. Moreover, it will be found in the joining together of one word to another. The meaning of literature and especially of poetry is apparent in the pregnant spaces that occur between the words. If this it true regarding literature it is all the more so when it comes to music and therefore the primary unit of music will be found in the smallest sound movement and not in the single sound. The sound is but a cornerstone on which to built the movement of music. The critic of this assumption will maintain that even the “single” sound is “composed” of many different sub-sounds ( those that we called “overtones”), and as such they contain within themselves sufficient movement, and thus even the “single” sound can offer a musical meaning. Moreover, my opponent may claim that the “single” sound includes not only one but even two different movements. The other being the vibrations of the source of the sound production, and this “double movement” surely lends to the sound its musical meaning. This assumption of my virtual opponent does not negate my claim. On the contrary, it justifies it: Even my opponent admits that the meaning of music lies in the movement of it, but claims that in the single sound there is sufficient movement. I, on the other hand, maintain that what happens between the “sinus” tone and its “overtones” is known to us in theory only, and in reality is not audible to the human ear. We humans hear them as a single sound. This is why we need at least two consecutive sounds to sense the movement.


Chapter One

The Greek philosopher Aristotle9 had already emphasized the fact that the whole exists before its parts and that the parts exist only as an element of the whole and for the sake of the whole. This is the same aesthetic assertion of the unity that exists within pluralism. If a single sound succeeds to arouse in us a musical association or meaning, it will happen only if a former sound is still lingering in our ear. This will happen as a result of our instinctive response to the language of music. In other words, the single sound is like a passing moment in a movement that preceded it and that will follow after it The understanding of music – a process enjoyed by the intellect – was greatly enhanced by the tonal system. This system succeeded in shaping the musical movement into an understandable language. The fact that within the tonal age the main and most wonderful repertoire of Western Classical Music was created, is mainly due to music’s becoming an understandable language. This came about when each sound was given a very definite role to play. This role was not determined by the nature of the sound, its height or strength, but only by the place it held among the other sounds that belong to the scale upon which the composition was based. If a sound is placed in the beginning of the eight-tone scale it becomes its basis, the “Tonic”. If the same sound is placed on the fifth place in a scale, it becomes the “Dominant”, namely the “ruler”, which is the most important role in regard to its “Tonic”. When exactly the same sound is placed in the seventh position within yet another scale, it becomes the “leading tone”, that tone that will surely lead us to the “Tonic”, namely to home. It is therefore obvious that this language of tonality is based on two principles: Functionalism and Relativism. Here the role of the sound is determined by where it stands among its fellow sounds. Just as our status is based on what role we play in society - and not on whether we are clever or foolish - also the importance of sound depends on its place within the tonal scale. The age of tonality – which served as the undisputed master of Western music for three hundred years, prior to the twentieth century – imposed this regime of relativity of the meaning and the importance of sound, until its constraints led to an inevitable sense of suffocation.. Further on I will write about this tonal “Weltanschaung” (World-view), describing the drawbacks of this system and will try to explain why, in the early twenties of the 20th century, composers felt the urgent need to rebel against it. But let us be frank; we have tried to cast off tonality for over 80 years and so far we have not really succeeded. Composers acted as if

The Meaning of Sound?


tonality did not exist anymore but the public turned its back on them, and remained loyal to the tonal music of the past. Tonal music is still living among us as a legitimate tenant. Not only that the music loving public did not reject tonality, the contrary is true – they are drawn to it as if spellbound. This is the only way to understand why the music-loving listener is unable to identify with to-days music. That sophisticated music of the 20th century that so longed to rid itself from the dependence on tonality and finally emancipate the single sound from its oppressing millstone. From now on, declared modern music, the sound is master of itself only. It lives and exists by its own right. A very impressive and even inspiring declaration. Its only fault is that it does not take into consideration the fact that a single sound has no musical meaning and because of this can not really be its’ own master. * Not withstanding - and after having already written about the meaning of sound, or rather the non-musical meaning of sound – I would like now to emphasize that the single sound does have an emotional, if not a musical meaning. The single sound also projects a psychologicalemotional sense and not only an acoustical-physical one, and the single sound also has an influence on our emotional response. A very high sound is likely to over-excite us, and the repetition of it may even irritate us to a great extent. A very low sound, on the other hand, may terrify us and even intensify our melancholy. These impressions depend greatly on the intensity of these sounds and on the number of their repetitions in a given time. Erenst Kurth claims that the apparent impression of a sound may be absolute though in reality it is not so.10 High sounds, for instance, are not thinner than low sounds, even though our impression of them is as if that were true, but it is the impression that counts. We have also to observe the difference between a high sound produced by a whistle and a high sound produced by a string instrument. The difference in the origins of the sound production, will also create differences in our impressions of that sound. Just as the degree of their influence on us differs from one listener to another. Just imagine for instance the enormous difference between the shrill sound of a whistle and the soothing sound of a church bell. There is no doubt that the single sound can influence us greatly and its character can affect us in many different ways. In this connection one


Chapter One

may quote the French proverb : “Ce le ton qui fait la musique”, in other words it is the tone, its warmth, or shrillness , that makes all the difference. Let me mention here that the uniqueness of the single sound lies neither in itself, nor even in being a corner-stone to built upon it the movement of the music, but rather in its ability to serve as a point of departure to which all the other sounds, within a musical movement, relate. Because music, all music, is composed of sounds that relate, in some way or another, to each other and to that sound that serves as their basis. Whether it be the “Tonic” (the basic sound in a tonal scale), the “Finalis” (the basic sound in the modal scale) or the “Mese”’ (the central sound in the “SystemaTelaeion”, (The Perfect System), a scale used in ancient Greece. Finally I have to mention, albeit with some hesitation, the provocative association between sound and colour. It has been suggested that each sound can be associated with a certain colour and that the colours: redyellow-blue stands for the major triad while orange, green and purple represents the minor triad. Those are very daring, individualistic and illogical suggestions that must be looked upon with great reservation. Nevertheless they exist and were discussed by theoreticians like Max Unger, Reinhold Zimmerman, or Hermann Helmholtz. These then are some remarks concerning the sound, the raw material out of which music is made. The sound has indeed very many faces and it is obvious that it is a complex phenomenon, whose qualities are objective and subjective at one and the same time. The single sound, although it has no musical meaning or interpretation, nonetheless has the quality of preparation. It prepares us emotionally for what we are about to hear. The sound’s importance to music lies not in itself but rather in its ability to build bridges upon which music is walking towards us.

Notes 1. Pierre Schaeffer, French born. ( 1910 -. 1995). Composer, writer, broadcaster and engineer. He was a chief pioneer of “musique concrete”, that began in Europe during mid-1900, founded the “Groupe de Recheche du Musique Concrète” GRMC, at the french Radio Institution, and was the first composer to make music using the magnetic tape. 2. Pierre Henry, France. b. 1927. Pioneer of “musique concrète”. Collaborated with Pierre Schaeffer to compose the first musique concrete composition to appear in a commercial film. Also collaborated with the British rock band “Spooky Tooth” in the album “Ceremony”. Best known for his influence on contemporary culture through theme song for TV series “Futurama”.

The Meaning of Sound?


3. Zvi Avni, b. 1927 in Germany. Immigrated to Israel 1935. One of the esteemed Israeli composers. laureate of the “Israel Price”. His musical parody “Synchromotrack” is counted among his most important works that featured “musique concrète”. Among his compositions are also electronic music, the most important is “vocalise” performed by tape only. 4. Arik Schapira, b. 1943 in kibutz Afikim in the Jordan valley. Laureate of the “Israel Price”. In 1986 he began composing electronic music and music that combines conventional instruments with magnetic tape. Among them: “Kinoth” (Lamentations) and “Vehazman kenoza nogea” (And time touches like a feather).. 5. Josef Mar-Chaim,, b. 1940 in jerusalem. Many of his compositions are for instruments and magnetic tape, such as “Naama” for Celo and magnetic tape, or “Loona Rosa”, for instruments and magnetic tape. 6. See also Hermann Scherchen, “Vom Wesen der Musik” (Band 1 der Reihe Musikwissenschaft. Winterthur). Mondial Verlag (N.D.) p.19 7. Pytagoras, b. 580-572 B.C. d. between 500-490 B.C.. Ionian Greek mathematician and philosopher and founder of a religious movement. Best known for the mathematical theory that bears his name. None of his writing have survived. Musician as well as mathematician. Proposed, among others, the theory of the “Harmony of the spheres”, claiming that the planets and stars moved according to mathematical equations which corresponded to musical notes and thus produced a symphony. 8. Tal Josef, b.1910 in Germany, d. 2008 in Jerusalem One of the founding fathers of Israeli music, and a pioneer in electronic music. The most important of his electronic compositions are an opera’ “Massada” for acting voices and electronic tape, and a concerto for piano and tape. In 2002 his book: “Musika nova im dritten Millennium”, (Musica Nova in the third Millennium) was published by Israeli Music Publication. See pp.36-39 9. Aristotle, ( 385 -.322 B.C.) Greek philosopher, student of Plato and a teacher of Alexander the Great. He wrote on a multitude of subjects, ranging from physics and poetry, to theatre, music, logic, and ethics. He is considered to be one of the most important founding figures of western philosophy and Civilization. 10. Erenst Kurth, ( 1886 – 1946). Swiss music theorist. Wrote pioneering and highly influential studies on the music of J.S. Bach, Richard Wagner and Anton Bruckner. Only a very limited selection of his writings has been translated into English. The citations have been taken from his book “Musik Psychologie”, Bern; Verlag krompholz, 1947 (zweite auflage) pp. 15, 25, note 2


“Music is a child floating on air”, so says the composer and musictheoretitian Ferruccio Busoni,1 or, in his own words: “Musik, das Kind es schwebt”. Busoni then goes on to explain that architecture, sculpture, poetry and painting are the “adult arts”, their principles are well based and their missions established. Like the stars in the sky they are walking the route that long ago paved their way. Music, on the other hand, is still a child that has learned how to walk but still needs a guiding hand. Music is a virginal art, lacking experience, that has not yet endured much suffering. Music as an European art is barely 400 years old, and is still in its first phase of development. But as young as music may be we can already identify its briliant quality, that distinguishes it from the already mature arts. This art of music, that Busoni is calling a ‘child’, floats on air! Its feet do not touch the ground, it does not obey the laws of gravity. Music has neither body nor weight, it is transparent, it is “sounding air”. Music is nature itself. It is free!2 .So far Busoni. One may argue about the age of music, even the age of western music, and even if we agree to include in the term “music”, only the polyphonic (multi voiced) art, but one nonetheless has to admire the comparison of music to “floating air”, and one is reminded of the words in the biblical book of Genesis, verse 2, of chapter 1: “and the spirit of God moves upon the waters”. This moving, or flowing, or hovering, has one basic quality: it exists only in constant fluctuation. Indeed there is no better way to describe music than being a movement of sounds. Kurth maintains that the uniqueness of music is that its sounds gravitate towards each other; that its area refers both to the sound that preceded it as well as to the sound that will follow, and that it is influenced by both of these sounds.3 Kurth also writes that this reference lends to the sound-movement a sort of inter-sound power, a transcendental unity.4

The Secret of the Movement of Sounds


This is why I claimed (in the previous chapter) that it is not the single sound but the movement, or the interval between two sounds, that forms the smallest musical unit. These intervals are the units within the musical process, and their joining together mould the movement that is the basis of all music. Erenst Kurth is neither the first nor the only authority to claim that music is movement. This concept seems to be a connecting thread uniting many theoretitions, who obviously cannot all be quoted here. But it may well be that this fact was not sufficiently emphasized, or rather that it has not been mentioned enough in the musical discourse, and therefore did not inspire the necessary attention. Perhaps this is the reason why its importance was not taken into consideration regarding modern compositions. In this connection let me draw the readers attention to another example: Among the principles of the different notations we tend to prefer those of the Neumes5 and of the Biblical Cantillations rather than the notation that was used, for instance. in ancient Greece. The Greeks used, as we know, the alphabet also for the notation of music, each sound receiving its own letter. The Neumes, on the the other hand, are marked with a graphic sign not for the single sound but for the interval, and even for a whole group of intervals. There is no doubt that the Greek system of notation, that was already in use in the fifth century B.C. was obviously much more exact than the Neumes that were used much later ( these were fixed only in the 7th century A.D., while the bible cantillation , that follow the same principle, was not codified in writing untill the 9th century A.D. While the Greek notation stated exactly the altitude, the highs and lows of every sound, the Neumes, as well as the bible-cantillation, described only the movement of sound. But in spite of this shortcoming the Middle Ages prefered this graphic description that stressed the importance of the direction and the flow of the moving sounds. It is as if they were saying: ‘We are not interested in the single sound that in reality has no musical meaning. We are interested in what is going on between the sounds, the direction of their movement, the way of the movement. We seek to describe as far as possible the guiding spirit of the music’. After all our feelings, in fact all our being, exist as if in constant state of flux, as if constantly moving onward. We are not talking here about a conscious focused feeling, but rather about a stream of feelings uninterruptedly floating on. We are also talking about stirring the very fibre of the soul, and thus we encounter an additional movement, a subconscious response, like the vibrating string over a resonance box.


Chapter Two

“Pantha Rhey” said the Greek philosopher Herakleitos,6 “everything is moving on, everything is flowing “. In this connection I wish to quote (in free translation) from Bukofzer’s book: “Die musikalische Gemütsbewegung” meaning “the innermost movement of music”.7 ‘When you play or hear a musical phrase, you hear, as if simultaneously, what has already been heard and what will be heard immediately after. You hear all this without being distracted at all by what is being played at that very moment. On the contrary: The present seems to become even deeper and richer by the power existing in the distance of times, and is thus better able to penetrate into the ear and the very soul… In fact we speak about the deepening of the artistic act that is beyond place and time.8 Such is the flowing movement of the human experience as well as of music. And in this fact lies the secret of the close connection between life and music. It seems that music is “sounding time” that is layered upon the passig time of life. For, when all is said and done, we tend to measure life by the time that has passed and the time that is still lying before us. Our experiences, and our responses to our acts and omissions over the passage of time, and the hopes or fears that the future is holding for us. These form the essence of our life experience, and that is exactly what music is: The whole musical phenomenon, is an experience from the past that still lingers in our ears and in our memory, leaving us with a welter of emotions and feelings that have already become part of our being , and of future sounds that we eagerly anticipate, although not without some anxiety and fear. What is more: as much as the single sound fixes the bounderies of the musical movement, so does the single hour or even the single second fix the measure of the flow of time. Remember that the sound as well as the measure of time are both completely abstract. They have no shape, no smell, and no colour. They are ephemeral and even before they appear they are already gone. And over and above all that we find that the flowing time that defines life, and the sounding time that defines music, are both measured and marked by numbers. Thus we may conclude that life and music are both derived from the same matter: they are both primordial and ephemeral, they do not have a real present but only an immediate past and an immediate future, they are both marked by numbers and they are both constantly moving on.

The Secret of the Movement of Sounds


It is therefore most likely that because of the powerful affinity between the essential elements of music and life, music has such a profound influence on our being.

Notes 1. Bussoni, Ferruccio, (1866.-1924) Italian composer and pianist. 2. Bussoni, Ferruccio, “Sketch of a new Aesthetic of Music” in “three classics in the aesthetic of Music”. New York, Dover publication, 1962. pp.76-77 3. Kurth, Erenst “Musik Psychologie”, p13 4. Ibid.pp 78-79. 5. The Neumes are a notation system that was in use from the 7th to the 14th century, mainly for the Gregorian Chant. The Neumes were written in graphic form above the words and indicated the movement between the sounds and not the single sound. The Neumes were the basic notation in Europe before the five-line staff notation. 6. Herakleitos; b. circa 535 B.C. d. circa 475 B.C. Greek philosopher of noble birth, lived in Ephesus. Philosophic teachings postulated “no permanent reality except the reality of change”. Permanence was an illusion of the senses; all things carried within themselves their opposits; death was a potential of life; the only possible “real state” was the transitional one of “becoming” and “Everything is in a state of flux”. 7. Bukofzer, Manfred, (.1910 - 1955). A German/American musicologist, best known as a historian of early music, particularly the Baroque era. Was also a specialist in English music and the theory of music of the 14th through the 20th centuries. 8. Bukofzer, Manfred “Die Musikalische Gemütsbewegung – Erlebnisse, Erkentnisse,Bekentnisse“ (Sammelung Musikwissenschaftlicher Einzeldatstellung, Heft 17), Leipzig, Breitkopf und Härtel, 1935, p.61


Music, as I have already mentioned, is an ephemeral art. We have only just listned to the final sounds of a musical composition, and a fleeting moment later they have vanished as if the sounds had never been heard, disappeared, never to return. Obviously this quality of transience does not apply to music alone. It is true also in relation to the arts of theatre and dance. The fact that music is much more abstract than these two, and seems to us to be much more fleeting , does not detract from my basic assertion. This is why we generally divide the arts into two groups: those that we call the “static arts”, meaning that they are here to stay and are basically unchangeable, like sculpture, painting or archtecture ; and those that we call the “dynamic arts”, that are ‘moving arts’ that change with each appearance, like drama, dance, pantomime, even reciting poetry or literature. But first and formost among these “dynamic arts” is the art of Music.1 Speaking personally, I see dance and theatre as belonging to music, as if they were the two limbs of music. I like to see those three : sound, movement and word, that are factors common to all the dynamic arts, as joined into an interconnected unity of expression which I would call “greater music”. These three have another trait in common: They are able to perpetually renew themselves. But we must always remember that each renewal differs in some aspect from the previous presentation. Each performance is thus unique, “sui-generis” and we can never see or hear exactly the same version again. One could, of course, claim that the record or the video preserve the performance exactly as it was, but then these electronic devices, although they capture living art, can only represent what was once alive but can never live again. At this point I feel the need to emphasize the close connection between this quality of renewal of the dynamic arts and the perpetual

The Eternal Renewal of an Ephemeral Movement


renewal of life itself. After all, we know that today is rapidly passing away, never to return. But, at the same time, we also know that to-morrow the day will renew itself. Even though we also know that to-morrow will never be exactly the same as it is to-day or as it was yesterday. There will always be changes, some subtle, some profound, differences in the climate, the quality of the light, the pressure of heat or cold, the formation of the clouds in the sky, or the exact locations of sunrise and sunset. This is why the religious Jew prays daily during his morning prayer: ‘Blessed be God all-mighty who, in his goodness, renews daily the act of creation’. When we talk about this renewal we would be well advised to bear in mind the great differences that exist between the two concepts “new” and “renew”. While the word “new” means that this particular thing has never existed before, the term “renew” means that we are in reality bringing to life something that has already existed and that is only being changed in some way, namely being “renewed”. It is important to note that while “old” is the exact opposite of “new”, in the act of “renewal” this “old” becomes a dominant factor. For me all of this is of great significance. It reminds me of the fact that much as we yearn to create and invent new tools, new methods, a new art and new ways of thinking, we cannot help being inspired by what has already been created. Even unwillingly we constantly return and renew those things that we know best. Take for example the world of Fashion that by its very nature, and the very meaning of the word itself, implies constant change. But even fashion is never competely new and it constantly returns to what it has been in the past with only a few changes or alterations. This is because what we have experienced in the past is familiar to us and comfortable and it is what we really need in order to feel at home and at ease and reassured. Just imagine how we would feel, for example, if to-morrow would not be essentially very much the same as is to-day. I magine, for instance, that the sun would not rise to-morrow and instead unknown forces of nature would surround us in the darkness? … We must accept the fact that the yearning eyes of the human beeing, though confronting the future and aiming at the future, are, in reality, equally fixed on the past, instinctively looking behind as if with eyes that are fixed in the back of our head. The artist who does not accept this fact will never be able to awaken a deep and profound response in his audience. *


Chapter Three

Another trait of the ephemeral is that only those phenomena that are in motion, namely those that pass away, can be renewed and as such be brought back to life. That what is permanent and seems to be with us forever, obviously cannot be renewed and as such is forever dead. However, we must stress the fact that there does not exist anything that can be classified under the term “eternal immobility”. Even the most static element can be perceived as if in motion by the creative action of the human eye. The ancient Greeks claimed that every thing is constantly moving and flowing. The famous “Pantha Rhey”,2 claims that every thing is forever undergoing constant change, and this, I believe, is true not only for the dynamic arts but also for the static ones: x x x

The sculpture is static but the light around it changes. The sculpture is static but it has been moved from one place to another. The sculpture is static but we can look at it from many different vantage points, from afar or from near, from above or from below.

Physicaly the sculpture has not changed, but we, who look at it are aware of surrounding differences and tend to look at it as if in a new, or rather, renewed fashion. Every change in the surrounding awakens in us a renewed reaction. Thus the renewal happens not in the sculpture itself but in the person who looks at it The same happens when we look at a painting or at a building. In this connection it may be important to bring up yet another factor that may help us to better understand the feeling of “renewal”, and this is the personal or human factor: When we first look at a building, we are impressed by its beautiful facade, by its form, by the material out of which it is built and enjoy the idea that a mere human being has created such beauty. But after a few days, we may look at the same building again, and perhaps be disappointed by what we see. Whether we are less impressed now because we measure this second viewing against the powerful impressions left from the former impact, or whether great burdens trouble our soul and hinders our full enjoyment. The cause of this change, or better still, of these negative reactions, are thus within us, the spectators, and have very little to do with the object at which we are looking. It is within us, the viewers and the listeners, that this personal factor is hidden. And this is true with regard to all the arts, including music. Such is the important secret of the hidden covenant that exists between the

The Eternal Renewal of an Ephemeral Movement


creator and his audience – a covenant, the importance of which, we, musicians, tend to neglect. In order for the arts in general, and for music in particular, to fullfill its mission, there should exist, between the musician and his listener, an unwritten covenant: If the listener fails to grasp and internalize the message of the music sent to him, this certain music has not completed its mission. The covenant was annuled. * In spite the great similarities that exists between the dynamic arts, music differs greatly not only from the static arts but even from its fellowarts, dance and theatre, even though just as in music, they too are forever renewing themslves. In what way, then, is the ephemeral movement, this renewal of music, more eternal than that of the other arts? In order to answer this question let us reconsider the similarity of music to life. Basically life is defined by death. Its essence lies in its ceasing to exist, and its whole being is but ephemeral and temporary. Take, for example, this very moment: before you have had a chance to experience it to the full extent, it has already ceased to exist. Or take, for instance, the day that awakens at dawn and you know with a certainty that after sunset this very day will vanish never to return. All that the sun can guarantee us when it rises each day is that at nightfall it will set and vanish from the horizon. And we ourselves are very well aware of the fact that we are here only as temporary sojurners, only to pass away at some poit in the future. King David in his wisdom recites in his Psalm : “As for man his days are as grass; as a flower of the field so he flourishes. For the wind passeth over it and it is gone.”3 On the face of it the whole of creation is not only about life but equally about death. And yet the very essence of the act of creation is the spirit of life that God breathed into our world. Because the act of creation is not identified with the sunset, but rather with the rising of the sun the next day. The secret of life is inherent in its perpetual renewal. And its renewal is inherent in the temporary nature of existence. Only death can not renew itself. It has no renewal. It’s ceasing to exist is eternal. But life renews itself costantly and therin lies its eternity. One can claim, hopefully without contradiction, that the arts came into being, among other factors, in order to recapture all that vanishes from our world. The painter takes an existing image and imprints it in his drawing in order to eternalize it. The living image will eventually vanish from this world but the drawing will stay forever. Madame Bovary has


Chapter Three

long ago left this world but Flaubert’s book is still with us. It is as if the artist is saying to god: ‘you ordained that the living souls would perish from this world. I, who have been created by you, will eternalize their image on paper, in stone or on canvas, so that they will last forever’. But then we tend to forget that precisely herein lies the Cain’s mark of death. Because although the sculpture may stand forever, it is lifeless, because only the dead do not die, and the very immortality of the sculpture is its identifying mark of death. Music, on the other hand, is an altogether different phenomenon. As it has no physical existence to recapture it has nothing to eternalize except its own self, namely its ephermeral temporariness, this movement of sounds that vanishes at once, exactly as does the movement of time that constitutes the essence of our life. And exactly as life itself, music is credited by constant renewal. In this connection I have to bring up yet another facet that is unique to the human being: his memory. The ability to recollect and record changes that have occured. The optical, acoustical or emotional recollection that helps the human being to decide, according to his taste, whether or not he liked the changes that have taken place in the renewed presentation of any art. We must bear in mind that in most arts, including some dynamic arts, the original version does not appear simultaneously with its renewal. But not so in music. Here the very nature of its motion which is based on renewal and on change, can be heard simultanously with the original version. Because in contrast to all the other arts, in music one can hear many voices at one and the same time. Just imagine, for instance, that all the actors in a play would speak at the same time; clearly you would not be able to understand a single word. However when three or five or even more singers perform different roles with different music all at the same time, for instance in an opera performance, you delight in the harmony that emerges and will easily be able to follow each and every voice. What’s more, a musical composition is generally based on a familiar order of sounds, (the scale), and as such is an everchanging renewal of this scale; the development of this composition, that may also be called it’s renewal, which will be also based on the known tone system, will appear in the ears of the listener simultanously with what has been played before. Or take the variations, which are the essence of musical form . They are based on a certain theme that is forever changing. The listener hears (in his mind’s ears) with every variation also the original theme. Exactly like the second or third theme of most compositions are created

The Eternal Renewal of an Ephemeral Movement


in relation to the first theme and the knowledgeable listener wil hear, in his mind’s ears, the original and the new themes at one and the same time. In a musical performance, therefore, the entire phenomenon is retained within our memory simultaneously with its renewed version. The original exists as if hidden within the renewed version. It is an integral part of the new version and presents itself permanently, sometimes gracefully and sometimes in competition with its offspring. The listeners have thus the privilege of deciding, each for themselves, which of the variations or of the renewals they prefer. This serious game is the elixir of listening to music. Because in every performance there is renewal. This renewal is inherent in the very nature of the musical composition as well as in the very nature of the performance. And as there is no limit to the renewals of the ephemeral movement of music, there is also no limit to the game of preferences of the listener. If you will you may also call this game : “eternal”.

Notes 1. In this connection see also chapter 10 of this book. 2. See note no. 6 in chapter 2. 3. Psalm 103, verses 15,16; see also Isaia chapter 40 verse 6, and Job chapter 14, verse 2.


Greek mythology tells us that Chronos, the god of time, was the brother of Mnemosine, the goddess of memory. This familiar connection in the mythological story is symbolic of the actual ties between time and memory that exist in reality. Every thing that happens in time, is related, by its very nature, to the past, and instantaneously becomes memory. Chronos, the god of time also held office, for a short period, as the head of all the other gods. As if to teach us that time is the ruler of the Universe, the keeper of its working order. As if to remind us that as long as the god of time is responsible for the course of events, the world will be in good hands. But Chronos’s son, Zeus, rebelled against his father and expelled him from office. Small wonder then if it seems to us that the ways of the world have descended into confusion and disorder! Mnemosine the goddess of memory, was, as we are told, the most beautiful among the godesses. She fell in love with Zeus, supreme among the gods, had a stormy love-affair with him and gave birth to the nine Muses, that were, according to Greek mythology, the goddesses of the arts and of history. These arts are all, to a greater or lesser extent, measured in time and move within an evolving framework. As has already been mentioned and will be repeated in later chapters, the arts are divided into two main groups: the “static group” which includes Painting, sculpture, photography, and architecture, and the “dynamic group”, music, dance, and theatre. Time, as we have already seen in a previous chapter, is also an important factor within the static arts, even though these are fixed and immobile. In this connection I would like to quote here from the book, “Sight Without Glass” by Harold H. Peppard : “ The normal eye does not try to see a large area at one time, never a whole line”. Curt Sachs1, who cites these words of Peppard’s adds to them some words of his own: “ Quite a number of visual arts demand aesthetically a moving eye to read them section by section over a period of time”.2

Measure and Time


These words relate, first and foremost, to the spectators view of a building or a sculpture, but they are true as well when describing the actual process of creating these artistic objects. Also this creativity must take its own time. I cited from Peppard’s words mainly because they strengthen my claim that the viewer of an artistic work is an integral factor at the very heart of the artistic act., and that aesthetics is measured first and foremost on the basis of the viewer’s response. The element of time is thus also an important factor within the static arts. But when it comes to the dynamic arts this element becomes one the most important factors, if not the most important one of all. The dynamic arts all occur within the boundaries of time, and time marks their borders. Having said this I must stress the fact that within the dynamic arts there is one such art that relies completely on time, and this is music. Moreover, time is the only concrete element in music. Although in saying this I am not being completely accurate, because time is also abstract. Nonetheless the measurements of time, minutes or hours, have a degree of concreteness. “If so” asks Augustine (345-430), one of the early church fathers, “what is time?” and he answers: ”If I am not asked, I know exactly what it means; But if I am asked and have to explain it than I do not know what time is”3. Augustine is of course right. Nonetheless we are asked time and again to find some explanation for the concept of time. In answering this question, at least partially, I would say that the passage of time creates in our consciousness, even unwillingly, a sort of a pattern in which there are stresses and relaxations. When listening to the ticking of a clock or to the clattering of the train wheels, before long this rhythmic ticking or clattering will translate itself, in our consciousness, to patterns of stresses and relaxations. As if we ascribe to one clatter a greater importance and to the other a lesser one. While, in reality, they are both equally important. Moreover, everyone is aware of the fact that sometimes an hour will pass by in a flash, because some matter of great interest has kept us preocupied., but at other times an hour will pass sluggishly and we may feel as if time has stood still because of the boredom that we have experienced, or because we were eagerly awaitng the next hour that seemed to be reluctant to arrive. And thus we re-learn what Albert Einstein in his genius has already formulated, namely that time, although measured with utmost exactitude, does not always seem to us to be all that exact. And maybe that there really exist a gap between objective time,


Chapter Four

that is in no way connected with us, and subjective time that is an intimate part of us. As for time within music, Marius Schneider4 correctly claims that the creative component of time within music takes place while music is being performed. Thus pure time changes and becomes an experience. Schneider goes on to cite from the article :”La Pansee et la Mouvant” (The thought and the emotion), by Henry Bergson,5 who maintains that ‘the duration of an experience is a melodic continuity that can not be divided or destroyed. Within it the past enters into the present and the two become an inseperable whole, notwithstanding the fact that new elements of music take place within it.’6 According to these words, which I fully accept, time receives its creative meaning only through music that occurs during its progressing path. It is true, though, that every personal experience, that always takes place within a certain time, may lend to that time a meaning that may be very powerful. But then, in most cases, this experience is a very personal and private one, and although it might have a strong creative element, it would still not turn this experience into art. Whereas, the movement of time that rings in our ears, provided that the composition that we hear is of sufficient quality, may inspire within us a profound response that may become a quintessential artistic experience. This, I believe, is the secret of the magic that music can inspire within us. Because while we are deeply moved by the fate that befell Anna Karenina, this unhappy story is still Karenina’s own private story and although our emotions may be profoundly stirred, her fate does not affect us in any practical way. Even if we try to compare her fate to ours it will still be Karenina’s fate. Not so when we listen to a musical composition that we have succeeded in internalizing. This composition will very soon touch us in a most personal manner, the sadness expressed therein will become our own personal sadness and the joy that will ring in our ears will become our own very private joy and happiness. The second movement of the Mozart piano concerto in D minor can bring tears to our eyes in an emotional response that is most private and personal.. Music is “sounding time” that touches us directly. Music enables us to break free from any intermediary factor like canvas, stone, colour, or the figures that appear in a novel or on stage that, by their very nature, form a buffer between us and the artistic creation. In music the time that sounds in our ears is directly translated into becoming a most personal experience for each and every listener. “Sounding time” tells the attentive listener his very own story. The relations between the organized time units within music, are called rhythm. Aristotle7 talks about rhythm as being “taxis chronon”,the

Measure and Time


order of time. His predecessor Plato talks about “kineseos taxis”, the order of the movement8, which seems to me to be more appropriate. Curt Sachs mentions also Andreas Heusler who sees in rhythm, when talking about the rhythm of poetry, an “Organisation of time into parts accessible to the senses”9, and Sachs adds : ”For art cannot live at all except in the realm of perception.”10 The concept of rhythm includes a well organised domain of time in space. Similar to a permanent and well ordered repetition of audio or visual stimulants: strong - weak, light - dark, high - low, left - right, etc.. Sachs proposes that we interpret the Greek word “Rhythmos” as “flow”, from the same source as “rheo”, from which the English word “river” is derived. Sachs cites H.W. Fowler (1858-1933) who writes in his “A dictionary of modern English usage” (1926) that “Rhythm is Flow”. Sachs also cites Charisius Flavius Sospiter who claimed, in the beginning of the fifth century, that “rhythm is flowing meter, and meter is bonded rhythm”. “Here” adds Sachs “flux and dam” (in other words flowing and daming up), “are united in one definition.”11 When talking about rhythm we open the gate that leads us into measure. While time is passing before our eyes and ears, or in fact all around us, as if it knows no boundaries, measure becomes the barrier of time. It blocks time into measurable units, marks the quantities of rhythm and fixes its form, its temper, its frequences and its force. Measure restrains rhythm and also sets rhythm free to pound and expand. I would like to suggest that measure in music is like breathing and exhaling, like tension and relaxation, like concentrating and dispersing musical movement, and, as such, plays the role of the marker in music. In Hebrew measure does not mean only the quantity of things but also the quality of things. This suits me well because we can then also talk about the good measure of rhythm, meaning the right and fitting design of rhythm, that can safely, convincingly and successfully lead a certain composition on its way from the performer, or rather the composer, to the listener. Melody - that despite all the efforts made nowadays to limit and diminish its importance, is still the heart of music - would be as if crippled without the rhythmic measure that acts as the feet upon which melody can walk.. The beauty of the naked melodic course, meaning that course that has not, as yet, put on its rhythmic dress, exists but has not yet expressed its full potential. It is the rhythmic measure alone that has the power to bring out into the open the beauty of any melody. And if this is true of the melodic factor within a composition it will prove to be even more so when considering the whole composition.


Chapter Four

Who amongst my readers has not experience the game wherein a participant tapps the rhythm of a melody on a table and the rest have to gues, as quickly as possible, what the melody was? I am sure that you remember how quick and easy it was to find the right melody. But if, on the other hand, a participant were to sing the melody giving every note the exact same measure, the challange would prove to be much more difficult. Even when solved, the participants would surely be astonished to find how dull, and un-inspiring the un-rhythmic melody sounded. The question therefore is, what is the reason behind this? Why has the rhythmic garb such an importance, as if it stands over and above the elements of melody or harmony? The answer is self evident. Because rhythm beats also deep within us in our very veins, and therefore is part of our own flesh and blood. But melody and harmony come to us from the outside. Our ability to coordinate between the rhythmic measure that reaches us from the music that we hear, and the rhythmic measure that beats in our veins, constitutes that Gordian-knot that exists between us and music. This vastly intricate knot cannot be seperated and it turns the listener into an integral and decisive factor within the musical process. Thus the importance of the listener to music greatly outweighs the spectator in the theatre or the viewer of a picture. Carl Seashore12, in his book: “Psychology of Music”, describes the impact that rhythm has on us, by explaining that rhythm is built on the principle of symmetry, and symmetry fills us with a feeling of balance. Because of its balance the feeling of rhythm makes us feel liberated, as if we have gained the luxury of space. Rhythm can make us imagine that we are floating above the ground. When we succeed in internalizing the measure of rhythm we feel able to cope with the future. Rhythm enables us to grow wings, to fly through the air. Rhythm, both stimulates and calms us. Because rhythm, if sufficiently developed, belongs to the realm of the soul, it awakens empathy and emotions of human solidarity. And thus Seashore arrives at the conclusion that “rhythm is I ”.13 This conclusion strengthens the bond that exists between the musician and his listener and I must stress its importance. Allow me then, before ending this chapter, to return to the subject of the relationship between time and memory: In his book “Matiere et Memoire” Henry Bergson maintains that in reality every act of seeing or viewing belongs already to the past. We realize in practice only what has already passed. Because the real present is a development in which the past is nagging and chewing at the future.14

Measure and Time


In other words: Memory is a huge storehouse. It retains for us all time that has passed. But note well, memory speaks to us not only in the language of the past but also in the language of the future. It enables us not only to see, with saddened eyes, the flowers that are already wilting , but also to raise, in our memory, those flowers that will bloom with the coming of the spring. Therein lies memory’s great consolation.. All this is true with regard to music as well. Music is not only “sounding time”, raising time to a degree of art, but music lends to memory an objective-artistic expression as well.. Also music has no present All that it is able to produce is what has already been heard and what is still going to be heard. What has just been heard is still hanging in the air, lingering in our ears and we cling to its memory, and what we are going to hear may well be remembered from a former performane. While we are saddened to realize that what we have just heard is quickly fading away, we nonetheless eagerly await the new sounds that we know with a certainty that they will come. I believe that this is the main reason for wanting to hear the same composition over and over again. I am of course well aware of those strict musicians who keep telling us that wanting to listen always to the same composition is immature and constitutes a childish behaviour, and that there is no sophistication in the urge to keep listening to what we already know only too well. But by preaching this they seem to overlook the very nature inherent in music, which is basically an artistic memory. They ignore the fact that it is in the nature of a beloved memory to which we yearn to cling and not let go. As to the question of the length of our willingness to keep alive the memory of a composition, one must admit that this consent may be limited. Indeed it seems that everything, even the very best, is limited by time; by that same time that changes at once into memory. It is these two elements, time and memory, that together become an artistic expression through the power of music.

Notes 1. Curt Sachs, (1881- 1959). Eminent German musicologist, and a leading authority on musical instruments. Together with the Austrian scholar Erich von Horenbostel, devised one of the most widely used systems for classifying musical instruments. From 1933 he lived in Paris but later moved to the United States, and became a university professor in New-York. 2. Sachs, Curt, “Rhyths and Tempo : a Study in Music History”, New York: W.W.Norton, 1953, p.15


Chapter Four

3. Augustinus, “Confessions”, Cited from the hebrew translation by Aviad Kleinberg, Yediot Achronot publishers, 2001,chapter 17 4. Marius Schneider, (1903 – 1982). Studied philosophy, musicology, piano and composition in Berlin. 1933 manager of the Phonogramme Archiv in Berlin.1944 moved to Spain. Scholar of musical symbols of ancient cultures. 5. Bergson, Henry, (1859 – 1941). French philosopher, very influential in the first half of the 20th century. He wrote four major works on principles of philosophy, the most noted being on the “Theory of Duration”, explaining time and consciousness. He won the Nobel Prize in 1927 6. Schneider, Marius: “The Birth of the Synbol in Music”, The World of Music,1984, vol.26 (no. 3, Sacred Music), p.9 7. See note no. 9, chapter 1. 8. Plato, “Laws”, 2, 665 9. Andreas Heusler : “ Deutche Versgeschichte” vol. 1, Berlin,1925, p.17 10. Curt Sachs :”Rhythm and Tempo”. p. 15. 11. Charisius Flavius Sospiter : “Institutiones Grammaticae”, Leipzig 1840, p.289 12. Carl Seashore, (1866 – 1942). Prominent Swedish American psychologist and educator. Moved, as a child with his parents to Iowa, U.S.A. Graduated from Yale. His written works include “The psychology of Music”, “Why we love Music” and “In search of the Beauty in Music”. 13. Seashore, Carl: “ Psychology of Music”, New York, Dover Publication, 1967,pp.138, 148 14. Henry Bergson: “Matter and Memory”, New York, Zone Books 1988 (Translated by Nancy Margarete Pau Palmer).


Music, as we have already discussed, is the most abstract of all artistic expression. I would like to return to this issue again and this time in greater detail. Contrary to the static arts, (painting, sculpture and architecture), the main characteristic of the dynamic arts, (music, dance and theatre), is that they vanish immediately after their presentation.. They appear on stage only in order to disappear. All that their creator wishes to express in these arts, has in reality no concrete existence whatsoever. From the moment in which this art-form has reached its conclusion, nothing remains of it except in the consciousness and in the memory of the listener or the viewer. But, take note: all the other dynamic arts, except music, have a degree of perceptibility in them., some more some less, at least while being presented. The drama that takes place before the viewer’s eyes can be seen clearly. If he so wishes the viewer can even touch the actors. The viewer is being told a tangible story, that can be easily understood, and the words that the actor pronounces have a comprehensible meaning. The movement that is being presented by the dancer is less concrete, allthough the viewer can watch the movement closely, and if he so wishest he could even touch the dancer. It is true that the dancer does not utter a single word but is able to create a definite story that turns the dance into a concrete event. Even when the dancer tells no story and leaves the entire interpretation to the viewer, there still remains some degree of reality that the viewer can see through his eyes. Not so with music. The listener can neither see it nor touch it, even during the course of it’s performance. Even in this virtual present during which its sounds reach the listener’s ears, music is completely abstract. All that exists is “sounding air” or “sounding time”. On the other hand, as we have already discussed in chapter 4, the main virtue of music is that the listener can retain it in the storeroom of consciousness and hoard it in memory. And allthough the music itself has


Chapter Five

long gone and vanished, it is still kept secure and alive in the memory of the listener, and if its impact has succeeded, it has become a part of the world of his inner experience. “The Melos, like all the other factors of music” says Aristoxenos of trent, “is an expression that comes into being. The understanding of music is composed of two factors: internalizing and memorizing. We internalize what is coming into being, and remember what has already been. There is no other way to do justice to music.”1 Music is able to do this only because it is a completely abstract art. An art which enables the recipient to embrace it all and make it a part of his innermost self. That is why I believe, in the hope that my love of music is not too exaggerated, that there does not exist another art that is so emotional, that can bring tears to the eyes and happines to the heart, as music does. The listener has to fully understand what is being transmitted to him, in order to be able to store it and be moved by it Otherwise how would he grasp the meaning of the music? If this miracle did not take place, the message would simply pass him by and with it the music. It is this complete abstraction of music that creates the vital connection between Musician and listener. Music cannot exist without this connection. Only after the listener has internalized the music that has been transmitted to him has the musical process come to its end and the message has achieved its goal. Painting, sculpture, even poetry and literature, are an intimate process that takes place between the creator and his art. When the artist has finished his painting and put his signature on it, as if to say: ‘the picture is completed’, has the process of creation come to an end. It is obviously hoped that viewers will come to look at it, will praise it, and hopefully even buy it, but these viewers have nothing whatsoever to do with the artistic process. Not so in music. Because of its complete abstraction, music is an emotional spiritual message in sound, that moves, in a specific time, from performer to listener. Only when this message has reached the listener does the creative process come to its end. But when the composer has finished his composition, and inscribed each note in its correct place within the score, the musical process has not yet even begun. Even when the performer is studying this composition and is preparing to set free the notes that are as if imprisoned within the five line stave, even then the musical process has not yet taken place. Only when the music is actually being performed before an audience, or even before a single listener, does this process truly begin. And only after this listener had succeeded in

The Concrete within the Abstract


grasping what is being transmitted to him, does this intimate and ephemeral process come to its successful end. This is why the listener, as distinguished from the viewer, has such a vital role to play within the musical process. The problem is that the connection between the musician and the listener is so difficult to implement. I, myself consider it to be a real miracle if it succeeds. It is much easier to maintain the connection between the painter and the viewer, or between the playwright and the spectator, because the picture or the play are much more tangible and this makes the connection that much easier. This may be the disadvantage in music but at the same time it contains a great reward. It may be sufficient for a reader to read a good book once, and for the spectator to see a good play once or possibly even twice, but the listener, once he has succeeded in internalizing a musical composition, cannot get enough of it and the more he listens to it the more he wishes to hear it. The musicologist Leonard Meyer, mentions in the preface to his book that music is supposed to send us a message that has an aesthetic and emotional meaning as well as an intellectual one. That means that music obliges the listener to give his full attention to what is being played to him, and to be completely open emotionally so as to absorbe the message that the composer is transmitting to him. On the other hand, it is the composer’s obligation to visualize the listener, to give the utmost consideration to the expectations of the listener and to try, as far as possible, to satisfy him. Further on in his book Meyer explains: ”The most devastating criticism that can be leveled against a work is not that it is crude or displeasing but that it is not aesthetcally purposeful and meaningful. Statements that compositions in the twelve-tone technique,3 are conceived within an essentially mathematical framework, implying that they are not honestly felt or aesthetically conceived by the composer, have done more to make the music of this school unpopular and hated than all the accusations of cacophony and ugliness put together.”4

The musical Message The most important mission of the musical message is that it be fully understood. Otherwise this message has no chance whatsoever of reaching the listener and being grasped by him. This may be the reason why music “descended” upon humankind as if interlinked with words and movement, meaning dance (see also in chapter 7). This is the threesome, that I have


Chapter Five

already described as “Greater Music”. A young child is unable to sing without using words and moving his body to the rhythm of the song and to the meaning of the words. All of us, when speaking and trying to deliver a message, which is the basic motivation for speech, do so while moving around, using many levels of pitch in the voice, and speak on different levels of Agogics and Dynamics5. The Chorus in the ancient Greek Drama, the first artistic expression in the western hemisphere, performed three very different roles: The chorus spoke and sang and danced. All this teaches us that music and word, and sometimes also movement, are closely intertwined. If I am asked why this is so? I can only answer: because words and sometimes movement as well, help to transmit the musical message, to make the music clear and understandable and thus to secure its safe journey to the listener. A short study of the history of music, will teach us that until the beginning of the 17th century we know of almost no music without words, namely without a clear and definite content. It is as if music alone, without the crutches of words and dance, had not the power to successfully reach the listener and be internalized by him. Only from the beginning of the 17th century do we encounter pure instrumental music, namely that music that is known as “Absolute Music”. It is true that even before the year 1600 we can find some music without words, but this happened only at the outer margins of musical activity, and even then it was music mostly connected with dance which does have some visibility and meaning. The philosopher Jean Jaques Rousseau6 speaks of instrumental music as a “confused bundle of non coherent nonsense” (he calls them “Fatras”) and asks: “Sonata, what do you want from me?”7 * If I were to be asked “why is it that music all of a sudden was able to do without its companions, or rather its crutches: words and dance?” I would answer that only at the beginning of the 17th century did music succeeded in basing its language on rules and scale-usages that were able to function with sufficient clarity and were able thus to reach the listener without the help of other more tangible means. The tonal language enabled music to relinquish the language of words. It is interesting to note that simultaneously with this “absolute music” came the development of the most important form of “Programme-Music” which had a definite story to tell, and in which the word had an important role to play. As this 17th century constitutes not only the beginning of

The Concrete within the Abstract


“absolute music” but also that age in which the Opera, the Oratorio, the Cantata and the Passion were first created. Since then those two, the “absolute music” and the “programme music”, have marched together, side by side. This “absolute music” slowly gained in importance until it reached its peak in the middle of the 18th century, the period that we call the “classical” period, when the principles of tonality8 became well established In other words, from the purely musical point of view, music reached its peak only when it found a suitable substitute for the verbal message. This substitute was the tonal system with its strict rules of musical syntax. It was based on the musical phenomenon of the “overtones”, and was used in both Folk and Art Music. It was therefore familiar to everyone, and became not only a substitute for the verbal language but even a more sensual and emotional and more subtle means of communication. But already, barely 50 years later, in the 19th century we see that the “programme music” has taken the upper hand, when even in the “absolute music”, that is not composed for words, verbal titles nonetheless appear, heading different parts or even whole compositions. (For example Beethoven’s “Pastoral” symphony, where each movement gets a written title, or the “Symphony Fantastique” by Hector Berlioz, which is written to a well constructed story). This is so in order to assure that the musical message will arrive securely to the listener. In all this the listener was always of paramount importance. On the other hand the inclusion of a nonmusical programme in the “absolute music” resulted in overstepping and causing irregularities within the well regulated musical form of the classical period (1750-1800). The romantic period of the 19th century, that longed to express the extreme differences animating the wide range of human emotion and passion, threatened thus to overthrow the carefully planned rules of symmetry and restraint that were so typical of the classic expression. The goal of reaching greater freedom within the strict rules of composition, turned, in the second half of the 20th century, into complete freedom for the absolute music as well. As a result the musical message, slowly but surely, vanished and was lost, and this vital Gordian Knot, that bonded together and intertwined composer and listener, dissolved itself and lost all importance. This new situation compelled the listener to look separately for the secret and hidden message of each composition. This private personal search, with all its challenge, necessitates a great effort on the part of the composer who has to look for new rules and regulation in order to create a distinct new language for each composition, although this language


Chapter Five

remained unknown to the listener. But the listener soon got tired of this detective game, and lost interest, as if saying: ‘sorry! this is not the game that I am looking for. I yearn to rebuild my innermost self through music, and this new game does not enable me to do so’ While the recipient of less abstract arts may tolerate misunderstandings here and there, and even enjoy the challenge, the listener to music cannot follow suit. It is the complete abstraction of instrumental music that makes it necessary for the message of music to be clear and well understood. Because this message that moves from performer to listener, is the only concrete element in the world of music; a world which is totally abstract.

Notes 1. Aristoxenos of Trent, historian and theoretitian of music in the Roman Hellenistic period.. The citation is taken from “Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart”, (M.G.G.) entry “Melody”. 2. Leonard B. Meyer, (1918 – 2007). Composer, auther and philosopher. Professor at the universitys of Chicago and Pennsylvania. 3. Dodecaphony or Twelve Tone System, is a mode of composition, developed by the composer Arnold Schönberg in the early 20th century. According to it each composition is based on a row of twelve tones, provided that all the twelve semitones within one octave appear in this row and none of them is repeated. This row provides the theme of the composition and can be developed by its inversion, by playing it backwards, or by the inversion of the backward row. Thus the tonal center is abolished, and all sounds are equal in their importance. 4. Meyer, Leonard. B “Emotion and Meaning in Music”, Chicago & London: University of Chicago press 1956, pp. vii, 76. 5. Agogics, the many different changes of speed (slow-fast) of the moving sounds; Dynamics, the many different changes of altitude (loud-silent).. 6. Jean Jaques Rousseau, ( 1712 - 1778). Major philosopher, writer and composer of the 18th Century Period of Enlightment. His political philosophy profoundly influenced the French Revolution. After his death he was interred in the Pantheon in Paris as a national Hero. 7. See detailed delliberation in “Die Idee der absoluten Musik”, (The Idea of Absolute Music), by Carl Dahlhaus, Bärenreiter Verlag, 1978, first chapter and also p. 54. 8. Tonality is based on a relative and functional eight tone diatonic scale. All its sounds relate to its basic sound, the Tonic, that is placed in the bottom of the scale. These sounds each have their own role and all differ in importance. The most important role is that of the Dominant (the ruler), that appears more often than the others. The difference in importance of these sounds enables them to be used and understood as a language, the language of music.



Melody, Harmony and Rhythm are defined as the three building blocks of the castle of music. These building blocks comprize the horizontal dimension, the vertical dimension and the dimension of movement, three components that together form the language of music. The horizontal dimension constitutes the melodic line, that adds one sound to the other and thus forms a meaningful connected chain of sounds; The vertical dimension, so-called because of its vertical appearrence in the musical score, one sound below the other, played or sung simultaneously, thus constituting the hamonic dimension; and the movement or rhythmic dimension, that orders, organises and defines the length and character of time within the musical movement, providing the framework through which the musical message is transmitted to the listener. There are styles, periods and composers that crowned this horizontal dimension of melody as the leader of this threesome, while there are those who preferred the harmonic dimension as the bearer of the musical message, and there are yet still others for whom rhythm was the leader of the threesome. However if we examine these three dimensions more closely, examining also the historical point of view, we cannot but reach the conclusion, at least in my own opinion, that melody is the most important motivation and the major impetus behind the creation of music. Singing was most probably the first musical expression of the human being and its essence was the horizontal addition of one sound to another thus creating a melody, namely that row of sounds that its composer deemed to be the most meaningful. There were times, for instance in the early Middle Ages, in which music found expression only in the horizontal dimension and one can find in all music of that age simply a melodic line and nothing else. And although in later periods Art Music1 never again expressed such a preference, one must remember that all folksong, since its beginning and untill the present, finds full satisfaction with only a melodic line, even if

Melody, Harmony and Rhythm


some accompaniment is added to it. Just like all the “pop” music of today and its performers are basically oriented towards melody. During the “Renaissance” (in music 1300-1600), the vertical dimension in music was created and was seen as bearer of the beauty of simultaneous singing, and all the efforts of the composers turned towards the polyphonic fabric that was woven crisscross arround the melody untill it seemed that the melody was completely absorbed within this intricate poliphony. It seems appropriate for me to mention here that there are many who consider that Art Music did not begin until its composers began to add voices above or below the melodic line. After all, the creation of music is called “composition”, meaning ‘the art of composing, or of inserting one voice upon the other’. This is why there are musicians who claim, that music is the youngest art2 because this combination of voices was not introduced until the 9th-10th century, and thus Art Music is no older than 1000 years, although we have all the reason to believe that music has existed since the birth of man.. We certainly do not know of any tribes who had not yet come into contact with civilisation, whose peoples do not sing.3 It is quite amazing to comprehend the great gap betweem the beginning of musical expression and the begininig of music as an art. Perhaps it is worthwhile mentioning here that the professional rules of composition do not deal with the invention of music or its sources of inspiration. They only state how one may or may not add voices to each other. Those rules were changed from one period to another, untill the middle of the 20th century, each change according to the aesthetics of the different periods. From the mid-twentieth century all the rules were abolished, and composers decided to totally discard them. There were times and there were composers, like Mozart for instance, for whom the melodic idea was their source of inspiration. They saw the horizontal dimension as an enrichment of the melodic invention. There were others, like Beethoven, for whom the harmonic chords served as the basis of their composition while the melodic line grew and blossomed out of the harmony. And there were other times and other composers who placed the rhythm as the connecting thread, like in “Le Sacre du Printemps” by Igor Stravinsky, or “Bolero” by Maurice Ravel. The rhythmic dimension is, by the way, also the supporting “spinal column” as it were of Jazz, and its different variations form the diverse styles of this amazing music, which, for me, is one of the most important musical innovations of the 20th century. Many of the compositions of Art-Music, written in the last sixty years, feature only percussion instrument which


Chapter Six

express exclusively the elements of rhythm, although they include, in most cases, melodic percussions like xylophones of all sorts. It is important to remember that the rhythmic dimension is involved both in the melodic and in the harmonic dimensions and that these two have no subsistence without rhythm. What is more, also the horizontal dimension is closly linked to the harmonic one and vice versa. Either the melody determines the harmony which serves as its lining and strengthens its meaning, or the harmonic chords mould the melodic line that is thus revealed as an outcome of the harmony. Be it as it may one cannot deny that in Art Music all three dimensions are closely knit together and can not be seperated. Still it seems to me that although the place and importance of melody varies from period to period and from composer to composer, and although when melody is left all by itself and presents itself as if in its nakedness, devoid of its festive garments that are shining and deepening its grandeur and its sophistication - nonetheless it is still the melody that holds the supreme place among the three building blocks of the castle of music. Melody, to me, is the first among equals in this castle. But if we look at the music composed during the second half of the 20th century we will notice that melody has vanished in most of it. Or rather that melody was distorted and twisted in such a way that it lost its melodic identity. Before trying to examine the reasons for this development, I do feel compelled to try and answer the question: what is melody? I have looked and found a few scores of answers to this question that were given during the past centuries, and I am well aware that my answer will only be an addition to many others. However I cannot just dismiss the matter and so will add my own conclusions to the already existing list. Melody to me, consists of a string of sounds in which one can discern a beginning and an end, and one is able to encompass it as a close unit even if a highly complexed one. We expect melody to possess an emotional content and present a meaningful statement. Although melody seems to constantly change its face, it has nonetheless, a basic characteristic which is common to all melodies, namely that they all have points of gravity, sort of “anchors” arround which the melody evolves. It is in the nature of melody that it circles around important sounds, (the “anchors”) and less important soundes. Thus every melody possesses main sounds that appear much more often and transit sounds that function only to lead the melody on to its main sounds. Those “anchor” sounds enable us to orientate ourselves in the intricacies of the melody, they help

Melody, Harmony and Rhythm


us to understand and remember it and awake in us an impression of familiarity. As in every aesthetic appreciation here too it is the reaction of the listener that determines the validity of the melody as well as the whole composition, and not only the wish and the imagination of the composer. If asked who will tell us what are the “anchor” sounds and what are the transit or secondary sounds? the answer will be found in the “scale”; This melodic guideline on which all music and every melody, up to the middle of the twentieth century, was based. This melodic guideline serves as an idiomatic expression that is common within a certain society during a certain age, and is looked upon as the musical “mother- tongue”. Arabic music speaks the language of the “Maquam”, The inhabitants of the Far East speak in the “Pentatonic” music-language, The Indians use the “Raga” language, The music of the Jewish shtetl in Eastern Europe spoke the “Steiger” language. In ancient Greece the musical language was the “Systema Telaeion”, Europe during the Middle Ages spoke the language of the “Modus” used for the Gregorian chant in its development, and since 1600 Western music has spoken in the “Tonal” language. It is not a coincidence that although speaking about music, I have used here the terms: “idiomatic expression” and “language”. I did so because the characteristics of the different scales upon which the music was based, were known and accepted, during their time, as a common denominator both for the composer and the listener, and were used for Folk as well as Art Music and all the different kinds of musics that were derived from those two. All these different scales possess, as mentioned before, “anchor sounds” and “secodary sounds”: The most important is the basic sound.. It may be found at the bottom of the scale, like the “Tonic”4 in the Tonal scales or the “Finalis”5 in the four Authentic Modi, while all the other sounds are placed above it. Or it may be found in the middle of the scale, like the “Mese”6 in the Greek “Systema Telaeion” or the “Finalis” in the four Plagal Modi. In most of the scales we will find two main sounds. The second being the “Dominant”, namely the ruler in the realm of the tonal system, or the “Tenor” in the modal system.. The main, or the “anchor” sounds of every melody are thus derived from those of the scale on which this certain melody is based. Every melody is in essence a variation or an improvisation on a certain idiomatic expression, that has been fixed to serve the music of a certain society and a certain age, and that is called: “Scale”. This explanation brings us straight back to the question: ‘What are the reasons for the disappearance, or at least the distortion, of the melody in


Chapter Six

most compositions of the last 40 years of the 20th century?’ The answer is quite simple. In those years composers tried very hard to free themselves from all scales. Melody thus lost its source of existence. If asked how did this happen? I would venture to answer that after the revolt against tonality, that took place in the twenties of the 20th century, musicians looked for a suitable replacement. It was the eminent composer Arnold Schönberg, who finalised and shaped the new twelve-tone system that was supposed to replace the tonal system. The whole principle of this system was the existence of a “scale” but the non-existence of a melody. The most important idea of the new scale was that it abolished the differentiation between important, and unimportant sounds. There were neither anchors nor transfer or secondary sounds. Let me stress again: an anchor sound is a sound that is repeated in the melody over and over again, while the main idea of the twelve-tone system is that the theme or the melody has to include all the twelve half tones within an octave and no sound is allowed to appear more than once. This, in my opinion, is the greatest drawback of the system. Our ear needs the repetition of a sound not only in order to be able to remember it, but mainly because repetition strengthens our search for stability and enables us to feel as if we are welcoming an old friend.7 Thus does the Twelve-tone System or, as it is better known, the Dodecaphonic System, grant full equality to all the twelve semi or half tones. From the “sociological” point of view it is certainly a much more equal and just system. Every sound has exactly the same status and the same rights. However from the musical point of view it actually robs the music of its emotional and sensitive impact. We therefore read with wonder what Schönberg wrote to his friend Hans Rosbaud (the Austrian conductor. 1895-1962), assuring him that the day would come when the public would indeed love his music and everybody would whistle his melodies, just as the music lover did with the melodies of Tchaikovsky.8 Nearly one hundred years have elapsed and Schönberg’s prophecy has not come true. It could not do so because his very theory did not permit a melody to blossom. I personaly know of only one very touching dodecaphonic melody, and this is the row of the violin concerto by Alban Berg. But then this melody, although obeying the dodecaphonic rules, is composed of different dissolved triads and is basically tonal The development that followed brought with it even greater damage to the existence of melody. Dodecaphony did not survive. Neither did the Serial system that followed suit.9 These sophisticated and clever systems

Melody, Harmony and Rhythm


did not catch on because they were alien to the musical language that was spoken by the surrounding society. I sometimes find myself comparing these systems to Esperanto, invented by Zamenhof. This international language was the outcome of a praiseworthy idea, namely to do away with the languuage borders between peoples, but in itself was entirely artificial and therefore could not survive. As those two new systems (Dodecaphony and Serialism) became a disappointment, Western composers decided, around 1950, to dispense entirely with any scale at all. Since then the world of music has continued to evolve free from any bondage of scales, rules or language. The result has been that as the idea of a musical language became obsolete, the listener was rejected from the equation composer – listener. For some reason there were those who seemed to believe that music could exist not only without rules but even without listeners. If asked: how could that be? I would say that part of the explanation could be found in the technology revolution. One has to realize that this development coincided with the rapid advancement of Mass-media. After the second World War national radio stations rapidly emerged. All States tried to imitate the famed B.B.C. ( British Broadcasting Cooperation) and these new radio stations ( In West Germany alone there were 11 state radio station) quickly became the driving force in the dissemination of modern music. As music was broadcasted from closely sealed studios, listeners were in any case excluded from them. Rating was an unknown concept, and nobody seemed to care whether or not anybody was listening at the other end of the network, let alone bothering about his or her reaction.10 * I realize that I have dedicated a much larger space to the horizontal dimension and maybe neglected somewhat the vertical and rhythmic dimensions of music. I have done so because I believe the horizontal dimension to be the stumbling block in the road that Art Music is now taking. As a matter of fact, all the three dimensions have changed beyond all recognition during the second half of the twentieth century; A change that brought about a complete replacement within the hierarchy of the different categories of music. Different kinds of music, that in the past were non existent in the Western hemisphere, like Jazz or Ethnic music and mainly Pop and Rock, which menaged, more or less, to keep up the melodic dimension, are slowly but surely taking over, and are finding themselvs at the center of the musical stage. Modern Art Music, on the other hand, has


Chapter Six

to be satisfied with a place that is situated in the remote corner of the stage. And take note, we are talking about the same stage that, in the not too far past, belonged entirely to Art Music.

Notes 1. The term Art Music is, in my opinion, unsuitable, and used here only for lack of a better one. What is meant is notated music performed on a concert stage before an audience. It is better known as “classical” music which seems to me unsuitable as well, because this really means music that was written during the classical period (1750-1800) 2. See also Busoni’s claim in chapter 3 of this book. 3. Sachs Curt, “Rhythm and Tempo: a study in Music History”, New York: W.W. Norton, 1953 p.20. 4. The Tonic C, in C major or minor, is the basic sound that all the other seven sounds of the scale relate to. 5. A Modus is composed of two Tetrachords (four consecutive sounds) put together. The Finalis is the basic sound of the Modus. It is placed on the bottom in the Authentic Modi, and on the beginning of the second Tetrachord, in the Plagal Modi. 6. The ancient Greek scale is called the “Systema Telaeion”.it contains four Tetrachords put together and one additional sound (the Proslambanomenos). Its basic tone is placed in the middle of the row and is called “Mese”. 7. See chapter 29 in this book:”The meaning of repetition and contrast in music”. 8. The letter was written in LosAngeles on 12.5.1947 9. The Seryal system transfered the regulation of the Dodecaphonic system also to the horizonal (harmonic) and rhythmic dimensions, and thus Dodecaphony became an overall rule for all parameters of the musical composition. 10. See also chapter 37 in this book: “Music in the age of mass media”.


The word “music” is derived from the Greek word “Muse”. According to Greek mythology the nine daughters of Zeus, the head of the gods of ancient Greece, and the beautiful Mnemosine, the Goddess of memory, were the muses of the arts. They lived in the rivers and streams that gushed out of mount Parnassus and mount Helicon, on which the gods used to dwell. Their “shepherd” was Apollo, who was appointed to watch over them, to see to their well being, to instruct and to guide them. That is why he is often called “Apollo Musaget”, namely Apollo that looks after the muses. I am tempted to raise here the possibility of some kind of kinship between music and the waters of the rivers in which the muses lived.. In poetry music has often been associated with the murmur of the moving waters, as if they reflect the rhythm and sounds of music. Water is also known to be a perfect sound conductor. It may be worthwhile mentioning that the Arabic word for water is “Moyes”, and I have heard it suggested that there are those who speculate that the word music may also have been derived from the Arabic word “moyes”, meaning water. Be that as it may, let me return to the muses. Mythology saw in every one of the nine muses the mother and protector of one of the arts. They were: Clio – the muse of epic poetry and history, Melpomene – the muse of tragedy and its music Thalia – the muse of comedy and idyllic poetry. One of the three Graces who were the patronesses of festive meetings, Calliope – the muse of heroic poetry, Urania – the muse of astronomy, the song of the stars, Euterpe - the muse of the art of music, the source of enjoyment, Polihymnia - the muse of hymns, anthems and praise., Erato – the muse of love and marriage songs, Terpsichore – the muse of dance.


Chapter Seven

European culture recognised the muses as the origin of the arts, and as the source of inspiration of the creative artist. The word muse was used to denote pure inspriation. But if we look more precisely at the responsibilities of these nine godesses, we will find that their occupation was limited to three areas or domains; the area of words, the area of sound and the area of movement, dance and acting. We will further recognise that these three factors find expression in the function of the ancient Greek chorus. This main presenter of Greek drama, had a threefold task to perform. The chorus spoke, sang and moved. In the former chapter six, I have already discussed at length the close connection that exists between these three factors: word, sound and movement, or better still, theatre, music and dance. The three expressions that the human being can perform, with his or her own body, without need of any external intermediary, as for example paper, colour, stone, or canvas. This phenomenon is like a three-dimensional external manifestation of the inner self. As if these three emerge directly from the human body. Man, out of his own inner being, brings forth and moulds directly and without any outward intervention, speech, song and movement, as if they and himself were one and the same. What is more, these three expressions reveal themselves within the framework of a certain time and they all appear in both strong and weak rhythmical units. Thus all three correspond, although in different degrees, to the rhythmic beats of the human being, that find reflection in the pulse that flows through his veins. The kinship between those three expressions differ, though, in degree and also in the reliance of the three upon each other. Music without words was not only unthinkable up to the 13th-14th century, it was also unrealizable. The notation of music, that began in the 7th century, graphically denoted the movement of the sounds, but could be notated only above a given text. What is more, because there did not exist any rhythmic notation until the 14th century, music adapted itself exclusively to the length and rhythm of the words that were sung. Music to word was thus like a glove to the hand, and we have to realize that without the hand a glove has no function to perform. On the other hand, music that, in the early Middle Ages,was performed and listened to mainly in church, was considered by the church fathers to be imperative. The Gregorian Chant was considered as important as the words of the prayer to which it was adapted. One was not supposed to exist without the other. The same is true of the Bible Canttilation in the synagogue, and the Jewish sages condemned praying without cantillation.

Sound, Speech and Movement – Three that are One


It may be worthwhile to cite here Eduard Grell,1 who declared that the musical idea contains three main components: 1. words, 2. harmony, 3. rhythm. These three are intimately connected and they appear simultaneously. Of the three, the words are the most important, as they supply the content. What is more, the words also supply the harmony. This they do through their vowels. Even the rhythm is expressed in the words, through their consonants.2 This three-fold connection was recognised already in Biblical times: Let me cite here only two examples that emphasize the threefold usage of singing to words with instruments and with dances, as if all three represent one expression: “… when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of the cities of Israel, singing and dancing…with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. And the women answered one another as they played…”3 “And Miriam, the prophetes, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing to the Lord …” 4

This practice was common throught the whole Middle East, which is considered to be the cradle of our culture. Egyptian and Greek archeological findings such as reliefs, pottery, and wall-paintings, often depict singers, instrument players and dancers performing together, obviously in one group of which they were all an essential part. It seems thus that the appearance of music in ancient times, especially within secular music, was a threefold venture of music accompanied by dance and words. Still, the linkage between word and music when compared to the interrelation between music and dance, was not the same. The connection between music and word was basically never interrupted. From the beginning until today music was sung to words. There were times in which this fusion reigned supreme, and there were other times, although they were much fewer, in which absolute music, namely instrumental music without words and content, existed parallel to programme music, that included words and a definite content. This goes to prove that the first and foremost mission of music was to be understood. In order that the listener should be able to grasp it, he needs to understand the message that is being delivered to him, and with words one cannot go very wrong.


Chapter Seven

The connection between music and dance is of another character. In the connection between music and words, words always came first and music was composed to an existing text. But in the connection between dance and music, it is the other way round; dance is mostly created to already existing music. I always envisage dance as the embodiment of music. As if the aim of dance is to illustrate the abstract language of “sounding time”, while the movement and its rhythm form the connecting bond between the two. During the Middle Ages, especially in their beginnings, this threesome had to part for a while. Dance was considered by the church as well as by the synagogue a sacrilege and was forbidden. It was during that time that the bond between word and music was tightened and seemed inseperable. It was as if the consciousness of God drove the permiscuous earthly dance out of the temple and enabled the pair, word-music, to rise up to the heavens. This somewhat artificial separation of movement from its companions music and word, was corrected, already in the late Middle Ages, in the birth of a religious theatre, performed in the church during the holydays. Its main, if not only, subjects were the birth of Jesus, performed on the eve of Christmas, and the death of Jesus, performed at Easter. Thus the famous threesome was reborn. Music, spoken-word and acting, instead of dancing, were reunited. This development led to the very first beginnings of the Passion-play, Oratorio and even the secular Opera. As already mentioned, those great choral works, that were composed for solo voices choirs and orchestra and constituted the great programme-music created since the year 1600, flourished side by side along with the new and indepedent absolute music which is only instrumental. It was Richard Wagner who claimed that Opera, this “Gesamtkunstwerk”, this ‘all-embracing work of art’, constituted the most important form within the compositions of programme music. In his article: “Das Kustwerk der Zukunft” (“The art of the future”), Wagner wrote: ‘Those three main artistic abilities of the human being were moulded, as if out of themselves, and became the ultimate expression of the triple unification of human art…The art of sound, the art of poetry and the art of dance are the names of the three ancient sisters, that are joined together wherever circustances enable the creation of art. Because of their very nature they are inseperable, without violating this primieval dance that we call art. Within themselves we will find those three embracing and hugging each other out of love and empathy. And if we will take one art out of this threesome then the two remaining will turn

Sound, Speech and Movement – Three that are One


lifeless and will become an artistic illusion upon which life was brought about in an artificial way’.5 Still I maintain that the greatest achievement of the Tonal Age (16001900) was the breakthrough of absolute music. As already mentioned in former chapters, it took untill the year 1600 for music to finally achieve its independance. From now on instrumental music, without any story to tell or content to describe, except its own sound interrelations, could appear in its full splendour and magnificence all by itself, and be perfectly understood. Music in its complete purity, without the help of word and movement, those crutches on which music had to walk until 1600, could, from now on conduct a dialogue with its audience and be sure that it was not only fully understood but that the audience was able to internalize its meaning and achieve great spiritual satisfaction. This miracle came about when music came to posess an understandable language, the language of tonality.6 What is more, never in the history of music did its composition achieve this incredible depth and immensity of expression as it did during the 300 years of the rule of tonality. Take those three hundred years out of music’s repertoire and you will be left with almost nothing of an undisputed value. Tonality was of course used not only for absolute music but for programme music as well. And those two form the great achievement of musical creativity. With the abolition of tonality in the twenties of the 20th century, as we have already discussed in previous chapters, the vitally important dialogue between composer and listener came to its end. After the Dodecaphonic and Serial7 systems failed and were, so to speak, removed from the stage, the music-world remained with no adequate means of communication. The term for composing contemporary Art Music is “A-tonal”, namely not-tonal music. This term tells us what music is not, but we are kept in the dark if we want to know what nowadays music really is. Little wonder that in the last twenty years the general listening public has been turning its back to what it calls “Modern Art Music”, or “Twentieth century classical music”. They clamour for tonal repertoire in Art, or Classical Music, although it does not represent contemporary composition, and cannot get enough of it, while the young generation enthusiastically fill an enormous stadium to listen to Pop ,Rock, and World music. If we examine these kinds of music more closely, we will find that not only have they kept the external garment of tonality, and that they excell in getting the most out of the rhythmic thrill and excietement, but what is much more important, those new folkconcert kinds of music have


Chapter Seven

gone back to the secure threesome of, what I have called “greater music”. All those kinds of music are sung to words and the singers and players move arround with great energy in a vibrant multi- media performance. The greatest and most stunning innovation in 20th century music is Jazz. Jazz succeeded in remaining absolute music, without the vital neccesity of words and movement, which Pop music cannot do without. Jazz succeeded in renewing the musical language without completely abandoning tonality, and restraining itself into accepted musical rules and forms, mainly variations. But Jazz, sadly enough, seems to have reached its climax, after having lasted for a whole century, and providing a remarkable source of inspiration for classical new music as well. The music of Leonard Bernstein, for example, is inconcieveable without the influences of modern Jazz. Thus we remain with Pop, Rock, and the many different kinds of Ethnic music. Music that is less sophisticated, with an enormous appeal for the listening public because it is much more easily and immediately accessible, but which is ultimately lacking in true depth and spirituality. I keep asking myself whether those three, Pop, Rock and Ethnic music, could not serve as a solution for the sad situation in which Art Music finds itself with the disappearance of tonality. It may well be that going back to Folk music, this solid and secure trunk of the tree, from which all music blossoms, and re-uniting music with its two sisters word and dance, could possibly be the starting point for a new and much longed for Art Music.

Notes 1. Eduard August Grell, (1800 -.1886). Organist, choir conductor, prof. at the university of Berlin. 2. Grell’s manuscripts entitled:” Aufsätze und Gutachten”, were published in 1887 by his pupil Heinrich Bellermann. The citation brought here, was taken from Hugo Rieman’s book: “Catechism of Musical Aethetics”, Augner and company, London, 1892 (2ed edition) note 20. 3. First book of Samuel, chapter 18, verses 6,7. 4. Exodus, chapter 15, verses 20,21. 5. The words of Richard Wagner, ( 1813 – 1883) were joined together from different passages of his article:”Die Kust der Zukunft” (“The art of the future”), O. Wigaud, Leipzig 1850. In his article Wagner repeats this idea over and over again. 6. For Tonality, see also chapter 27: “The scale principal, the tonal system and their linguistic meaning”. 7. For Dodecaphony see note 3 in chapter 5; for Seryal Music, see note 9 in chapter


This section of the book is titled, “Music, Single or Plural?” In the first two chapters of this section, we have already discussed two important musical unities, namely melody-harmony-rhythm, and sound-wordmovement, which describe a threesome that is basically one whole. All the following chapters in this section will also deal with this same phenomenon of music being basically a combined activity, or, if you wish, a complex jigsaw, that should be rendered in the plural, but is still perceived in the singular. Music is not the only example of being depicted in singular, while in reality it should be formulated in plural. Take for instance the word “life”’, a highly complex phenomenon that nonetheless is marked in the singular, or the word “water” which is obviously describing a mass phenomenon yet it too is depicted as being single. Allthough in Hebrew there is no way to write or say neither life, (“Chaim”) nor water (“Mayim”) in singular. Even God, the one and only, is formulated in Hebrew in the plural form - “Elohim”. But let me go back to music. In reality there is nothing “single” when it comes to music, because music is a collaborative venture. Not only the existence of composers, peformers and listeners that together form the inter-social community that enables music to take place and to become a “sounding reality”, but also music in itself is a combined venture, a complete pluralistic experience. Melody, harmony and rhythm; sound, word and movement; composer and performer; sopran, alt, tenor and bass; words and melody; strings, winds and percussion; the assemblage of instruments and voices; conductor, soloist and orchestra; solo and tutti; the very different types of music like Folk, Art, Jazz, Pop, World and Ethnic, that take and give from each other and to each other and mix with each other, all of these together are called music, as if we were dealing with a single object. Even the term ‘composition’, that is used to describe the creation of music, means explicitly a combination of many voices and instruments, and the artist who does this is not called ‘creator’ or

Chapter Eight


‘inventor’, but ‘composer’, as if to show that music is a combination of many different components that have to be joined together. Does this fact influence our thoughts about music in any way? Do we have to draw any intellectual or aesthetic conclusions from the fact that music is a gigantic combination of so many different components? In my mind, we do indeed. The art of making music, of composing and performing, of listening and reacting, is basically the art of combining, of being aware of the diversity of the ways to combine, and of realizing the necessity of creating rules and regulations on how to combine this abundance of musical components, so that it will make an intellectual and emotional sense. This is what aesthetics is all about. Let me now come back to the subject of this chapter. On the face of it one may think that I have put together two factors that are one and the same, as it is obvious that voices contain words and that instruments produce sounds. But nonetheless a complete identity does not exist between the two and it may be worthwhile to deal with each of them separately. Voice, in this connection, means the human voice, the sound that we produce using our throat as a resonance box, creating musical phrases out of our own body. Singing is most probably the oldest way of making music. It is the most natural way of expressing oneself, and it fills an emotional need and provides a sense of great enrichment from the very earliest age. The other great difference between the human voice and musical instruments is that singing always is done with, or rather to words. If we claim that singing came much earlier than playing, we only reassure ourselves that combining words with sounds, namely singing, is one of the most basic, important and rudimentary combinations of a musical production . The technical division of the levels of the male and the female voices is understood and self evident. It is, so to speak, a natural given. And so is also the devision between the high and low voices of both men and women. These vocal levels or altitudes are classified as: “soprano” and “alto” for the female voices and “tenor” and “bass”, for the male voices. Their order, from the highest to lowest is as follows: Soprano Tenor Alto Bass

Voice and Instrument – Word and Sound


Let me draw the reader’s attention to the fact that the lowest male voice (the bass) is lower than the lowest female voice (alto) and that, accordingly, the highest male voice (tenor) is lower than that of the highest female voice (soprano). I have to add further that there are at least two more categories of tonelevel: the female “mezzo-soprano” that ranges between the soprano and the alto, and the male “baritone” whose level is placed between the tenor and the bass. I did not include them in the above list because this order of ‘four main voice-levels’, has become the standard classification for combined choir singing as well as composing for instruments. From the beginning of the 17th century and through the period of the Baroque, we encounter the tendency to build instruments in family groups based on these four altitudes. On the one hand we have the soprano-recorder, the tenor-recorder, the alto-recorder and the bassrecorder, representing the wind instruments. And on the other hand we have the Violin, for the soprano level, the Viola, for the alto- tenor level, the Cello for the bass level, and the Contrabass (Double-bass) for the lower bass levels. The inclussion of the doublebass as well as the addition of lower octaves to the piano, which occurred during the development of the tonal age, is an aesthetic viewpoint charachteristic of the age of tonality. After the Baroque period, the tendency was to build single instruments but each of them having its acknowledged altitude: The violin, the oboe and the flute represented the soprano level, while the viola and the clarinet represented the alt-tenor levels, the cello and the bassoon represented the bass level. The same hirarchy exsists also within the brass: The trumpet stands for the highest altitude (soprano) the horn for the alt-tenor altitude, the english-horn and the bassoon for the bass altitude, and the tuba and trombone for the lower bass or the “Basso profundo”. Only the organ, the harpsichord and the piano, namely the keyboard instruments, could cover all the existing voice levels. This is why they are considered “independent” or “self-sufficient” instruments and can perform a whole reperoire by themselves, whereas all of the other instruments, including the different levels of male and female voices, that cover only a limited range of voice, need a keybord instrument to accompany them. I have maybe lingered overly long on this subject, but I have done so bacause it was important for me to show how the human voice, which I consider to be the prime source of all music, has influenced the whole

Chapter Eight


corpus of instrumental polyphony and harmony and thus made Art Music into what it is. The great musical difference between the human voice and the instrument is, as already mentioned, the fact that music for the human voice is always composed for a verbal text.1 This fact gives the voice a quite different assignment: it has to follow the text and express the correct musical interpretation of it. The ability to do this is one of the most important functions of musical aesthetics. It is true that if you give the same text to 10 different composers none will come up with exactly the same music althogh most of them will indeed do justice to the text. Yet there may be some who will fail to fulfill this task. Not that there exist any definite rules on how to correctly translate a text into music but the succesful interpretation of a text will immediately be felt. Very generaly speaking one can state the following facts that distinguish the human voice from a musical instrument: x x x x x x

Every vocal melody can be performed on any instrument. (This is true for western music only) While a melody which is written for voice is limited in its complete range, this limitation is nearly non existent when composing for instruments. The range of the vocal intensity is much more limited than the intensity of an instrument. The length of time in which an instrument is being heard is much greater than that of the voice. It is important to note that while several melodies can be played simultaneously on an instrument, the human voice can produce only one melody at a time. The number of sounds one after the other, that can be produced by an instrument is much higher than those that can be produced by the human voice.

If we examine music’s history and follow the development of the word-music combination we will first encounter the Gregorian Chant that was written down in the beginning of the 7th century. We know, of course, of much earlier examples, for instance the Psalms that were sung in the Temple in Jerusalem, or Greek verses set to music that were even written down. But there are too many possible variations on how to decifer this music and we can not be sure how it sounded in reality. The musical aesthetic of the Gregorian chant, demands a complete and absolute following of the text formation, which is mostly divided into two

Voice and Instrument – Word and Sound


parallel parts (“Parallelism Membrorum”) and the music that has a very narrow range follows it like a shadow. After all it is the prayer that has to be heard and the music is there only to bring this prayer nearer to the heart of the congregation. In the late Middle-Ages and especially during the Renaissance music gained the upper hand. The more voices that joined in the polyphonic fabric the less importance was attached to the meaning of the text and it became more of a pretext. The importance was placed on the progressions of the tones. and on the juxtaposition of the relationship between the different voices. For example, if the first voice was leading downwards the second voice, being played or sung simultaneously, would lead upwards. This style was called “counterpoint”, namely “punctum contra punctunm”, meaning one voice against the other. This aesthetic challenge was so important that it set aside the different roles of the voices versus instruments and they now were all accorded equal status. The reaction to this practice came in the following period, the Baroque. But because this counterpoint practice of the Renaissance gained such importance it was not abolished all at once. Instead all through the Baroque period two very different styles were tolerated and existed side by side: the counterpoint style, that was called Style Primo (first), also called Style Antico, (Ancient Style), and an opposing style, the Style Secundo (second) also known as the Style Nuovo (New Style). This Style Nuovo gave birth to the Italian “Belcanto”, and braught the text to the foreground once again. The Belcanto put a great stress on the melodic singing, and introduced a musical accompanyment that was very quiet and modest and with very limited instrumentation, so as to enable the content as well as the single melodic line to shine as brightly as possible. This is not the place and there is really no need to go deeper into the development of the text-music relationships during the different stylistic periods. Suffice it to say that writing for voices and writing for instruments are basically two different musical tasks and that each of the two has different aesthetc obligations to fulfill. In addition each stylistic period has its own aesthetic obligations as regards composing for both vocal and instrumental music. Let me therefore come back to the musical instruments and to the four main levels or altitudes that were derived from the natural altitudes of the different human voices. With time the range of the different instruments each received its own and separate role to play within the multi-voiced, or polyphonic, fabric. The soprano instruments were the keepers and carriers of the melodic line. The bass instruments served as the basis of the harmony, and the two middle voices, the alto and the tenor, served as


Chapter Eight

fillers between the harmonic basis and the melodic line. In the Baroque, the first of the four periods - the Roccoco, the Classicism (or Classical period), and the Romanticism - that together comprised the age of tonality, those two middle voices were not even written out, and often appeared, marked only in chord numbers beneath the voice of the bass.2 One of the characteristics of the Classicism was the urge to liberate those four voice-levels from their limited task, and to grant freedom and independece to each of the four voices, or rather four instruments, that form the basic corpus of the harmonic fabric. The string quartet, for instance, one of the instrument-combinations which exceled during the classicism and which attained a climax in its repertoire during the second half of the 18th century, developed into a foursome of equal rights and equal importance. Each of the four instruments (first and second violin, viola and cello) expressed, in their turn, all the existing elements of the composition. This attitude of granting equality to each instrument was transferred to all the different chamber music combinations, that were written for strings and winds, with or without piano. But alongside this balance between the different instruments, there were nonetheless two instruments that stood out and that, with time, became the most important and thoughtafter, and thus recieved the greatest and most valued repertoire. Theye were the Piano and the Violin. The piano was, during the 18th and 19th centurys, the only self-sufficient instrument. With the growing importance of harmony and equiped with an harmonic infrastructure, there did not exist any other instrument that could better fulfill this aesthetic demand of the period. The violin, on the other hand, although it still needed the piano to supply the music written for it with the necessary harmonic lining, nonetheless was the leader, not only of the newly established orchestra, but of all the ensembles and chamber music groups that included violins. Its colours and the ability to express the melodic aspect was so sought after, that it made the violin the king of instruments in a world in which the piano was queen. During the Romantic Period, which lasted through all of the 19th century, these two instruments only increased in demand. The newly erected conservatoires and the development of methodical teaching enabled the pianists and the violinists to show forth their technical abilities and to flabergast their audiences with their growing virtuosity. Names like Paganini and Liszt, astounded the musical world, and the importance of the performers began to overshadow that of the composers. This evaluation is certainly true of to-day’s musical custom. This is the place to write a few sentences about the aspect of idiomatic musical writing. Namely finding a special way, or better still, a specific

Voice and Instrument – Word and Sound


“slang” within the composers own language of composing, for each and every instrument. This aesthetic aspect developed with the years and increased in importance. While during the 17th century one could use any soprano instrument that was available ( recorder, oboe, flute or violin) to play the melodic soprano voice of a given composition, this practice became unthinkable in the classical period and was considered an absolute taboo in the romanticism.3 The “Art of the Fuge”, one of the high points of Johan Sebastian Bach’s compositions, that was written for a four-voiced fabric, failed to specify the instruments or the voices for which it was written. We can rest assured that this composition was not written for the human voice because there were no words attached to it, but as to the instruments it seems that Bach left their choice completely up to the players, just so long as they chose sopran instruments for the high part and bass instruments for the low. But from classicism onwards this practice was, as already mentioned, unthinkable. Mozart wrote quite differently when composing a concerto for violin than when composing a concerto for flute, although these two are both soprano instruments. Instead Mozart developed a very distinctive style for each and every instrument and most composers after him followed suit. Each instrument had unique characteristics and thus received a special and characteristic art of envisioning music suitable for that instrument .The attempt that Beethoven made to transcribe his violin concerto into a piano concerto, did not fare well, and is rightly very seldom performed. From that time untill the end of the 19th century each instrumental composition differs greatly and is expected to fully adapt to the colours and shades and the special characteristics of the instrument for which it is written. The same has to be said about the growing differences in the art of composing for the human voice and composing for instruments. Generally the vocal style, especially in regard to the vocal Lied, that was a sort of a “landmark” within the romatic repertoire, became more and more lyrical, melodic and intimate. At the same time the instrumental compositions, especially from the beginning of the 19th century, grew in virtuosity and in range and were given an added glamour, much as the operatic vocal bravura became broader and deeper and developed great virtuosity. One has to admit that there are very many exceptions to this rule. I will mention only two of them. During the late Baroque, Bach and especially Händel deviated from time to time from the lyric –melodic character of the human voices and treated them as if they were instruments, giving them


Chapter Eight

up and down scales to perform in a very rapid tempo. The reason for this is not only that during this period the idiomatic composition had not yet become effective, but also because at that time the polyphonic progression of the different voices, whether human or instrumental, seemed much more important than the possibile idiomatic writing. The other example is the vocal quartet in the last part of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. There exists an enormous melodic gap between the folklike melody of the “Ode to Joy”, and the parts that were written for the vocal quartet composed as though for instruments, both appearing in the same part of the symphony. This quartet is really unsingable, and there was indeed a reason why Bethoven wrote and re-wrote that part again and again and yet again. Beethoven was an instrumental composer through and through, and his ability to write for the human voice was as if hindered. He was aware of this, and it angered him greatly although he would not admit it. The last part of this symphony, as well as the opera Fidelio, took a very long time to be written. These two famous compositions are overwhelming and exceptional works of art, not because their treatment of the human voice is so convincing, but rather in spite of their inadequate writing for the human voice. The above paragraphs demonstrate an aesthetic dilemma that may turn out to be insoluble. There does not exist any theoretical or aesthetical rule telling us how to compose for voices or instruments. There are however certain accepted customs and traditions. And although preserving a tradtion at all cost would soon harm the artistic creation by becoming dull and uninspiring, it is at the same time a ‘sine qua non’, ensuring the comfortable and convenient relationship between the composition and its listener. What has become familiar is easly understood and therefore readily accepted. Composing Art-Music is therefore an unending ‘give and take’ between writing according to habit and throwing habit to the winds, so to speak; between remaining true to convention and daring to renew. These then are the ‘touch and go’ choices and they can easily develop into a no-win situation. A common way of approaching and treating the human voice in modern composition has not yet been realized. Every composition that includes human voices, treats the voice in a different way. In the early twentieth century Arnold Shönberg created a new vocal style that was called “Sprechgesang” (Speech-singing), and his famous composition “Pierrot Lunaire” (1912), for voice and seven instruments, is a wonderful example for it. But this is only one of many possibilities that 20th century composers have produced. As in other aspects of musical aesthetics also here complete freedom and even chaos reigns supreme. Sentences are

Voice and Instrument – Word and Sound


broken up, words are being divided into syllabels that are heard again and again without any relation to their actual content. Although the listener takes into consideration that the composer is trying to reflect the general content or at least the mood of the poem or the text, he cannot follow these intentions because, in most cases, he does not have any referencepoint to understand the composer’s intention. And thus, instead of using the text as a common promised language between composer and listener, the riddle of the text makes the understanding of its music even more difficult. Unfortunately only Pop and Rock, and of course, Rap, within the musical scene of to-day, know how to utilise the text as an important bridge betweem composer and listener

Notes 1. There are only a few exceptions to this rule. One of them is Claude Debussy’s “La Mer”, in which womens voices, devoid of any text, appear within the orchestral composition. These voices are content with pronouncing only the vowl “ah”, and by this add a new colour to those of the instruments. 2. This technique is called “Basso continuo” or “Figured bass”, indicating by numbers, written under the bass part designating the chief intervals and chords to be played above the bass notes. 3. This is true notwithstanding the fact that there exist transcripts from instruments into voices like the music of the lovely “Swingle Singers”, but this is more of a curiosity, which belongs to the lighter side of music, rather than an artcomposition.


The uniqueness of music lies, among other attributes, in its ability to address us in many voices simultaneously, and we can identify each and every one of them. What is more, we can not only understand them but also enjoy the sounds of togetherness and be uplifted by them. There are those who claim, and perhaps rightly so, that this mutuality provides the fullest and greatest joy that we can experience from listening to music. In this aspect music differs completely from speech, that, in my mind, is its nearest relative. Because speech can be understood only if a single person speaks. If many people try to speak at one and the same time, it would be impossible to understand a single word. This is not the case with music even when played or sung by many different performers. So much so that there are people who claim that the art of music did not begin until the appearance of polyphony (many voices or many sounds). This happened, as already mentioned, arround the 9th century. I have already taken the opportunity to stress the fact that the teaching of composition concentrates mainly on the ways and means of adding one voice to another. The main, one could even say that the only rules of theory and especially of harmony, namely the filling out of the vertical aspect of music, deal with this aesthetic issue. These rules, needless to say, differ from one stylistic period to another. There is a period in which it is strictly forbidden to compose parallel quints and octaves, and there is a period in which those parallels are considered desirable. There are periods in which a tritone (C’-F’ sharp), namely three whole tones or the augmented quart, is considered to be the “Diabolus in Musicae” ( the devil in music), and is not allowed under any circumstance. And there are times in which one could use this “devil” provided one immediately brings an harmonic solution to remedy the dissonance.1 And there exist yet other times in which this interval between those two tones is considered most desireable. All depends on the aesthetics of the period in question. As regards the opinion that Art Music did not exist before polyphony, I myself doubt this and tend to believe that a beautiful monophonic

Monophony and Polyphony


melody can possess an exciting meaning and indeed deliver an artistic message. Let me go into greater detail.

A. Monophony Monophony means music comprising only a single melodic line without additional voices or accompaniment. When speaking about monophony, we must keep in mind that it is usually performed by a single person, or by persons who perform together exactly the same melodic line (The professional name for this performance is called “Unisono” namely ‘one sound’). In Western culture monophonic music comprised mainly the musical repertoire of the early periods: the music in the Catholic Church until the 9th century, as well as secular European music also after polyphony was introduced into religious music, such as Trouveres and Troubadours in France, and Minnesänger and Meistersänger 2 in Germany. And ,of course, Folk-music along all the different periods. In the West we have become accustomed to look upon monophonic music as being inferior, even primitive. This patronising attitude is not only one-sided and short-sighted, but also untrue. After all every folk song is in principle monophonic, even if it is, from time to time, accompanied by instruments. And I believe that each one of us longingly retains the childhood memory of listening to a lullaby before falling asleep. It may also be worthwhile mentioning that one should refrain from the tendency to add voices to a monophonic melody, as if feeling the need to “enrich” it. This tendency is probably the outcome of leaning too heavily on the great musical tradition of the tonal age. We have to accept monophony in its purest form and try to ease our path towards this particular world of sounds, which played such an important role in the world of earlier generations. Only thus will the great richness of this world of ‘singlevoiced sounds’ reveal itself to us, and we will be able to recognise its grace and the intensity of its emotional expression. Only thus will we be able to appreciate the inspiring melodic and rhythmical treasure that is inherent in this monophony. Let me remind the reader that western polyphonic singing as it was first introduced into church music, was based on the monophonic Gregorian Chant. This music served as an ‘existing firm voice’, the “Cantus Firmus”, to which the other voices were added, according to the


Chapter Nine

rules that changed from time to time with the changing of aesthetical taste. Also in later periods, after Art Music had left the church and had become an independent artistic polyphonic or harmonic expression, composers often turned to simple folk melodies when looking for inspiration, and adopted them into their compositions. Take, for example, the string quartet by Joseph Haydn, that has as its theme the folksong that later became the national anthem of Great Britain. Not to speak of Beethoven who composed most of his many and very impressinve variations on melodies that were written by other composers or taken from the folkmusic treasures. For instance “ 32 variations on a theme by Diabelli”, 7 piano variations on “God save the King”, variations for windinstruments on a theme from “Don Giovanni” by Mozart , 12 variations for cello and piano on Mozart’s aria from “Die Zauberflote” “Ein mädchen oder weibchen”, 6 piano variations on a Swiss folk song, and so on and so forth. It seems as if, especially for Beethoven, the melody, even though it was of prime importance, was basically not absolutely vital. The importance of a musical composition in the realm of Art-Music, was inherent in the way in which one dealt with this melody; in the way in which one developed it, and how it was used in order to create the progression of the polyphonic sound and reach into its innermost depth. Until the middle of the 20th century, however, composing music devoid of a melodic theme, was unthinkable. It may be worthwhile mentioning here that in the 19th century and even more so during the 20th century we can observe a custom according to which a monophonic source serves as a kind of a “motto” to the polyphonic composition. For example take the orchestral work by Mark Kopytman3 “Memory”. This begins with a monophonic melody, taken from the Yemenite repertoire sung by a single female voice, who leaves the stage after she has finished, while her melody is kept as if ‘hanging in the air’, a sort of reminder and background to the progress of a polyphonic instrumental composition. It may well be that this use of a “motto”, serves also to present the listener with a leading hand with which to come closer to the otherwise perhaps inaccessible composition. It may even offer some comfort by introducing an innocent and naïve melodic line to the otherwise very sophisticated and complex polyphony.

Monophony and Polyphony


B. Polyphony With this second part of chapter 9 we are approaching the very heart of European Art Music. And one has to admit that all along the second millenium, Europe was setting the fashion and giving the tone to Art Music, for the whole world to copy. This European music concentrated most of its efforts on deepening and enlarging the multi-voiced fabric of sounds. This special warm, interesting and sophisticated sound that emerged out of the different combinations of many voices playing and singing different musical lines all at once, excited the occidental ear and provided great satisfaction. All this differs greatly from the oriental concept of music and from oriental musical expectations. In the occident a musician can scarcely differentiate between a whole tone and a semi-tone, but is able to hear and distiguish many voices that sound all at once and is a real master in envisaging the vertical line of the musical score. The oriental musician, on the other hand, is a master in envisaging the horizontal line of the musical score and is able to distiguish between many voice-shades that exist in between a single semitone, but he has no ear for, and does not paticularly appreciate, the vertical line of playing and singing together. As a result, in Europe, most of the aesthetic rules, called by many musicians ‘theoretical’ or ‘harmonic’ rules, were directed towards those voice-combinations. Each period developed its own aesthetic taste on how to combine the different voices, which combinations sounded the best and were the most agreeable to the ear of that perticular period.. It seems that this vertical line of musical appreciation continues in todays Art Music, although, in contrast with the past, such aesthetic rules have been discarded, and every composer sets his own tone-relations as he sees fit. I believe that it is important to describe, albeit very briefly, the development of polyphonic, or multi-voiced musical creativity during the last millenium. As we are all aware mere words are too limited and are too inadequate to describe, let alone define, music’s many phenomena, its ways of expression and its different concepts and notions. I experienced this shortcoming for instance in looking for an appropriate title for this chapter. Polyphony, (from the Greek, poly =many, phonus=sound or voice), has at least two meanings in the musical vocabulary. It can mean music that is composed for more than one voice, as opposed to monophony, and it can mean a certain or special style of composing polyphonic music, namely the style that chacterises the composition of the


Chapter Nine

late Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and partly the Baroque system of composing. In German and Hebrew and I believe in the Swedish language as well, there exists two different terms for this double meaning, one for the overall term of multi-voiced music namely, in the German ”Mehrstimmig”, and the other that is called “Polyphony” for the special style of multi-voiced compositions that was characteristic of the periods between the 11th and 17th century. This polyphony is a composition wherein two or more voices perform simultaneously, while each voice is melodicaly and rhythmically independent, they nevertheless all integrate into an organic unit despite their differences. The idea of polyphony aroused such enthusiasm among composers, especially during the late Renaissance and the Baroque, and they feverishly looked for more and more possibilities of enriching this polyphonic texture and finding ever new paths that heightened their inspiration to compose new masterpieces. Let me bring to the reader’s attention the Motets and Missas, the Madrigals, Oratorios, Cantatas, and Passions, by Josquin Deprez or Orlando di Lasso, by Don Carlo Gesualdo or Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina, by Claudio Monteverdi and Giacomo Carissimi and by Heinrich Schütz, Johan Sebastian Bach and Georg Friedrich Händel. The greatness of these composers and their mastery of polyphonic possibilities in such an impressive way lies in the well organised integration of the independent voices into an impressive unit of togetherness. I have already mentioned the aesthetic trend of Counterpoint. This trend reached a kind of climax during the period between the 16th and 18th centuries, by the afore-mentioned composers. The Counterpoint demanded a rhythmic and tone-progressing contradiction between the different voices. This contradistinction between the voices expressed the aesthetic taste of the Central European society at that time. It contained a guaranteed balance as well as a dramatic excitement. This contradiction, even in the form of a “Kanon” or a Fuge, for instance, provides one of the fundamentals of refined artistic creation. It is the balance between form and content, between well-planned thought and the emotion of being carried away. This kind of a balance is one of the layers whose comprehensive title is the “Aethetics of music”.

Monophony and Polyphony


C. The Choral texture With the establishment of the Protestant Church, the very first style of adding voices to a Cantus Firmus, already existed. At the beginning of the 9th century polyphony was first introduced into Art Music by adding a “Double” to the existing Gregorian chant. The added voice followed the chant like a shadow only four tones ( a quart) higher. This aesthetic style was called “Parallel Organum”, that after a while gave way to other styles of adding voices.These new styles became more and more polyphonic, placing emphasis on the style of the new counterapoint, eager to add more and more contradicting voices to the desired texture of the polyphonic sound. With the establishment of the Protestant Church, this, by now old aesthetical merit of allowing the added voice that moved parallel to the melody tone for tone, was re-introduced but doned a renewed garment. Martin Luther (1483-1546), the great reformer, was determined to bring his new religion closer to the public. In order to achieve this, he chose the most suitable from the treasure of the existing folk tunes, shaped them so as to fit his religious texts and below the given melody he added three additional voices. Rhythnically they followed exactly the newly shaped folk-tune. The voices were added according to the very newly envisaged harmonic taste. The four voiced- hierarchy (soprano, alto, tenor and bass), received thus, perhaps for the first time, full expression. Luther provided these four voiced songs with appropriate texts, taken from the weekly portion of the Bible reading or from the Psalms, and called them “Chorals”. They were sung by the four voiced church choir during prayers at the church services, and were later introduced into Art Music as well. Heinrich Schütz and J.S.Bach, among others, intertwined them in their Cantatas and Passions. This compositional style according to which all voices moved in the same rhythm, enabled the words of the choral to be heard and understood as clearly as possible, a quality that was completely absent when listening to the polyphonic choir. This was the reason for Luther’s choice. He needed the music to bring the text near to the heart of the congregation, as the text was after all the main issue and must not be overwhelmed nor misunderstood because of the music For the same reason, in order that people could fully understand the meaning of the text, it was sung, for the first time, not in the incomprehensible Latin, but in German, the language of the people. Thus two contradictory types of sound-merges could be heard in one and the same composition; on the one hand the counterpointal polyphonic


Chapter Nine

style of the regular choir and on the other the harmonious texture of the choral singing.. Unless I am greatly mistaken Luthers Chorals introduced into the musical repertoire the first vocal treatment anticipating as it were, the tonal harmony that became the norm two hundred years later, in the writings of the French composer and theoretition, Jean Philippe Rameau (16831764).

The Monodic texture The Monodic texture, came into being in the beginning of the Baroque period, around 1600. It was aimed at contradicting the earlier polyphonic texture. Its source was the same need that motivated the choralic texture, namely to stress the importance of the words or the text that was sung, and to give the voice that carries the text as broad a space as possible. But in the monodic texture the text is not religious but secular, and the emphasis was placed on the lyric bond between sound and word. This texture was used mainly for opera that was about to emerge, and was prefered by the composers around the “Camerata” circle in Florence, that breathed life into the up and coming opera, the new musical form.. This monodic texture was in reality a bridge between the polyphonic style of voice-merging and the homophonic one, and was based on the theory of harmony that was characteristic of the the Classical period, that was already visible on the horrizon. The monodic texture was also called “Style Nuovo” (new style) as opposed to “Style Antico” (old style) that represented the counterpoint polyphony. As already mentioned, these two styles existed side by side all during the Baroque period (1600-1750). The new monodic texture was based on a singing voice that presented the melody and an accompaniment by the harpsichord, together with some low string instrument. The bass voice of the harpsichord carried the harmony as well as the ‘filler voices’, that were indicated only by numbers.4 This arrangement bears witness to the importance given to the soprano as the carrier of the melody, and the bass, as the carrier of the harmony, while the middle voices (alto and tenor) were considered so unimportant that they were not worthy of being written out. The other important conclusion that we may draw from this arrangement, is that in those times the performers, especially the harpsichord players, were considered to be as professional in composition

Monophony and Polyphony


as they were in performing, and could be completely relied upon to be able to improvise and re-compose.

D. The Homophonic texture The homophonic texture developed directly from the monodic outlook. The polyphonic ideal that gives each voice its rhythmic and melodic independence disappeared. Instead a much more disciplined style was introduced, as already predicted in the monodic texture. The main voice was the one that carried the melody. The other important voice, but not as important, was the bass, that voice that formed the basis for the harmony. The other voices were of even lesser importance. While polyphony’s aesthetic aim was to achieve equality between all voices in their relation to each other, the aesthetic aim of homophony was to maintain a hierarchical voice-community, in which each voice has a different role to play; some were important, some were less important and some were not important at all. This aesthetic outlook corresonded to the aesthetics of the tonal scale. Here we encounter the most important tone – the Tonic; the ruling tone – the Dominant; and the less important tones that carried a coloureffect like the third and sixth, and the leading tone –the augmented seventh that lead us safely back home to the Tonic.5 It is important to mention here that the melodic voice, within the homophonic texture, was not necessarily given to the soprano voice or instrument. Every performing voice could carry the melody, if the composer so chose. The melody can obviously pass from one voice to the other, as long as the essential meaning remains, that there exists a voice that carries the melody while all the other voices support this melodic voice. The homophonic texture gained control over musical composition beginning with Classicism, in other words from the middle of the 18th century. Its most important representatives were Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Homophony continued to be the main texture all during the 19th century and even at the beginning of the 20th century. The search for the “beautiful” melody, that melody that has the power to express feelings, wishes, desires, happiness, thoughts, fears, and sadness, became more and more relevant during the romantic period and had an important role to play in the fact that homophony gained the upper hand over polyphony. The polyphonic texture had no power to express all those moods that the period longed for. This personal and emotional expression could be


Chapter Nine

realized only in that aesthetic that placed all its emphasis on the melodic line. This urgent wish of the composer to achieve a convincing self expression went hand in hand with the wish of the ‘receiver’, namely the listener, to be emotionaly involved and seduced by the beauty of the music that was being played to him.

E. Multi-voiced textures in the age of A-tonality The breaking of tonality, as it became evident in the thirties of the previous century, did not bring about all at once a total breaking of all rules, including homophony. Arnold Schönberg, the genius of the A-tonal revolution, was the one who lent a creative shape to the Dodecaphonic (6) system. This system provides a sort of replacement for the tonal scale, that was rejected from here on, as well as for the “melody”, or the theme, of the composition. The moulding of the musical theme as well as of the “scale” of the composition was built from all 12 semitones that comprise one octave, provided that none is repeated and that all twelve are present. This scale, or better still, “row” of sounds, is a one-time affair and can not be repeated in any other composition. The importance of the Dodecaphonic system regarding the subject that concerns this chapter, rests with the fact that this “row” served not only as the theme of the composition, but was used for the voice-combination of that composition as well. The combination of a few of the tones of the “row” could serve as the harmonic texture or lining of the said composition. A while later this usage developed into what was called the Seryal system according to which all the parameters of a composition, including the rhythmical, the agogical and the dynamic aspects, were moulded out of this single row. The row turnes from now on into a three dimensional prism, comprising the melodic, the harmonic, and the rhythmical elemts. Music thus becomes more and more sophisticated and objective. Its numerical calculations gain in importance, replacing subjective emotions and sentiments, and rejecting the importance of “beauty” in music, as beauty has no objective validity. Since then many different possibilities of voice-combination have come and gone. Just to mention here the “cluster”, that was ‘en vogue’ during the fifthies of the previous century. Here the harmonic effect was achieved by placing the entire arm on the keyboard, and all the sounds that happened to be heard from under the arm provided the desirable multi-voiced texture for the composition. This system turns random sound

Monophony and Polyphony


into a definite reality, as if claiming that all of life is simply a matter of chance. It may be worthwhile to mention here the phenomenon of “heterophony”, that was revived recently by some composers. For instance in the creative process of the israeli composer Mark Kopytman, for instance it evolved into an exciting venture. “Heterophony” stems from two Greek words, “heteros”= strange, “phonus” = sound. Actually we are talking about a practice that was common within the “natural people” (see note no.1 in chapter 10). Two singers or more sang the same song but each started haphazardly, or one deviated slightly from the original melody, or improvised on it, without considering what the other singers might do. The result was an entirely disorganised and chance meeting of different voices that were not supposed to and could not have any relation to one another. European Art Music, that for the last four centuries has set the tone and has been regarded by the whole world as one of the most sublime of all the arts, is basically an art of melody that is carried on a many-voiced changing alignment of sounds. In this chapter I have tried to describe in a bird’s eye view, the different paths of this sound alignment as they progressed during these centuries. Their time belongs now to the past, as is only right and fitting, and most probably can not ever return as they were. Our problem is that we are left with nothing else. Instead of looking for new ways, methods and rules to keep Art Music growing and developing (as did Schönberg), we have wrapped ourselves in the illusion that one can create music devoid of any systems, regulations, methods or eccepted frameworks. By doing so we have left the stage to completely other kinds of music, mainly Pop and Rock. Some of it is excellent music, and all of it fills an important role in our social life. But as they are now, they can never replace what Art Music gave to its listeners in centuries gone by.

Notes 1. The terms Consonance and Dissonance are used to describe the agreeable effect (consonance) produced by certain sound combinations, and the disagreeable ones (dissonance) produced by others. They are the foundation of the harmonic music, in which the consonance represents the accepted aesthetic taste of a certain period, while the dissonance represents the unaccepted, if not forbidden, taste within a certain period. Needless to say that in to-days music the two have been completely discarded


Chapter Nine

2. Minnesänger. during the 12th and the 14th century were aristocratic German poet-musicians who composed mainly secular music in which love reigned supreme. Minne is a Middle-Age German expression for love.). Meistersänger were the German more proffessinal poet-singer-player-composer who during the 15th and 16th century formed a guild of German musical craftsmen. Trouveres were aristocratic poet-musicians of the Middle-Ages in northern France, who appeared in the mid 12th century. Troubadours were the aristocratic poetmusicians of the Middle- Ages in Southern France. All of them were the carriers of secular music during the late Middle-Ages. 3. Mark Kopytman was born in the Soviet Union in 1929. He emmigrated to Israel in 1972, integrated into Israeli society and became a recognised and acknowledged composer and teacher. He is a Professor of composition, (now retired), at the Jerusalem Accademy of Music and Dance. 4. For Basso continuo see also note 2 for chapter 8 5. For the meaning of Tonality see also note 8 for chapter 5, as well as chapter 28 in this book 6. For the meaning of Dodecaphony see also note 3 for chapter 5


In our survey of the very many different factors within the phenomenon of music, we come, in this chapter, to the plurality indicating that there are at least two creative forces that are involved in the process of causing music to be heard. These two are the creator and the performer. There are, of course, cases in which the creator is not one person but two or even more. Take for instance a song which has two creators: the poet and the composer, or the opera which boasts of many creators: the composer, the librettist, the original writer of the text, the director, the setdesigner and perhaps even a choreographer. The same is true of the performer: it can be one person, a pianist or a solo-violinist for instance, a group of persons playing different ensembles of chamber music, or many performers playing together in a philharmonic orchestra with soloist and a big choir. Let me draw the attention of the reader to the fact that this was not always the case, and even to-day it is not always necessarily true. Among the so called “primitive peoples”,1 the inhabitants of the Near and Far east, in most styles of “world music” of to-day, and of course in the art of Jazz, the creators and performers are, in most cases, one and the same. Thus it seems that envisioning and carrying this vision out, is meant to be done by one and the same visionary. These examples prove once again that not only the beginning of music, but mainly its primary task, will be found in improvisation. Such an improvisation is based on a given basic tune, a Maquam,2 a Modus, or any accepted scale that is used by the society at a certain time and in a certain place. Improvisation can also be done on a given musical theme, or a well known folk tune, or on known rhythmical combinations. The claim that music is in reality a ”one-time” affair, receives here its proper meaning, because an improvisation can never be repeated. Improvisation serves also as evidence of another claim, namely that creativity is an important factor not only in composing music but also in performing music.


Chapter Ten

What is more, improvisation was also a necessity in those times when musical notation did not-exist. The absence of musical notation for such a long period does not stem from an inablility to create such a notation, but is rather a result of a lack of interest to do so. Essentially notation does not belong to the explicit imperatives of making music. On the contrary; notation contradicts what seems to be the very nature of music, namely the “one timeliness”, the uniquness of each and every musical performance. The European Art Music that developed during the last millennium and became the forerunner and leader of all music everywhere in the world, interfered in this natural process and as it were “established” music by putting it in writing. From now onwards the separation between composer and performer was inevitable. The one creates the music and puts the composition on paper, and the other breathes musical life into the written signs and enables the sounds to be heard, sending them on their way to the listener. And as Art Music became the music “par excellence” and was setting the tone for the whole world – East and West, this seperation became the common norm. The division was so far-reaching that even if the composer performed his own composition – a custom that was quite common, in Art Music as well, until the 19th century - these two actions were totally separated; first the composition was created and put on paper and only afterwards the composer began to practice his performance before playing it to the public. The gap between composer and performer expanded greatly mainly because of the growing technical expectations from the performer. To-day we encounter very few composers whose technical abilities would enable them to perform their own compositions. When I took my nune year old grandson to a piano-recital by Murray Perahia, he turned to me after a long while of serious listening, and said: “I don’t understand, if he is such a great musician, why does he not play his own music?” I was quite bewildered, explaining to him the great challenge of the musical performance, but his remark made me realize that he was basically right. Unintentionaly I was reminded of chapter 8, verse 2 in the Biblical Psalms: “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength..” What is more, may I venture to suggest that if this separation between composer and performer was not so well established to-day, could it be possible that the composer, knowing that he himself will not perform his work, is less intrested in satisfying the emotional needs of the listening public? And as so much of to-days music is performed in sterile closed recording studios, without a live audience at all, is it possible that his need

Composer and Performer


and his urge to satisfy the audience are lessened? Or is it a blasphemy to even suggest it? On the other hand, this separation between composer and performer enables a constant renewal even of the music of by-gone times, and lends to it a garment of innovation. It becomes “musica viva”, namely music that is alive to-day, because it is performed to-day. We have to bear in mind that the performer is always the contemporary of the listener. Even if the performer calls back to life an ancient composition that was written hundreds of years ago, it becomes, by its being performed to day, an experience of to-day. Thus we witness in this integration of times a refreshing and intriguing intellectual experience. All this is true except, of course, in recordings. Those fantastic technical innovations are in fact a blessing in disguise, because they present an artificial way of making music that diverts music from its natural process and has really little to do with music’s all-embracing role among peoples. This separation between creator and performer exists in all “Dynamic” arts, the arts of the stage, those that I dared to call “Greater Music”.3 In the realm of dance we have the choreographer and the composer on the one hand and on the other the performers namely the dancers. In theatre we encouter the Play-wright, the director, the stage-designer on the one hand, and the actors on the other. But let me concentrate on music. In his morning prayer the religious Jew prays: ’Blessed be He who in His goodness renews every-day always the act of creation’. This of course is said in reference to god, the creator and renewer of the whole world. But when speaking about Art Music, which is after all a human creation, we need at least an additional creator, namely the performer. I called the performer, in this connection, a second creator, because I firmly believe that the art of performing entails a great portion of creativity, namely that creativity which is mainly expressed in the art of renewal. It is not a coincidence that I dared to make such an immodest comparison between god and the creator of music. We have to distinctly differentiate between the creation of music and that of all the other arts. The arts tell, describe, paint, or sculpt an existing event or an existing landscape. They take this existing landscape as a means to interpret the landscape, but the fact remains that this art is a kind of imitation; an art that creates a “being from being”. Whereas absolute music, namely pure music without words or movement, has no entity to imitate and is therefore a creation by itself and of itself..This is why music is essentially


Chapter Ten

a creation that can not be compared to anything that already exists and is therefore an art of “being from nothingness”. The painter takes a tree that exists outside his window, or a human being who lives in his environment, and puts them on to canvas. He does so according to the style of the period in which he lives and according to his artistic imagination, talent and ability. Likewise abstract painting reflects the painters imagination of an already existing image, however much he may have stripped it of all realistic likeness. Not to speak of current fashionable trends that would take a common familiar object, like, for example, Andy Warhol’s can of campbell soup, putting it in a frame, and hanging it, just as it is, on the walls of a museum. As if saying: ”all that we proclaim to be art, is indeed art”. The same can be said about the sculptor, not to speak of the writer or the dramatist. In other words; The “what” of all arts is taken from the outside and the artist concentrates mainly on the “how” to describe them. Music, on the other hand has no “what” to describe or to imitate. The Symphonies of Beethoven do not roam the streets and they have no sample taken either from nature nor from within the society. The rusling of the woods, the murmur of the rivers, the whistle of the wind and the twitter of the birds, do not provide a source of inspiration for musical creativity. At most we will find those sounds reproduced in compositions out of the mainstream, “off the beaten track”, like, for example the “Toy symphony” by Leopold Mozart, in which the cuckoo is heard, or “The Pine trees of Rome” by Ottorino Respighi. A rare exception to this rule is “The Birds” by Olivier Messiaen, not considered “off the beaten track”, in which the composer incorporates actual sounds recorded in nature. So is “La Mer” by Claude Debussy although it is more inspired by the sea, rather than a real reflection of it. What is more, Debussy, as the most important representative of French Impressionism is the one example of a close connection between visual art and musical art and “La Mer” may be the outcome of it. Finally I would like to mention some of the “Lieder” of the romantic period, where reflections of nature are due to the poems on which the music is based. Those then are the exceptions. The rule is that music deals not only with the “how”, as do all the arts, but also with the “what”. The uniquness of music is true if we compare the painter to the composer. But if we compare the painter to the musical performer we will find that those two are much more similar and are engaged in basically the same art. The painter, the sculptor and the writer, they all take an existing image and mould it into an artistic object. This is exactly what the musical performer does, he takes the composition that is hidden, like the cocoon

Composer and Performer


of a silkworm, within the black on white notes or staves. The performer breathes life into it, turns the cocoon into a fantastic butterfly and releases it to soar into the skies before it dies and vanishes from this world.4 Thus the musical performer does what the painter or the writer do. They all create a “being from a being”. The painter takes the tree from the outside and paints it on canvas, and the music performer takes the music that exists only in its potential and turns it into living sounds. Still we have to remember that while the painter or the writer are the sole creators of the painting or the novel, the musical performer is only one of two creators of the music that is being presented to the listener. The other being the composer, who creates music as a “being from a nothingness” These remarks that are supposed to put the performer in his authentic place, namely that of a second creative artist, have been dimmed and disrupted with the passage of time. The role of the performer of music has been diminished and limited to the act of performance only. Even the most outstanding performer is seen merely as a bridge between composer and listener; as a faithfull mailman who is supposed to deliver the composition, completely as envisaged by the composer, to its addressee, the listener. The media, the critics and public opinion to-day have succeeded in creating a distorted image of music; an image of a body with two completely unequal arms, an extanded arm and a shortened arm. On the one hand they not only accept but welcome the utmost freedom of composing; a freedom that more often than not borderes on anarchy. On the other hand they deliberately rule out any freedom for the performer. He is supposed to be utterly faithfull to the composers intentions, even when we can not be completely sure what those intentions really were. My own belief is that the Beethoven that we play to-day must also make allowence for the influences of the times in which we live, and we cannot allow musical performance of to-day to be constrained by habits and fashions of ‘once upon a time’. This mismatch of to-days musical body presents a double standard of the first order, not to speak of the distortion of the original task of the performer. From this point of view there is an enormous difference between the freedom that is granted today to theatre directors, and the strict limitation that is placed on the conductor or any musical performer. It is not unusual, for instance, to find to-day productions of a Shakespearean play which, while remaining true to the text, will offer an entirely innovative reinterpretation of the playwright’s original setting and intention. But the musical performer, on the other hand, will be harshly criticized if he does


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not remain completely faithful to the style of Beethoven or of Mozart or of any other classical composer. This strange situation has made possible incredible and even astonishing performances of classical operas. I recently attended a performance of “Orpheos and Euridiche” by Christoph Willibald Gluck. From the soloists and the orchestra in the pit the public expected to hear what is considered to-day to be a strict interpretation of the style of Gluck. But what happened on stage had nothing to do neither with Gluck’s time nor with the customs or the reality of life for the ancient Greeks. Iphigenia did not drown at sea but was killed in a car accident, and a big Limousine was hanging from the stage ceiling. Blue lamps were shining all over the stage with policemen in uniforms running about. This scene had nothing to do with the music that was heard from the pit, but nobody thought that there was anything wrong with this performance. Reading articles and books that have been written twenty or thirty years ago reflect a great anger and dissatisfaction with todays attitudes towards the performers of music. There are those who claim that the performer, or, better said, the “renewer” of music, was the first to bring the message of music to the listener, long before music was composed and written down. Nicholas Cook,5 for instance, claims that music is essentially a process and not a product. According to him Western Art Music has distorted the real meaning of music and turned it from being a process into being a product. And he cites Small who wrote: “Western classical music embodies a kind of society that does not allow for mutual participation of all peoples because it is based upon works and not upon interaction”.6 It seemed to me appropriate to mention here these two musicologists, even though I do not agree with them. It may well be that Art Music has changed the role of music that at times was also a sort of improvisation enjoyed by all participants, but it has basically nothing to do with the creation of musical art. Notwithstanding I do think that the role of the performer has been greatly diminished, as if stripped of his most important task, namely that of the “renewer” Speaking about the importance of the renewal of music, I have to warn my reader that renewal does not mean complete change. On the contrary. Allthough renewal has a newness about it, it means basically not forgetting the old, the original, and remaining faithfull to the written text. Still there remains a decisive leeway for renewal. The Andante of Beethoven’s time cannot be the Andante of today, and the same holds true for the dynamic marks. Too much has passed in the 250 years since Beethoven’s times that makes it impossible to overlook these differences.

Composer and Performer


We have already established the fact that music is an ephemeral phenomenon but it is nonetheless renewable. This fact guarantees music’s longevity. Rembrandt’s pictures hang on the walls as if forever, but in reality they are lifeless, because “Only the dead do not die”. Beethoven’s compositions, on the other hand, die after every performance, but they can always be brought back to life again.. One has to admit that the role of the performer has been changing from one period to the next. The limitation of his role to the function of faithful deliverer of the composition, may be true as concerning classical music of the 18th and 19th century. But during the Baroque much more freedom was granted to the performing artist: not all the notes were written down and there existed leeways for improvisation. Even in the 18th Century’s concerto, a special place in the composition was provided by the composer, namely the Cadenza, in which the virtuoso could arouse the enthusiasm of the public by proving his ability to improvise and excel technically. Even 20th Century compositions provide ample room for improvisation by the perfomer, like the “Sequence” for solo flute by Luciano Berio, or the piano pieces by Carl Heinz Stockhausen. The French composer Henry Pausseur writes about the performance of his “Skambi” that it is not a conventional composition but a row of possibilities. The work is composed of 16 units in which each one of them can be connected to two other units without weakening the logical continuity of the composition. Thus a free invitation is offered to the performing artist to connect the units according to his or her choosing. 7 I must admit that not only within Jazz, but also as regards the different styles of Pop and Rock, the original role of the performer as a cocreator, or even a sole creator, is ensured to a much greater extent.

Notes 1. In its beginning Musicology used to refer to peoples who had not, as yet, come into contact with the so-called civilised world, as “the primitive peoples”. This name was later considered to be political incorrect and was changed into “Nature People”. 2. “Maquam” or in plural “Maquamat”, is a name for musical scales used mainly by the Arabs of the Middle-East. They consists also of intervals that are smaller or bigger than a semi-tone. 3. See above, chapter 7: ”Sound, Word and Movement – three that are one” 4. Words according to this spirit were said by the pianist Arthur Rubinstein at the opening ceremony of the department of musicology of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, in the beginning of the 60th of the twentieth century.


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5. Nicholas Cook, b. 1950 in Athens Greece. Proffesor of music and research fellow at Royal Holloway, university of London. In 2001 he was elected Fellow of the British Academy. 6. Nicholas Cook:” Between Process and Product”. Music Theory on line. Volume 7 no. 2, 2001 7. See Umberto Ecco “The Role of the Reader”. In the Anthology “Contemoplaiting Music. Source Reading in the Aesthetics of Music”, Stuyvesant, New-York:Pendragom Pr.,1987-1993, Vol. 2 p. 776


In this section of the book that deals with the single and the plural within the multiple phenomena of musical expression, we come now to the subject of solo and tutti, or better still, the contrast between solo and tutti. There exists a somewhat hidden rivalry between the single personality, namely the “soloist”, and the many players that form the more or less anonymous body called “tutti”, namely all the players. Music that is elevated to the concert stage, contains a dramatic tension and a somewhat competitive character. Seen from this aspect we will soon discover that sounds within a musical framework do not differ very much from humans within society. Even the word “concert”, from “concertare” in Latin and Italian, means ”to fight side by side”, or better still, to compete with one another. In music we differentiate between two uses of this term “concertare”. One is the Concert, a musical event that takes place in a concert hall or a large room, in which different compositions are performed in front of an audience. By its very nature such an event is full of tension. The musicians on stage are trying very hard to attract the attention of the listeners and to impress them with their ability and talent. This activity is inspired by the need to show off and attract attention, which, by itself, is a kind of competition. The other meaning of the Italian word “concertare” is the term “Concerto” which is a musical form in which a soloist, or a group of solo players, are “competing” with the many, the tutti, the other players. This word “concertare” introduced yet another term or rather a concept in the musical performance, namely that of the “Consort”. Although the “Consort” is rarely performed nowadays and belongs mainly to the 16th and 17th musical repertoire within the English scene, it is basically the corresponding term for the more modern usage of the French “Ensemble”. The term was used for an assembly of usually similar instruments or voices, who come together for a combined performance. Here the


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competitive element is much more subdued. It may well be the reason for the disappearance of the “consort”.

Solo The prime reason for studying music is to become a soloist, to be able to express oneself through music. There is also, no doubt, a powerful element of love of music hidden within these dreams, a desire to be absorbed into the intoxicating musical sounds and to be able to create, according to the soloist’s own musical comprehension, the revival of the composers intention. This artistic urge is not divorced from a need to show off and to become, even for a short while, the center of events. The concert stage provides this opportunity. Here the soloist may display and shine forth in his ability and his talent, but it also involves a great element of self importance, a need to be admired and a desire to demonstrate his tremendous skills. There is nothing negative in these wishes. On the contrary, they testify to a lust for a full life, a wish to become famous and an urge to play as large a role as possible within that world in which he lives. There is no doubt in my mind that the urge to become a musician is filled to the brim with these and other similar desires. No music student undertakes the very heavy burden of studying musical performance and practising many hours day after day, only in order to become a tutti player. They all aim for the stars and the realization that the stars are not theirs to have, has the potential to emotionally break the advanced student, not to mention the effect that disappointed hopes may have even on the professional musician, that can cause endless heart-ache. This importance of the musical soloist, who stands all alone on the concert stage or in front of an orchestra, has grown immensely in the last 200 years. Until then most of the composers were their own soloists, the technical ability that was expected of the soloist than was nothing in comparison with that of later times, when the main attention of the musical performance was given to the composition and not to the performers. After all until the 19th century the music that was heard was the music that was composed in the same generation in which it was performed. Earlier compositions belonged to earlier times, and vanished with their creators. From the 19th century onward the world of music began to be interested and looked for music that was composed also in earlier generations. Felix Mendelssohn Bartoldy was the one to introduce to his audience the compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach by conducting in

Solo and Tutti


Leipzig the world premier of the “Matthaeus Passion” (“St. Mathew’s Passion”). Untill then Bach had been an almost forgotten composer. New music schools, conservatoires and music-accademies were established, that fostered performing abilities, invented modern methodics of playing and singing, and created a new type of musical ability; a technical perfection, a great know-how of musical expression, and a talent to impress the audience that filled the new concert halls that were being erected. It was as if a completely new profession had come into being, for which the 19th century composers wrote concertos and solo pieces that equalled the ever expanding performing talent.. The second half of the 19th century and mainly the 20th century elevated the soloist, placed him on a high pedestal and worshiped him with admiration. From that time on not only the solo players and singers were included in this elite group but also the modern conductor, who soon found himself climbing the ladder of importance and standing on its highest rung. The enormous and very inspiring abilities in technical performance produced by the modern soloist, has, as it were, replaced former musical creativity. As written in the pervious chapter, when I took my nine year old grandson to a piano recital by a well known soloist, he listened for a while and then exclaimed: “If he is such a good pianist why does he need to play compositions that are not his own?”. I was flabbergasted. Unknowingly my grandson referred to customs long gone, that seemed to reflect the original intention of the musical scene, as envisioned by the creators of Art Music. Music being a universal language knows no borders. The great soloists are thus free to present themselves everywere and gain world-wide fame. But with the rapid development of instant communication, the world seems to have shrunk, and, as a result, a few dozen soloists are sufficient, without any difficulty, to fill all the important concert stages. Thus began the cruel competition among the soloists and it seems as if the competitiveness was not only present on stage, the origin of the word “concertare”, but off stage as well. One has to bear in mind that a soloist, as distinguished from the tutti player, is in principle a free-lance musician. In order to survive he is totally dependant on being invited for each and every performance. And with a few exceptions of outstanding soloists who are always fully booked, even the very good soloists and conductors have constantly to look for new engagements, and often find themselves with empty schedules. This pressure for booking contributes to an estrangement from their own


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environment. They become more and more self-centered and less and less secure. The competitivness that seems to be the lot of the soloist, is not only aimed at the other soloists of their kind, but at their own performances as well. It was the world renowend violinist, Jascha Heifetz, who said: “ to become Heifetz was not so difficult but to remain Heifetz constitutes a real difficulty”. I wonder if it would be very wrong of me to suggest that it is inherent in the very nature of the modern soloist, famous as he may be, that he develops, in the course of time, a dissatisfaction and a growing restlesness. Before proceeding to the tutti performer, I would like to linger for a while and remind my reader of a musician-status that lies somwhere inbetween solo and tutti. I am refering to the chamber music performer. This performer is neither a soloist, as he does not shoulder the sole responsibility of presenting and moulding the composition, nor is he a tutti player, because he has his own unique part to perform, and no conductor tells him how or what to perform. Thus the chamber musician enjoys the best of both worlds. And over and above all else his is a special satisfaction of being a part of a team that solves together, in mutual understanding, their unique interpretation of how the piece should be performed. The jewel in the crown of chamber music ensembles is the string quartet. Its origin stems from the four–voice chorus introduced in the very early Baroque (the chorals of Martin Luther), and its final version that was formed in classicism. Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, each moulded, built and polished this unique assembly of two violins, viola and cello, and the three composers together elevated this musical master-form to its peak. Chamber music ensembles range from two performers, a sonata or a lied, up to eight or nine players, an octet or nonnet. For me, a quite astonishing development lies in the fact that all of Jazz is based on the chamber music principle, although this art leaves a greater portion to the solo performance of each of the participants. But “nota bene”, this solo is based nearly always on improvisation. Thus Jazz has reunited composing and performing in one and the same person and has introduced a completely new art out of the oldest version of musical performance. Pop music too has a chamber music character, but here the singer is more of a soloist than of a chamber music performer.

Solo and Tutti


Tutti Tutti players are all the performers that appear on stage that do not perform the role of a soloist or a chamber music player. This includes the dozens of sopranos or altos, tenors or bass singers, that all sing the same part in a vocal chorus, or the many first and second violinists, viola players cellists and double-bass players, who all have the same parts to play. All the singers in the different choirs are tutti singers, and the stringplayers in the different orchestras are tutti players as well. However the wind players and even the percussionists play their own different parts, and one could possibly say that they too, therefore, are some kind of soloist or at least chamber music players. But claiming this would not be strictly accurate. The question concerning us here is not only whether the performer has his or her own part to sing or play or whether he sings exactly the same music as all the other singers belonging to his voice group, or plays what all the other players play. The most important question is who decides how to perform, what tempo to choose and how loud or how quiet to sing and play. The question is who in actual fact sets the tone, and who moulds the manner of performing. The truth is that neither the orchestra nor the tutti player or the choral singer have anything to say about it. All these vitally important decisions, the artistic decisions that breathe artistic life into the performance, are made entirely by the conductor. The individal tutti singers or players have no say in it. On the other hand these orchestra players are the only musicians who actually earn a monthly salary, and, provided they have a strong orchestra union, they cannot be fired, and are basically, at least financially, secured. The musical expressions through the instrument or the voice, namely the revival of the composer’s vision and the know-how to communicate the intention of the composition, are all very personal and unique actions that carry a definite imprint of individuality. In order to achieve the privilege of performing, the future artist must invest many hours of daily practice and a very meticulous study that takes many years. The performer undertakes all this and many additional hours of daily practice during all his performing life, hoping that he will be given the opportunity to fulfill his talents, to capture the attention of his audience and to gain their admiration. All this may happen to the soloists, if they are very lucky. It will never happen to the tutti performer. Self expression and personal fulfillment are at the very outset denied to them. The individual moulding of an orchestral composition is the sole privilege of the conductor. The


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tutti player is but a pawn in the hands of the conductor; a marionette that the conductor directs entirely as he sees fit. And thus, when the concert is over, the tutti player may find himself with only half his desire in his grasp. Little wonder then that he may look with longing eyes at the conductor who alone receives all the laudatory and enthusiastic gratitude from the audience. Sure enough many critical voices are often raised against these tutti players; they may be accused of being frustrated, full of resentment, ungrateful, and do not sufficiently appreciate the great privilege of playing with such famous conductors and soloists. These critical remarks do not take into account the great dissapointments that accompany this privilege, as well as the anger that perhaps may arise in the tutty players whenever they are expected to play under mediocre conductors. The tutti players also may be criticised for their lack of artistic interest, but those critics do not understand that this seeming lack of interest may well serve the orchestra musicians as a sort of mask that defends them from the frustration that is inherent in the profession of a tutti player. Orchestra players constitute the vast majority of professional musicians. To-day, as distinguished from previous generations, they are expected to posess a high level of technical ability and a very professional level of musicianship. In spite of that they are expected, like pupils in school, to sit in their places at a given time, not to move unless the conductor, like the school teacher, allows them to do so, and to behave as they are told.. One must admit that these are not pleasant circumstances for an adult professional musician. This is why the more their professional level is raised, the greater their expectations from the conductor who dictates to them, and the greater their disappointment if those expectations are not fulfilled. Nevertheless, without the conductor the orchestra would be unable to deliver a meaningfull performance. And in truth there is no other person within the musical scene who can inspire the audience and create an emotional experience, as can an excellent conductor. A great conductor, like a truly great leader, will bring forth from his orchestra a re-creation of the composition exactly as he imagines it should be, and will give his players the feeling that they themselves have done it; that they have breathed a vibrant exciting life into the hitherto dead notes, and that this great presentation was their doing. What is more, we should bear in mind that the conductor needs the orchestra even more than the orchestra needs the conductor. In most cases he is engaged for a single concert and only if he excites both the audience and the orchestra will he be reinvited. Even if he gets very lucky and is

Solo and Tutti


made chief conductor or artistic director of an orchestra, he will get a contract only for three or five years, and is thus always on the look-out for new engagements. * According to the aim of this current section, I have tried to reflect, in this chapter, on the enormous plurality that exists within the realm of the musical performance. But what was even more important for me was to portray the social relations among the different performing musicians. After all music is a social affair. It was envsioned to be heard whenever people came together and it needs people in order to be heard. Social relations are therefore of utmost importance to the well-being, both of music and of society as a whole.


Several times, in previous chapters, I have tried to examine the question, what is music? Nonetheless I consider it important to return to this question once again. “Music”, I suggested, “is a message in sound, that moves, during the course of a certain time, from performer to listener”. That means that we talk about a sound movement that occurs between two focal points; on the one hand the performer, namely the composer as well as the player or the singer, and on the other hand the listener. There is no doubt that these two focal points differ greatly: the one is the initiator, the other accepts this initiation; the one is active, the other is much less active, or, better still, active in a completely different way; the one wishes to grant enjoyment, the other wishes to enjoy; the one delivers, the other accepts the delivery. These are indeed completely different tasks which cannot be compared. Nonetheless those two focal points are equally important to the musical process, and in the absence of either one of them music cannot take place. Because only after the musical message, sent by the performer, has safely reached its destination, and the listener has indeed absorbed and internalized this message, only then has the musical process come to its end and has been successfully completed. Using some imagination, one could compare this musical process to a ball game: The musician, both composer and performer, stand on one side of the playing-field, and the listener stands on the other side of the same field. The performer throws the ball towards the listener, and the listener catches it. Both players participate in the same game, and both are indispensable to the success of the game. In the absence of one or the other the game cannot take place. My adversaries may remark that one can not compare a trivial ballgame to a musical performance, and, what is more, in a ball-game each of

Performer and Listener


the two participants throws and catches the ball in his or her turn, while in the musical performance this balance does not exists. My answer would be that the listener too is a kind of performer, but he performs in a quite different way.The listener expresses himself by being satisfied or dissatisfied, by applauding, and by returning again and again to listen to the same piece and even to the same performer. In former times, when the relations between composer and listener were much more intimate the composer knew exactly what the listener was capable of absorbing and internalizing and he would in fact mould his composition accordingly. When Carl Philip Emanuel Bach wrote his sonatas, he called them “Sonaten fur Kenner und Liebhaber”, (Sonatas for Connoisseurs and Admirers) and thus described exactly who the listeners were that were supposed to catch his message. Mozart in his letters to his father mentions more than once that he has composed a certain passage knowing well who those listeners are who will enjoy it and be able to identify themselves with it. Because when all is said and done, it is the listener and not the composer or the performer, who will decide whether a particular composition will become part of the repertoire or whether it will be forgotten and eventually vanish. Just as it is the listener and not the performer, who will pass judgment on the value and aesthetic appreciation of the composition as well as the standard of the perfomance. Whether we like it or not, it is the listener who has the final say concenrning its validity. All this means that contrary to the ball-game in which we are only talking of an equal give and take between the players, the musical-game is much more sophisticated; the two focal-points between which this game is taking place, have two completely different roles to perform, but both of the roles are active, albeit in unequal measure and quality. As to the comparison between a simple ball-game and a musical performance, I wish to draw the attention of my readers to the fact that a game is quite a serious undertaking. It is not a coincidence that we use the same verb “to play” for playing an instrument and playing ball. (“Spielen”, in German, or “Jouer” in french) Furthermore we have to realize that not only in the ball-game but also in the musical process, regardless of modern technical gadgets that enable us to behave differently, all participants in the musical event, the performers and the listeners, have to be present at the same time and on the same “playing-field”, namely in the same concert hall, church, or any other gathering place.


Chapter Twelve

The revolution of the electronic mass-media, brought about the unique difference between the 20th century and all the previous centuries, in as much as it interfered in the the natural accepted process through the invention of electronic gadgets such as record, disk, television, video, d.v.d. and tape. But much greater damage came from the broadcasting studios, from which the listeners were explicitly excluded. The broadcasting studios thus interfered in the hitherto accepted human interaction between the two partners to the musical adventure.1 These new circumstances create a barrier, as it were, between the two focal points of the musical process. From now on those two participants did not need to make the effort to be present at the same time and in the same place. The performers record their part in the broadcasting or recording studios, and the listeners can, if they so want, listen to them whenever and wherever they please. On the face of it, a revolutionary, brilliant solution, bringing us much nearer to the visionary slogan of “Music for the millions”. But in fact this dislocation of the essential contact between performer and listener, brought about a state of confusion resembling a kind of “Tower of Babel “. Let me go back to our familiar analogy of the musical playing-field, and claim that in music, just as in any other game, there is a social process; a process that cannot take place unless all of its participants get together in the same place and at the same time. And, exactly as the ballgame is meant to fill this get-together with an enjoyable and effective activity, so too does the musical game. Music as well is meant either to entertain and bring joy to all the gathering, or to lend the necessary festivity to such a get together, or to grant the listeners spiritual food for their soul and mind. A good ball-game necessitates not only an effective throw of the ball but also a successful catch of it. To correctly catch the ball is not less important than to know how to throw it. Both teams of players, in the ball game as well as in the musical game, have to be well versed in their game language, so as to be able to really enjoy and profit by it. But over and above the joy and satisfaction that the participants may derive from the game, one should never forget its true purpose. This mission lies in the importance of actually catching the ball; of catching the message of the music. Because the message is sent only in order to be caught. And only when the message has been caught has the purpose of the game, or of the musical process, reached its final destination, and come to its successful conclusion. The game, by its very nature, is based on the assumption that the participants know each other well enough to calculate their abilities, and

Performer and Listener


that both sides are well trained in the same technique of throwing and catching. What is meant by this is that all participants speak the same “game language” and that this language is well known to all of them. As a result, the training and the practice may prove more important to the learning of the game- language than all theoretical academic studies. The expert knowledge of music does not guarantee the enjoyment of it and does not necessarily grant the possibility of spiritual satisfaction by music, although such knowledge might greatly enhance this enjoyment. But the true satisfaction of listening to music is based, first and foremost, on having gained practical experience in listening, on being used to listen, and on being well trained in the art of listening. Because listening to music is an art by itself; an art that one can attain by experience. This is the reason why a gathering between performer and listener, able to establish eye-contact with each other, is so important to this whole process. It is most probable that if the closed company, to which Beethoven belonged, had not been accustomed to gather together in Count Razumovsky’s living room in order to listen to music and perform together, and if this company had not known intimately Beethoven’s style of musical composition, and if Beethoven himself had not known the musical tastes of the members of this company, than the three stringquartetts op. 59 would not be so perfectly balanced and so happily composed as they are. Exactly as if Johann Sebastian Bach, or Joseph Haydn, for that matter, had not been so well acquainted with the public that used to come to the courts of Prince Leopold v. Anhalt in Coethen, or of Count Esterhazy in Eisenstadt, their music would not have the same impact and happy accessibility as it does in fact possess. If I may be allowed to remain just for a short while longer with this comparison of the ball game to the musical game, I would remind my readers, that we play ball not with the next generation or with the one to follow the next. We play ball with our own generation, with those who live in our time and in our vicinity. In order to avoid any misunderstanding, which might be very harmful, I must add immediately that, notwithstanding what I have said above, a composition of great quality may, and indeed does, survive its generation and live forever. What is more, this survival proves its excellence and thus ensures its immortality. In order to make myself better understood, let me bring an example from another art. The Prophecy of Jeremiah, for instance, was aimed at his fellow citizens. He felt an urgent need to persuade them to change their evel ways. Yet this prophecy, because of its great artistic quality, has become part and parcel of the cannon of the world’s great literature, and


Chapter Twelve

its wisdom has made it eternally relevant and immortal. The same is true as regards great musical compositions. Mozart “spoke” music with his generation and aimed his style to his generation. But Mozart’s extraordinary quality and ability to write music made his compositions relevant even for future generations as well. All this was true untill the electronic revolution that occurred after the Second World War. This revolution and especially the events that occurred during that war, has brought about a spirit of great anger, uncertainty, and a wish to completely change the old habits and turn them upside down. Thus the bond between performer and listener has disappeared. The sealed walls of the the radio studios within which most of the music of its day was performed and recorded, created a buffer between the two focal-points of the musical process and the musical game came to its end. The composer was left playing ball only with himself. All of a sudden there existed two playing-fields. One for the performer, namely the recording studios, and one for the listener, namely his own private living room. Both, especialy regarding Art Music, are since lonely participants to the game that was so rudely, albeit unintentionally, interrupted. And thus the listener, longing to hold the musical message, the “ball” in his hands, rushes to the concert hall to listen to the music of bygone eras, music that soothes his heart. He must content himself with picking up used balls, as it were, away from the center of the playing-field; balls that have long since been thrown by their composers and caught by much more fortunate listeners, who participated in this game when the connection between the players was still based on thrower and catcher.. These sad although fascinating circumstances caused a great change in the relationships between the composer and the performer.2 While in the past the composer was considered the important personality in the musical process and the performer was a mere “taker and bringer” in this process, nowadays the performer gains the upper hand. In the concert hall this performer is the sole hero and provides the main impetus for the public to gather and to listen for the umpteenth time to a well known concerto or symphony. Beethoven or Bartok have long passed their tests. They have no new messages to deliver. The focus is now placed on the performer and the public comes to hear and see whether he will pass this all important test. The game has now changed from the “what” to the “how”. If in the past the audience came to hear what Mozart had to say to them, nowadays they come to hear how Murray Perahia performs the well known Mozart piano concerto.

Performer and Listener


The musical revolution of the twentieth century, has thus intervened in the innermost musical procedure and placed before the musical world a new reality; a reality that has its splendours but also its great drawbacks and dangers.

Notes 1. See also chapter 37, “Music in the age of Mass-Media” 2. See also chapter 10: “Composer and Performer”.


It is not possible to end this section, that has examined the many faces of the musical phenomenon, without asking oneself whether music is basically a single phenomenon, albeit a very complex one, or whether there exist many “musics” that differ essentially from each other? Since the beginning of Art Music, (and here I want to emphasize again that this term is not really appropriate and is being used by me only for lack of a better one), in other words, since the beginning of the second millennium, when Art Music was written down and performed from notes before a listening audience, it became customary to divide music into two categories: Folk-Music and Art-Music, namely that music that was played from notes. Art-Music, as distinguished from Folk-Music, necessitates a prior study, a professional skill, and many years of practice. All of its compositions are incorporated into a single style that changes from period to period. In other words, the changes that occur in Art Music are “timebound”. We assume that after a certain time, the composers as well as the public, get tired or even bored, with the existing style, and yearn to change it, so as to be able to start afresh with regained forces. Thus we witness, in music as in all the other arts, the existence of different style periods; Baroque. Classicism, Romanticism, and so on. In every such period the style changes but the new style follows the same structure and rules in all the different countries, in which people speak the same language of Art Music. Art Music is basically a Western, or rather a European phenomenon. But the style changes ocurred mainly in Italy, France and Germany alternatively. These three countries seemed to be the troika that led the way while all the other countries, in Europe as well as in the Near and Far-East and the United States, that adopted this musical language, hurried to follow suit. Folk-Music is a whole different ball-game. Time influences it very little, and its style differs greatly from country to country, and from

Music or Musics?


religious sect to religious sect. The few exceptions to this rule only confirm it. Thus we can maintain that one of the differences between Art- Music and Folk- Music is that Folk-Music is first and foremost “place-bound”, whereas Art-Music is international. Each musician and composer, as distinguished from the writer for instance, is like a citizen of the world. Everywhere in the world they speak and understand his musical language, that is the language of the time in which he lives and not necessarily the language of the place that he inhabits. Art-Music, as already mentioned, is in principle a Westenn European phenomenonn and traces its origin to the Gregorian Chant that was used by the first Christian communities. Interestingly enough the roots of this Gregorian Chant lie in the Psalmodies sung in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, in the days when the new Christians were still Jews, emerging from Judaism, and were accustomed therefore to pray and sing according to the Jewish tradition.. With the proliferation of Christianity into Western Europe, the new Christians adopted the new chant together with the new religion, and by the end of the first Millennium the whole of Christian Europe was singing the same melodies to the same prayers. Eventually the unity of belief became also the unity of art, mainly the art of music. But this unity of style was accepted and adopted by all other religions that were involved in the development of Western Civilisation, notwithstanding the fact that this Art Music was rooted deep within the christian ritual, and inspired the great works of music like the Mass, the the Motet, the Oratorio, the Requiem and the like. From the beginnings of the Renaissance in the 14th century, Art-Music, hitherto intimatly connected to religion, became an art unto itself, and although it continued to be influenced by religion and to serve religion, it was in principle disconnected from it. Nobody would have dreamt of describing European Art Music as Christian music. At the beginning of the 19th century, the new nationalisms found their way into Art-Music as well, cracks were felt within the stylistic unity. But although Dvorak and Grieg, Tschaikovsky and Albeniz, Debussy and Ravel, Wagner and Verdi, each spoke a musical language that differed here and there, nonetheless all of their music fell under the overal umbrella of the Romantic era and their compositions seemed to be a kind of variation on a musical language that was basically unified. [I am well aware that my critics will claim that national differences existed even in earlier musical compositions; for example the Gig, (a part of the instrumental Suite in the Baroque, of English/Irish origin) was different from the Courante, (another part of the same suite of French


Chapter Thirteen

origin), and that the Austrian Kaiser demanded that Mozart should stick to German music and not favour the music of Italy). But I will defend myself by claiming that these differences are basically semantic and that there was no substantional difference in the music that was composed everywhere throughout Europe, at a specific time.] Another important difference between Art-Music and Folk-Music lies in the fact that all of Art-Music is the fruit of the individual imagination of its composer. The Art-Music composer who, although he lives and creates within the style of his own time, still composes in a very individualistic style that is solely his own. Folk- Music, on the other hand, is the spiritual fruit moulded out of a specific place and its people, thus representing the idiomatic musical expression of those people, that is kept alive and transfered from generation to generation.. All of Folk Music is based on a long and established tradition. In spite of the fact that there are many exceptions to what I have described above, nevertheless Folk-Music is like the spoken language that belongs to a certain place and people, whereas Art-Music is like the individual expression or language of a specific writer. The expression of an Art Music composer is thus individualistic on the one hand and universal on the other. Further, it is important to note that during the 300 years prior to the 20th century, the concert-halls were reserved for Art-Music only. The performer and the listener each undertook a completely different role. The performer was the initiator, who stood on the podium and demonstrated the art of composing and performing, and the listener sat in his chair, concentrating on what was performed for him, internalizing it and being spiritually inspired by it. As distinguished Folk-Music was heard whenever and wherever people came to spend time together, except in the concert hall. In Folk-Music those strict differentiations between the roles of performers and listeners, were more or less non-existent: the performers were also the listeners and all of them sang, danced and played to each other. It is one of the charcteristics of Folk-Music, as distinguished from ArtMusic, that everyone is able to perform it and no prior professional learning is necessary in order to joyfully participate in it. But noteably we have always to remember that Folk-Music is, and always was, the primary and main source from which all music stems. Whenever Art- Music found itself at a cross-road and was looking for inspiration on where to turn, it turned to Folk-Music, the unfailing spring, in order to quench its thirst in its refreshing water and find help and sustenance.

Music or Musics?


The history of music is full with such examples: when the composers of the Ars-Nova ( at the beginning of the 14th century, in my mind the beginning of the musical Renaissance) wished to separate themselves from the only source at their disposal, namely the religious source, they turned to Folk-Music, took from it the different dances, and formed out of them new Art-Music compositions such as the “Madrigal”, the “Villanella”, and the ”Caccia”. After all the entire Gregorian Chant, known also as “Plain Song” ( of the early 7th century), that served as the basis for all ArtMusic, was carved out of the different folk melodies used in the Roman chant, the Milanese chant, the Galican chant and the Mozarabic chant, out of which the Gregorian Chant was moulded. Exactly as the Choral, which forms the basis of Protestant ritual music, (at the beginning of the 16th century) was moulded after the most beloved German folk songs, and served as the basis for the Cantatas and Passions of Art-Music. And where did Beethoven (at the beginning of 19th century) find the theme of the “Ode to Joy” for his Ninth symphony, if not in the characteristic form of the German folk song? And where did Bartok, ( at the beginning of the 20th century) derive his melodic inspiration in order to create a new Hungarian Art-Music, if not from the authentic Hungarian folk melodies for which he searched unrelentingly? Thus it seems that however the two pillars, Folk-Music and Art-Music, differ from one another: their components are different, their way of performance is different, and they serve different aims, nevertheless they are closely bound and linked to each other. The one acts as wet-nurse, the other recieves nourishment; the one is firm and abiding like an unfailing spring, the other may perhaps run dry; the one strengthens and unifies and because of its instinctively understood assets is not expected to prove itself or renew itself, the other must always prove itself in order to enrich and restore our souls. And between the two there cannot exist any separation. In the beginning of the twentieth century Art-Music was divided into two extensions: “light music” and “serious music”. This tendency was felt already in the 19th century, but had not yet officially been given these names. light Art-Music was supposed to amuse and entertain, to enhance enjoyment and provide recreation. The “light” Art Music, for instance the Waltzes and Polkas of Johann Strauss, seem much more external and less weighty. As opposed to that, serious Art Music drew more and more into itself, became more and more introverted, heavier in mood, as if wanting to deliver a serious message, like, for instance the music of Johannes


Chapter Thirteen

Brahms, who lived at the same time and in the same city as Johann Strauss. In as much as serious Art-Music became more abstract and renewed itself constantly, mainly during the 20th century, its audience, that was looking for spiritual satisfaction and sometimes even for solace, inevitably grew smaller. As a consequence light Art Music found ample room in which to widen its audiences and the more the audiences flocked around it the more it split up and divided itself into sub-expressions of so called “light” music. In as much as Light Art-Music expanded, it developed out of itself different types of music, that could not be called “light” any longer. Most of them, especially during the first decades of the 20th century, turned to Folk-Music for their source of inspiration, drew from its roots, and renewed themselves thanks to its influences. The most important among these new expressions was Jazz, that certainly could not be considered “light music”. I will not be exaggerating if I say that Jazz was the greatest innovation of musical composition in the 20th century. Jazz was formed in the United States and was influenced by the music of the African people. Ever since black slaves were brought from Africa, in the 17th century, there began a process of absorbing components of African music, especially the rhythmic ones, into the body of American Folk-Music. The slaves, who lived on the plantations and served in the mansions of the white plantation-owners, became a familiar part, albeit in a very inferior manner, of white society and culture and the very talented among them were even able to study and make music together with white musicians. Some of them became itinerant singers, or minstrels, that roamed the land and brought black music to the general public. The church offered the best framework for black communities to develop their music and within the church the “Spirituals” and the “Gospels” evolved. Theirs was a completely new style, very different from the white church traditions. It was suggested to me by a Jazz specialist,1 that one can compare those Gospels and Spirituals to a West African “happening” as it may have taken place around a fire in a village tribal ritual. In this “happening” each musician is free to express in music his own experiences, coming from the depth of his being, according to his personal musical language. Well-known artists such as Marian Anderson and particularly Louis Armnstrong (Satchmo), because of their extraordinary talent and ability, succeeded in taking this music out of the religious framework and

Music or Musics?


integrating it into secular music. The first Jazz was probably developed from “Ragtime”. One of the important chracteristics of Ragtime was the exposure of the Syncopation,2 that until then had been hidden somewhere in the fringes of music, and integrating it as a central component in this music. “Dixiland” that incorporated improvisation and “Swing” (an expression of the inner rhythm of the player), later became an important factor in Jazz as well. Jazz was followed by the “Blues”, a melancholy and pensive kind of Jazz. To both of them was later added an electric energy that turned their performances into something much more commercial, with an increasingly powerful volume. Here we are faced again with the known tendency of the musical expression that was born within the church, then turned secular, and finally developed into a meaningful expression in a new Art-Music. In its beginning “Blues” appealed mostly to black audiences, but with the development of the radio broadcasts white listeners discovered it and became enchanted with it. The Blues became litterally a battle-field between the expertise of black musicians and the ability of white musicians. This subconscious battle brought both sides to achieve greater virtuosity and an ever-increasing sophistication, and while the white establishment sought to restrict Jazz into the remote part of the concert stage, declaring that this music was primitive and inferior, composers like Gershwin, Stravinsky, Copeland and Bernstein, were fascinated by Jazz, incorporated it into their compositions and gave it worth and respectability. Thus Jazz was elevated to become an elite Art- Music, with a very high level of sophistication, so much so that the ordinary listener could not fully grasp it. “Rock and Roll”, at the beginning of the sixties, is considered to be the “Blues” of the white population. It gave birth to “Rock”, to “Heavy Rock” and to “Rap”. “Pop” is a kind of mixture between “Rock” and Folk Song, that discarded its folk-origins so as not be “place-bound”, adopted a professional expression, and was elevated to the concert stage. Instrumental accompaniment and electronic amplification added to it a flavour of vitality and a continious and repetitive rhythmical beat. All these different kinds of music were born out of light music and folk-song, but succeeded in driving Folk Music almost out of existence, to put it bluntly and frankly. They donned an art-garment, were elevated to the concert-stage and emphasized the different roles of performer and listener, similar to their existence in Art-Music. Thus the concert stage ceased to be the sole temple of Art-Music. In all these kinds of music the role of the performer is almost the same as in Art-Music, but the role of the listener differs from music to music;


Chapter Thirteen

listening to Jazz is quiet and serene, interrupted only by applause whenever each of the soloists finished his “acte de presence”. In Rock performances, as well as in Pop, the audience, which is usualy very young, is expected to be carried away in the emotion of the music, to totally loose itself and to raise its arms and shout with great excitement. At the end of the eighties of the 20th century, a new kind of music emerged, that was called “World-Music”. It is a kind of combination between Ethnic music, and a very early folk-expression. It too is performed from the concert stage. It seems as if the expression “world music” means the music of the “third world”; that world that is neither East nor West. As if all citizens of the world can find their place within it, because it stems directly from the roots of the human expression wherever it may be. The principle of World Music seems to lie in the integration into a single statement of different ethnic expressions that find their roots in different sources and places. This is the exact opposite of the ethnic traditional music, that was held in great respect in the first 50 years of the 20th century, in which great efforts were made to preserve it in its most pure and original idiom, and to free it from all other musical influences. During the last decades, the art of “Multi-Media”, an integration of music with dance, words, video films, lightning and stage-setting, has been greatly enhanced; a ‘weltanshaung’ in which Art-Music participated as well. It seemed as if the promoters of this style had come to the conclusion that sounds themselves were not enough to inspire in the listeners the necessary feelings and atmosphere of excitement, and that sounds by themselves could not be understood well enough after the extinction of tonality. It is as if we have returned to the 16th century, the days in which Opera began, and we strive again to bring together different arts into a single idiom. Thus I have touched very briefly, the different “musics” that are today roaming our world. All of them are derived from the two main pillars of music: Folk-Music and Art-Music. Even if the new kinds of music, that sprang up in the twentieth century, were derived mostly out of folk expressions, Folk-Music itself, the one music that has existed from the beginning, has been relegated to a distant corner of the musical scene, while the new “musics” have assumed an art-garment, were elevated to a respected concert stage, and are fortunate to convey their messages to an ever growing public. Art-Music, on the other hand, the one that was considered until quite recently to be the Queen of all “musics”, finds itself in the remote part of the stage, and is still meaningful or pertinent only when we are speaking

Music or Musics?


of Art-Music of by-gone times. The Art Music of to-day is performed to ever smaller audiences away from the lime-lights. It is true that a bad conscience compels those who are responsible for the programme, to include, from time to time, some new Art-Music as well, but they do it with tongue in cheek out of political correctness, and it is received in this way by most of the audience as well. In light of the many musical expressions that are constantly increasing, one cannot but ask oneself, are we still talking about one music? Or are there many different “musics” in our world to-day? I will not take it upon myself to pass judgment on this legitimate question. It may well be that it is not the music as such but rather the expectations of the listener, that grades music according to its different expressions. Nevertheless I would like to draw the attention of my reader to the fact that, as a result, music finds itself to-day standing before a very convoluted cross-roads. Only time will tell whether all these new styles and expressions will join forces in leading us to a new road, or better still, to a very much longed-for avenue in which music will again uplift us into lofty experiences, or whether the spliting up into more and more, sometimes superficial musical expressions, will make the art of music an emotional and spiritual experience of the past; a one-time love-affair that is doomed never to return.

Notes 1. Danny Karpel, editor in chief of Jazz music in the Israel Broadcasting Authority. 2. Syncopation is any deliberate upsetting of the normal puls of meter, accent and rhythm. (See Willi Apel’s “Harvard dictionary of Music”)



The belief that music exists throughout the universe and fills all of it, is a time-honoured concept. The fact that a human being is unable to discern the music of the universe, does not diminish this belief in the least. The basic idea of this belief lies in the fact that every object that moves creates an acoustic phenomenon while it is in motion. It must be obvious, therefore, that the heavenly bodies create different noises, or sounds, while moving. They do this according to their proportional dimensions, the speed of their moving and the laws of physics and astronomy. Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher (590-470 B.C.) is, most probably, the initiator of the theory of the “Harmony of the Spheres”, and he and his school were eager to spread this idea. The Philosopher Plato (427-347 B.C) was convinced that the movement of the celestial bodies could not exist at all without this “Harmony”. Aristotle, a fellow Greek philosopher, (384-322 B.C.), on the other hand, rejected the idea of the existence of a real sound that was produced in the heavens, because of the absence of friction in the universe, namely the absence of the material that can lead or conduct the voice energy. This unique idea of the “Harmony of the Spheres”, has for hundreds of years preoccupied many thinkers and philosophers, from Pythagoras to Newton (1643-1727), and basically up until our own times. The idea excited Philosophers, Poets and Artists, but gave rise to distorted and twisted fantasies, as well. Nonetheless, and even taking into account what may seem to some as peculiar and accentric, one must admit that there is something appealing in the idea that there are mystical sounds that cannot be heard, similar to the idea that there are images that cannot be seen, such, for instance, as God. May I draw the attention of my reader to verses 1-3 in chapter 19 of the Book of Psalms: ”The heavens declare the glory of God; and the

Between Man and God


firmament sheweth his handy-work. Day unto day uttereth speech; and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language ; their voice is not heard” In different periods, experts calculated and found that the distances between the heavenly bodies can be counted by intervals of sounds, and that the distance between Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and the Moon, for instance, can be compared to the descending scale: F, E, D, C, B, A, G, while Saturn F, Sun C, and Moon G, are twice as long as the other sounds. According to Plutarch, the Roman historian of the first century A.D.,1 a similar musical-astrological “Weltanshaung” can be found in the philosophy of ancient Babylon, and also in ancient China. Those two civilizations identified the seasons of the year with the Quint-circle in the following way:2 CHINA C’ Winter G Autumn F Summer D Spring C

BABYLONIA Summer Winter Autumn Spring

It would seem then, that the universe is like a giant orchestra. The reason why people cannot hear its sounds is due to the fact that they are so much a part of the existence of our universe and that our ears have become so accustomed to these sounds, that we have ceased hearing them. This absence of sound is called “silence”. The explanation of the Pythagorean school is similar. They maintain that the reason for not hearing the sounds of the universe is that people live so much within these sounds, and that this “Harmony” has become so much a part of themselves, that it therefore does not appear to them to come from an outside source. And since they have heard these sounds even from before they were born they can not actually hear them, because one can discern a sound only if it is contrary to silence, namely when it comes from the outside. There exists also another explaination given by the Pythagorean school for the fact that people are unable to hear the “Harmony of the Spheres”. They maintain that if people would be able to hear these sounds they would be so filled with a longing that could never be satisfied, that the passion to hear these sounds would engulf them, and would be so


Chapter Fourteen

powerfull that it would make them forget the basic needs of life like eating and drinking, and finally they would perish. * In the Middle-Ages Christianity combined the old belief in the “Harmony of the Spheres” with the “Laudatio” in praise of the Lord, (“Musica Coelestis”, heavenly music) and with the singing of the choirs of the angels. Thus does the Roman philosopher and statesman Anikius Boethius (480-524) divide music into three different sections; * The music of the world, (“Musica Mundana”) which is the ancient “Harmony of the Spheres”; * The human music, (“Musica Humana”) the harmony that combines the human soul with the human body; * The music that is played and heard (“Musica Instrumentalis”) the music that sounds in our ears. In the late Middle-Ages the “Harmony of the Spheres” influenced by Aristo’s theory, was transferred from the realistic sound-image to abstract mathematics. As late as the Baroque period, the renowned astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), still calculated the relations of sound according to the movement of the planets, that could be imagined as being the harmony of the world. If we jump from the Baroque to Romanticism, it is astonishing to witness the revival of the “Harmony of the Spheres” once again. This time it is based on the sensitivity of the human being to the sounds that exist in the universe and in nature. One should be aware that for the Romantics sensitivity was much closer to the musical truth than “cold reason”. Harmony in its purest form, claimed the Romantics, would be found in instrumental music, namely in that music that is free from all the external additions such as words in vocal music, or the ideas and stories that exists in programme music. Such was the meaning of Absolute music for the Romantics, notwithstanding the fact that the Romantic era was the one that propagated and greatly advanced programme music . After all these were the most important composers who elevated the Lied as well as the Opera, two forms of vocal program music par exellence, to the lofty pedestal that was theirs for the entire duration of that period. I would like to cite here one verse of a poem by the poet Johann Eichendorf, in the original German with my poor free translation:

Between Man and God “Schläft ein Lied in allen Dingen, die da träumen fort und fort und die Welt hebt an zu singen triffst du nur das Zauberwort.”


There is a song in all the things that are dreaming forth and forth and the world begins to sing Once you strike the magic word.

* The idea of the “Harmony of the Spheres”, was , for hundreds of years the concern of philosophers and theoretitians in the different areas of knowledge, but it began to diffuse within the Jewish world as well, especially during the Italian Renaissance. Those Jewish philisophers seemed to have found traces of the “Harmony of the Spheres” also within Jewish sources. Out of the many examples, let me offer just one. I refer to the Hebrew book “Nefuzot Jehuda” (The Prevalences of Jehuda) that was written by Jehuda ben Josef Arieh Muskato, (1535 – 1590?), the Rabbi of the city of Mantua. The book, that appeared in Venice, contains 52 sermons or homilies. The first one is entitled “Higayon Bakinor” ( The Logic of the violin) and it is dedicated to music. The essence of his reasoning can be defined in one sentence: The teaching of Moses is music and the communion with the teachings of God is the most perfect of all musics; it is the absolute harmony; the purest consonance. * The singular charactristics of music, and especially it’s being so completely abstract, lends it an additional flavour, a special dimension of its own, as it were. On account of which music seems to be able to communicate with things hidden, secretive and mysterious, first and foremost with God all-mighty. Among the Far-Eastern cultures this bond is most prominent. It would be impossible to survey here the entire teachings of those cultures and I will mention only some remarkable facts. Music seemed, in the eyes of the ancient Chinese, to be the most faithful spokesperson with all the superior powers, and able to arrange their relationships with them. What is more, the Chinese prince Li-pu-we, claimed, in the 3rd century B.C., that the origin of music lies in the measure, namely in the altitude of the sounds and in the distance between the sounds. A similar idea can also be found in the Hebrew book of the Khuzars, (Sefer Hakusari) by the JewishSpanish poet and writer, Jehuda Halevi, in the late Middle-Ages.


Chapter Fourteen

The Ancient Chinese placed great emphasis on the absolute altitude and correct distances between the sounds, and believed in the immediate connection between these distances and the well-being and stability of the ways of the world, so much so that the royal office of music was part of the ministry of weights and measurements that was a part of the Chinese government. The correct tuning of the instruments was not done for their sake alone, but rather for the sake of the entire Cosmos. It is beyond the power of the human being to influence time and space, but he can create music, and music, if correctly tuned, can assure that time and space are kept in their right position and keep the right pace. Creating music is thus of the highest importance. Because the creator takes upon himself the great responsibility to strengthen or loosen the equilibrium of the universe. The well-being of the Chinese Empire is thus totally dependent on the precise and correct tuning of the instruments and of the sounds that are being performed.3 It may be of interest to cite here some of the “sayings” of Kung-FuTse (Confucius. Freely translated from the Hebrew chapter 13 of the “Sayings”): Said Ce Lu: If Prince Wee would expect you to come and lead the country, what would be the first thing that you would do? Said the clever man: first of all I would carefully hedge the words. Said Ce Lu: Is it possible that your ears hear what your mouth speaks? Why is it necessary to hedge the words? Said the clever man: You speak like one of the villagers! The man of virtue keeps his mouth shut in things that he knows nothing about. If the words are not guarded, the speaking is not truthful and matters do not reach a conclusion, the leaders and the music do not succeed; if the customs and the music do not succeed the punishments would not be correct, the people would not be able to move their hands or legs. This is why the man of virtue always knows the right use of the words and one can always behave according to his sayings; the words of the men of virtue have no blemish.

* Ancient China stood for rational thought concerning the “what” and the “why” of music, it believed in the importance of its measurements, and saw in music a faithful spokesperson who was able to mediate between everyday matters and world order. The ancient Koreans, on the other hand, saw in music an immediate theological phenomenon. For the Korean the creation is a musical composition of the gods, and all the happenings of the world are evidence of the harmony of the gods. And

Between Man and God


seeing this, we cannot but feel that we encounter the “Harmony of the Spheres” once again. According to the Korean outlook playing and creating music is like offering a sacrifice to the gods, thanking them for all the good that they have bestowed. With the assitance of music, one can, according to their view, call and awaken the spirits of the angels that roam the heavens as well as the under-world, and pacify them. This belief was shared by the ancient Greeks. The legend of Orpheus who, with the assistence of music, persuaded the gods of the under-world to return to him his beloved Euridice, is further proof of this belief. Even the “Magic Flute” of Schikaneder and Mozart, tells a similar story. While the Chinese saw in music a kind of intermediary who could transmit their wishes to their gods, the Korean saw in music a gift of the gods who chose music to bring their message to the people. * This was merely a brief over-view of the attitudes of some theologians and philosophers, in the different parts of the world , at different times, concerning the meaning of music for the universe, and the special bonds of men to their gods, through music. As to the period we live in, one must admit that far reaching changes have occurred regarding those attitudes. In the last few hundred years we have turned our thoughts in the direction of precise logic, of objectivity and criticism, both in our daily life and in science that has become the peak of our intellectual achievements. The world of the soul, as it still exists in the frame-work of religion and art, has taken its own path; disconnected from logic and the exact sciences. It became more and more remote and independent just as science, for its part, took its own separate route, absolute and beyond question.. To-day we find ourselves in the exact opposite position from where we were in the ancient world. Then there was the danger that the soul and the spirit of human beings would overwhelm the powers of the logic of the brain, and as a result it became necessary to limit them with the help of logic, measurements and numbers. We, to-day, seem to be very poorly equipped when it comes to the well-being of the soul. Science and research have simply overpowered all else. Even the occupation with art takes on a scientific approach, and we find ourselves in danger of giving the greatest importance to science and its offspring, the technology. We disregard the need to turn inwards, to deepen and activate the powers of


Chapter Fourteen

the soul and mind, and run the risk that what happened to religion might happen to music as well. I must express this because I cannot overcome my feeling that religion, seen for too long a time as a basis for science and research, finally, in revolt, broke away and turned towards emotional fudamentalism. I truly believe that we have to try to restore that world that we have lost; a world in which the soul too has its say. Because of this we must find a sort of equilibrium between soul and logic. Art has, in the last century, rejected beauty. As if saying that beauty is false, that it does not really exist in the world, and that it does not reflect the truth.. But then our soul will never be able to reach fulfillment if it is denied the right to beauty, and will, as it already has, explode into violence and hatred. The truth is that the world is as full of ugliness as it is full of beauty. But it seemes that we have chosen to overlook the beauty and emphasize only the ugly. We thus deprive our souls of sustenance, and our musical expectations are starved for beauty. It seems to me that we have overlooked this fact for far too long.

Notes 1. Plutarch “De anim. Procr.“ in Timaeus 31. 2. Sachs, Curt, “ The rise of Music in the ancient World – East and West”, W.W. Norton & Company. New-York, 1943, p. 77, also note 23. 3. Taken from Confucius “Maamarot” (Sayings). Hebrew translation by Daniel Lesly and Amazia Porat, “Mosad Bialik” publishers, 1987.


There is no doubt that music is the most social phenomenon among the arts. It is as if music “moves”, as if it walks floating invisible, from one person to the other. It spins among them threads of empathy, turns each one of them towards the other, as if “tuning” them into each other, moulding them together into a unity. Let me elaborate further: As long as people walk in the street, in towns and cities, or outdoors, each one of them walks alone. But from the moment that they hear music, they adjust their steps, albeit instinctively, “tune in” to each other, and move together to the rhythm of the music. They have thus been transformed from lonely individuals into a social group that is bound together by the music. Or take a social gathering. As long as no music is being played, the rhythm of each individual and his or her mood, differs completely one from the other. But when the music begins to play, its rhythms become, as if by a hidden decree, the unifying rhythm of all the participants. They all begin to move their limbs, their bodies begin to respond to the pulse of the rhythm and a unifying all-embracing mood washes over them . Or take dance. This physical activity that brings people, while together in company, as near to each other as possible. This nearness, though being strangers, cannot exist unless music is beeing played and its movement and rhythms formulate the dances.1 And while working in the fields or in the factories, the worker’s muscles respond instictively to appropriate music that is being played. (remember the power of the Russian song “hoy Juchniem” that the Volga boatmen sang while draging the heavy barges along the canals.) In all these examples we will find that the rhythm that pulsates in the music and beats in our hearts, is the one unifying factor, the one that is capable of creating the bond between man and his fellow man. The well-known musicologist Curt Sachs, tries to explain this phenomenon in the following way:


Chapter Fifteen The aesthetic experience derived from regular intermittence can be twofold, active and passive. Active experience is directly connected with the work and will of man: all repetition of a motor act at regular, easily percievable intervals, simplifies the work of the limbs. It automatizes the impetus necessary to drive them on and consequently saves considerable energy of motion and volition. The resulting relief implies that pleasurable sensation that we find at the bottom of all aesthetic experience.2

More than any other art, music is divided and subdivided into many different catagories. So much so that I have considered suggesting that we should accept the fact that there is not only one music but that there are many different “musics” (See above, chapter 13). Art Music is just one of these, while all the rest – Folk, Ethnic, Jazz, World, Pop and Rock - are musics that, as it were, “walk”, or “move” among people, aiming to bring them nearer to each other; to encourage comradeship amongst them, to make people feel more secure, even self-assured, to lessen their anxieties and to fill them with a sense of tranquility. On the other hand, some music may also make people violent, aggressive, and may encourage conflict and strife, and even provoke war , or at least jusitify war or oppose it. There exist no better means of “tuning” people towards each other and moulding them into a close unit, than a touching song with the right words and a suitable melody. If I may add a more personal remark, I would like to suggest that if it were not for the songs that were sung with such devotion and enthusiasm by the first pioneers who came, in the the late 19th century, to the then Palestine with a dream to rebuild it, they would not have survived the indescribable hardships of draining the swamps, fighting malaria and removing the millions of stones and rocks that covered the land wherever they went. These songs, that combined, through words, a promising vision of the future, together with beloved melodies, did the trick and turned the desolate pioneers into an enthusiastic society. It filled them with great confidence and a fervent beliefe in the importance of their mission.3 I am quite sure that each and every one of my readers, when thinking back on his or her childhood, would, without much difficulty, remember and re-experience those songs, mainly folk-songs, that were part of their growing-up and were an important factor in becoming an integral part of the society to which he or she belonged. If my reader has understood from what I wrote above, that I meant to say that Art Music does not influence people, then I have not expressed myself accurately. We music lovers, know well enough how deeply Art Music can influence us; how much solace it can bring upon us when we

Between Man and his Fellow Men


are in great need of it. After all the whole mission of Art Music is to restore our mind and soul , is it not? Nonetheless there exists a difference between Art Music and all the other “musics”, regarding their influence on us human beings. The difference lies in the fact that Art Music speaks to the individual person , its influence is more of a private character . Each single listener to ArtMusic is influenced by it in his own very intimate way. Whereas all the other “musics”, if they are good, transform individuals into a united group, into a society that is closely bonded together. But then, it may well be that the other “musics” also speak to us as individuals and not only as members of a certain group. Take for instance the lullaby. In this case the bond that is being forged between a mother or a father and their son or daughter, is of a very private nature. The fact that in a certain society most mothers sing the same lullaby to all their children, and that all these children are being raised on the same lullaby, provides an added value, indeed a unifying social value, in addition to the fact that the lullaby is, at its heart, an intimate and private affair between the parent and the child. At this point it is important to mention the concept of “Ethos”, that evolved in ancient Greece. This concept maintains that all shades of the human character have their parallels in the different musical syntaxes, which were called “Harmonies”. Now-a-days we prefer to call them “Greek Moduses” (or Modi), because Harmony is used to define the vertical sound combinations and not the horizontal ones. According to the “Ethos” precept every mood, every state of mind, is represented in one of the “Harmonies”. The “Dorian” harmony was considered manly and strong, the “Phrygian” ecstatic and passionate, the “Lydian” feminine and lascvious, and so on.4 If we Play a desired “Harmony” in the correct measure and in the right time, we can bring people to adopt the particular state of mind that we desire for them.. Here we discern another approach to the enormous influence of music on the human being; an approach that provides the main key that can decipher the secret charm that music holds over us human beings, while bringing us closer together. In this connection I would like to note once again the importance of the unity between words and sounds. Despite the enormous influence that music holds over us, it needs an additional “something” in order to fulfill its social mission. This “something” are words. But as important as words may be, they alone, namely without music, cannot capture our soul and affect it. Even music, when presented alone, may encounter difficulty in penetrating into our innermost being; it is too abstract, and not everyone can grasp its meaning


Chapter Fifteen

and fully undestand it. But when appropriate words are added to the music, no-one can remain aloof and indifferent. This joining together of words and music is the common denominator that is shared by all “musics”. Apart from Art Music and Jazz, that appear also without words (“Absolute Music”), all the other “musics” combine together words and sounds and this combination, captivates and exerts an irresistable charm on the listeners. I wish to draw the attention of my reader to chapter 8 in this book where I tried to point out that the human voice, and therefore the song and the “Lied” is the core of every music including Art Music. The musicokogist Alfred Einstein5 draws our attention to the musical love letters that are found in the Monodic6 music of the early Baroque. One of them is the “Letera amorosa genere rappresentativo” (love-letters in the rappresentativo7 style), included in the 7th Madrigal book by Claudio Monteverdi, composed in 1619. Einstein adds that there are similar compositions that were written even earlier.8 Since then, and especially during the Romantic Period, the “Lied” became one of the most touching expressions of love between a person and his beloved, and a most intimate confession of the poet and the composer who feel an urge to pour forth their feelings and to tell the world about their pains as well as their moments of happiness. This craving of the artists, first and foremost the poet and the composer, to confess their innermost feelings, and thus build bridges that may enable them to reach out to their fellow man, is one of the basic motivations for becoming an artist in the first place. Thus we have found yet another meaning of music, namely that of “moving” among peoples and weaving silken threads of emotion, that may touch their hearts and create powerful connecting bonds between them.

Notes 1. I am well aware of the fact that the rather new discipline of dance, that is called “Movement” (“movement notation”, invented by the Israeli choreographer Noah Eshkol, refrains from using music. But “Movement” is an Art-Dance in performance, and has nothing to do with social gatherings. 2. Sachs, Curt, “Rhythm and Tempo”. New-York, W.W.Norton, 1953, pp.18,19. 3. I have not specified the names of the many Hebrew songs that were sung then, because I imagine that they will not mean anything to the English reader. But to those who may be interested, here are some names: “Po beeretz chemdat avot, titgashemna kol hatikvot” ( Here in the land of our fore-fathers, all our dreams will come true) ,“Seu Ziona ness vadegel” (Raise high the Zion banner and flag),

Between Man and his Fellow Men


“Hayarden goesh, halevanon roesh veaf Hacarmel ze hahar” (The Jordan is stormy, the Lebanon is noisy and the Carmel is a wonderful mountain), “Anu nihiye harishonim, cach amarnu ach el ach” ( We will be the first ones, so we said brother to brother), “Al sfat jam kineret”, (On the shores of the sea of Galile), “Galgalei Haolam chorkim shen bamifaal berina mitmateach kol shrir” ( The wheels of the world are turning and joyfully every muscle is being stretched), and the gently mocking song “Te veorez jesh besin, haeretz hanidachat Beartzenu yesh chamsin vecol minei kadachat“ (Tea and rice are in far away China, and what we have is heat and all sorts of malaria), and last but not least, “ Baharim kvar hashemesh melahetet ubaemek od notzez hatal, anu ohavim otach moledet besimcha, beshir ibeamal” ( In the mountains the sun is rising, and in the valley still the dew is shining, we love you our homeland, with gladness, with song, and with hard labour). 4. More about the “Ethos”, the reader may find in chapter 19 of this book,” Ethos and the theory of Catharsis”. 5. Alfred Einstein, (1880-1952), German-American musicologist and music editor. He was regarded as one of the most widely informed music histoians of the first half of the 20th centunary. Born in Munich, his doctorate focused on the instrumental music of the late Renaissance and early Baroque. With the rise of the Nazi regime he left Germany, moving first to England and finaly to the US. Among his many books one must mention his book about Mozart, published in 1945. 6. Monody, was the style used in the Italian early Baroque. Its music was written for one (mono) voice with the accompaniment of the harpsichord with, or without, another bass instrument. It represents a reaction to the polyphonic style of the late Renaissance that, because of its many voices that moved in contradictory directions, it obscured any possibility of hearing the words clearly and understanding them.See also chapter nine:”Monophony and Polyphony”. 7. The “rappresentativo” is almost synonymous with the Monodic style. Among other it favours the form of the Recitative, which is a sort of recitation or declamation, so that the words are fully understood. 8. Einstein, Alfred, “Nationale und Universale Musik”, Pam Verlag,1958, p.43.


Many philosophers and scholars of aesthetics are in agreement that the impact of music on the human being is created through feelings. People are impressed by music not only because of its influence on their thoughts and not even because of the marvels of the constant variety and innovations that music brings, but because of the pleasure and the emotional excitement that music causes to their very souls. In order to remove any possible doubt I wish to stress the point that were it not for the innovations of music and should music repeat itself constantly and return over and over to the old phrases that we have heard in the past, it is possible that people would have turned their backs on music. What is more, we know well that in the past the emotional threshhold of the listener was far more subtle and nuanced. Whereas in to-days world, in order to move the listener, we need dramatic and even shocking effects for the music to have an impact on us. But all these vital changes do not change the fact that the impression and the influenece of music was, and still is, transmitted to us by means of our feelings and emotions. Because of the abstraction of this claim I have decided to deviate from my usual manner and cite some of the many opinions that have been written concerning this subject: The eminent Greek philosopher, Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)1 in his “Politics”, describes in great detail the influences of music on human beings: Rhythm and melody supply imitations of anger and gentleness, and also of courage and temperance, and of all the qualities contrary to these, and of the other qualities of character, which hardly fall short of the actual affections, as we know from our own experience, for in listening to such strains our souls undergo a change.2

The Movement of the Sound and the Movement of the Soul


The German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, (1724-1804), in his book “Kritik der Urteilskraft” (Critisism of the power of judgment), agrees with this, allthough he speaks dismissively of this trait, maintaining that music is but a nice game of feelings. And this is why he grades music as last in the list of importance among the arts. Carl Seashore,3 in his book “Psychology of Music” (1919), agrees with Kant, but he sees it as a credit to music, maintaining that music is basically a game of feelings with feelings. Music, in his opinion, is worthy only if it is expressed by a concrete feeling and is able to awaken our emotions accordingly. Every act of normal behaviour awakens in us a feeling of attraction or rejection, of affection or dis-affection, of pleasure or dis-pleasure. Music above all deals with feelings.4 Moritz Carriere,5 (1817- 1895) in the second volume of his book: ”Aesthetics”, maintains that the content of music is measured by the description of the reflecting imagination of certain feelings and its aim is to awaken those feelings in the listener, mainly through the movement of music. Music, in his mind, is an equation of un-knowns in the life of the soul . The listener is the one who gives meaning to these un-knowns as he sees, or rather, hears, fit. Ernst Kurth6 (1886-1946), talks about it at large, in his book “Musik Psychologie” (The Psychlogy of Music). He is of the opinion that active listening to music [as opposed to purely passive listening], begins only when we are able to internalize its inner movement. By being connected to the composition and becoming better acquainted with it, we arrive at the clear feeling that the sounds that we listen to are only the carriers, the outside layers, as it were, of the creative breath that is active in the innermost heart of the music, which we begin to feel only when actively listening to it. The listening process thus moves from the physical impression of the sound stimulation to the psychological experience. But if the listener is not able to internalize this process, he is still as if intoxicated by the stimulation of the sounds, and may even be confused by them, although having,, as yet, not arrived at the conscious listening to music. This reproductive process is in reality a ‘renewed creation’ both for the performer as well as for the listener. Basically we speak of a ‘creative’ process and not of a ‘retrospective’ one…Music is not an external experience but rather an inner-centered one. Music has a deep emotional meaning and is not just a natural external stimulation.7 In his book “Catechism of Musical Aesthetic” Hugo Rieman8 claims that every sensation of sound turns immediately into a vital experience of our souls. Because we do not feel music as an objective matter but rather as a subjective one, music does not appear to us to be coming from the


Chapter Sixteen

outside, as something that we examine objectively. Looking on. Music becomes immediately a part of our feelings; it is we who experience longing, it is we who all of a sudden may feel sad. These feelings are not combinations or ideas that find expression through music. They are the essence of music itself. The aesthetical pleasure of listening to music does not exist in the investigation into the sound’s characteristics, but in the pleasurable feeling that is caused in our very souls while listening , and in our ability to immerse ourselves in the feelings that the music awakens in us. And Rieman continues and suggests that there exists a close relationship between the movement of the sound and the movement of the soul. We recognise these relationships also when noticing that when the music becomes louder and quicker the soul reacts positively to it, and if the music becomes quieter and slower, also we become much sadder, as if we are reacting negatively to what we hear.9 The reason for this, according to Rieman, is self-evident. We all know that each intensification of our will-power brings us, albeit unwillingly and unintentionaly, to speak louder, and the more we get excited, the quicker our speech becomes. Whereas when we relax the voice become quieter, its intensification lessens and our speech becomes slower.10 In his book “Emotion and Meaning in Music”, Leonard.B. Meyer,11 refers to the opinion of Ernst Cassirer, who maintains that art reflects in depth the vibrations as well as the changes within the human soul, although the form, the measure and the rhythm of these vibrations do not resemble any single or simple emotion, but rather a dynamic process of life itself.12 And finally here is Ferruccio Busoni13 who writes as follows: To music, indeed, it is given to set in vibration our human moods: Dread (Leporello, in Mozart’s Opera “Don Giovanni”), oppression of soul, invigoration, lassitude (Beethoven’s last quartets), decision (Wotan in Wagner’s opera), hesitation, despondency, encouragment, harshness, tenderness, excitement, tranquillization, the feeling of surprise or expectancy, and still others; likewise the inner echo of external occurrences which are bound up in these moods of the soul…Music is a part of the vibrating universe.14

* Contrary to my usual practice I have leaned in this chapter on higher authorities, to prove my case, claiming that music affects and influences us mainly through our senses and emotions.15

The Movement of the Sound and the Movement of the Soul


If asked, why is music endowed with such an influence? I would suggest, as many have done before me, the strong ties that exist between the movement of sounds and the movements of the soul, that are never at rest and are forever influenced by vibrations of changing moods. It is certainly true that all the other arts, first and foremost the dynamic arts (dance, theatre and music), are in constant movement. But the uniquness of music lies in the one-time combination of complete abstraction and the ever pounding rhythm, that is beating not only in the music but also in our innermost heart. The English language speaks of the ability to “move our soul” and this expresses exactly what I mean. The term “movement” appears to be the connecting point between music and the world of our feelings. Because of music’s complete abstraction and ephemeral quality it cannot be hindered by any outward control, and thus can penetrate freely and directly into our innermost being. These two mysterious and enigmatic forces: music and soul, are forever driven by the power of movement that never stops.

Notes 1. For Aristotle, see note 9. of chapter 1. 2. Aristotle; “Politics”, book 8, chapter 5, 20. 3. For Carl Seashore, see note 12, of chapter 4. 4. Seashore, Carl, “Psychology of Music”, New-York, Dover publication, 1967, pp.375-377. 5. Moritz Carriere (1817-1895), German philosopher and historian. After studying in Germany, he spent some years in Italy studying fine arts and subsequently established himself in his home-town Giesen . In 1853 he was appointed professor in the university of Munich lecturing mainly on aesthetics. 6. For Ernst Kurth, see note 10 in chapter 1. 7. Kurth, Ernst, “Musik psychology”, Bern, Krumholz publication, 1947, 2nd edition, p. 25, note 2. 8. Hugo Rieman (1849-1919), German theoretician of music. Teaching piano and lecturing music theory in Hamburg. Was appointed professor in Leipzig. Gained world-wide reputation as writer on musical subjects. His best-known work is his Lexikon of Music and Musicians. 9. I must confess that to my mind the terms positive and negative that Rieman uses are ill-fitting. The feelings of sadness that music awakens are not necessarily negtave. 10. Rieman Hugo, “Catechism of musical Aesthetics”, London, Augner & co., 1892 , second edition pp.12-17. 11. For Leonard Meyer, see note 2, in chapter 5.


Chapter Sixteen

12. Meyer, Leonard.B. ,”Emotion and Meaning in Music”, Chicago&London, University of Chicago, 1956, p.18. 13. For Ferruccio Busoni, see note 1. in chapter 2. 14. Ferruccio Busoni,”Sketch of a new Aesthetic of Music”, in “Three Classics on Aesthetic of Music”, Dover publication, inc. New-York, 1962 , p. 82. 15. I am well aware of the fact that in choosing my authorities, I may have journeyed too far back into the past. But I am not convinced the views of more current experts in aesthetics, as far as I am aware, deal favorably enough with these issues.


Let me refresh the memory of my readers by restating my aesthetic approach that ‘music is a message in sound that moves, during a certain time frame, from performer to listener’. This means that only the arrival of the message at the listener’s ears, and better still, his having internalized this message, marks the end of the musical process. We have to bear in mind that music is always a process that is constantly moving. We have to assume therefore that one of the important criteria in determining the quality of the music is the ability of the listener to identify with what he is hearing. I am aware that such a generalised and sweeping assertion is not only dangerous in that it avoids establishing any objective criteria for determening the quality of music, but it also destroys any possibility of arriving at a majority opinion on the subject . And yet - although I know well the injustice inherent in maintaining that the quality of a work of art, that was created by a professional master who dedicated many hours to his creation, is being decided by an amateur’s ability to identify with it - I can not refrain from stating that the most important factor in agreeing with a musical composition is the listeners ability to identify with it. Let me enlarge on this matter, and give in detail my reasons for such a claim. But first I want to limit the needed identification by saying that what I mean by it is not a total identification but rather a feeling of being pleased with the music, of appreciating it, or better yet, of knowing that one could adopt the music as belonging to oneself. This esteem does not necessarily deal with the objective quality of the music. But than I have to admit that I have come to the conclusion that an objective opinion and objective critisism of a piece of music, is basically non-existent. Although I have written this before, I will state yet again, and perhaps not even for the last time, that without known and accepted musical rules and regulations the contact between performer and listener cannot come


Chapter Seventeen

about. But this does not mean that the mere existence of rules and regulations guarantee that the musical message will really be accepted by the listener. In order for that to happen the listener must accept the music’s message. There must be a “liking”, an attraction, and this is what I really mean with “Identification”. When it comes to the judgement of art, first and foremost the art of music, there truly cannot be an objective opinion. The much used phrase: “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”, is much more true than we like to admit A great composition is declared as such because the majority of the listeners, each for himself, has individually succeeded in identifying with it . For example, let me hesitatingly mention the Ninth symphony by Beethoven, considered, and rightly so, to be the most admired of compositions, the epitome of music as such. This is so notwithstanding the fact that this symphony, and especially the last, much admired movement, has so many musical obstacles to overcome. This possibly unpleasant truth is what makes art so fascinating and at the same time so frustrating. Let me come back to the problem of identification. There is a difference, even a great one, between “identity” and “identification”. Identity is a complete likeness, whereas identification, is a desire to agree with what one sees or hears or feels and to adopt it as ones own. Most probably the identification with a work of art differs from art to art. The identification with a literary creation is self-evident; the identification with a painting or a sculpture or a building, is less evident; the identification with a musical composition is even less so. This is because any identification becomes evident and clear when it has a logical phenomenon, when it has an ideological message to deliver. It becomes much less evident when delivering an emotional message, which is in any case a difficult concept to deal with. It may seem awkward to talk about feelings and emotions and there may be those who try to avoid talking about them, because they are so difficult to quantify. The more abstract an artistic creation, the more complicated it is to identify with, and the more it arouses questions that often seem insoluble. If so, what is really meant by “identifying” with a musical composition? I would say that one identifies with a particular piece of music if it has succeeded in raising an echo within one, if the music has succeeded in “talking” to ones heart, if it has awakened a positive reaction, and if the music has conveyed something that one can identify with. This “something”, may be hidden in the content of the words that this music is written to, or in the structure of the music, or in the ability to understand this structure to its fullest extent . The listener may be able to identify with

The Listeners Identification with what he Hears


the syntax in which it is composed, or the polyphony that characterises it. These harmonic tools are a great help not only to the composer, but, especially to the listener, as they help him to identify with what he already knows and cherishes. Moreover, it may well be that his identification depends also on the mood that he is in when listening, and even on the different associations that this composition arrouses in him. Identification with a certain composition includes, as a matter of course, not only the music, meaning the composer, but also the art of its performance, namely the players or singers of this certain music. The success of the identification becomes even more complicated when we try to look for the factors that are hidden within the listener. Among them the following may be the main factors: x x x x x

The theoretical and practical education of the listener. The general cultural background of the listener. The state of mind of the listener while he is listening. A personal experience that the listener may have had while listening. The listeners likes or dislikes of a certain composer or of a certain stylistic period.

Let me try and elaborate on these factors 1. The musical knowledge of the listener Let me start by saying that “musical knowledge” in this respect, does not mean the historical and cultural background of the period, or the biography of the composer, important as they may be. What is meant is the musical practical and theoretical skill. These two: the theoretical skill, namely the orientation in music theory and harmony, in the musical form and in performance practises; the ability to recognise and thus to enjoy a modulation (the movement from one scale to another), and the practical skill, namely the experience in playing an instrument and the identification of the musical ideas that serve as basis for the composition, are the two important vehicles that enable us to identify with a musical composition. The amateur can enjoy greatly Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, even though he does not know that the whole gigantic work is based on one single theme, or better still, on a single motif that begins in the first part of this colossal composition. Whereas for the knowledgeable listener enjoyment is deepened by knowing what is happening within the music. The amateur enjoys the symphony while the knowledgeable identify with


Chapter Seventeen

the enormous driving force that moulds this work despite its length and some compositional difficulties, and feels as if he is a part of this force. 2. The general cultural background of the listener The possibility of identifying with a musical composition is conditioned by a cultural background that is common to both the composer and the listener. If a Western listener finds himself listening to a Japanese opera, for instance, he will be very impressed by the ability of the actors and singers, by the means with which the musical message is being transferred to the listener, by the restrained emotionalism demonstrated on stage, but he will, in all likelihood, not be able to identify with the music that he hears. The strangeness from all that he is accustomed to, is much too great for him and hinders his ability to absorb the music. He may admire this opera but he would not choose to take it with him to a lonely island. This is because this music will not succeed in bringing peace and harmony to his soul, not even to enrange him. Unless he has spent many years in Japan and is therefore sufficiently familiar with the Japanese culture so that the music can take hold of him. The situation would be different, regarding the identification, when looking at a Japanese painting. It seems that the Western viewer will have no difficulty identifying with what he sees, with the range of the colours, with the clear and aestheticaly understandable form, and he would even gladly buy it, if he could afford to, and hang it on his wall at home. Not to mention the ability of a Western reader to identify with a Japanese novel in translation, or reject it for that matter. The same is true of Japanese philosophy or even poetry in translation. Again we are confronted with the enormous gap that exists between the expectations of the brain or the eye and those of the human ear. Unfortunately we tend too often to overlook this fact. This is why, especially in Israel, but basicaly in most countries nowadays, it is nearly impossible to have the entire community identify itsel with and enjoy the same music. We live in a multi-cultural world, and are able to understand, enjoy, and identify ourselvs with so many different literatures or visual arts, even if we come from quite different backgrounds. We cannot do it with music. It seems that the more sophsticated the culture of the music that is being performed, the more difficult it is, for somebody who was not raised in this culture, to identify himself with it. In order to avoid any misunderstanding, I want to stress the fact that between the cultural background of a person and his or her country of

The Listeners Identification with what he Hears


origin, there is no connection whatsoever. A person whose origin is in India like Zubin Mehta, for instance, or in Japan like Seijji Osawa, or in China like JoJo Ma or Lang Lang, can become a fantastic master of Western European Music. Just as a listener who was born in Yemen, or in Korea can completey identify himself with Beethoven, Ravel or Shostakovich, as long as he was raised on Westen European Music, and grew up listening to it. 3. The state of mind of the listener. Until now I have dealt with objective factors that enable the identification of the listener with the music he hears. We come now to the subjective factors that can increase or decrease the listener’s ability to identify with the music One of those factors is the mental situation of the listener. Even if in principle he would be perfectly able to like and identify himself with a certain music, his education would permit it, and he comes from the same cultural background as the composer, and even if the performance would in general please him, it may happen that his identification with what he hears will be at fault. This difficulty has nothing to do neither with the composition nor with the performance. It has to do with the state of mind of the listener. He may be in trouble at this stage of his life, it can happen that a sad event has occurred to him and is occupying his whole being so that the music passes over him without his being able or even wanting to internalize it. 4. The identification of the listener while experiencing a personal event. Not only a troubled state of mind can sabotage the identification of the listener even with a beloved composition, also a personal experience that happened to the listener and that is somehow connected with this certain composition, can do the same harm. The listening feelers are so sensitive and so vulnerable, that every experience, memory, or event that happened while listening, can make a difference. Basically there is no distinction whether that experience was a very tragic one or a silly and unimportant one. Even a banality can disturb the identification and the joy of listening to music. 5. The identification of the listener with a certain period or certain periods. People’s attitude to the past is a very ambivalent one. Moreover, this attitude tends to change over time. The changing temporary distance from


Chapter Seventeen

the past may become, with time, an important factor regarding the identification with a certain composition. Eduard Hanslick,1 in his famous book “Vom Musikalisch Schoenen” (About the beauty of music), maintains that we cannot understand today [namely in the year 1902, when the book was written] how our forefathers could refer to certain pieces of music as if they were the exact replica of definite emotions. How many compositions of Mozart were described by them as thrilling, sarcastic, or revolutionary. It was the custom of that time to describe them as opposed to the compositions of Haydn. Whereas the harmonies of Haydn seemed to them to be calm and peaceful, they considered those of Mozart to be outbursts of sadness and despair, of bitter inner struggles, and of uncontrolable passion. Only thirty years later, musicians compared Mozart’s compositions to an Olympic tranquility and serenity, whereas the music of Beethoven was described in the same terms that had been used before for Mozart’s music.2 If I may remark on Hanslick’s words I would like to state that I still see Mozart’s important compositions as portraying emotional outcries and tragic dramatic expression. But the greatness of Mozart lies in his ability to speak to the listeners on different levels: that of the Olympic serenity that is good-natured and for-ever smiling, for that listener who does not care or dare to venture deeper and is satisfied with the outer layer of Mozart’s music; and that of the dramatic and painful Mozart, vibrating in the inner depth of his composition. But these remarks of mine do not contradict Hanslicks correct opinion. Hanslick’s words lead us to the conclusion that one cannot judge and arrive at a correct verdict of a work composed in one’s own generation. For this kind of judgment one needs the distance of a certain time. But then it appears that this conclusion contradicts one of the principles that serve as a basis for this book, namely that a creator creates for his contemporaries, that the artistic creation is first and foremost a dialogue with these contemporaries and that the contemporaries are expected to identify with, enjoy and internalize the art that is being created in their time and for their sake. The identification of later generations with a composition that was created many years before their time, bestows on the composition an added value and is regarded as a blessed luxury, but has nothing to do with the indispensible dialogue that the creator must hold with his contemporaries. After all a dialogue is a conversation with people who live in the same vicinity, experience the same happenings and have similar problems and joys. One does not easily converse as equals with one’s great grandchildren..

The Listeners Identification with what he Hears


There might indeed exist a contradiction between Hanslick’s opinion that one needs the distance of time to evalute a composition, and my “pleading” in defence of a dialogue with ones contemporaries, but then contradictions have always been the soil that best fertilizes thoughts and ideas. What is more, it is in the very nature of the attitude towards a musical composition or a musical style, that this attitude is forever changing . This change is not only in attitudes towards a certain composition, but also towards the performance practice of compositions of the past. Compare, for instance, the performing style of the works by J.S.Bach of the conductors Otto Klemperer or Willhelm Furtwängler, which were performed in the mid 20th century, with those that are being performed today, namely 70-80 years later. It seems as if we are not only speaking of different performing practices but almost of different compositions. The “Weltanschaung” of Klemperer, Furtwängler and their conteporaries regarding the way in which Bach has to be performed, is forceful, definite, fixed, slow and inflexible, as if being an indistputable testament handed down from heaven. Then contrast it with contemporary performances, for instance by Helmut Rilling, Harnoncour, or the orchestra of “St. Martin’s in the Field” to name a few, of the same “Brandenburg Concerti”. These interpretations are light, smiling, charming, polite, and quick. With which “Bradenburg Concerti” are we supposed to identify? Of late we have been witnessing a more or less new custom of, what is called “Updating” of early music, which in my opinion should really be called “Downdating”. This practice comes about because of two completely different reasons. The first is the newer musicological research that has identified for us musical practices as were performed in the 15th, 16th, 17th,and even 18th centuries. The second is the hidden desire of some to distance themselves, as far away as possible, from the loud beating and even violent tendecies that characterizes contemporary music, and find rescue, in the quiet, polite, and modest music as it seemes to be expressed in previous centuries. This touching custom is trying to erase the time that has passed since the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and to connect directly with those by-gone eras. Accordingly small Ensembles playing original old instrumentes that have but a meagre sound, as they existed then, are used for performance, sometimes in large concert halls and on concert stages, that normaly holds orchestras of a hundred players and more. We the listeners are thus supposed to re-introduce ourselves to these ancient sounds, as if nothing has happened in between, as if we have not experienced all the history that has befallen us since, as if we are still


Chapter Seventeen

travelling by horse and buggy, dressed and living as they used to do in those earlier times, as if we have not been confronted with the music of the Classicism, and Romanticism and never experienced the A-Tonal revolution. And the audience, at least the thinking and feeling audience, must be bewildered. With what style, and with which music are they supposed to identify? These then are the main factors, and the main problems that determine the identification of the contemporary listener with the music that is presented to him; an identification that , though difficult and complicated ,is really one of the important criterion in determining the quality of a musical composition Before ending this chapter I wish to draw the attention of my readers to two views that may have a relevance to our subject. In his book, “Die Musikalische Gemütsbewegung, - Erlebnisse, Erkentnisse, Bekentnisse” (The musicl emotion – experiences, cognitions, confessions), Max Bukofzer,3 expresses the following ideas: We can determine the value of art, only on the basis of existing masterworks, that are ‘complete within themselves’, such works that have already proven themselves and have withstood the tests of time and criticism, and that have been found valid in the eyes of most listeners who are used to enjoy music. We can determine, maintains Bukofzer, the value of a composition only on the basis of such compositions that arose in us again and again deep emotions, brought us again and again to wonderment and excitement, and filled us with happiness and satisfaction. So much so that we can not only hear the music and internalize it, but that the music will sound from within us as our own personal expression that has become sound.4 I am aware that Bukofzer’s book as a whole does not meet with everybody’s taste. I myself do not agree with everything that he writes in this book that may be viewed as out-dated. Still I wanted to state his opinion, with which I agree wholeheartedly, that the value and the quality of a composition is decided, after all, by the listener who has succeeded to identify with what he hears. But if my reader insists on maintaining that an identification with a certain music is a very personal matter and no two people will identify themselves with anything in the same way, I will call to my rescue, the philosopher Edmund Burke,5 who writes in his book :” A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful”, that he does not know of any other capability of the human being, that

The Listeners Identification with what he Hears


refers to external objects, except his senses, his imaginative power and his criticism. And what concerns the taste, says Burke, every-body will agree that vinegar is sour and honey is sweet and every-body agrees that sweetness is pleasant and bitter taste is unpleasant…Burke does not remember that were a beautiful object shown even to a large group of people, not every-body agreed whole-heartedly that this object was indeed beautiful. At the disposal of every man and woman, says Burke, stands a power of imagination that is a sort of a creative power that can arrange every thing that he sees or hears in the order that he or she sees fit. This includes the sense of humour, the sense of imagination and that of innovation. This power of imagination is the field wherein the pleasure and the pain are concentrated, because in this field all our hopes and fears, and all the desires and passions that are connected with them, are taking place.6 These were a few remarks on musical taste and the qualitative sense of the listener, and their decisive importance. I wish to stress again that the identification with a musical composition, which I have found to be one of the criteria in its evaluation, has nothing to do with the more objective, professional criterion, that stems from the music itself. Nevertheless, among the many criteria that are needed for establishing the value of a musical composition, there are some that are more objective and some that are basically subjective. After all the phenomenon of music is a very complex one and as a result there exist many different aspects to the many faces of music.

Notes 1. Eduard Hanslick, (1825- 1904). A noted music critic. In the opposition that existed between the ideologies of Schuman and Brahms vis-à-vis Wagner and Liszt, Hanslick backed up the camp of Brahms. Prof. of music history in the university of Vienna, was considered one of the most important experts in the Aesthetics of music. 2. Hanslick, Eduard, “Vom Musikalisch Schönen, ein Beitrag zur Revision der Aesthetik der Tonkunst”, Leipzig, Johann Ambrosius Barth, 1902 (Zehnte Auflage) pp. 15-17 3. For Max Bukofzer, see note 7 in chapter 2 of this book. 4. Bukofzer, Max, “Die Musikalische Gemütsbewegung”, (The musical Emotion). Sammelung Musikwisenschaftlicher Einzeldarstellungen, Heft 17), Leipzig, Breitkopf und Härtl, 1935, p. 61. 5. Edmund Burke, the philosopher whose book :”A philisophical Enquiery into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful”, which was first


Chapter Seventeen

published in London in 1757, is considered to be the most important text in the sensual-empirist Aesthetic. It was the first time that a strict distinction was made between the sublime and the beautifull, and described in detail. 6. Burke, Edmund, “Vom Erhabenen und Schönen”, translated into German by Friedrich Bassenge, Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, Zweite Auflage, 1989, pp.4447.


This chapter and the following two, belong actually to the same subject of identification. Nevertheless I have decided to separate them from chapter 17: “The Identification with music”, in order to give each of them a different title and to look upon them as a deeper exploration of the complicated subject of identification. All three chapters belong more to the subjective reaction of the listener, whereas the actual quality of the music itself is devoid of any relevance to this reaction. This is especially true of this chapter and of chapter 20, the last in this section Let me start with a personal reminiscence: As a child my father used to put me to sleep by singing to me the theme of the second part in Haydn’s “Surprise” symphony (no. 94). If I had not behaved well enough on a particular day he sang only the theme. But if my father was pleased with my behaviour he sang also some of the following variations. The more he was satisfied, the more variations he sang. I grew up loving this theme more and more. I know now that my love for it has in reality nothing to do with the melody itself. After-all it is an unsophisticated , basically predictable, very symmetric and very plain melody. Haydn wrote it this way because it served as an appropriate basis to build upon it the many variations that he envisaged. But I loved it. I loved it because I loved my father, and because this was the melody that connected me to him. As a small child I tried to behave as well as possible so that his lullaby would be a long one. And I was thrilled when he continued to sing one variation after the other. I used to secretly count them , one by one, anxiously praying for him to continue. Needless to say I know this symphony like the palm of my hand, and it became the foundation upon which all my musical education, appreciation, teachings, writings and basically my great love of music and the longing to hear more and more, were inspired and developed. Since then I never miss any occasion to listen to this symphony, and when I do my thoughts are less concerned with the music and more with


Chapter Eighteen

the memory of my father and the miraculous times I spent with him, as a child, before falling asleep. Perhaps I have lingered for too long over this seemingly unimportant memory, but I believe it to be an excellent example to explain what I mean by association and of the emotions that may be caused by listening to a certain music; emotions that may have nothing to do with the music itself and could as easily be inspired by any other music, if circumstances would be the same. Many musicians and music students with whom I have discussed this subject have recounted that the first concerts that they were priviledged to listen to left on them the greatest impression. But this impression dependend on the prior aquaintance that they had with the music that was being played. One of my students told me that his parents used to take him to concerts from an early age, but that they always prepared him before the concert. They used to play to him on the piano with four hands, all the music that he was going to hear in the concert. They repeated their playing again and again until they were sure that he had grasped the music, and would easily recognise it, and so be able to enjoy it all the more, while listening to it in the concert hall. No wonder that the student cherished the memory of these early concerts, as the best that he had ever heard. He also admitted that those pieces then formed the basis for his personal repertoire. Since then he has returned to them often. He did so not because they were the best compositions that exist, but because they were connected with his early childhood and the association with the excitement of hearing music for the first time, was for him overwhelming. It may well happen that while reading a beautiful book, the reader will hear some music being played in the neighbourhood. Later, whenever he encounters this music again, he may instinctively remember the book and the feeling of the old pleasure of reading it will envelope him again. The same feeling may occur when walking through a beautiful garden, looking at a breathtaking view, unconsciously listening to music that is being played in the background. This music will be especialy dear to our hearts, not because it is a masterpiece, or because we really like it so much, but because it reminds us of this lovely walk with the breathtaking view. Those of my readers who have seen the film “Casablanca” may remember the role that the song “As time goes by” played in this film. It is indeed a touching song, but it is not the beauty of the song that lends it its importance, but rather the association that it holds for the two main heroes of the picture.

Association and Emotion


Associations like these could of course easily be reversed. It can happen that a very unpleasant event happens to us while listening to a beautiful piece of music. Nonetheless we would, as if automatically, avoid listening again to the same piece of music. Thus we seem to have realised that it may happen that the approach of the listener to a certain piece of music and the emotions that this music will raise in the listener, might have nothing to do with the objective validity of this music. It may well be that the outcome of a uinique association is the cause for the emotions that the music awakens in the listener. Finally let me mention here two stories from the book “The Haunting Melody”, by the pupil of Sigmund Freud, the psychoanalyst Theodor Reik. Reik tells of a young and beautiful girl who confessed to him that she had a lover. Some minutes later, while she was still talking, a melody began to ring in his mind, but in the beginning he could not identify it, because he had heard it a long time before this conversation took place. Only later, when repeating this melody to himself, he remembered that it was a song that he had heard from his fellow soldiers while on maneuvers. The words were :’ What benefit can I gain from a rosegarden, if others are walking in it…’ The other story is as follows: A man finds himself by mistake on a ground on which a soldier is patroling. When he comes nearer the soldier raises his gun and shouts: “Stop or I shoot”. The man replied in a calm voice and said :’Are you crazy? Do you not see that a fellow man stands before you? Reik reports that while writing down this occurrence, whose main idea was that a man would not kill a fellow man, all of a sudden he remembered the theme of the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. And while singing it to himself Reik realized that its words were the sophisticated version of this happening ::”All men become brothers”.1 Indeed music can weave threads and send forth tendrils that are loaded with associations and emotions above and beyond the creativity that it entails.

Notes 1. Reik Theodor, “The Haunting Melody. Psychoanalytic Experiences in Life and Music”, New York: Grove press, 1960 pp. 17, 19.


At this point I believe it is important to re-trase our steps and return, for a while, to those aspects of Greek philosophy, that deal with the impact of music on the human being. Allthough it is not my intention, neither here nor in other chapters, to dig up from the depths of history ideas that some allege have become obsolete, I believe that the two theories of “Ethos” and “Catharsis”, that evolved in ancient Greece approximately 2500 years ago, are still relevant and acceptable even to-day, and are still being discussed and heatedly debated. During the classic era of Greek culture, music was considered not only an aim in itself but mainly an important means of influencing the human being. Aristotle1 considered this to be the most important aspect of music. After all, maintained Aristotle, the human being is the center of creation, and it is into his hands that mankind entrusts the matters of the world. It is, thus, the human being that may either lead society to great achievements or lead it astray. And therefore it is of the utmost importance to educate men and women so that they will find the right path to do well within society. In order to do this, there is no better means than music. Nothing, says Aristotle, can influence a human being more directly than music. This influence can act either positively or negatively. It all depends on the syntax of the music that is being performed. The theory of the musical “Ethos” maintains not only the enormous influence that music holds over the human being, but it also determines in detail the influence of each musical “Harmony”, (We to-day call it “Modus”, the Greek scale,) on people at large. And so writes Aristotle : Rhythm and melody supply imitations of anger and gentleness and also of courage and temperance, and of all the qualities contrary to these, and of the other qualities of character, which hardly fall short of the actual affections, as we know from our own experience, for in listening to such

The “Ethos” and the Theory of “Catharsis”


strains our souls undergo a change. The habit of feeling pleasure or pain at mere representations is not far removed from the same feeling about realities; …Even in mere melodies there is an imitation of character, for the musical modes differ essentially from one another, and those who hear them are differently affected by each. Some of them make men sad and grave, like the so-called Mixolydian, others enfeeble the mind, like the relaxed modes, another again, produces a moderate and settled temper which appears to be the peculiar affect of the Dorian; the Phrygian inspires enthusiasm….The same principles apply to rhythms; some have a character of rest, others of motion, and of these latter again, some have a more vulgar, others a nobler movement. Enough has been said to show that music has a power of forming the character, and should therefore be introduced into the education of the young.2

The claim that music should be introduced as an obligatory subject in all the schools, holds true also in our time. It was needed in Aristotle’s time and is needed to-day as well. The wishful thinking that through music one can educate and mould a better, more moral and more tolerant human being, has unfortunately proven to be wrong. It is sufficient to take the example of Germany, a nation that brought forth the greatest and most impressive musicians, and nonetheless behaved with extreme brutality during the Second World War, and this moreover in the midst of the highly educated Europe of the 20th century. No, music does not make a better person. Nonetheless music does influence people and can be very persuasive. The hold of music over a person can influence him in both ways, either for the better or for the worse. It is true though, that with the passing of the generations our soul has become tougher and much less sensitive and any desire to shock it, to even touch the human being, demands much cruder means. Whereas in the past the smallest hint of infidelity was enough to intrigue the reader’s attention, like for instance in Flaubert’s book “Madamme Bovary”, today we need the help of pornographic posters in technicolour, that leave little to the imagination, in order to achieve the same result. Whereas in the past it was sufficient to show a knife from which blood was dripping in order to awake in us a shudder of horror, to-day we need a brutal and very violent murder to achieve the same effect. This is why it is difficult for us to identify with Aristotle who maintained that a change of half a tone, from a major terz to a minor one, can create such a difference that it will completely change the attitude of the human being and influence him in the opposite direction. And yet, if we think of a military march composed in a major scale in the four/ fourth rhythm, let us say the American “Stars and Stripes“ by John Philip Sousa, our hearts will immediately be filled with courage, the


Chapter Nineteen

muscles will tense instinctively, fears will disappear, a sense of security and safety will engulf us, we will straighten our backs and look with optimism into the future. After all why do the military bands start playing when the army marches into war, if not in order to cheer the soldiers?, to reinforce and encourage them? If it were not so, the army would gladly have saved the money spent on bands, would it not? And who will not be filled with alarm or anxiety when hearing the trumpets of the “Dies Irae”’ in Verdi’s Requiem? Who will not shed a tear listening to the second movement of the string quintet by Schubert? And who will not smile, with delight and tranquility, whem hearing “The Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss? Will the character of the listener really be changed in consequence of all this? I doubt it. But I do not doubt the enormous impact that all those different compositions may have on the soul, and the definite mark that they leave on it. I also do not doubt that no other art, as great and as wonderful as it may be, has the power to leave such an impression on our mind and soul . It is true that this impression is transient, exactly as the music that created it in the first place, and will pass away with the music. But the same impression will persist and return, not only whenever the music is heard again, but also whenever the listener thinks of this music and revives it in his memory. If the reader will ask me: what can we learn from this fact? I will answer that it confirms our assumption that the urge to listen to music is one of the most basic needs of the human being, because music restores our very being. Each person and the special sort of music that speaks to him or her. The need to stress this point is very important to me, mainly because, every so often, one feels a contempt, a kind of indifference and lack of consideration on the part of some contemporary composers towards the needs and expectations of their listeners. From time to time they voice their opinion that it is the duty of the listener to rise to the sophistication of their compositions. As if it is not the composer who is expected to direct his message to those listeners who are eager to grasp it, provided that the message is aimed at their ability to do so. It is as if this duty of grasping the music rests solely with the listener, and if he fails to respond, if the music cannot bring him solace and satisfaction, then it is solely his fault. If, as a result, the disappointed listener turns his back on the composer, because he is not looking for a sophsticated and interesting musical experience, but yearns to pacify his soul, and, having no other

The “Ethos” and the Theory of “Catharsis”


choice, turns to some other music, he will be accused of having inferior taste, and will be looked upon with disdain and even with contempt. Lately we are witnessing a reprehensible habit of copying beloved songs from the internet, and thus bypassing the copyright law. They tell us that there are over thirty million internet surfers that do so. I am less concerned with bypassing the law, which in itself is not acceptable, than with this enormous number of surfers that are in such a powerful need to possess and listen to the different kinds of Pop-Music that they cannot resist it even if it means breaking an existing law. Who, then, will dare to doubt that Pop-Music fulfills a vital need for those listeners? To the question: ‘why is it that so many music lovers are in such a need of all that Pop and Rock music and shy away from contemporary Art Music, an art that until only recently was considered to be “ the best of the best”? I can only answer by pointing to the absence of the vital bond between performer and listener, or more correctly, between the nowa-days composer of Art-Musik and his disregard for his listener. The Harpsichord player, David Shemer, drew my attention recently to a book published in 1700: “Musikalische Handleitung”, (Musical guidance), written by Erhard Nidet. The writer explains, inter-alia, the principles of the Figured Bass, (Basso Continuo), and finally remarks that ‘the player will abide by these rules, so that a pleasant harmony will occur to bless the Lord and to bring joy to the audience’ . I am well aware that this sentence was written more then 300 years ago, but the changes of the musical style were not meant to erase the memory of the mission of music, that always was, and still is, to bring relief, joy, solace and restoration to the listener’s soul. On the contrary, the task of music, its mission and message, remain as they always has been. After all is it not the main reason for changing a musical style, because both the composer and the listener seem to have tired of a certain style, and may even be bored by it? A change of style occurs so that the enjoyment and the restoration of mind and soul will continue and be replenished anew? Whereas today it seems, that just as the relationships between people, so too the relationships between composer and listener tend to be devoid of empathy, and one sadly feels a painful lack of interest in both parties. These two, composer and listener alike, are thus both damaged and humiliated , and their wings, with the help of which they have dreamt of soaring into the heavens, have been plucked and clipped. Such is the conflict that seemes to exists of late among the musicians of Art-Music – composers and listeners alike; a conflict that is not unavoidable, just as it does not exist neither in literature nor in the theatre,


Chapter Nineteen

and by itself is mistaken and misleading. This conflict is especially damaging to music because all the other arts, as important and vital as they may be, are not there to fulfill a heart’s desire, they are there in order to broaden our mind, to satisfy our curiosity, to deepen our general and spiritual knowledge. The great composers of the past, in whatever style they composed, knew exactly how to touch the hearts of their listeners without compromising on the depth and sophistication of their compositions. They were well aware that they had a mission to accomplish and that their message had to be grasped by their audiences. And as regards “lighter” music, Pop, Rock, and the like, I ask myself whence does this hostility and belitteling comes from? Just remember the admiration that Johannes Brahms held for Johann Strauss, and the fact that composers like Vivaldi, Prokofiev or Shostakovich, composed light and entertaining music as well, and that those different musics lived happily with each other. And so I keep asking myself whence came this alienation of the Art composers towards the Pop musicians? And is it really unavoidable? Here and there we meet some first signs of bridging over the different musics especially among performing composers. Suffice it to remind ourselves of Leonard Berenstein, one of the greatest musicians in the 20th century, who was equally at home as composer and as conductor¸ both with Classical Music and with Jazz and Pop Music, as if there had never existed a gap between the two. Or of Daniel Barenboim, who recently recorded all the Tango’s by the Argentinian composer Piazolla, or of the windplayers of the Berlin Philharmonic who recorded with great elan dance music from Brazil, or of the famous violinist Itzchak Perlmann, who in New-York joined with a group of Chasidic Klezmer musicians, moving between Beethoven’s violin concerto and the Chasidic melodies with the same fervour and expertise, and with the same impressive ability. Do those musicians herald a new spring? – only time will tell. * Let me now come to “Catharsis”. According to the Oxford dictionary the meaning of “Catharsis” is “Purification of the emotions by vicarious experience as through the drama”. This ancient Greek term was introduced into the English language, and obviously also into the other European languages, at the beginning of the 19th century. What it means is the purification of the emotions, the alleviation of some deeply traumatic personal experience by

The “Ethos” and the Theory of “Catharsis”


exposure to an artistic substitute. Or better still that we do not have to experience ourselves the traumas that life holds for us, suffice is to look at them via such experiences taking place on stage in the form of a drama being shown to us. We are supposed to learn from the experience of the actors that appear on stage , and thus to avoid the pitfalls and dangers that may befall us. The idea being that by watching the tragedies of others, who are doomed by their instincts to do evil, our own soul will be purified from this evil, and we will be spared their horrible experience. In his book “Poetics”, Aristotle explains the essence of the Tragedy in the following manner: A tragedy, then, is the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself; …in a dramatic, not in a narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its catharsis of such emotions.3

According to these words, Aristo sees the main purpose of the Tragedy, in its mission to cause the viewer to experience a catharsis, so that the tragedy will purify him from his negative traits and impulses. It is as if we have said that through the concentrated and impressive negation, the positive aspects within the viewer will come to life. Indeed, if we look at the history of art, we will find that this attitude keeps repeating itself. Take for instance, the trend of the late Middle Ages; if we look at the carved stone animal sculptures that are fixed on the inner and outer walls of the Notre-Dame in Paris, we cannot but be shocked and shaken viewing their cruel wide open mouths and their terrifying look. Or take “The Scream”, this unforgetable picture drawn by Eduard Munk at the beginning of the 20th century. Looking at it you cannot but feel an enormous fear that crawls up the back, this fear of life that sees no escape. The German composer Arnold Schönberg4, keeps reminding us that art is the outcry of those who experience, as if within their own flesh, the destiny of humanity. In his words, “Kunst ist der Notshrei jener die an sich das Schicksal der Menschheit erleben”. It is true that most probably neither Munk nor Schönberg, aimed to awaken catharsis; they did not care about the purification of their viewers soul, they wanted to declare the truth of life, and to shout out the dangers that confront humanity. But the intention remained the same. Schönberg saw himself as one who was endowed with fine “perception feelers” that other people did not posess. He felt that those “feelers” obliged him to warn the world of the dangers that lie ahead. Whereas to-day, when the agression and the violence (first and foremost through Hard-Rock and Punck) that fill our world and the violent


Chapter Nineteen

contents of film and television, the term Catharsis has retuned to become relevant once again. The creators of the violent film, theatre, music, and art, claim that what they are doing is intended to enable the viewers and the listeners to experience this Catharsis and be cured of agression and violence. Those creators claim further that it is the obligation of the audience to look into the face of horror, that surrounds our life, and internalize it in order to acknowledge the urgent need to find a cure for it. Because the mission of art is to hold up a mirror before the eyes of the audience, so that it will reflect the truth and not the beauty that in reality does not exist in our life. Art is after all the imitation of life, and not a wishful thinking. And because our life is violent and terrifying, so must its art be. This claim – that is characteristic for the major part of the art in the 20th century, mainly during its last decades, totally negates the aesthetics of the beauty in music. They believe that beauty is a lie and in reality does not exist in our world. And as it is the obligation of art to express only the truth, and the truth is ugly, so too does art have to be ugly. According to this equation beauty and lies are the mirror images of ugliness and truth. Although I admit that these claims are sincere and persuasive, yet I do not fully accept them. And this for two reasons: A. I believe that exactly as art is an imitation of life, so is life an imitation of art. If we see a lot of murders and violence on our T.V. sets, then rather than being purufied by them, we begin to imitate them. The human being is not only endowed with positive instincts. The negative instincts are as alive within us as the posotive ones. The agression and the violence that we witness daily on our television encourage the bad instincts within the human being who feels the urge to imitate and follow in the footprints of what is shown to him, and to act accordingly. In her Hebrew book: ”Young Spectators: Television in the life of Children and Young People”, Dr. Daphna Lamish, a Mass-Communication lecturer at Tel-Aviv university, presents an integrative result of hundreds of research papers that were conducted to examine and analyze the influence of violent television shows. They prove that not only that there exists no traces of Catharsis within the viewers, but that very consistent links were proven between violence on television and violent behaviour of young people.

The “Ethos” and the Theory of “Catharsis”


B. Just as ugliness, violence, and estrangement exist in our world, I firmly believe that so too do beauty, empathy and wholesome love exist. Any one-sided point of view of life leads only to extremism and to the distortion of reality . To those who claim that it is the mission of art to show the truth and not the beauty, I answer that the two, beauty and truth, are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, within the truth that charcterises our life there exists ugliness as well as beauty, and an art that aims at a true description of life has to do justice to both of them.

Notes 1. For Aristotle see note 9 in chapter 1. 2. Aristotle :”The Basic Works of Aristotle”, edited by Richard McKeon, Random house, New-York, 1941, 7th edition. POLITICS, book 8, chapter 5 verses 1340a, 20, 35, 1340 b, 5, 10. 3. See note 2 above, POETICS, chapter 6, verses 20-30. 4. Arnold Schönberg (1874- 1951). The leading and most influential composer of modern music of the 20th century. One of the founding fathers of the Twelve-Tone System, (Dodecaphony). Was active in Berlin and is considered as the head of the second Viennese school.. His main pupils are Alban Berg and Anton Webern. In 1933 imigrated to the U.S.A., nominated prof. at the University of California. Composed vocal music: the opera “Moses and Ahron”, Music for speech-voice (“Sprech gesang”) and instruments “Pierrot Lunaire”, chamber and piano music, and wrote about the theory and harmony of music.


Having dealt with the different aspects of music that affects the listener, I come now to the test point: Did the listener derive satisfaction from what he heard? And did the experience meet his expectations? The composer may come forward and challenge me, saying: ‘Why is it my concern whether the listener did or did not derive satisfaction from listening to my music? I said what I had to say. I would indeed be happy if the listener had been satisfied with what he heard. But if not, so be it. This is entirely his problem. Not mine’. A few years ago I had a very troubling conversation with a good friend of mine who happens to be a well known British composer. When asked about his feelings on this problem, he answered quite frankly: ”To tell you the truth, I have never thought about it. Basically I do not care at all about the reaction of the listeners to my music. I do, though, from time to time, ask myself whether the performer that I have in mind, would like the music well enough to want to perform it. But I admit that I never, not for a moment, think about the listener.” Once again I find myself astounded realizing the enormous gap that exists to-day between the composer and his audience. So much so that the composer seems to be unaware of the existence of the listener , as if the listener is simply an unnecessary addition to the musical process, as if the composer has despaired of the listener in advance. Whereas I, for what it is worth, claim that the listener is as important a factor in the musical process, as is the composer himself; that music, without having reached the listener and been accepted by him, has not really come to fruition. In the next section of this book, I will deal with the aspect of music as a language, and will try to convince my reader that music is indeed a language. Every language exists in order to communicate, one to the other, from speaker to listener. This is the basic mission of a language. The

Experience, Gratification and Satisfaction


more so the language of music which is much more subtle and ephemeral than the spoken language. Let me therefore come back to the listener, the one who is supposed to “catch” the music, who is craving to grasp and adopt it for himself and to revitalise his soul, and also, maybe, to enjoy and even be entertained by music. How will the listener derive this satisfaction? How will listening to music become an experience that the listener is so eager to call his own? Wilhelm.J.Revers,1 in his book “Das Musikerlebnis”, (‘The experience of Music’), reminds us that experience is not a situation, but a process; a process that occurs during a passing passage of time. Experience is thus a movement in the time of one who is having this experience, [In our case the listener]. This movement, maintains Revers, fits itself to this certain something, and aims at this something, [in our case, at what he hears], and wants to grasp it, to hold it, and to become familiar with it. He wants to adopts this something that is still strange and new to him. But, so says Revers, during this process the listener as it were casts off the strangeness of this something [music that is new] and makes it an integral part of his experience. Thus the experience does not lose itself in the time that is passing. The experience becomes an internalized time; a time that does not get lost but finds itself again and again in the memory of the listener…. Thus, says Revers, the experience unifies the [listener’s] memory with his heartfelt expectations of it.2 I loved this formulation of Revers and that is why I have quoted it. I would also like to remind my reader that not only is experience a process in time, but music itself is an ongoing process; a message in sound that moves during a certain time from performer to listener, and hence one can look upon music as “sounding time”. The noted Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky was of the opinion that music creates the existence of order between man and time, and Revers explains this by claiming that we have to consider the fact that the self awareness.of the human being stands in contradistinction to the passing time. One can demonstrate this, says Revers, by observing the Rhythm that is basically imposing an order within passing or continuing time. In the tedium that has no rhythm, the past and the future merge in a present of nothingness. In direct opposition to the “nothingness” of “empty time”, (time that is devoid of any rhythm), stands the feeling of happiness of “full time”. This feeling is caused by listening to music that , by its very nature, designates time. In this, continues Revers, lies the importance of music for the personal realization of the listener’s personality. Music as it were translates the reflection of the listener’s personal world into a world


Chapter Twenty

of sound; musical changes reflect within the listener the inner echo of his unique sense of self. As Herman Scherchen3 has written: No ear is able to analyse while listening to Beethoven’s Eroica symphony, all the minute intricacies of the many contrasts that exist in this composition. But everybody is able to experience them by listening to them.4

Would it not be correct to say that an experience is something that has been engraved in one’s memory, for better or for worse, and resembles a road sign in one’s existence, that is disconnected from the passing time? If so then the musical experience resembles a road-sign within sounding time, while it engraves itself into the listener’s experience, disconnected from the passing general time or musical time. This experience adds an unforgettable the musical memory of the listener Presenting this musical experience is mainly the task of the performer. Thanks to a special and extraordinary performance, and notwithstanding its being a one-time-happening. The performer may succeed in entering into the innermost being of the listener and convince him of the exeptional quality of the composition. Such a performance can become an emotional asset in the musical memory of the listener that time will never succeed in erasing. May I add that the more the listener gains such experiences , the richer the inner world of the listener will become, and the more satisfaction he will derive from listening to music.. And as regards this musical gratifaction, I believe that it is not only an individual experience, but also a very intimate one, that one may say is almost akin to a sensual experience. Because while the eye is much more extrovert, surveying its surroundings with great curiosity, admiration, amazment and, yes, at times even digust, the ear is introvert and turns inward, stimulating the hearing sense in a very intimate and sensuous manner that almost resembles a sexual experience. In this the hearing sense is much more similar to the sense of touch or smell. I do not mean to say the the eye does not have an inner and very personal aspect, but the eye is capable of looking around in an objective way, as well .Not so the hearing sense. Not in vain did the noted German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, claime against music that when it is heard it penetrates into the inner self whether the person wants it or not, thus being an unwelcomed guest and no one can escape from it.5 But he who’s soul desires to hear music and is privileged to listen to the music that he loves when he desires to do so, may be completely

Experience, Gratification and Satisfaction


addicted to it, and if its performance meets his expectations, than this listener will experience an unforgettable satisfaction . What is more, in as much as music disappears immediately after being heared and still every new performance brings it to life again, so may listening again to this same composition bring about a renewed sense of fulfillment and excitement. To such an extant are the performer, the listener and the music, interconnected and linked together. The experience that is being created by this magical interconnection is like an added existence that hovers over the listener, as if touching his course of life that streams with the passing time, and yet time has no control, better still, no influence, over him. This experience is eternal for whoever experiences it, not only because one can experience it again and again, but mainly because it is branded into one’s very being and will continue to exist as long as one lives. Thus the musical process has accomplished its mission: the message in sound that was transmitted by the performer has reached the listener and been internalized by him. The mission of music has been fulfilled. Let me finish this chapter by again quoting from Revers. Music that causes but a momentary experience, is no music, claims Revers. The most meaningful definition of music, he says , is when it excites and deeply impresses the enthralled listener, and enables him to recapture the emotion again and again into his private interior self, freed from the burdens that everyday life imposes on him.6

Notes 1. Willhelm, Joseph, Revers, (1911-1987). psychologist, center of activity, Salzburg, Austria. 2. Revers, Willhelm Joseph “Das Musikerlebnis”, (the musical experience), eine Schrift der Herbert von Karajan Stiftung, Düsseldorf: Recon, 1970, pp. 23-25. 3. Hermann Scherchen, an eminent German conductor, (1891-1966). In his first concert, 1912, he conducted Schönberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire”. Was a fouding member of the International Society for Contemporary Music. In 1933 left Germany and was active in Brussels, Venice and Switzerland, writing and conducting mainly contemporary music. He was responsible for many first performances of compositions by Alban Berg, Arnold Schönberg, Anton Webern, Karlheinz Stockhausen and many others.. 4. Scherchen Hermann, “Vom Wesen der Musik”, (The Substance of Music), band 1. der “Reihe Musikwissenschaft”, Winterthur, Mondial Verlag (N.D.) p.19 5.Kant Immanuel, “Kritik der Urteilskraft”, (The Criticism of the Power of Judgment), Wiesbaden, Suhrkampf Verlag, 1960. pp. 46,47. 6. Revers Willhelm, Joseph, “Das Musikerlebnis”, p. 23.



In a very general way one can maintain that every expression with which a man communicates with his fellow man, either through words, sounds, body movements or facial expression, all of these belong to the the overall family of languages. The Oxford Dictionary begins its definition of language by saying “The whole body of words and of methods of combining them, used by a nation, people, or race” and adds that since 1502 the word has been used also as “the phraseology or terms of a science, art, profession , etc.” A human being comes into this world alone , and leaves it alone. His life is marked, among other factors, by a never ending effort to pave ways and build bridges that will lead him to reach out to his fellow human beings. This urge to communicate, and the need to reveal and confess his inner self, is deeply rooted in the human soul and provides one of the reasons for the existence of art. And this is why art is a language as well. From among all the arts, music, I believe, most closely resembles language. Just as in language, music also disappears imidiately after being heard. Music too is measured in time and characterized by moving from one sound-unit to another, as language moves from word to word. Also as in language, music’s first expression originated through the mouth and the vocal chords. And finally, similar to language that is composed of letters that combine into words, although the single letter has nearly no meaning, music too is composed of a combination of sounds, although the single sound has basically no musical meaning.1 But obove and beyond all that, just as language serves not only for the creation of art, namely literature and poetry, it is used for propaganda and making speeches, for passing on information, news and ideas, for bying in the markets and speaking with ones friends. So too does music. It can be applied to Art Music, as well as to marketing of goods ( for instance Jingles); It can serve as entertainment and as background for dancing, and it may even be used as a binding force that moulds groups of individual people into a nation, for instance, via the national anthem and

Is Music really a Language?


Folk-Song. The sound message, exactly as the word message, is designated for different aims and deeds, but both of them serve as a language. They connect people and bring them closer to each other. What is more, just as the spoken language cannot be understood without the grammatical rules - the commas, the full stops, the hyphens, the question marks, the exclamation marks, and the different emphasis of the words – so too will the sound language not be understood without the rhythmical and theoretical rules, the agogics and the dynamics,2 that have to be applyed to every musical phrase. May I draw the attention of my reader to the astonishing fact that basically we do not speak a language, we rather “sing” a language. We speak with shifting levels of the voice, we accent each word differently, we speak quicker and slower, louder and softer. I remember a lecture by the Jerusalem poet and traslator Immanuel Olsvanger (1888- 1961), reciting Gretchen’s poem from “Faust” by Goethe : “Ich gäbe was wenn ich nur wüßt, wer heut der mann gewesen ist…” ( I would have given much if I could have known who was the man who sat next to me today ). Olsvanger, who was talking to a group of interested musicians, wanted to stress the similarity between music and poetry, maintaining that both of them need to pay great attention to the accentuation of the musical as well as the literal text: “Imagine”, he said, “what this sentence would mean if the reader accentuated the word “today”, instead of the word “who”, Which was Goethe’s intention. Thus it seems that the difference between speaking and singing is but a difference in the degree of the intensity of pronounciation. And indeed music came to us closely interlocked with words. Until the end of the first millennium it was not possible to separate the two. Music was sung from the words to which music was added. The beginning of musical notation, developed, as far as we know, during the first milleniun B.C. in Ancient Greece. This notation used, as did the spoken language, the Greek alphabet. As if nothing is more natural than designing the spoken as well as the musical languages by the same means. This alphabetic notation was written above the words of the poem to which the music was adapted. Thus the spoken language was as if broadened to include the musical one. The Chinese notation that was put in writing, most probably, at the beginning of the Common Era, was also born out of the written Chinese language. As we all know the Chinese alphabet has a pictographic form, a picture for each letter or word, and therefore they belong to the “Tablature” notations. In the Chinese notation the musical sound has also a name which is designated by its appropriate drawing, and written in a


Chapter Twenty One

smaller design than the word itself, on the right side of the spoken words of the poem The notation of the Middle-Ages, that developed first in Italy, sometime during the seventh century A.D., as well as the Bible-readingnotation, which was put in writing in Tiberias, during the ninth century A.D., belong both to the “Eckphonetic” notatian. It could not be written down at all without the spoken word. They both are graphic signs that combine two or more sounds and are written either above or below the spoken word. As if maintaining that without the spoken word music can not exist.3 If I am asked: ‘but surely there must be a difference between language and music?’, I will answer, though realizing that my answer may seem an over-simplification, that where the word-language ends the musical language begins. In other words, the word language speaks to the rational being, or to the mind. Music, on the other hand, speaks also to the emotion, to the feeling. Or better yet: word-language has to be understood, whereas music has also to be felt. But I would hasten to add that if one does not understand something, one can not really feel this something. This fact is what makes music a kind of a language. And this precisely is why music has first and foremost to be understood. The Israeli philosopher Menachem Brinker, who is a noted expert on aesthetics, does not agree with me, maintaining that no expression can be considered to be a language unless it can show forth a perfect correspondence between “marker” and “marked”. Meaning that each word has to have a known and unmistakable parallel concept. On the other hand, I maintain that precisely that trait enables music to reach directly to the heart, so to speak, without needing the “marker”, this objective go-between that can not directly touch or move the listener. It is the ephemeral characteristic of music, this lack of rationalistic permanence, that allows music to penetrate directly into the listeners innermost feelings, without needing to pass first through the rationalistic barrier of the brain. Music, even more than poetry, appeals to the feelings, speaks directly from one human being wherever he may be, to the other, without considering either barriers nor geographical or ethnic borders. Like the colourful butterfly that hovers and floats in the air, and sucks nectar from any attractive flower that chances to come his way, so music too knows no boundaries and is free to roam the air and to touch any human heart. This, of course, as opposed to the spoken language that changes from country to country and from people to people. Thus, notwithstanding the many differences that exist between the word-languages and the musical language, music is a language and

Is Music really a Language?


applies to the human being when and where the word-languages do not suffice. I assume therefore that we are allowed to claim that music is indeed a language of the feelings; that its mission is to deliver the musical message and it does this through the means that are at its disposal: voices, sounds, combination of sounds, rhythms, dynamics and agogics. In the following chapters I will try to probe into those means that music needs in order to proclaim its message .

Notes 1. See also chapter 1 of this book: “The Meaning of Sound”. 2. Agogics denote all the subtleties of performance by modification of tempo, whereas dynamics are the gradation which involves a variety of intensity. 3. For further remarks of musical notation see also chapter 2 of this book: “The Secret of the Sound Movement”.


It seems to me to be a good idea to divide sounds into two groups, in this chapter as well: those that have a fixed altitude and are called “sounds”, and those that are an acoustic phenomenon but do not have a fixed altitude, and are called “Voices”.1 To begin let us look at the second group. Think, for instance, of the dim and muffled ringing of church bells. Recreate the memory of them in your inner ear and feel the magnificance and dignity that comes over you. These deep and sonorous sounds that descend upon you from the church towers, seems as if coming from high above; as if casting a spell of awe and reverence, on the one hand, and a feeling of security, yes even of serenity, on the other. These sounds talk directly to the listener as if they were a real language. I admit, different people may perhaps understand all this in different ways, but a thousand words would not succeed, as music does, in describing the feelings that those sounds arouse.2 Or take for instance the murmur of the river that in the last lasy days of summer flows slowly down its corse. Its voices rustle quietly as if bubbling straight up from the good earth below, while casting a welcome tranquillity all around. Hearing these murmuring sounds our hearts will open up, the soul will don festive garments in celebration, and a feeling of rejuvenation will fill us entirely. As opposed to that, imagine the voices of stormy waters rushing in the very same river only a few months later, when the fury of winter takes over and the blowing wind spurs the high waters and shrieks with its shrill voice spreading dread; when the soul shrinking and fearing withdraws into its innermost self; when our worries, which until now have lingered at the back of our minds, suddenly re-assert themselves and a feeling of dread and helplesness may come over us. And I have not yet mentioned the whistle of the policeman, or the sounding bells tied around the neck of the cows grazing in the meadows, or the rumble of the train wheels that pound along the endless rail lines, in

Sound Movements as Emotional Indicators


a monotonous rhythm that is partly melancholy and partly optimistic. And what about the twitter of the birds? and the murmuring of the pigeons? and the shrieking of the crows? and the cock-crow in the early morning? All of them are different voices and each one of them awakens in the listener a specific resonance. These voices speak in a language that can not be compared to any other. It is true that once in a long time, a talented poet will indeed succeed in putting these manifold feelings into the right words, and because of that society may well call him a genius, and I have already mentioned that poetry is the nearest art to music when it comes to expressing feelings. Let me return now to the first group, the one whose sounds have a fixed and definite altitude (higher or lower). The debate is a long-standing one, whether music describes feelings, ideas and ideals that are outside the realm of music, in other words, programme music, or whether it can describe only a musical and rhythmical context that has no non-musical contents, namely absolute music. In the storm of this debate, that is as old as instrumental music itself, opinions are divided and have not been agreed upon to this day. In the forefront of those who oppose programme-music, stands Eduard Hanslick.3 In his noted book “Vom Musikalisch Schönen” (About the Beauty in Music), published in 1854, he vehemently defends the opinion that the sound-combinations, the scales, the different rhythms and the different polyphonic structures, are the sole contents of music. And that music does not need any extraneous elements that in principle contradict its spirit. Although I tend to agree with Hanslick, I would add to it a crucial supplement. To my mind, as long as classical music was dominant, that is to say, as long as music was composed according to accepted and known rules concerning its forms, structures, sound-combinations, and sound-relations, music really did not need any extraneous contents. But when rules and regulation were discarded and thrown overboard, and composers declared that they were not bound any longer to accepted and known rules, absolute music, unintentionally was again relegated to the background of events and finds itself in need of a “programme” – words, paintings, movement, etc. – in order to be understood. From among those who are pro programme music, who believe that music should describe extraneous non musical contens, I have chosen two personalities, whose opinions stress music as being derived from language. The first one is Hermann Kretzschmar.4


Chapter Twenty Two

In his book: “Anregung zur Förderung musikalischer Hermeneutik”, (Encouragement to the Advancement of the Art of interpreting Music), published in 1902, Kretzschmar admits that the composer is not able to grant the listener a definite reproduction of a forest or a sea, while the poet can do it with one word, or the painter with a single sweep of his brush. Notwithstanding, if given a text or even a single title, then the composer will be able to express the mystery of the forest and the murmurs and sounds of its trees, in a direct, inspiring and captivating way that can be much more impressive than the description of the painter or the poet. It is true, continues Kretzschmar, that music and poetry are considered to be “speaking arts”, because the main value of music lies in its ability to communicate, but the speaking ability of sounds begins where the ability of the words end.5 Kretzschmar was one of the important spokesmen of the musical “Hermeneutics” which he used to call, “Die Dolmetcherkunst”, (The art of translation). But before enlarging on this art of interpretation, let me mention the theory that preceded it , namely the “Affecten Lehre”, (The theory of the “Affect”). Its origin stems from the end of the “Roccoco” style, end of the 18th century, in which the “Empfindsamer Stiel”, (the susceptible style) reigned supreme. This Susceptible Style was introduced in the footsteps of the “Stil Gallant” (The Gallant style), that served as the ideal of the “Rococo”. It appears that this 18th century was, for art and especially for music, a very unstable epoch, that was characterized by endless style changes. It comprised four different periods, two of them belonging to the most important ones in music history: Its first two quarters presented the highlight of the Baroque period, in which Johann Sebastian Bach and Friedrich Händel put the crown on this splendiferous and sophisticated musical period; the second and third quarters were those of the “Style Gallant” in France, and the “Emfindsamer Stil” in Germany; whereas the second half of this restless century embraced the period of “Classicim” (Viennese Classics), perhaps the most crucial in music’s history whose representatives were Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig Van Beethoven, who already envisaged and heralded the romantic era. Little wonder, then, that this exceptional century brought forth an endless search and a never-ending quest to find a convincing solution of how to understand and how to express the emotional language of music. One of the solutions was the “Affecten Lehre”. (The theory of the emotional state) Carl Philip Immanuel Bach and his elder brother Friedeman Bach, as well as composers like Johann Joachim Quantz, or

Sound Movements as Emotional Indicators


Franz Benda and Johann Friedrich Reichert, were enthusiastic developers of this theory. According to the “Affecten Lehre” the main aim of music is the description of definite feelings and human characteristics, like desire, delicacy, weakness, sadness, longing etc. These composers were of the opinion that every interval6 or sound-motif expresses a specific feeling and they tried, with the help of these, to arrive at the “truthful” and “natural” expression in music. Already Vincenzo Galilei, one of the composers and theoreticians of the “Camerata” school, that originated in Florance, in the early beginings of the 17th century,7 maintained that cruelty and evel should be expressed by a “Dissonance”.8 As was also the general belief, from the Middle-Ages onward, that the “Triton”, (the interval that consists of four whole tones: (C’-F’sharp), indicates the “Devil in music” and was stricktly forbidden in writing music. The composer Johann Matteson, (1681-1764), was also of the opinion that every musical expression has its own affect, just as every melody expresses its own special mood, or “state of mind”. It was Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart (1739-1791) who characterised every scale in the Tonal System by its very definit emotions: C major expresses purity, innocence, simplicity, and childlike talk; A minor expresses devaout femininity and great tenderness; F major denotes peacefulness and grace; D minor stands for burdensome, nagging femininity and dense fog, etc, etc.9 On all these different theories did Hermann Kretzschmar, 150 years later, base his Hermeneutiks. Kretzschmar maintained that it was the role of Hermeneutics to free the affects from being bound to their sounds, and to “translate” the music into suitable words and sentences and thus understand, experience, and portray the music in a more effective manner.(5) What Kretzschmar meant is that the performer as well as the listener must use fantasy and imagine the landscapes or the feelings that are inherent in the different sound-combinations. My good friend, the Israeli pianist, Pnina Salzman, told me repeatedly that Alfred Cortot (1877-1962), the famous French pianist, who was her teacher, taught her how to understand the music that she was about to perform. He explained to her, than a 14 year old girl, what, according to his mind, were the landscapes that are portrayed in the music of Chopin or Schumann, and what were the moods and the many different feelings that were inherent in the composition. Cortot asserted again and again that without envisioning the pictures that were as if concealed behind the notes of the music, she would never perform the music correctly.


Chapter Twenty Two

To-day we seem to shy away from such descriptions that resemble “kitsch” and artificial overused cliches to most of us. But if we consider the many composers, not only those who represent the Romantic era , like Beethoven and Mahler, Berlioz, Liszt and Debussy, but even the earlier ones, like Vivaldi and Händel , and realize how important for them was the search for a certain content, even if only a heading for their instrumental composition, we must admit that “Heremeneutics” is not an empty illusion Nevertheless, as I have already mentioned, the opinions differ greatly concerning this issue. I have already quoted Eduard Hanslick but would like to add that now-a-days, at the beginning of the 21st century, most musicians and music theoretitions, vehemently object to those romantic meanings that, according to Cortot, were hidden behind the notes of the instrumental composition, and regard them as unprofessional kitsch. Despite this and precisely in our own times, composers tend to cooperate with other arts, especially poetry, dance, and acting. And it is in our times that Multimedia has become so popular. I do not think that I would be entirely mistaken if I were to suggest that although everybody once thought that Opera, being so artificial and unrealistic, would die after the 19th century, Opera is still alive and kicking in the 21st century, exactly because it has a content to describe. It is the existence of a content that enabled this old-fashioned form to go on living and become an understanable musical language. But let us come back to those sound combinations that have neither words nor a verbal heading. Let us take, for instance the ascending Fourth: C’-F’. Inadvertently we will hear a hunting call or the beginning of a march. If we recall the major Seventh, again ascending ,C’-B’ , we will immidiately aim for the higher C’, the expected Octave. Or take for instance the descending minor third: C’-A’, and we will sense a mood of sighing, of sadness and sorrow-full reflections. I could of course go on and on, because nearly all intervals have, with time, adopted some known and accepted meanings, most of them emotional ones. You can, of course, argue with me and say that all this is true only in relation to the tonal musical language, whereas our musical society has already overcome tonality. And I would answer that my opponents may well be right, and that we have in reality overcome tonality but we have not succeded in bringing anything in tonality’s place. The Dodecaphonic language did not hold water, neither did the Serial one. And although both of them were leaning heavily on the intervals, those did not successfully adopt a new meaning. Thus we remain with those old and bygone meanings and they still serve us. What is more , most of the listeners to art

Sound Movements as Emotional Indicators


music listen mainly to the tonal repertoire and the meaning of the intevals are recognised by them, whether knowingly or instinctively. Since we are in agreement, at least I certainly hope so , that music is indeed a language, or that music is derivative of a language, its intervals and sound combinations therefore must have some meaning. For too long we have lived in the illlusion that music does not necessarily need to have a meaning, but it may well be that the time has come to realize that we were wrong. It is not in vain that all popular music is sung to words, and this gives them meanig. During the 300 years preceeding the 20th century, art music succeeded in composing very meaningful absolute music, namely music without words or extraneous contents. By overcoming tonality, music has lost this ability. We cannot enjoy music unless we understand its meaning. This axiom is another proof that music is indeed a language, and a language has to be understood. Although I have repeatedly maintained that music speaks and appeals to our emotions, it is exactly here that the two unite: one cannot enjoy emotionally what one can not understand intellectually.

Notes 1. For additional information about sounds and voices, see chapter 1. in this book: “The Meaning of Sound” 2. This, I admit, has already been mentioned in chapter 1. But I found it fitting to bring it here again, mainly because of the connection to the language. 3. For E. Hanslick see note 1. in chapter 17. 4. Hermann Kretzschmar, (1848-1924). Musicologist, conductor and lecturer, in major German cities. 5. Appeared in the anthology :”Musik Aesthetik in ihren Hauptrichtungen”, (Music Aesthetic in its major Directions”) by Felix M. Gatz. Stuttgart, Edi. F. Enke, 1920, pp. 66, 68. 6. Interval: The distance between one sound and the following one. 7. The “Camerata” in Florence, was composed of musicians, poets, writers and art amateurs, who convened in the houses of the aristocracy. They debated the possibilities of creating a new musical style that would draw its inspiration from ancient Greek drama. Among its members were Jacopo Peri (1561-1633) and Giulio Caccini (1545-1618), who were the first opera composers. 8. For “dissonance” see note 1. in chapter 9. See also chapter 26, further on in this book. 9. My thanks to the flautist Michael Melzer who drew my attention to Ch. F. D. Schubart’s book : “Ideen zu einer Aesthetik der Tonkunst” (“Ideas concerning the Aesthetic of the musical Art”), Vienna, 1806.


The noted musicologist Marius Schneider1 wrote in his essay “The Birth of the Symbol in Music”, that the origin of the symbol is inherent in language, because our language is in principle a vehicle to communicate with and to transfer information, and because language is represented by forms and shapes that are tangible and real. The word, though, that is more distant from tangible things, belongs to an earlier and more ephemeral language; a language that is more closely connected to music than the languages of to-day with their practical meanings. There is no doubt that our principles are to be found somewhere in-between us and the practical things. But in order to penetrate into the heart of the basic rhythm that marks those things, that are characterized by equivalence and analogy, we need to find a vehicle that is less material and earthy than language. This vehicle is music. Music alone is able to achieve pure rhythm because it is devoid of any tangible image or any conceptual shape….research into the mythology of ancient civilisations gives evidence that the symbol and the creative process are closely-knit together.2 In these words of Schneider I see an introduction to what I have to say about the symbol, the subject of this chapter . Despite the fear of generalization, one might perhaps maintain that the symbol serves, first and foremost, for social communication. It is like a common sign within a certain society in a certain place and at a certain time. The symbol is a kind of initial, of acronym or a kind of abreviation, that is understood by the members of the society within which it is in common usage. But moreover, the symbols also conceal reactions, feelings and experiences, that if we would have wanted to describe them with words, or to put them in writing, it would take many pages. And even if we would have taken the trouble to explain them at length, we would not have succeeded in covering the whole scope, unless we use the symbol.

Musical Motifs as Symbols of Social Traditions


Take for instance the concept: Richard Wagner. And let me state immediately that I mean the preconception and not the composer himself nor one of his operas. This concept has, in Israel, become a symbol; a symbol of all the Nazi evil, the concentration camps and the annihilation of the Jewish people. All this although the man died in 1883, fifty years before Hitler came to power, and although Wagner was hardly ever performed in the concentration camps, (because they did not have such large orchestras), whereas Beethoven’s music, for instance, was played often. That is exactly what I mean: The symbol embodies not only the thing that it symbolizes, but over and above that it embraces all the feelings, the impulses, the loves and the hatreds characteristic of the human society, and it is not important at all whether the symbol really and truly reflects the original image of what it symbolizes. Or take, for instance the well-known song “Lily Marleine”, that has become a symbol of all the hardships, the tribulations, the longings and the hopes of the German soldiers during the First World War. So much so that it crossed the borders and the lines and became a kind of a symbol for the British soldiers as well in the same war. Moreover, because of its being a symbol it spilled over to the Second World War and once again became the symbol of longing for the allied forces. No doubt that song, this joining together of melody with words, is most suitable to serve as a symbol for a society within which it is used.3 The words, that serve as a basis for the song define the subject, and the music enfolds the words, it touches the very heart of society, exposes its feeling and by this may help to heal its wounds. There can be no doubt that human culture is filled to the brim with symbols. The folklore customs of its many different folks and tribes, communities and congregations, all revolve around such symbols. Beginning with flags and the national anthems, through face-masks and the face paint with which the different tribes cover their faces, through the special sorts of food and drink that each nation enjoys during its different holidays, through the special garments that each community wears on these holidays, and finally the specific music that accompanies these festivities. All of them are symbols that society cannot do without. This is specially true regarding, what I often refer to as “Greater music”, namely the art-unit that contains words, movement and music. As for the words, one may say that each “slang”, the colloquial language of every day speech, is a sort of a symbol. Basically one can maintain that every word is a symbol of the concept that it describes. But with time the spoken word has, as it were taken off the garment of


Chapter Twenty Three

symbolism and became an explicit expression. This is the reason why every language needs its own “slang”, that is constatnly changing, so that it will not lose its original symbolic effect. As for movement, it is basically a combination of symbols. Every movement of the body symbolises feelings and situations, reactions and sentiments, that if people would have wanted to describe them exactly they would have needed a multitude of words in order to do so. And even then it is very doubtful if they would have succeeded in describing them properly: a smile, a twitching of the nose, turning the back, the lifting of a fist, a bow, the raised arm of the Fascist salute, a crude tapping on the forehead as a gesture implying craziness, but also a hug, a caress, not to speak of a kiss – all these are symbols that encapsulates the many faces and different perceptions of emotions and reactions . Where would we have been, what would we have come to, and how would we have found our way in society, without those symbolic movements? The art of dance itself is also composed of movements that are symbolic: each step, each jump, each movement of the hands each turning of the head, all are symbols that together form the language of the dance. And as for music, I believe that I would not be mistaken if I were to say that music as a whole is a system of signs, or better still, of symbols. Let me examine this statement more closely. Although I have claimed again and again that the single sound has no musical meaning and that the smallest meaningfull musical unit is the combination between, at least, two sounds, I cannot deny that even the single sound can be interpreted as a symbol. A thin high sound may be interpreted as a shriek, as an uncomfortable situation and as a feeling that some danger has befallen. Whereas a very low and thick sound may well frighten us, or could also be interpreted as transmitting confidence and might. After all every instrument within a symphony orchestra or within any ethnic ensemble, symbolises a certain state of mind, a certain mood, a certain atmosphere and a certain character that is its very own. The same motif if appearing alternatively in the flute, in the viola or in the horn, speaks each time a different language. If all this is true concerning the single sound, it is much more so concerning an interval,4 in which I see, as already mentioned, the smallest meaningful musical unit. Every interval, whether ascending or discending, or even if only repeating two similar sounds, symbolises a different tension, that is clearly felt as if it were clearly defined. The more so concerning the scale-system and the harmonies, especially within the

Musical Motifs as Symbols of Social Traditions


tonal system, in which all its components and chords transmit musical symbols par excellence. On this matter Ferruccio Busoni5 wrote the following: What we now call our Tonal System is nothing more than a set of ”signs”; an ingenious device to grasp somewhat of that eternal harmony; a meagre pocket-edition of that encyclopaedic work; artificial light instead of the sun. - Have you ever noticed how people gaze open-mouthed at the brilliant illuminations of a hall? They never do so at the millionfold brighter sunshine of noonday. - And so, in music, the signs have assumed greater consequence than that which they ought to stand for, and can only suggest.6

Indeed Busoni rejects, with some disdain, what has become a symbol in music. He maintains, maybe rightly so, that these symbols or signs are but pathetic imitations of the enormous wealth that music has to offer. But it seems that people - and I refer to music listeners, namely to those that one cannot ignore - have difficulty in grasping in full this enormous wealth, unless it is defined in groups that make it possible to be understood, namely in symbols. One can compare it to the spoken language. There can be no doubt that the word, that is also a symbol for that thing that it wants to define, restricts greatly the use of the abundance of letters and the many punctuation signs in their different combinations, that greatly enrich and renew the language. But people, “poor things” as we are, would never understand the hidden intentions of this ever renewed language, if it were to begin using new letters and new signs, and thus, it would cease to be a comprehensible language, as unfortunate as it may be. Concerning musical symbols, take, for instance, the ekphonetic notation, the Neumes. Those are, as already mentioned, graphic signs that appear, beginning with the 7th century, written above and beneath the prayer verses, and are meant to designate the melodic motifs according to which they have to be sung. Each design represents a symbol, a musical motif. These Neumes, as we know, constitute the beginning of the Western Notation system, that despite its many changes that have occured with the passage of time, are made up only of symbols. It is true that the essence of a symbol is dependant on the way it is interpreted. Every symbol conceals something of a hint. With talent and imagination one can derive from every hint a whole world of different interpretations; without which the imagination would be poor and pathetic. This is why the art of music, that consists of a continuation of symbols, has basically two creative forces: the composer and the performer. The one fixes the symbols, the other interprets them and makes them sound., except


Chapter Twenty Three

in Jazz, Arab music, Ethnic music or World music, in which the composer and the performer as if merge into one personality. But take note that all those musics are mostly devoid of notation and therefore have fewer symbols that demand interpretation. At this point it seems worth noting that although the symbols are fixed and immutable, it is their interpretation that is forever changing. That is why music, any music, even an ancient composition, whenever it is performed bears always a contemporary message. Busoni, in his monography “Sketch of a New Aesthetic of Music”, relates also to this question: Notation, the writing out of compositions, is primarily an ingenious expedient for catching an inspiration, with the purpose of exploiting it later. But notation is to improvisation as the portrait to the living model. It is for the interpreter to resolve the rigidity of the signs into the primitive emotion. (p. 84)

This is the place for me to note that one can also see music as evolving from the relationships of numbers. The altitude of the sounds, the intervals between the sounds, the different chords that convey its harmony, not to speak of rhythm that consists only of numbers, are all expressed in numbers. But the number itself is but a sign , or a symbol, that has to be interpreted. We will elaborate further on this subject in the next chapter .

Notes 1. Marius Schneider, (1903-1982), was a noted musicologist. In 1933 he was appointed head of the Phonograph Archives in the Berlin Ethnic Museum. In 1944 he immigrated to Barcellona, where he was nominated Professor at the “Institute Espagnole de Musicology”. He was known for his researches on the phenemenology of language and its symbols. 2. Schneider, Marius, “The Birth of the Symbol in Music”, in the serios “The World of Music”’ vol. 26, no 3, “Sacred Music”, 1984. pp. 6,7. 3. For the use of the song as a symbol, see also chapter 18 in this book. 4. For Interval, see note 6 in chapter 22. 5. For Busoni, see note 1 in in chapter 2. 6. Busoni, Ferruccio, “Sketch of a new Aesthetic of Music” in “Three Classics in the Aesthetic of Music”, Dover publication, 1962, p. 89


Music, as we have already discussed, is carried on three cornerstones: Melody, Harmony and Rhythm. In this chapter I would like to add to this and suggest that those three serve not only as the main components of music, but are also an important means of understanding music. Each of the three has different meanings and different significances that help the listener not only to understand but also to communicate with what he has heard. Thus one may say that Melody, Harmony and Rhythm are not only the cornerstones of music itself, but also the cornerstones of understanding the musical language. From among these three, rhythm, so it seems to me, is the most indispensable. There exists music with no melody, and there exists music without harmony or any polyphony whatsoever, but music without rhythm is an impossibility. Exactly as is a language without rhythm; a language that has neither fullstops nor commas, neither long nor short sentences, that does not have accentuations nor intervals. All these constitute rhythm, and without them one would not understand what was being spoken. Basically our life itself also moves according to given rhythms; rhythms that each person creates for himself and according to which his life progresses. This is so because every moving phenomenon, and every phenomenon that is measured in time, depends on rhythm. Thus we can say that rhythm determines our lif. Just as rhythm organises the course of life, so it also determines the course of music. Rhythm not only organises the course of music, it lends meaning to music. Rhythm symbolises for us how we ought to understand music and thus gives it its raison de’etre. Let us go a bit further into the basic components of this rhythm. We will look first at its two main elememts: quick and slow. It seems that these two are not only the main elements of rhythm as such, but they constitute the quintessential and the most decisive rhythmic instructions


Chapter Twenty Four

concerning the meaning of music. We are talking not only about the musical meaning as such but also about the interrelation, or better still, the contrast between the two, quick and slow. For example, when I am told that we are going to listen to a slow movement, I know immediately that we are talking about a serious matter. My facial expression becomes sader, I expect an atmosphere of grief, or a festive prayer, and maybe even a melancholy event that is apt to bring tears to my eyes. But if I am going to listen to a quick movement, my soul prepares itself for a certain cheerfulness, for a delightful event, maybe even a little jocularity, or a joyful dance, and my mood will adjust itself accordingly. The usual title of a quick movement is “Allegro”, which does not point to a certain speed, but entails rather a meaning of ‘a happy and joyful atmosphere’. When talking of a quick movement the rhythm instruction would be “Allegro”, “Presto” (quick) or “Prestissimo” (very quick), or for instance “Rondo”’ which does not indicate any speed at all but indicates rather a dance form, in which the theme returns again and again, and the atmosphere is somewhat euphoric. When talking about a slow movement, the tempo instructions make a distinction between different degrees of slowness. From the “Andante”, which means literaly ‘walking’, to the “Andantino”, which is less slow then the Andante, (like the “Allegretto” that is not as quick as the Allegro). Slower than the Andante, is the “Adagio”, whose literal Italian meaning is ‘comfortably’, but its musical interpretation now-a-days is something like ‘with deep seriousness’. Slower than the Adagio is the “Largo”. Its translation from Italian would be ‘ Broad’ or ‘Big’, like the English ‘Large’. The “Largetto” is derived from the “Largo”, meaning ‘not as slow’, whereas the “Adagietto” is derived from the “Adagio” and indicates a somewhat lighter slowness. All these tempo instructions, that appear at the head of every musical movement, are there not only to indicate the tempo, but rather to give the movement its emotional identity. Those instructions are like guidelines for the performer concerning the interpretation of the movement, and for the listener concerning his expectations from the movement. In other words, those instructions are there in order to turn what is written in black on white into a comprehensive emotional language. But the composer goes even further. He does not settle for those dry instructions that were described above, but adds to them more detailed adjectives, such as “Allegro ma non troppo” (‘Allegro but not too much’), or “Moderato cantabile molto espressivo” (‘with a singable moderation

The Meaning of Rhythm in Musical Communication


and much expression’), or “Vivace alla Marche” ( ‘Lively as if a march’), or “Allegro con fuoco” (‘Allegro with fire’), meaning, with joy and enthuthiasm, or “Allegro molto appassionato” (‘with a lot of passion’), and many more. You will surely admit that those instructions go much further than the mere indication of the tempo. This is so because rhythm is much more than a measurement of time. Rhythm is also, or better still, first and foremost, the expression of the mood, the state of mind and the temper of the composition. Thus the above instructions are meant to direct the awareness of both the performer and the listener, to the emotional meaning and significance of the composition, and they function as roadsigns on the route of the emotional language . Let us now move from the rhythmic title of the composition to its actual rhythm. A meter of 3/4 for instance, where the first quarter is stressed and the two remaining quarters are relaxed, reminds one immediately of the waltz. When hearing such a rhythm, ones body and especially the feet will unintentionally begin to move in time with the waltz steps. Not only this, but the body and the legs of my neighbour in the concert-hall will follow suit, and his mood will also change accordingly. And slowly the whole audience, that untill then was seated quietly, will start moving and feeling as if dancing the waltz. And very soon all the listeners in the concert-hall, who until now were complete strangers, will experience a unified feeling of a shared group partnership, in respose to the music. This example on which I may have lingered for too long is but one of many. A meter of 4/4 , for instance, that opens with the last quarter of the bar, where the first following quarter is punctuated, will, in most cases, be a march. Such a rhythm inspires courage in the soul of the listener, straightens his back, and fills him with strength and optimism. The rhythm of a Baroque Prelude is usualy written in an even meter, in most cases, in 4/4. One quarter stands against 2/8, or 2/8 alternate with 4/16. Such a rhythm-combination balances the soul of the listener, as it has enough variety to be interesting, and enough predictability so that the listener feels secure, knowing that order reigns the world. In the 20th century Igor Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein, crowned rhythm as the initiator of their compositions. “West-side Story” and “Candide” are masterpieces of using rhythm as music’s most sophisticated and important power. Now-a-days the importance of rhythm is felt mainly in Jazz and Pop. Jazz holds rhythm by its horns, as it were, and turns it into its most


Chapter Twenty Four

compelling , astounding and essential value. Whereas Pop makes rhythm into its trademark. As opposed to Jazz that uses rhythm in a very sophisticated and calculated way, Pop turns rhythm into its uninterrupted pulse-beat, as if declaring :” if I stop, the song will die”. It looks as if the heart-beat has burst out of the body of the performer and placed itself within the Pop music that he is performing. It continues to beat and its beating is sweeping, hypnotic and compelling, if not to the intellect of the listeners, then at least to their sensuality. These are but a very few examples of rhythm that serve as a syntax of the language of feelings. But much more important than the differences between quick and slow and the different variationes that are derived from them, are the contrast and the conflict that is inherent within those two. Again and again I find myself returning to the saying of Herakleitos, (the Greek philosopher of the 5th Century B.C): “Pantha Rhey”, ‘Everything flows’. To Herakleitos everything is always in constant movement and there is nothing that repeats exactly what has gone before. But during this eternal flow, contradistinctions are being created that turn into symbols of our life: ‘day’ turns into ‘night’, ‘life’ turns into ‘death’, and this is as if we were saying that the meaning of ‘day’ is fixed, or determined, by ‘night’, and that the feeling of ‘light’ is determined by ‘darkness’. This is why we can maintain that the meaning of ‘quick’ in music is determined by ‘slow’, and ‘slow’ determines what we feel by ‘quick’. What is more, the meaning and the character of the whole composition is determined by the substance of the changes between the slow movements of the composition and the quick ones. We tend to look upon Classicism within the history of Western Music (1750-1800), as the summit of the Tonal Era (1600-1900). A period where everything that came before it was leading towards it, and every thing that followed it was an outcome of its development. This period built its musical ideal in the format or in the pattern of ‘quick-slowquick’. The mark of this illustrious Classicism is that it succeeded in settling for mainly one musical form - the Sonata Form. When it was written for the piano or for any single instrument with piano, it was called “Sonata”; when written for an orchestra it was called “Symphony”; when written for a soloist or soloists with orchestra, it was called “Concerto”; and when written for a group of solo instruments it was called ”Quartet” “Quintet” etc. This unique form consists basically of three main movements: a quick movement, a slow movement and again a quick movement.

The Meaning of Rhythm in Musical Communication


This format of the Classicism, one can almost call it: its architectural slogan, was: A-B-A; a layout that was expressed in the harmonic infrastructure, in its musical themes, in the internal build-up of its different movements, mainly in the first movement, and within the relationships between the different movements. A-B-A, lends to Classicism an Ideal Pattern, because it includes enough contrast in order to be interesting, and sufficient repetition to be understood and grasped, and thus close and complete the circle. As I have often said in this book, one has to look for the meaning of music not merely in its sounds but mainly in what happens between one sound and the other, namely in the intervals that exist between the sounds and that give the music its meaning. (By the way this is true as regards spoken languages as well. It is not the single letter that provides the meaning of the language, but the adding together of letters to form a word, and then adding the words themselvs into whole sentences, that makes it comprehensable and gives it its sense and style). This is also true of the relations between the different movements within a single composition, and especially of the speed and the rhythm of those movements. The slow movement of a sonata, that appears, in most cases, between the two quick ones, derives its rhythm and, as a result, also its atmosphere and general mood also from the contrast of the rhythm and speed that exists between it and the first movement that preceded it and the third movement that is going to follow it. All this according to the philosophy of Herakleitos, that maintained that one could not understand ‘night’ were it not for the contrast with ‘day’, as one could not understand the B’, within the musical structure, if not for its contrast to A’. To illustrate further the fundamental truths underlying the Herakleitean philosophy, and look at it from another discipline altogether, let me cite here from one of the books by Israel’s Supreme Court Justice, Haim H. Cohn, (1911-2002) who wrote that without the contrast of the darkness of Injustice, one would not be able to define and understand the light of the concept of Justice. The rhythmical contrast between the movements was not born with classicism. Not at all. It has existed in the West ever since music became a phenomenon that stands on its own two feet, namely from the time music succeeded in freeing itself from the domination of the Church and its prayers. The origin of non-religious music, begining with the “Renaissance” (1450-1600) and maybe even before during the “Trecento” in Italy (1300), was the dance. In most cases two dances were put together and became a


Chapter Twenty Four

close and independent form. Those two were recognized in the rhythmical contrast between them. Take for instance the “Passamezzo” and the “Saltarello”. Passamezzo (from the Italian, ‘half a step’) is a quick dance in double rhythm, although moderate in its tempo, whereas the Saltarello is a very quick dance in ¾ meter. Or, the “Pavane” and the “Galliard”. The Pavane is a court dance of the 15th, 16th century, slow and festive, while the Galliard is a much quicker dance in a triple meter. These forms originated from the dance, but with time, were no longer danced. During the Baroque Period the Suite took the place that the sonata would come to hold within Classicism, with the exception that the suite was not the only main form of the Baroque. The uniquness of the Suite was that it consisted of a chain of dances, each one standing in rhythmical contrast to the other, and in this contrast lies the main raison d’etre of its construction.. The whole of oriental music, as well, is built on the same principle, that joins together a recitative (1) opening, that may have a hesitant character full of tension, with a very rhythmic and quick section with which the composition ends. And if we will take a great leap into “World Music”, that is becoming more and more predominant in to-days musical scene, we will find that most of its songs and instrumental pieces are composed of a slow, pensive, and a kind of rhapsodic opening, and a quick, dance-like ending that is apt to be sweeping and dizzying. Thus does rhythm become an added important ingredient that leads us along the paths of understanding music; an art which is so abstract and in need of such ingredients that are meant to bring music down to earth, and provide it with symbols that will turn music into a comprehensable language for its listeners.

Notes 1. Recitative is basically a vocal style to imitate and to emphasize the natural inflections of speech. The free character of the recitative has repeatedly been imitated in instrumental music as well.


The two concepts,“Agogics” and “Dynamics” (better known in German as Agogik and Dynamik), are the soul of music, its temper and its mood. The first concept belongs to the area of change in the rhythmical tempo of music, the second marks the ongoing changes within the intensity of the sound. The Oxford Dictionary states that the origin of the word Agogic stems from the French and among its meanings we will find, ‘eager expectation’, and ‘on the move’. In the musical arena, Agogics includes all the differences that belong to the tempo of the music, and are performed without changing the basic rhythm of the piece. Instructions like “Rallentando” ‘slow down’, or “Accelerando” ‘play quicker’, or “Tempo Rubato” that allows for some flexibility and elasticity in the peformance of a certain passage, all belong to the Agogics of music. It is self evident that such instructions, written in letters beneath the staff, can be performed only for a few bars, and then the performer has to return to the regular tempo. The “Fermata”, the sign of which is half a circle and a point underneath, meaning a delay on a certain tone, that extends the rhythmical value of the tone over and above its original written length, also belong to Agogics. Agogics include further all the breathing signs and the bow designs that are drawn above the music staff and indicate which notes belong together sp as to form a phrase. One can compare them to the punctuation marks of spoken and written language. When one speaks, one also interrupts the sentence, lingers a bit longer on a certain word, speaks quicker when excited, and at other times more slowly when in doubt, or in bewilderment. Syntax and Agogics thus supply the vitality of both the spoken and the musical language, and, as it were, express the soul of the music .


Chapter Twenty Five

The Dynamic dimension, belongs, as already mentioned, to the arena of the different intensities of sound. It is true that the notion of dynamics is applied to ‘activity’ as such, as against “static” that describes ‘standing in its place’. But in music the term dynamics is used only to describe and perform the ongoing changes in the intensity of the sound, especially those changes that take place in the transition between the different sounds; transitions within which the musical drama and its intentions are expressed. Crescendo and Decrescendo, namely the gradual ascent of sound, or the gradual descent of sound, are the unmistakable terms of musical drama. They can be written in letters between the staffs or described graphically. But also terms like Piano and Forte and all the interim grades like Pianissimo: ‘very still’, or Fortissimo:‘very loud’, as well as MezzoForte, literally ‘Half loud’, or Mezzo Piano and sforzando, meaning a sudden stress on a certain note, or the forte-Piano that demands playing loudly but then diminishing the sound immediately, all of them belong to the realm of dynamics . As the Italian language has become with time the international language for describing musical concepts and terms, composers began , in the middle of the 18th century, to write the first letter of those terms, between the staffs, or to describe them graphically. The musicologist Hugo Rieman1 published in 1884, what seems to be the first book to deal with this musical language phenomenon, entitled: “Musikalische Dynamik und Agogik”,(‘Musical Dynamics and Agogics’). There were those who assumed that before the 18th century composers not only did not write those instructions in their music, but were not interested and basically did not want to do so. This resulted in the style in which Bach’s music was performed. As it was played without any interruption, without any change in tempo and with the same intensity of sound, as if performed as an exercise on a military parade ground. Many generations of musicians were educated to believe that this rigidity and this disciplinary fixation were the correct style according to which Bach’s music had to be performed. Most probably this assumption was wrong, as it was based on the fact that until the 19th century composers relied on their interpreters and gave them a free hand in how to perform their music. They relied on them not only in choosing the right tempo and the correct sound intensity but even in chosing the right sounds, as in many cases the composers, and Johann Sebastian Bach among them, only hinted at the harmony that they envisaged.

“Agogics” and “Dynamics” and their Intercomunicational Meaning


The whole art of the the “Figured” or “Thorough – Bass”,2 (“BassoContinuo” in Italian), is based on this freedom that composers gave to the performers. Having said this, we must keep in mind that until the end of the 18th century and even later, composers used to perform their compositions themselves and, apart from them, there were very few performers who took it upon themselves to perform music written by other composers. This is why added instructions seemd to be unnecessary . But with the passage of time, especially since the middle of the 19th century, when performing music became an art by itself, when concert-halls were opened, and consevatoires were established to teach their pupils the art of performance, and when the performers were more and more sought after, only then did the composers feel that they could no longer rely on the performers to understand fully how they meant their music to be interpreted, and they went more and more into the details of notating their intentions, leaving the least possible leeway open for the peformers. And indeed the art of Dynamics and Agogics belongs to the art of musical performance, exactly as the art of acting and stageing belong to the realm of the actors and the directors, and much less to that of the playwright. In these limited possibilities that are left for the performer to exhibit his personal talents and his art, his only recourse for creativity is to be found within the Dynamics and Agogics. And yet it is difficult to describe what an axcellent performer can achieve with those availabilities. Because the exact rhythm and the exact tones are prescribed by the composer in black on white, as are the texts of a written drama, neither the musical performers nor the actors can change one iota of them. And still the Dynamics and Agogics commentary, even if only hinted at by the composers, leave enough leeway for the discretion of the performer, and by this his greatness as an artist is recognised. It may happen that a performer will enchant his listeners by his interpretation of the dynamical and agogical presentation of the music he is performing, and the listeners will be captivated by him, but it may also happen that his interpretation will not appeal to their ears, and they will reject it and turn their backs on him. We must not forget that most of the Dynamic and Agogic signs, were not written by the composers themselves, even after 1900, but were later added by the editors of the different publishing- houses. The reason for this was in order to aleviate the burden on those perfomers whose imagination and style-sensitivity were not sufficiently acute. And this is why participants in music competitions are required to use only the original text as written by the composer (“Uhr Text”).


Chapter Twenty Five

This may be the place to remind the reader once again that music is a phenomenon of movement. Directing this movement, notwithstanding it’s being fixed by its rhythm, is open to conitinuous changes while moving. The task of Dynamics and Agogics can be seen as the description of the moving changes; changes that cannot be marked in the notation, and all that is written about them is by way of hinting. Performing music is thus characterised by persistent differences among performers about performing styles of the different composers . While notation and rhythm are the “what” of music, the dynamical and agogical movements are the “how” of music. This “how” is entirely in the hands of the performer. Although composer and performer may be far from each other, both in time and in place, they must unite, as it were, in order to safely trasmit the music to the listener’s ears.

Notes 1. For Hugo Rieman see note 8 for chapter 16. 2. For “Thorough Bass”, (Basso Continuo) see note 2 for chapter 8.


If we look at the circumstances of our lives, we will find that each one of them proceeds according to rules of permited and forbidden. This fact is especially evident in those phenomena that are used for communication between people and the way this communication is conducted. There exist moral rules and rules of behaviour. There are rules that are concerned with what is allowed and not allowed between one person and another when engaged in their different professions . Like the ethical rules between medical doctors, or jurists, teachers, or social-workers, or like the relationships between soldiers of different ranks in the army, and so on. There exist rules of conversation and rules that teach one how to approach ones colleagues, ones students or ones supervisers, exactly as in language there exist syntax or spelling rules. In order to receive a driving licence you have to prove that you know all the rules of the road and are familiar with what is allowed and what is forbidden while driving. And there are rules and laws on the conduct of wars and rules on how to end them. Every state fixes its laws, and every society determines for itself its rules and regulations of behaviour, and tries to enforce them as strictly as possible. In principle, and as far as those laws and regulations are not abused for evil purposes by a ruling despot or by a dictator, they are meant to regulate the relationships between peoples and make it possible for human society to conduct life peacefully. Those rules assure a respectful quality of life, positive and pleasant proceedings when in society and the protection of the individual against any aggressive intentions of his neighbour. Thus the implementation of those laws makes it possible for society to conduct its course of life and keep the social balance more or less in order .


Chapter Twenty Six

The fact that not everybody respects those laws, only bears witness to their necessity. Otherwise anarchy would reign supreme and social life, if observed at all, would become a nightmare. It is self evident that those and other rules, that become the law of a country, find their origin in the moral and ethical standards that characterise that society. I, personally, envisage the aesthetics of art and especially the aesthetics of music, as the realization of the same obligation that ethical behaviour demands of society. The importance of ethics and morality to life, is parallel to the importance of aesthetics to music. One can, of course, maintain that life can exist without ethics and morality, just as music exists without aesthetics, or even that music no longer considers aesthetics a vital ingredient and has turned its back on it. But then I do believe that life without ethics and morality is not worth living, just as music with no aesthetical basis will not endure, and will not be preserved within the musical reservoir and memory of its listeners. In order to avoid any misunderstanding I would like to remark that I do not refer to those aesthetic rules that are concerned with the “what” of the composition. Those, in my mind, should be forbidden entirely. I am referring only to those aesthetic regulations that concern the “how” to create what the composer wishes to express. Let me enlarge on this point. Everyone will agree with me that it is absolutly forbidden to censor a musical composition or to dictate to the composer what to say and what to write in his composition., as for instance the Church did towards the end of the first millennium, or the National-Socialist regime in Germany, during the 1930’s, and Zhdanov, head of culture under Stalin’s regime, did in the soviet union. But it is allowed, even desirable, and may be even necessary, to demand the existence of known and accepted musical syntax rules; first and foremost those that affirm and negate, so that the listener will understand, feel, and grasp the musical message that is being transmitted to him. The danger is that such rules, as they indeed existed in Art Music until the mid-twentieth century, may perhaps stand in the composer’s way when he needs to deviate from a certain regulation and to renew a compositorical idea. But experience proves that all composers of the past knew how to circumvent the existing regulations. After all one needs rules in order to deviate from them and perhaps even break them. Without their existence nobody would realise that a rule has been broken in order to pave the way for something new; something that will eventually create a new rule.

Consonance and Dissonance, Affirmation and Negation in the Musical Sense 171

All these rules of musical syntax are, as a matter of course, placebound and time-bound. That is why they tend to change from one period to the other. As regards Folk Music, the change of rules takes place primarilly from one society to the other. More than that, it may well be that the rules of Art-Music are obliged to change when a new period supercedes a former one. But no music can survive unless it was based on accepted rules. Obviously such regulations exist, or, at least, should exist, for all arts, but in regard to music they are an absolute must. After all, music, as we well know, is so ephemeral, so abstract, it vanishes immediately after having appeared, it cannot be touched and cannot be held, so much so that it seems that music does not exist at all. That is why we need those rules and regulations. We need them to help us grasp it, to understand and internalize the music that is literally vanishing into our ears. It is exactly those regulations that enable us to become excited by music’s sophistication and its complicated harmonical and rhythmical progression, and to be edified by music and retain it in our memory, which is basically music’s final aim. All this does not mean that we will indeed be able to be uplifted by all existing music, even those works that keep aesthetic rules and regulations, nor that it will indeed be stored in our musical memory. But the existence of the rules, so I firmly believe, are a precondition for our suceeding to do just that. All those rules and regulations are focused on two principles, namely the Consonance and Dissonance. A consonance is permitted, desirable, and positive, while the dissonance is generally forbidden, undesirable and negative. The oxford dictionary describes the consonance as “The pleasing combination of sounds”, (so known since 1594) or “the sounding together of two notes in harmony”, (1694). Whereas according to the oxford dictionary, the dissonance is formulated as “an inharmonious or harsh sound or combination of sounds; a Discord” (1597). The dictionary brings also another version namely “ Want of concord or harmony “ (1571) . The well-known Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), explains these terms in the following way: ‘The consonance describes the joining and merging of sounds into a harmonious unity. The dissonance, on the other hand, is in direct comtrast to Consonance and is created by disturbing this harmony and by adding sounds that are strange to it’ 1 Intervals are, so it seems to me, like a set of relations between peoples. A desirable relation, that is matching and harmonious, can be likened to a


Chapter Twenty Six

consonance; whereas a harsh , ill-fitting and discordant relation, may be likened to a dissonance. In this book, I have maintained more than once, that aesthetics relates in principle to beauty. This is so because in 18th Century Europe, the mission of art was to portray beauty. That is why the arts came to be called “Le Beaux Art” (The Beautiful Arts). With the development of European art the aesthetical philosophy evolved again and again around the question: ‘What is this beauty that we are so passionately seeking’? Each stylistic period gave its own answer to this never-ending question. Philosophers, theoreticians, and creators, each had their own version of what is, or should be meant by the term “beauty”. The answers were, of course, correlated to the style of the different periods, although most answers were derived from concepts outside of the realm of music.2 What seemed beautiful to the eye, was translated as pleasing to the ear. This is why the theory of harmony, that was the basis of all compositions , and which deals primarilly with what is permitted and what is fobidden in the assemblage of sounds, fixes its rules and regulations according to what best fits the aim of beauty, or what will best please the ear. And because of that it determined that the consonant syntax is the most appropriate for the human ear, while the dissonant combination is the least desirable one, because it offends the ear and can never please it. But take note that maintaining the concepts of consonance and dissonance, and claiming that the first is desirable and the second is less desirable, says nothing about what they really are. From the beginning of polyphony in Western Music, namely since the 9th century, this “what” was constantly changing. Every period had its own aesthetic rules. Intervals that were considered strictly forbidden, as the Tritone, for instance, that was called “the devil in music”, was years later tolerated if the composer found an agreeable solution in solving it. In later periods the Tritone was even welcomed, probably because of the irritation that was caused by it, and that functioned as a sort of stimulus . Since the beginning of the 20th century, dissonances have been more and more in demand. They were considered the new attraction and became the “in” thing. They turned out to be the new message of modern times. Whereas the consonances were seen as “has beens” that were entirely selfsatisfied. They seemed dull and insincere and thus were considered to be “out”. Thus the general tendency of the new development became more and more pessimistic and the outlook on life more and more negative. As opposed to the situation in former periods, the listeners viewpoint was no longer taken into consideration. Since the end of World War 1, and

Consonance and Dissonance, Affirmation and Negation in the Musical Sense 173

more particularly after World War 2, The radio-studios took the place of the concert-halls, when it came to the performance of new music. Let me mention again radio Baden-Baden, and its music director Heinrich Strobel, who was the leading pioneer heralding new music. The radio studios with their sealed walls, kept the audiences far away from the performences of new music. Their musical opinion interested no one, because the national radio stations were generously financed by the state, the listener was completely disconnected from the performer, and the binding, even if unwritten, contract between performer and listener, which, as we have come to realize again and again, was the basic premise of music’s success , was thus rudely disrupted.3 In the process, the syntactical rules of music slowly disappeared. The composer seemed finally to rid himself both of the listener and of those restricting rules and regulations. He threw all these “forbidden” and “permitted” overboard, and demanded and received complete freedom. The new composer maintained that it was only in this way that he could really express the needs and urges that stirred inside him. The more the freedom grew, the greater the amount of dissonances. At the beginning this demand for freedom resembled a rebellion, a breaking of all conventions. One should not forget that all this happened in the aftermath of the second world war, when every decent person felt the urge to rebel against the existing order. Later the “beautiful” gave way to the “ugly”, that now reflected the new aesthetical ideal, and the dissonances fitted perfectly for the implementation of this ideal. Some years later, approximately in the mid-twenties of the last century, this exaggerated freedom brought forth a great anger. Let me remind you of “The Angry Young Men” of the sixties in England, who inspired an even more negative philosophy of life, which, on its part strengthened the disconnection of the listener, who was not always pleased with this negation, from the creator of music. Thus it seems that overcoming all rules and regulations and throwing the affirmation and negation of musical syntax into the waste paper box, was the cause for the isolation of the modern composer. Just as the composer prefered to overlook and disregard the musical laws that ,among other things, tied him to his listener, so did the listener, despairing of the composer who belonged to his generation, turned more and more to composers of previous generations. This “has been” music brought solace ro the listener, because in it the old familiar rules were still kept, and thus satisfied his aesthetic expectations. For, when all is said and done, our satisfaction will be found where our expectations are fulfilled. It becomes more and more obvious that the


Chapter Twenty Six

whole bond between the composer and his listener is measured in the ability of the listener to correctly identify his expectations, and in the ability of the composer to fulfill them.

Notes 1. Stravinsky, Igor: “Musikalische Poetic”, B. Schott’s Söhne, 1949, p. 25. 2. For further details see the “Prologue “ of this book:”The importance of Beauty in Music”. 3. The reader will find more about this in chapter 37 of this book:”Music in the Age of Mass-Media”.


Before discussing the Tonal Scale and the concept of Tonality, as promised in the title of this chapter, I would like to linger for a while, and stress once again, if only in a few words, the importance of the scale in creating a musical composition. As in our daily life, that proceedes, day by day, in a sort of variation on the day that preceded it, so music too is basically an endless variation on a few basic patterns that maintains music’s course. And like the day (so as to remain true to the same metaphor), that passes by, according to a basic pattern: twelve hours per day during which time the earth moves, starting with the sunrise in the East, moving on untill reaching its peak at noon, and slowly sinking again, this time in the West, so music too presents a basic pattern. This pattern is music’s scale. The scale begins on a certain tone or sound, moves on until reaching its peak and slowly returns and ends more or less at its point of departure. But like the day, that, although it presents a variation on the previous day, will never be exactly and accurately the same as yesterday - one day the sun shines the next day may well be a rainy day, one day will show forth a blue sky the next may be cloudy and windy - so also with music. Although it has its basic pattern, music will move on in ever-changing variations, contrasts and repetitions on this pattern that mouldes its character into a work of art. In all developments that occur in the composition, one can always clearly discern this basic pattern, namely the scale, that serves as music’s foundation. What is more, this basic pattern is known not only to the composer but also to those who listen to his composition. And just as during every hour of a passing day, although the weather and the circumstances change constantly, people know exactly where they are whether it is in the morning or in the evening, - so in music as well, can the experienced listener discern what is happening during the passing sounds of a composition, and how far it is from the end. Because the

Chapter Twenty Seven


listener too is familiar, even unconsciously, with its scale: the basic pattern of music But un-like the days that pass along in their never ending orbit, the music-scale can change its pattern from one period to the other and from one society, community, or clan, to the other. These words bring us to the title of this chapter, and to the Tonal Scale; that scale that served as the basic pattern for all and every Western music, that was composed and sung and danced, between the years 1600-1900. This is the era that comprises the Baroque, the Rococo, the Classicism and the Romanticism, and is therefore called the Tonal Era. The fact that precisely in this era, the main assets of permanent value of our basic musical repertoire were composed, and that it is this repertoire that constitutes 90% of what is performed on the world’s concert stages, lends to the tonal scale a special meaning and a far reaching importance. The following sentences, so I hope, will cast light on the reasons for that occurrence. The name of this scale and of the whole system that it is based upon, is derived from the name of its basic tone, the Tonic. This is the tone to which all other tones in the scale relate. The uniqueness of this scale lies thus in the relative status of all its tones, that depend on their different relations towards the tonic. In other words it is not the different altitude of each tone in the tonal system or its different character that is of importance, but only its distance from the tonic, the basic and most important tone that all the system is based upon. Every tone in this tonal scale has a function and a functional title. But it derives these, as well as its status, neither from its private name nor from its special character but only from the function that it performs vis-a-vis the tonic. Take for instance the C major scale: Tone C’’ B’ A’ G’ F’ E’ D’ C’

Function Tonic, Leading Tone, Sub-Mediant, Dominant, Sub-Dominant, Mediant, SuperTonic, (or Small Leading Tone), Tonic,

In C’ major, the Tonic is C’ and the Dominant is G’, whereas in F’ major, for instance, the Tonic will be F’ and the Dominant will be C’,

The Scale Principle and the Tonal System in their Linguistic Meaning 177

while in A’ minor the function of the very same C’ will be the Mediant. That means that each tone can have many functions, all depends upon the place that it holds in the scale vis-a-vis the Tonic. One may perhaps compare this to the function that each man holds in his society. As long as Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of Great Britain, he was, so to speak, the ‘Dominant’, namely the Ruler, while Great Brittain was the ‘Tonic’. When Churchill went to the U.S. he might have been considered the ‘Subdominant’ because of the historic connection between England and the U.S. In other words, it is not the greatness of the person as such, but mainly his function within his country or his society, that is of importance. The function of the different sounds within the Tonal Scale finds its expression also in the number of times that they are repeated in a tonal melody. The Dominant will most probably appear more often that the rest of the sounds. Take, for instance the most famous German melody, “Hänschen klein” (Lilttle Hans) : G’E’E’/F’D’D’/ C’D’E’F’G’G’G’. The G’ appears four times whereas all the other sounds appear two or three times. The C’, that is the Tonic in this melody, appears just once but every listener knows and feels that this is the Tonic and all the other tones relate to it. This principle of relative functionalism enabled tonal music to be understood almost as a regular language. Without even noticing, almost as a result of a listening habit, the listener knows how to relate to the tonic. In every sound that he hears; he knows how to estimate the distance that separates this sound from its “home”, if you so wish, or from its basis, namely from its tonic. This ability to orientate oneself is most gratifying for the listener, and the possibilty of being thus rewarded fills the listener with satisfaction that is added to the original enjoyment of the music. If I may repeat what I have said before: It is nearly impossible to enjoy anything, mainly within the realm of music, if one does not understand the origin that is supposed to fill one with satisfaction. When asked:‘what do you mean by satisfaction?’ my answer will be:‘satisfaction means having ones expectations fulfilled’. It may perhaps be noteworthy to add that Tonality became fashionable more or less in the same time that the Law of Gravity was discovered. This understanding of the power that fixes every thing to its focal point, seemed to have filled the air and found its echo and response within the different domains of the human mind. Just as later, at approximately the same time as physics succeeded to overcome the forces of gravity by being able to


Chapter Twenty Seven

leave the bounds of earth anf fly into the realm of space, music also was desperately trying to overcome the bounds of tonality . But let me return to the Tonal Scale. It is important to keep in mind that this scale, as all the other scales, were not created out of nothingness. The scales that preceded it were very similar to the Tonal Scale. Within the music of the Westen World, in which the Tonal Scale was crystalized, there had existed, for more then a thousand years, a Modal System, which we call the “Church Modes”. They underwent changes in the course of the years. Also the different Modes, within this system, were diatonic,1 meaning a scale that consists of seven different notes, in which the eighth note repeats the first one, only an octave higher, exactly like in the Tonal Scale. But the principle that lies behind those combinations is a very different one. In the early centuries of the first Millennium there existed four main Church Modes: The “Dorian” that was built on D’, (D’E’F’G’A’B’C’(D’); the “Phrygian” mode on E’; the “Lydian”, on F’; and the “Mixolydian” on G’ (all of them using, as it were, only the white keys of the piano). Those four are called “The Authenthic Modes”, because their basic tone is placed on the bottom of the scale. Each of those four scales had two inversions, that are called the “Plagal Modes”. In them the basic tone, from which they were derived, was not placed in the bottom of the scale, but on the middle of the scale. That means that, for instance, the “Dorian” scale that is based on the tone D’, and its two inversions, (one beginning on the tone A’ and the other on the tone, G’) have the same tone D’ as their basic tone. I may have dwelled too long on the details of those scales, but I wanted to demonstrate the principle that lies behind their inversions and the ideological difference between them and the tonal system. In those early periods the basic sound was still understood to belong in the center of the scale, namely in that place on which the other sounds, as if wrapped around it, from below and from above. Take note that the the basic tone of the ancient Greek scale, the “Systema Telaeion”, that was described in detail by the Greek Mathematition Euklides, in the fourth century B.C., was also placed in the center. It was called “Mese”, namely that which is placed in the middle. With the passing years, this principle tended to vanish. Around the “Renaissance” the importance shifted from the center to the basis, to the beginning of the scale, while the rest of the notes are placed upon it, one after the other. Towards the middle of the second Millennium another three authentic modes were added, so that every tone of the diatonic scale served as a

The Scale Principle and the Tonal System in their Linguistic Meaning 179

basis for a different authentic modes. To the “Dorian”, “Phrygian”, “Lydian”, and “Mixolidiand”, were now added the “Aeolian” on A’, the “Locrian”’ on B, and the “Ionian” on C’. Two of these additional Modes, the “Ionian” and the “Aeolian” became, around 1600, the pattern of the “Major” and the “Minor” scales within the tonal system. But in spite of the similarity of the “Ionian” mode to the “Major”scale, as both of them are made up of the exact same notes, the principles that guided the two are quite different. The two inversions of the Ionian mode, and with it the idea that the important tone would preferably be placed in the middle of the row, disappeared completely, and While the “Ionian” mode could begin only from C’, the “Major” scale could begin with any of the twelve semi-tones that exist in one octave. So that all of a sudden the composer found at his disposal twelve different major scales (on C’, on C’sharp, on D’, on D’sharp etc.) and twelve different minor scales. But the main difference between the Church Modes and the Tonal Scales, found its expression in the relative importance of the tones within the tonal system, and in the fact that each tone within this system had a different function to fulfill; a principle that is totally lacking in the “Ionian” and the “Aeolian”, and of course in all the other Church Modes. In his book “Catechism of Musical Aesthetics”, Hugo Rieman2 maintains that the tonal system is not, as people are used to think, a phenomenon that the aesthetic taste of the period preferred; it is not an independent creation of the human intellect, but rather something that is deeply rooted in the very nature of the human being and closely related to his mind. If I understand correctly, Rieman thus views Tonality as a natural outcome of human development and not necessarilly as an aesthetic viewpoint of its particular period; a point that is worth pondering over. Whereas the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) in his book “Musikalische Poetic” (Musical Poetry), stresses the fact that tonality is but a means in order to orientate oneself in the diametrical tensions that are present within this system, like, for instance, the tension between Tonic and Dominant.3 Every music, so claims Stravinsky, is a series of tensions, that, in the moment of repose are adjusted to each other. The tonal pole presents, in some way, the tenet of the music. Without these factors of pulling and drawing, that belong to any musical organism, and that are interconnected psychologically, it would have been impossible to preserve any musical form. The main musical occurrences, according to Stravinsky, herald a secret connection between the tempo and the tonal game. Every music is but a result of tension and relaxsation. We can


Chapter Twenty Seven

maintain, without any problem, that the closeness and the distance in relation to the basic tone, and the most important factor, being the two poles Tonic-Dominant, determine, to a certain degree, the breathing of music. Thus Stravinsky. In accordance with Stravinsky’s views, with which I totally agree, it appears that this Tonality was derived from the very nature of music, and thus was able to serve for over 300 years as perhaps the first musical language. Therefore when its time came to step down from music’s stage, the parting from it seemed to be very difficult and painful, and basically it did not succeed at all well. In all honesty we have to admit that even today, though over a hundred years have passed since Tonality’s departure, the audience is still drawn to it. Otherwise, how can one explain the crowded concert halls whenever Tonal music is being performed? Moreover, until to-day, it is only tonal Art- Music that is able to fill the large concert halls. The innocent reader might wonder and ask: Who maintains the musical language? How are its rules fixed? The answer to this logical question would most probably be that the rules are established, at least they were up to the 20th century, only after the effect, as if post-factum. First a new manner of composing appears .and seems to have caught on. If it appeals to the imagination and the creative power of many composers, as well as to the interest and willingness of the audience, it will have gained some footing. Only then comes the music theoretician, perhaps even a composer himself, who studies the new methodes and according to them suggests and fixes new theoretical rules and regulations. If the new rules are to prevail or not, is up to those who have to use them to decide, first and foremost the audience. The following are a few examples to demonstrate this manner: Around the turn of the first Millennium the music theoretician Guido von Arezzo (980-1029 ) fixed the four lines ( the notation staff, that later was augmented to five lines), upon and in-between which the diatonic notes were written. Years earlier several experiences were made to fix the Neumes4 on and below one or two lines, and slowly to separate them into single tones. After a period of trial and error Guido established the staff system and this became the rule until today. Another example concerns the Tonal code. This code was first suggested by the Italian organist, composer and theoretician Gioseffo Zarlino (1517- 1590 ), long after the Aeolian and Ionian Church Modes were in fashion. Or take the Harmony of the Tonal system, that were put down by the French composer Jean Philip Rameau (1683-1764). They were detailed and explained in his

The Scale Principle and the Tonal System in their Linguistic Meaning 181

important book “ Traite de l’harmonie reduite a ses principes naturels” in 1722, a hundred years after those rules where, as it were, unknowingly put to use. Thus it seems that the act preceeded the rule. But, at the beginning of the 20th century this procedure was reversed : the theory was fist laid down and only afterwards the composers tried to put it to use. Towards the end of the 19th century it was generally felt that Tonality had exhausted itself; that there was nothing to renew within its bounds, and that Tonality seemed to be breaking away from all its rules. Music yearned to freed itself of them. It was the genius composer Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951), who understood that an unlimited freedom is a very dangerous thing to be given to a composer, and thus he decided to invent a completely new musical theory. Admittedly, Schönberg was not the only one, neither was he the first one to try it, but his theory caught on and, for about 30 to 50 years, every composer tried to make use of this theory. This theory that is called the “Dodecphonic Theory”, or the “Twelve Tone System”, was formulated, as if “on paper”. It did not have any paradigm in any musical composition, and what is even more noteworthy, it was neither used nor known in any other musical usage. The Dodecaphonic scale uses all twelve semi-tones, (half-tones, or minor seconds) that exist within one octave, and hence its name “Dodeca”, meaning twelve. The composer can compose his scale, or as it is often called “Series” or “Row”, beginning from any tone and in any order that he wishes, provided that all 12 semitones exist in it, and that no tone is repeated twice. This row serves both as a scale of the composition and as its central theme. The development of the composition then proceeds according to prefixed rules. The German musicologist H.H. Stuckenschmidt describes this development technique as followes: The row is the sole source of the musical material in the work in question and so constitutes its actual substance. The compositional technique involved consists of using the three mirror forms of the basic row, They are: the “Retrograde” ( the notes in reverse order), the “Inversion” (revised direction of the intervals), and the “Retrograde Inversion” (the two combined). This raises the number of the twelve-note series, or rows, available, to four. Each can then be transposed on to the other eleven degrees or tones. The composer thus has forty-eight permutations of the original series, or rows, at his disposal.5


Chapter Twenty Seven

Subsequently the “Row” served also for the other musical parameters : its harmony and even its rhythm, and that brought about the change of its name from “Dodecaphonic Music” or “Twelve-Tone Music” to “Serial Music”. The idea that stood behind this compositorical technique is indeed challenging and impressive, and can be likened to the arrival of democracy also into the musical system. Just as the democratic principle appeared in society as heralding good news after the long reign of dubious aristocrats and kings, and the unequal differentiation between the social classes, so does the dodecaphonic principle that also takes pride in declaring that all tones are equal, that no tone is more important than any other, and that the importance of each tone is based on its sound-character and not on its place within the scale and its relative function . The idea is indeed very appealing and positive, but unfortunatly it did not withstand the test of reality; it did not catch on because its invention was an artificial one. It did not have any paradigm in Folk Music and it did not develop from the folk, as did all the other scales and systems. It may perhapes be compared to “Esperanto”. This language that was invented by the linguist Ludwig Lazars Zamenhof (1859-1917) , and was based on a beautiful ideology that people should not be separated by different languages and that if all people would speak the same language they would become one familly and all agression and hostility would cease. A beautiful idea indeed but a completely artificial one, that could not prevail, for the same reasons that Dodecaphony could not. This twelve-tone theory of Schönberg had no staying power because it was “anchor-less”. Because of music’s ephemerality, it needs some “anchors”, some points to hold on to, around which the different tones can move, upon which they can lean, and to which they can relate. And precisely those “anchors” were deliberately removed from twelve-tone music . Every composer after Schönberg tried to compose according to these rules. This was so because every composer knew deep in his heart, at least in the frist decades of the twentieth century, that without a definite syntax and without the rules and regulations that follow from this syntax, one cannot compose music. But soon all composers refrained from writing according to this technique, and it sank into oblivion leaving but a few traces. There are composers, like the dean of Israeli composers Josef Tal (1910-2008), who believed that the time of “Serial Music” had not yet arrived , and that this technique would in future reappear and reign supreme. But after sixty

The Scale Principle and the Tonal System in their Linguistic Meaning 183

years since it’s disappearance, this prediction , so I believe, has no chance of fulfillment. Since this new impressive but unreal compostorial system disappeared, the musical world has remaind without any syntax. Complete freedom reigns in its temple. Every composer creates according to what seems to him to be the best and most correct way. Many composers fix for themselves their own manner or system on which they base their compositions, and this, mostly, for each composition separately. But the listener is completely excluded from knowing and understanding those different systems. It is impossible for him to become familiar with this ever-renewed language, and he remains thus an outcast of what is supposed to edify him and bring pleasure to his craving soul. The listener stands in front of it awkward and embarrassed, and thus disappointed and angry. While these words are being written the illusion of absolute freedom seems, albeit very slowly but surely, to be loosing ground . Here and there one meets composers who admit bluntly that the unlimited freedom which was all of a sudden granted to them became their greatest hindrance and basically worked against them. The possibility of returning to tonality is not only a very vague one, but is in truth not very desirable. Nonetheless I am sure that without known syntax rules and the availability of a system that is based on the soundcombinationes that are hovering around us and are sung in our society; a system that is known to all concerned, and more or less accepted by all concerned, we will not be able to re-connect the musician with his public, and thus to climb up again on to the main road that was not so long ago Art-Music’s domain.

Notes 1. Diatonic. The term denotes, as explained in the “Harvard Dictionary of Music”, the musical scale consisting of five whole tones (major seconds) and two semitones (minor seconds) existing in one octave. 2. For Hugo Rieman see note 8 for chapter 16. 3. The relationships between the Tonic and the Dominant, are detailed in the next chapter, no. 28. 4. For Neumes, see note 5 for chapter 2. 5. H. H. Stuckenschmidt, :”Twentieth Century Music”, World University Library, 1969, pp. 93,94.


In the last chapter I tried to elaborate on part of the methods of western musical syntax, as they developed during different periods, on which all musical compositions were based, up to the early 20ies of the last century. Furthther I suggested that the melodic prototype, that is called “scale”, was like a current coin, a kind of a legal tender in the local “music markets” of the different periods, and as such it was recognised and accepted by both the composer and the listener. It functioned as a musical bridge on which the composer and the listener walked, as it were, towards each other. The chances that such music would be understood and grasped by the listener, were thus very great. In this former chapter I lingered also on the tonal system, not only because it served as the basic model for nearly all of Western Art Music, that untill to day fills most of the concert-halls, but mainly because its functional and relative principles turned the music, that is based on it, into a comprehensible language, likely to be understood by all knowledgeable listeners. Although I detailed in the last chapter, the different functions of the eight tones within the tonal system, I have not yet described the roles of the functions themselves, and I must now fill in this gap. Let us thus go back to the ascending C major scale, which is the first in the series of 24 tonal scales, of which twelve are major and twelve are minor. I will now list them again, (as I have done already in the last chapter), this time in the descending order, mark their different functions, and try to explain their meaning: C’ - Tonic B’ – Leading tone, or Sub-Tonic, A’ – Sub-Mediant

Tonic and Dominant – The Two Pillars of the Musical Language


G’ – Dominant, F’ – Sub-Dominant E’ – Mediant, D’ – Small Leading Tone, or Super-Tonic, C’- Tonic. C’ is the tonic of this scale, namely the tone on which all the scale is based. It serves as the basic ground upon which the music is built, as well as a home to which one is always returning. It has no special function but is rather the point of departure for all the other tone-functions. As my reader may remember, these functions are very different from each other, and their importance as well as their status differ greatly . The most important function within this tonal scale is the Dominant. From the outset its name denotes that we are dealing with the “ruler”. The second in importance is the Sub-Dominant, namely the “lower” Dominant. While the Dominant will always be found on the fifth tone ascending from the lower Tonic, the Sub-Dominant will be found on the fifth tone descending from the upper Tonic. The other two functions have their own inversions as well. They are the Mediant and the Leading-tone. The Mediant namely ‘the one in the middle’ is that tone that stands in the middle between the Tonic and the Dominant, or if you prefer, between the two poles of the Tonal Scale, and gives the”colour”, or “shade” if you will, to the whole scale. This shade causes the difference between a major and a minor scale. Wheras the Tonic, the Dominant, and the SubDominant, do not change and remain the same in both scales, the Mediant and its inversion, the Sub-Mediant, do change: In the major scale the third (Terz), is a major one, as it consists of two whole tones, while in the minor scale, it changes into a minor third, consisting of one whole tone and one semi or half tone. The same goes for the inversion, the Sub-Mediant. Finally the Leading-tone, namely ‘the one that leads us back to the Tonic’. In both cases: the ascending and the descending, these Leading Tones give us a broad hint, as it were, that we have nearly reached the safe haven and are on our way home, namely to the Tonic. As we have seen, the main poles of this scale, or, if you so wish, of this musical language, are the Tonic and the Dominant. Let us now examine those two “anchors” in some greater depth, and try to understand the relationships between those two. Tonality did not invent those two out of nothing. In the system that preceded it, namely the Church Modes, we find a similar tension that exists between the “Finalis”, namely the tone on which the composition ends, and is thus similar to the Tonic, and the “Tenor”, that stands always


Chapter Twenty Eight

on the fifth place from the Finalis in the ascending authentic mode, and is, as it were, parallel to the Dominant. Also the Tenor, like the Dominant, is repeated many times more then all the other tones in the modal prayerbook. Its name comes from the Latin ‘Tenere’ meaning ‘holding’, namely ‘the one that ‘holds’ together the entire musical structure’. Admittedly, these tensions (between the Finalis and the Tenor) within the Church Modes were not yet defined as such, while in the Tonal system they turned to be most significant. Let me sterss again that the tonal game, if I may use this metaphor, or the tonal principle, is based on the tension: Tonic – Dominant. These two are forever quarelling with each other, each trying to establish and maintain its importance over the other. The Dominant is the active one among the two warriors , whereas the Tonic remains passive, sure that the birthright is in its hand. And while the Dominant stands up against the Tonic, trying to steal the crown from its head, maintaining that it is the ruler that is the most important tone, the Tonic remains calm, knowing quiet well that it is the Tonic that is the beginning, and, what is much more important, the end, of all the tonal compositions. It is the Tonic that is the source and the point of departure of all the tones. Let the Dominant be as stubborn as it will, it will never succeed in its endeavours. This tension between the basic tone and the central tone, that existed, one way or the other, in all systems of the musical syntax, has thus reached its peak within Tonality. They are like the two sides of one coin, like two contrary halves of a whole that are vitally important in achieving this whole. They are like the two pivots around which the musical language revolves. One may perhaps compare Tonic and Dominant to the Subject and the Predicate of the spoken language. The Subject is the essence of the sentence and may be likened to the Tonic. The Predicate, on the other hand, like the Dominant, provides the sentence with its sense and significance. All the other words in the sentence revolve around the two and lend the sentence its shade, its empathy, its intention and its special style, like all the other tones that appear in the musical sentence. The existence of Subject and Predicate in the musical syntax as well, are the ones responsible for the feeling and the assertion that music is indeed a language, and for making the Tonal system understandable and grasped by the majority of the musical audience. This is why it is so difficult for the listeners to give up Tonality. But more then that, Art-Music is not just melody. Not at all. Art Music is first and foremost polyphony, the simultaneous “togetherness” of many sounds. This is, by the way, the most relevant difference between Art and

Tonic and Dominant – The Two Pillars of the Musical Language


Folk music, as Folk music is mainly melody that accompanies words. Precisely because of that we speak of Art-Music as a “composition”, namely of that music that embraces many components, in our case, voices that sound at one and the same time. And exactly because of it we tend to maintain that Art-Music did not exist before polyphony, which we know exists, more or less, since the beginning of the tenth century, allthough it did not develop as an independant art form, before the Renaissance, namely before the 15th century. And this is why some music theoretitions, like Busoni, (1866-1924) for instance, claim that music is the youngest of all the arts.1 (At his time Film was not yet considered an art in itself). If we look more closely into onal harmony, we will realize that the Tonic and the Dominant, including its inversion, the Sub-Dominant, are the central notes of any Tonal Scale, and this is why those intervals (C’G’, C’-F’, C’-C’, in the C’ major scale) are seen as the “Pefect” intervals. The chords that are built upon them, (The Triad and its inversions) are the basis of the Tonal Harmony. These chords contain the thirds: the Tonic the Mediant, and the Dominant, which are the important factors of the Tonal Scale. Thus the relationships Tonic-Dominant appear in the Tonal music not only in the horizontal dimension but also in the vertical one, and as such they form the basic pillars on which the whole Tonal system rests. Those two pillars do not exist accidentally, and their existance is not some genius musician’s caprice. They are deeply inherent in music, as it were, from the very beginning. If I may ask my reader to return to the first chapter of this book, in which I dealt with the meaning of sound, he or she will realize that a sound, or tone, that seems to us to be a single sound is basically a combination of 54 sounds, that we call “Overtones”. When we examine this row of overtones we will discover that the fifth, that serves in the Tonal Scale as Dominant is the first to appear after the Tonic and the eighth, which is the higher repetition of the Tonic. We can not escape from the fact that the first and the fifth tones in every diatonic structure, are contained within the very nature of the sound itself. It may be worth while mentioning here the eminent Greek philosopher Pythagoras (c.550 B.C), attached great importance to the number itself, and tended to deduct the different phenomena, among them the musical phenomenon, from the relationsips between numbers . For Pythagoras the fifth had become the tone of departure for all the other tones. He derived all the tones from the interval of the pure fifth… The tones of the diatonic scale are obtained as a series of five successive upper fifths


Chapter Twenty Eight and one lower fifth. By reducing these tones into one and the same Octave the C’ Major scale will result.2

The succession of the Pythgorean fifths can be continued and after twelve steps one will reach again the tone of departure C’. We call this theory “the Pythagorean Quint Circle” or the “Spiral of Fifth”. It appears to me that these examples should suffice to understand the great importance that the fifth tone holds in general musical theory and the predominant place that the Dominant, namely the “Ruler”, the fifth tone from the tonic, holds within the tonal system. It is between those two, the Tonic and the Dominant, that the whole musical event is formed and thus turned into a comprehensible musical language.

Notes 1. For Busoni’s reflections see the first page of chapter 2 in this book. 2. Willy Apel, “Havard Dictionary of Music”, Twelfth printing, 1960 Heineman, London, Melbourne, Toronto. “Pythagorean Scale”


Music finds its fulfillment while moving. Its very essence is contained within the movement between the sounds. Musical meaning is therefore established by moving from one sound to the other, and the “musical story” thus revolves around the happenings that occur in-between the sounds. This occurrence is realized in three main directions: ascending, descending, and repetition. The first two often occur together in the same phrase, or “sentence” of the musical language, and thus the contrast that exists between these opposite directions is brought to the foreground. On these two phenomena, contrast and repetition, I would like to elaborate in this chapter. The musicologist Hugo Rieman maintains that the supreme law in music, as in other arts, is ‘Unity within diversity’. Many others have agreed with him, and it seems that they all base their opinions on the Greek Philosopher Herakleitos, (c.532-475 B.C.)2 The order that signifies the world’s phenomena is based on two main assumptions, claims Herakleitos, the one is the harmony of contrasts, the other is the rotating movements of the universe’s metabolism. That is to say that the world is an unseen harmony into which all the contrasts and changes melts. The world, according to Herakleitos, is ‘being’. And ‘being’ is the unity of contrasts.3 Music is also ‘being’. Music appears before our ears while it is still being formed; while it is still coming into existence. And the contrasts are not only included in the continuations of the world’s events, they exist also in the continuation of the musical being. Contrast is the soul of music, and it characterises most of music’s movements. They are the essence of what music has to tell us. As music combines many musical factors that are inherent not only in melody, harmony, and rhythm, but also in the many different instruments


Chapter Twenty Nine

and voices, as well as in the agogics and the dynamics, music contains an endless number of possibilities to realize these contrasts. Already in the single melodic line such contrasts are evident. Take for instance the main theme of Beethoven’s violin concerto in D’ major: F’,G’,A’,b’,c,/ D, A/ B’,G’,E’,A’/ D’ … 4




This theme is made up, as usual, of eight bars. The tones in the first two bars move diatonically in the ascending direction, those of the third and fourth bars, as if answering the “question” raised in the first two bars, move in the opposite descending direction; the fifth and sixth bars repeat the “question” obviously in the ascending direction, while the last two bars close with a descending direction that points, towards the end, upwards, so as to stress the effect of jumping down from the dominant A’ to the tonic D’, and thus assuring that we have arrived safely back home. I would like to offer here another example, this time from a twelvetone composition. Although, as we have already seen, this technique of Schönberg’s, does not recognise any “anchors” or any sort of important notes vis-à-vis unimportant ones, Alban Berg, in his genius, has succeeded in creating tension into the tonal meaning, although we are talking about a Dodecaphonic composition. I am referring to his violin concerto, that Berg wrote in memory of Alma Mahler’s daughter, Manon (composed in 1935), that he dedicated “to the memory of an angel”. The “row”or the theme of this concerto is an ascending row, composed, astonishingly enough, of three minor and major triads, (consisting of eight ascending different thirds) and four ascending whole tones, that brings the different tones in this row to the desired number of twelve. The impression that this ascending line creates is an enormous one. It seems as if the listener is climbing up to a temple installed on a high mountain. This time the tension is created by the contrast of the thirds visa-vis the whole tones, although they all move in the same direction. These were but two examples, out of hundreds, that realize a contrast within the basically ascending direction. The following is an example that realizes it in the descending direction: Here I would like to draw my readers attention to the prelude in D’ minor by Johann Sebastian Bach. (from the first book of his “Welltempered Clavier”). In this example the very quick diatonic descent from the high D’ to the lower one, provides for an enormous reservoir of

The Meaning of Repetition and Contrast in Music


melodical as well as rhythmical tension, that is even hightened by starting with a double long rhythmical value, to be followed by a downstream of equal half-values. This tension is then relieved by three groups of repetitions of disperate chords, that have all the same rhythmical values. These repetitions begin with a high jump upward to the sixth (B’ flat), providing a big contrast to the first descending flow of tones. The rhythmical repetitions are there in order to slowly dissolve the tension that was hoarded before, each repetition beginning with one tone lower that the former one. These ascending and descending contrasts inspire a sense of security and a feeling of order and stability in the world of musical occurrences. But in addition to this gradual ascending and descending movement there exist many different larger intervals, which, in their very aspects provide the listener with excitement and tension of different levels, depending on the character of the musical “jump”. Take for instance the last movement of the D’ minor sonata op. 31 no.2, by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is written in the tempo of 3/8. The rhythmical value of all the tones of the theme is 1/16, and they move uninterruptedly up and down in rotating repetitious movements. Each motif, that continuously moves in the same rhythm, begins with an ascending jump to the sixth and continiues with three diatonc descending tones . The contrasts in this part are thus created both by the contrary directions of ascending and descending movements, and by constant repetition. It creates an astounding impression and has an effect of a soothing lulaby. As if floating on the waves of a very calm sea, while at the same time being constantly alert and on watch fearing that somethig might happen to interrupt this soothing –frightening perpetuum mobile. I may have dwelt for too long describing the last part of Beethoven’s sonata, but I was eager to demonstrate to the reader the deep involvement and the excitement that one feels when experiencing good music. Let me offer just one more example to demonstrate the tension created by exposing the listener to the contrast of moving in opposite directions. I am referring to the opening theme of the fourth symphony by Johannes Brahns: The work begines with a descending third. The first tone is placed on the last quarter of the bar, (‘measure’ or ‘beat’), and gives one the impression of preparing for the main tone of this two-tone motif, that has a double rhythmical value and is placed at the beginning of the next bar. This sort of motif seems like a question, that is being answered, after a pause of a quarter, with exactly the same rhythnical motif but moving in the opposite direction and using a larger interval, namely that of the


Chapter Twenty Nine

ascending sixth. In the development of this motif the intervals, that continue to move in opposite directions, become larger and larger, and a syncopation5 is introduced. This procedure affects one as if Brahms is restraining a raging storm and is trying to hold it in balance, before this restraint breaks up and the storm rages on . Finally Brahms succeeds, as it were, in grasping the reins again and the storm finally fades away. The intervals become smaller and smaller, the syncopation disappears, and the tones, that gain equal rhythmical values, descend diatonically. the quiet is restored again. This kind of contrast in the movement-direction can be recognised often in Mozart’s music as well, but with him the effect of the contrary jumps from a very low to a very high tone, as if Mozart yearns to devour enormous distances, for example in many of the second movements of his piano concertos, creates in the listener a sense of great longing rather then the emotion of a raging storm . I could, of course, go on and on and bring many more examples to establish the impressions inspired by musical contrasts, but these will have to suffice. We are thus moving on to the phenomenon repetition: Repetition is the most commenly used means of expression in the musical language, and has at its disposal a palette of many different musical colours. Each one of them can be seen as the most important and most satistfying way to communicate with the listener. Mozart’s symphony no. 40 in G’ minor, for instance, begins with a threefold repetitious motif, composed of three tones in a minor descending inclination, so as to accumulate enough power to dare the swing to the higher sixth. And when finally reaching it, Mozart writes an impressive pause, as if to celebrate this success, allowing for a well- earned rest. Quite another kind of repetition can be found in the concerto for four violins by Antonio Vivaldi .He begins the work with an immediate jump to the tonic which is then repeated five times. These five reptitions do not serve as a hesitant effort to accumulate enough streength, as we have seen in the last example of Mozart’s symphony in G minor, but, on the contrary, here they serve as a statement and as a declaration of existence , as if to say ‘here I am, and you can be sure that here I am going to stay’. These repetitions occur again and again in this movement and they influence the listener with the assurance of their strength and steadfastness. The last example that I would like to bring here is the most touching in this Kaleidoscope of repetitions. It signifies a wish, a sort of a pleading , a

The Meaning of Repetition and Contrast in Music


supplication. It reminds one of the repetitious wording in the spoken language: If a person says something, it is understood as a saying. But if he repeats it, it becomes a request. And if he continues to repeat it once and twice and even thrice it becomes a begging, or rather a pleading, or even a cry for help. It is in this manner that I understand the first movement of the fourth piano concerto by Beethoven. The theme that opens this movement is introduced by the solo pianist, and is written in homophonic6 chords that support the melody which is given to the soprano voice (highest tone of the chords). The very beginning starts with a long very quiet beat (5/8 out of a tempo of 4/4) on one chord, that is build on G’ major, the scale of the composition. The highest tone of the chord though, the one that carries the melody, is B’, namely the mediant7 in this scale. This mediant which has, as we have seen, the function of lending to the melody its colour or, if you so wish, its character, lends to the melody, in this example, also a sence of insecurity and crowns it as if with a question mark. After repeating the same chord four times, Beethoven steps one tone down to A’, repeats the new chord four times and again ascends to the opening chord whose melody is on B’. This is again repeated four times, before climbing half a tone higher to C’. There he rests and then descends in two down-moving thirds to the lower F’ before climbing in quick diatonic race to the high D’. After a shorter rest he ascends from this high D’, as if bowing his head in resignation. The theme ends with A’ (the small leading tone) in the melodic voice, and leaves the melody as if hanging in the air, giving it an atmosphere of uncertainty, sadness and a basic helplesness. These kinds of repetitions may touch the listener in the deepest layer of his soul. Come to think of it, the human emotional connection for another human being, is based on repetition. If you touch sombody accidentally once, it may be interpreted as a coincidence, and may quickly be forgotten. But if this touch is repeated once and twice and even thrice and many times more, it turns into stroking and becomes a caress, and your heart will begin to beat and your emotions will swell and you have established a connection. You are not alone any more .And the more the action repeats itself the more these feelings grow and become deeper and more meaningful. All of these: the asking and the pleading, and the begging and the longing and the re-assurance and the security and the longed-for stroking and love-making, they all are included and represented in the different meanings of repetitions , in life as well as in music.


Chapter Twenty Nine

* In the Twentieth Century, after tonality was dismissed and thrown overboard, a great change occurred in the interpretation of Art Music, which was, in my opinion, very far reaching. On the one hand the dodecaphonic system8 forbade any kind of repetition. Repetition was declared taboo! No tone in the “row” might be repeated. This banning has its source in the need to prevent any kind of preferrance or favoritism of one tone over the other. They all had to have the same importance, they all were equal. But, with lending such an importance to the democratic equality of each tone, this new system ,as it were, cut off any possibility of intimacy and empathy that music has to offer to its listeners. Music thus became alienated from its immediate sorroundings . On the other hand, Popular Music that is growing in influence and is more and more in demand, gives the repetition a place of honour. Pop singers and all of the so called “Light Music” composers, love repetition and use it as much as possible. Let me just mention Jaque Brell’s “Ne me quitte pas”. This very beautiful song makes the reptition it’s “trade mark”, and this repetition responds by touching our heart and bringing tears, though combined with a smile, into our eyes. Perhaps this fascination with repetition may be the reason for Pop music’s popularity? Coming back to Art Music, I have to remark that with some composers, like Steve Reich (born 1936) who is considered the founder of the “Minimalistic” style, or his pupil Philip Glass (born 1937), reptition has become a matter of principle. Their music is made up of endless repetitions on a small motif that is repeated endlessly and that changes only very slightly, and this change is repeated again and again and yet again. But the impression that one gets from listening to this music is a quite different one. It is a never ending monotony that lulls the listener into a fantasy world. The melody does not move but rather hovers over the listener, as if it has always been there and will stay forever. Up until now we have talked mainly about the role and impression that contrast and reptitions have within the melodic line. But we should not forget that music , first and foremost Art Music, is evaluated mainly by its polyphony and by the manifold functions of its rhythm.. There cannot be any doubt that the confrontation of simultanous voices is the essence of the musical composition. Polyphony in Art Music started out with counterpoint: Punctum, or Note, Contra Punctum. Such was the Aesthetic that ruled in the Renaissance and within a great part of the

The Meaning of Repetition and Contrast in Music


Baroque music. Meaning that when one voice is ascending the parallel voice will be descending. And when one tone has a longer rhythmical value the simultanous parallel voice will bring shorter and more tones to oppose him. The great value of the polyphonic counterpoint at the height of the Renaissance, for instance in Claudio Monteverdi’s compositions, is inherent in the multi-voice fabric of the different voices, resembling a crisscross weaving of a colourful carpet, in which all colours, or voices, sometimes presesent and sometimes vanishing, have their contrasting place. In Classicism and Romanticism, although the counterpoint nearly disappeared, and the independent movement of the different voices gave way to homophonic dependance on the bass movement, the confrontation still remained. It existed in the confrontation between the melodic line and the basic harmonic line that was given mainly to the bass, and by allowing the melodic line to move from one voice to the other, thus creating endless contrasts. Generalizing one can say that while in the Polyphonic era, up to Classicism, the reading of the musical score was done, as it were, in the vertical direction, this reading changed during Classicism and the Romanticism to be read horizontally. But the contrasting ideal remained the same. In all the tonal periods the bringing together of different voices was perceived as a panel that is holding a dialogue; sometimes more stormy and dramatic, at other times more moderate and tending to agree with each other, but its meaning was allways that of a language in dialogue. Before ending this chapter , let me repeat my claim that the meaning of contrast and repetition is best expressed in the melody, or rather, in the themes that are the heros of the musical composition. This is so not only because of the importance of melody within music, but mainly because of the linguistic interpretation that is given to melody. And even if other components, like rhythm or polyphony may perhaps be given more importance in a given composition, nevertheless the linguistic interpretation remains within the melody.

Notes 1. Rieman Hugo: “Catechism of Musical Aesthetics”,1982, second edition p. 40 2. For Herakleitos, see note 6 for chapter 2. 3. Windelband, Willhelm: “Geschichte der Phylosophy”, Tuebingen 1918, p.41 4. I refrained from using musical notes so as not to scare away those of my readers who are not familiar with them. As to the rhythmic value: a capital letter stands for


Chapter Twenty Nine

a quarter note, the underlined capital letters stand for a half full note, and the small letters represent an eighths note. The sign / marks the end and beginning of a bar. 5. Syncopation is a deliberate upsetting of the normal pulse, meter accent or rhythm. 6. Homophony comes from the Greek “Homo” (same) and designates music in which one voice leads melodically , being supported by harmonic chords. 7. For Mediant see chapter 27 in this book:”The Scale principle and the Tonal system in the linguistic meaning”. 8. For Dodecaphony, read also chapter 27, towards the end.


As we have already discussed, music is a kind of a language. Abeit different from spoken languages, mainly because in music there is no correlation between a marker and that which is being marked. As the aim of every language is to be understood, the question that now arises is: how can one understand this musical language? If a person asks his fellow with whom he is talking: ”Do you understand what I mean?” and the fellow says:”no”, the person will try again to explain what he meant and will go on until he is sure of being understood. This is the case with spoken languages. Not so with music. In former chapters I tried to stress the point that music speaks first and foremost to the emotional world of the listener. If so, the question that arises will be: what is emotional understanding and how does music realize it? Before giving my personal response, it may be wise to quote first, at least some of the answers given by composers, aestheticians and philosophers, as there is scarcely anyone who has dealt with music, who has not suggested an answer of his own to this intriguing question. In his letter to Marc Andre Souchay, dated 15th of October,.1842, the composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, answering Souchay’s questions about the meaning of his “Songs without words”, Mendelssohn writes as follows: ‘So much is being written about music, and so little is being said. In general I believe that words do not suffice. If I would not believe so I would probably stop making music. People complain that music is so ambiguous; that one is doubtful about what he should think of while listening, whereas words are clearly understood by everyone’. ‘As for me’, Mendelssohn continues, ‘I feel the exact opposite. And this not only with a whole sentence but also with single words. They seem to me ambiguous, doubtful and uncertain, compared to a right and proper


Chapter Thirty music that fills the soul with thousand better things than words… Words cannot do better…What is expressed in the music that I love, are not the ambiguous thoughts that one can express in words, but rather very definite thoughts, that one can express only in music. A word can mean one thing to some people and another thing to other people. Only the song’ (namely the music), ‘can awaken the same feeling in all the listeners, a feeling that cannot be expressed in words”1

Johann Wolfgang Goethe wrote similar things, in the fourth volume of his “Dichtung und Wahrheit” (Poetry and Truth), when he stated that the thought that no one person really understands the other, and that no two people grasp the same thing when hearing the same words, has long since bothered him.2 As opposed to this, Igor Stravinsky maintains that , by its very nature music cannot express anything; neither feelings, nor intellectual thought, nor a psychlogical mood.3 The German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein states in contadistinction to Stravinsky that ‘the aim of music is to communicate between feelings. The feelings accompany our understanding of the musical composition, in the same way that they accompany our daily life,4 while the French philosopher Claude Levi-Strauss, in his Article: “The Raw and the Cooked”, aims at understanding music as a middle-way, between the aesthetic perception and the exercise that exists in the logical thought.5 It seems as if music paves its way between the aesthetics of the visual language, as it is expressed, for example, in painting, and the wordlanguage, the expression of which is , like music, based on the passing of time. The fact that both, the spoken languages and the musical language, are expressed, as it were, on the wings of the passage of time, brings these two so close together. I find myself in great agreement with the words of the writer and philosopher Roger Scruton, who claims that by understanding the spoken languages, we actually mean understanding the metaphors of the language. The same thing exists in music as well; music is also composed of sound motifs, and every such motif must be seen as a metaphore. Listeners that feel at home when listening to music, will easily discern the meaning of these metaphors and thus succeed in establishing contact with the composition, as if it were a clear and comprehensible language.6 Understanding the metaphors of music, is, of course, pre-conditioned by thoroughly knowing the meaning of those sound-motifs that create the metaphors, as they are customary at a certain place and in a certain time. Listeners whose home is Western Europe and whose education is based on Western music, will easily understand the metaphors of tonal music, while

What do we mean by “Understanding Music”?


the hearts of those whose home is in the Middle East and whose musical education is on the “Maqamat”,7 will not understand the western metaphors and will remain completely indifferent to them. But if they have a chance to hear music of the Arab World, they will feel most familiar with their metaphors and their hearts will leap in excitement. Westerners who happened to visit Japan and have a chance to listen to the “Noh” opera, for instance, will soon start to move uneasily in their chairs, as if saying: “we do not understand a thing!”. Later they will start becoming bored, and later still they will no longer be able to endure it. This only strengthens the fact that music is a language and as such has to be taught and learned and become accustemed to, in order to be able to communicate with it. The same is true of a person, who may be an important scholar, but does not know Japanese. It will prove impossible for him to enjoy, even the most excellent book that is written in this language which he has never learnt. Just as we would not be able to enjoy Japanese music, so long as we were not familiar with its sound motifs and musical metaphors that characterize Japanese music. On the other hand, if a Weserner is presented with a book of Japanese paintings, or visits a Japanese museum , he would most likely be able to enjoy and appreciate the Japanese pictures and would gladly hang them on his walls. And this fact is but one of the differences that exist between the visualal art and the musical art, which is much closer to word languages then the other arts. The matter of sound metaphor and emotional language, needs, I feel, to be further elaborated: Let me start by saying that people understand each other not necessarily because they use known words, although words are generally well defined and as such can not be unequivocal. People understand each other mainly because they pay attention, even if they are not aware of it, to the sound and the “music” of the word, and because of the melos, the essence of melody and the rhythm that exist in every spoken sentence. This is so because one can interpret the spoken words in many different ways. But their ‘melos’, their being more stressed or less stressed, their being pronounced quickly or slowly, loudly or silently; the question marks or the exclaimation marks that are added to them –. all these, and not the naked words, cause them to be fully ubderstood. And note well that all these are derived from music. What was just said is that we understand the spoken language, and consequently the written language as well, first and foremost because of the music that is inherent in them. Every body is familiar with the French proverb, that aims at the spoken sentence: “Ce le Ton qui fait la


Chapter Thirty

Musique”, (‘it is the tone that makes the music’), meaning that the tone in which one speaks, and not necessarily the words that are being spoken, is what gives the sentence its full meaning. In other words, spoken language is words and accentuation. Without accentuation and emphasis, the words can not be properly understood . As distinct from the spoken language the musical language includes accentuation and emphasis, but has no words. Instead of the words music has sounds that intensify the accentuations tenfold. Thus the musical language, though less clear when it comes to definitions, is much more direct when it comes to reaching the listener’s feelings. Music does it through sound-metaphors, by stressing, quickening and slowing -down, strengthening or weakening those metaphors. Music succeeds to do it precisely because it is not limited by definite words. Indeed I maintain that there is a lot of truth in the idiomatic expression: ”Music speaks to the heart”, and one has to understand it accordingly, namely in so far as a certain music has indeed reached the heart of the listener, it has been correctly understood by him. What do I mean by all this? I mean that both, the speaker and the one who is spoken to, or, if you so wish, the composer and the listener, have to be well-versed in the same musical language. Both of them have to be familiar with the common musical idioms as they are used in their immediate milieu, and to know well the musical style of their time and place. The listener, and not only the composer, has to be able to express his feeling, to find gratification of his desires and his images, in the musical language, so that the music’s special kind of accentuation is well undersood by him. The listener, and not only the composer, has, to some extent be himself some kind of an artist; he has also to be able to grasp, in his own individual way, what a certain piece of music, that is dear to his heart, is telling him. The endeavours of the one who composes the message, the messanger that carries it out, and the one to whom this message is being addressed, are artistic endeavours. And when these are proved successful, then the musical miracle is indeed happening; then the intentions of the composer are not only completely internalized but even enhanced by the listener. At this juncture, I would like to add that people speak, lecture, and write, not only in order to be understood, but also in order that those who listen to them or read them will be convinced by what they say or write. The question that arises from this, is whether this is also true concerning music? In other words: can listening to music and understanding it, also

What do we mean by “Understanding Music”?


influence the temper of the listener and convince him to become a better person, for instance? A great deal has been written about this, and many proponents tried in the past and continue trying to preach that music has indeed the power to turn people into better human beings, into more compassionate ones, into better tempered and kinder people. Unfortunately this concept has no substantiation in reality. Suffice is to remember how the great German culture of the 19th century, that was heavily weighted with geniuses like Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Mahler and Wagner, like Goethe Heine and Schiller, and many more such personalities, that made Germany into the capital of the world’s culture, turned all of a sudden into the very epitomy of cruelty and inhumanity during the Third Reich, so as to immediately rule out any such concept of the ennobling power of music. Allthough I have dedicated a whole chapter in this book to the Ethos precept,8 that was formulated by Aristotle in Ancient Greece, it is impossible, in this connection, not to remind my reader of it, once again. This precept was based on the certainty that there is nothing that is as able as music to stir the soul of the listener and alter his behaviour . But if music can indeed change the listener it may not necessarily be for the better. Aristotle maintained, as the reader may remember, that listening to music written in the Greek Dorian mode, namely in the Appolonian style, for instance, may awaken the spiritual balance in the listener and influence him to become a positive figure within society. Whereas listening to music that is written in the Phrygian mode, and attributed to Dionysus, may influence the same listener to demonstrate his individuality, to be less considerate to his fellow-men and thus to turn him into a negative factor within his society in wich he lives. There cannot be any doubt that music, then as today, sharpens the senses, and is capable of inspiring a mood of pervade tranquility and peacefulness, on the one hand, and stimulating emotional storms, on the other. Music can indeed influence the mood of the human being, at least while listening, and it can enrich the listener’s soul and enhance his feelings of satisfaction and even his happiness. A favorite aunt of mine, who was very sensitive to music, judged her appreciation of what she heard according to the quantity of tears that she shed while listening. When a certain concert did not meet with her approval , she used to say : “The concert was not good. I did not cry even once…” Music indeed speaks to the soul and heart, and although it is unable to enrich the human intellect or even enhance behaviour or character, it can greatly enrich the emotional-life and inspire the maturity of the soul.


Chapter Thirty

Everybody knows well enough that a good march can greatly ease the hardship of marching; that an encouraging melody will make hard- labour seam easier; that hearing a waltz will cause a delightful feeling in the hearts of lovers; that happy, light music will reduce anxiety while landing in a plane; and that, according to scientific observations, cows give more milk when music is being played to them. That is why it is so important to enhance good music, nurture it and ensure its development and it’s ongoing existance in that society that aspires to raise the quality of life of its citizens. I would like to close this chapter by bringing two citations that seem to me to be relevant to the meaning and understanding of music. One was written 300 years ago , and the other is rather new. In his book: “Der vollkommene Kapellmeister” (‘The perfect Conductor), the musician Johann Mattheson(1681-1764) wrote that ‘we can not enjoy anything in which we cannot participate’. When speaking about the essence of melody, Mattheson maintains that ‘in every melody there has to be something that is known to us and that we easily can get acquainted with. A melody has to have its boundaries so that everybody will be able to absorb it and also be able to identify and contain it’.9 Whereas the aesthetician Carl Dahlhaus claims that :”Musical meaning is ‘intentional’. It exists only insofar as a listener grasps it”.10 For my part, the basic premises of the subject that I have dealt with, in this chapter, are as follows: Music is intended to touch the listener’s feelings, and to bring him pleasure and edification. These will not come about if the listener does not take part in what he hears; if he is not familiar with its motifs and its metaphors as they are played to him. There can be no doubt that the listener must be able to recognise these “soundturns”, to have a feeling for them, and to embrace the whole composition that reaches his ears. Only then will he be able to open up to it, to grasp it, to understand it’s meaning, and thus to derive from it that enjoyment that he so longs for.

Notes 1. Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy :”Briefe aus den Yahren1830-1847”, ( Letters written By Mendelssohn in the years 1830-1847), published by Paul Memdelssohn, and Prof. Carl Mendelssohn, 7th edition, 1899, p.229. Translated from the original German. 2. Ibid. the note down the same page. 3. “Contemplating Music – Source reading in Aesthetic of Music”, by Ruth Katz and Carl Dahlhaus, p. 190.

What do we mean by “Understanding Music”?


4. Ibid. volume 3, page 981. 5. Ibid , vol. 2, p.723. 6. Ibid. volume 2, Roger Scruton :”The Aesthetic Understanding”. 7. Musical scales that serve as the basis for Arab music, posessing also smaller intervals than the semi-tone, namely 1/4 tones and 1/3 tones. 8. See chapter 19 in this book: “The Ethos, and the theory of Catharsis”. 9. “Contemplating Music”’ by Ruth Katz and Carl Dahlhaus, volume 2 , p.776. 10. Carl Dahlhaus:” Ethics of Music”, p. 12



Much has been said and written about the nature and character of Art. A multitude of answers have been given to this question, and still we find ourselves, today more than ever, perplexed and bewildered when trying to understand what is really meant by art? Every answer that we may dare to give, will immediately be contradicted. It seems that we are standing nowadays before the phenomenon of Art as if before a “Tabula Rasa”; before a blank paper. What had been written before about the meaning of art, was erased in the aftermath and the dislocation of the Second World War. One would think that as a result this blank paper had to be re-written. But this simple answer seems not to be agreed upon at all. The pessimists will say that nobody is interested nowadays in re-writing the criteria of art, that nobody needs them, and that one could do without them, while even the so- called optimists will give up in advance and maintain that this re-writing, although most important, is a mission that is doomed to fail.. As for me, I cannot avoid confronting this key issue, and do believe that one is compelled, at least to try and come to terms with this worrying question: what is Art? Let me turn first to the question: why is art needed at all? or rather what is the source of art? One can say that while the world and everything in it, is the creation of an Omnipotent, art is the creation of man. Thus we put art in contradistinction to nature, just as we use the adjective “artificial”, in contrast to “natural”. While creation seems to be a “sine qua non”, ( an imperative condition) for the Allmighty, so is art, an imperative condition for mankind. As if we were to say that the creator of man, and man himself, are equal in their desire to create; as if creation is an uncontrolable urge, not only for God but for man as well, and is thus inherent in both their instinctive impulses. Just as one may say that god’s whole existence is based on his creation of the world, and on his daily

What do we mean by Art? And what is the Art of Music?


renewal of this creation, without which the idea of god would have no reason, one might possibly say that without the creation of art by the human being, there would be no proof of his having existed at all in this world. One might even go one step further and maintain that the urge to create, pretty much as the urge to live, is a vital necessity for human existence. If I were to be asked whether the urge to create is apparent in every man and woman, I would probably say: no, or rather: not to the same passion and degree. There are people whose lust to create is uncontrolable, and there are others who toy with the idea and would wish to create something, but they are not ready to realize this wish, while most people are not aware that such an urge is at all even lurking within them. Just as not in every person there exists the same lust for life. Three main questions arise vis-a-vis such an opinion : a) what is the source of this urge to create? b) is every creation a work of art? and c) who decides whether such a creation is indeed a work of art? As to the first question, I would suggest that there are two main sources that urge us to create: one being the need to express oneself, and the other is the need to perpetuate oneself, to leave something behind. A person arrives in this world alone, and leaves it alone. A great part of his life is spent on trying to make contact, to build bridges on which to reach out to his fellow-man, to become acquainted, to open one’s heart to the other and maybe gain compassion or even love. This vital need is based not only on the will to become acquainted, but also on the wish to make one’s own mark before leaving this earth; to contribute something that will help evolution, that will advance humanity, that will change something for the better, and through this to become important and recognised, as well. One of the ways of succeeding in this difficult mission, is self expression. And thus one can say that the ability to express oneself, the quality of this expression, and the powers of convincing the other by what one has to say, are the qualities that form the desires and the acts of creation. The basis of the second source, that inspires the need for perpetuation, lies in men’s awareness of his transitory passage through life. “As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it , and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more”.1 This difficult truth, that all mankind has to come to terms with, moulds the urge to create; the urge to fulfill the obligation to leave something behind.


Chapter Thirty One

There can be no doubt that these two urges are linked togther, both stem from the same awareness of our transitory nature, from the certainty that the end is inevitable, and from the fact that each of us is not only alone but also very ephemeral. Here we are confronted once again with the time factor that seems to be so decisive and crucial, for our life and for our art. One can thus maintain that art is the one and maybe the only proof of our having existed here on this earth. Art is the material out of which the cultural history of mankind is formed The answer to the first question a), will, I imagine ,be accepted by most readers. Not so the answer to the second question b): is every creation a work of art? The answer to this question is much more complicated and, today, there is no concensus concerning it. It was customary to differentiate between an artisan, namely a craftsman who deals with and also produces artifacts, and an artist who creates works of art. Both names are derived from the same root; both, the artisan and the artist, are creators. One creates craft, the other creates art. The question that arises immediately will be: What is the difference between art and craft? For a long time it was customary to believe that craftmanship is an applied art, namely an art which serves its customers by supplying them with articles for their daily or even festive use, while art is meant to be enjoyed, to uplift, to inspire intelectually and stimulate mentaly. While applied art was meant to serve its customers and then be discarded, art was meant , if only possible, to last forever and be kept in perpetuity. Art Music was considered Art, while Jingles, but also all kinds of Folk Music, Dance Music and Pop, were considered craftsmanship From the 15th century onward this possibly wrong assumption, became the cultural truth. Art, as differentiated from craftsmanship, existed for its own sake. The known concept “Art pour l’Art”, that was adopted already during the Renaissance, became the common concensus. In the Renaissance the meaning of this idiomatic expression was that art no longer existed in order to express religious feelings and serve religion, as it did in the Middle Ages, but that it stood on its own feet and served those who enjoyed it. But later, and especially since the mid 20th century the interpretation of this expression changed to mean that art, and especially music, is composed for its own sake, and not necessarily for the listener. The listener was slowly but surely excluded from the musical process. The visual arts were not harmed so much by this new interpretation, because, as we have often discussed in this book, the viewer, though an

What do we mean by Art? And what is the Art of Music?


important factor in visual art as well, does not take part in its formation. Not so in the performing arts and especially in music. Music is an art that never existed for itself alone but equally for its listeners, as does any other language. Just as in other performing arts, music is meant to evoke something within the listener. But more than in any other performing art, music is above all a dialogue between the musician and the listener. The more music came to stand aloof in its ivory tower, the more the listener was excluded from the process of new Art Music, the more new Art Music found itself relegated to the background of events and removed from the main stage. After the second World War, when democracy was understood to be the only acceptable and possible form of governance, this distinction between art and artisanship received another interpretation. Art began to be looked upon as an affair of elitism, aimed only at educated intellectuals, whereas artisanship was seen as a kind of a “lower” art; a simplisistic art, meant for the common populace only. And the question was raised, if not openly then subconsciously, whether this elitist art-form fitted a democratic society? This problem resolved itself when Andy Warhol framed a can of “Campbell Soups” and hung it on the walls of a prestigious museum, thus declaring it a work of art. From this moment onwards truths were mixed up. The hitherto accepted presumption that there was a qualitative difference between craftmanship and art, was cancelled. Since then Pop and Rock music, not to mention Jazz, are slowly gaining the upper hand and are being given preferrence to what is generally known as contemporary Art Music. But the question: what is art? still remains unanswered. If we turn to philology for advice, we will find that the word ART, or better still the Latin ARS was used in different periods for different and even contradictory concepts. It stems from the Greek AR, that means :to “put together”, to “combine”, to “unite”, and hence the verb “to compose”, which only means “to put together”, and not to “invent” , nor even to “create”. Nearing the end of the early Middle Ages, namely around the end of the first Millennium, the very first universities taught the seven “ARTES LIBERALES”, meaning the ‘Seven Free Arts’, or better yet ‘seven arts that are meant for free men’. The word ‘Free’, in this case, meant: not a slave who had to work and was not free to study, while the word ‘Artes’ meant, at least partially, what we would call to-day ‘The Sciences’. Those seven Artes Liberales, were divided into two categories: the Trivium, and the Quadrivium.The Trivium were the three Artes of


Chapter Thirty One

language: Rhetoric, Grammar, and Logic. The Quadrivium were the four artes of numbers: Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy. (It is worthwhile noting that music was seen, at this time, as a science composed of numbers. Only later did ARS change into SCIENTA, which stems from the word SCIRE=to know, and thus was used for science as distinguished from art. Towards the end of the late Middle Ages, around the 13th century, the then musical style was known as the “ARS ANTIQUA”, as distinguished from music of the 14th century, that was known as “ARS NOVA”. If I am not mistaken, this is the juncture at which the word ARS was used for music in the meaning of the Art of to-day. Whereas today the word Art is seldom used for music and refers mostly to Visual Art. But let me leave linguistics aside, and focus on the main issue of art. In the not too distant past, approximately till the mid 20th Century, it was customary to differentiate between Art Music and Folk Music, in the following way: * Art Music, referring to both composer as well as performer, is the fruit of individual creativity, that requires prior education, perfect professionalism, writing the music down, playing it from notes, and performing it to an audience, that is essential to the musical process. Mainly in the 19th century, but even before that, it was usual to distinguish between serious and light music. While the first was aimed at edifying one’s soul and mind, the latter served for entertainment and recreation, but both were seen as belonging to Art Music. * Folk Music, as distinguished from Art Music does not demand professionalism or prior education. Neither is it essentially individualistic. It is basically an oral tradition that is handed down from generation to generation, and its style is typical of a certain region and a certain community. Everybody is able to perform it, it does not have to be written down, it is not performed on a concert stage, and everybody is likely to participate in it Art Music, esepecially during the 19th century, was known for its substance and for its quality. As to the substance, Art Music mainly revolved around the concept of “Beauty”- whatever this concept may have meant; it aimed at expressing and immitating nature, and , most important, describing inner feelings that yearned to find a channel of expression. And as to the quality, Art Music was recognised by its perfect performances, by its ability to tastefully and knowledgeably combine its different and sometimes contrasting components, and by its ability to transform all these components into a convincing piece of art.

What do we mean by Art? And what is the Art of Music?


The aesthetician Benedetto Croce, writes in the beginning of the 19th century, that art is not a physical work, but the work of the mind; art is an expression of Aesthetics, which is an intuitive vision. Beauty is not a physical fact; it does not belong to things but rather to the activity of the human being, to its mind’s energy,2 and Croce continues and maintains that the aesthetic experience is an independent autonomous activity of the human mind and it does not depend on other aspects of the human mind . Therefore one may not include them as part of it, (as does, for instance Immanuel Kant). The aesthetic experience, so maintains Croce, is not an intellectual activity, nor a moral one; it does not serve any purpose. The aesthetics of the arts is solely based on intuition, and though intuition is a kind of knowledge, the aesthetic intuition differs from logical or conceptual knowledge. The artistic intuition is an imagination and a vision at one and the same time. And the aesthetician John Dewey adds to these remarks of Croce and maintains further that art is a quality of activity and as such is attached to the manner of doing, and is not a noun but an adjective.3 Whereas the philosopher Susan Langer stresses the importance of the meaning. According to Langer what separates art from any other creation is the meaning that is attached to the product. The difference between a jar that one may buy in the supermarkets and an ancient Greek vase that can be found in the museums, is the “significant form” of the Greek product. “We need to look far afield” writes Langer “for a new philosophy of art, based upon the concept of the “significant form”4 Langer suggests that this meaning can also be found in the emotional reaction, as many have already said before her, beginning with Plato. According to Langer the real power of music lies in the fact that it is able to be true to the world of feelings in a way that the word-language is not able to. This may be what the musicologist Hans Mersmann meant when he wrote that the possibility of expressing contradictions at one and the same time, is the nearest that one can get to true expressivness, a possibility that no other art but music can produce.5 And he adds that music reveals what words hide, because it can demonstrate not only existing contents but transitory contents, as well. The renowned composer Igor Stravinsky writes: ’Art in its unique form is a creation that is being formed according to certain rules and ways that are clearly defined, that one can learn or invent . Those rules are the fixed compelling ways that assure the truth that is needed for our work’.6 These ‘certain rules and ways ‘ to which Stravinsky attaches such an importance, are the rules and regulations of the musical aesthetics that this book aims to restore; be they what they may.


Chapter Thirty One

But let me come back to Folk Music, as distinguished from Art Music. Folk Music does not need neither rules and regulations nor any definitions or qualities. As much as it exists and continues to exist, it is good and accepted. What is more, Folk Music is like the trunk of the music tree, of which Art Music is a meaningful branch, maybe even the most meaningful. Or to use another metaphor, Folk Music is the spring out of which Art Music sucks its power and its vigour whenever it arrives at a cross-road, in need of renewed inspiration. The problem is that in the wake of the second millennium, Folk Music seems to disappeare from our immediate view, its voice is dimmed and it seemes as if it is lurking in the far distance. Its place is taken by different kinds of other music, or maybe even other ‘musics’. Apparently those musics are derived from Light Music, although they are much more meaningful, but they sucked their power directly from Folk Music. Notwithstanding they put on appearances that untill now had belonged only to Art Music; they are being lifted up to the concert stage, their music is put down in writing, they are being taught in schools and thus are turning professional, and they behave as if belonging to Art Music as their birthright . What is more, the greater the separation grew between Art Music and its public, the more the public is drawn to these new ‘musics’. They seized the place of Folk Music, behaved as if they were Art Music and are blessed to-day with a large audience, much larger than Art Music has ever known in the past I am speaking first and foremost of Jazz, that, to my mind, is the most important musical invention of the 20th Century. But also of “Pop” and “Rock” in their many shades and forms and maybe even of “World Music”,7 although it has just started to reach the concert stage and to draw public attention. Thus those well defined differences between Art Music and Folk Music, have disappeared from to-day’s musical landscape, and we find ourselves standing before different musical compositions that express very different and even contradictory statements. Once again we are faced with the question: are all those‘musics’ works of art? And my answer, after many hesitations , is a positive one. I believe that the expression Art Music has lost its relevance. From now on we have to adopt only one expression namely “The Art of Music” that includes all the different ‘Musics’ that are created by human beings and that carry the human signature.8 This conclusion stems directly from the cultural revolution that is currently taking place, although we may not really be aware of it. We

What do we mean by Art? And what is the Art of Music?


should not forget that music is perhaps the most human of the arts.9 Music is a social affair, and does not occur unless people come together for some kind of celebration, and this celebration will not be recognised as such unless music is being played. This is why the image of society plays such an important role in the character of it’s music.10 To paraphrase the well-known saying it appears to me that “music is music, is music”. The difference lies thus not in the kind of music but in its quality. The Israeli musician, teacher and harpsichord player, Frank Pelleg, who contributed so much to musical life in Israel, repeatedly said that “there does not exist any serious and light music, there exists only good and bad music”. Meaning that music, as well, is not a matter of substance, but of quality alone. We arrive now at the last of the three questions that I asked in the beginning of this chapter. And I think that I have to rephrase the question a bit in light of the conclusions that we have reached . Therefore I will not ask who decides whether a creation is a work of art, but rather who decides whether the music that we hear is good or bad art? Untill the mid twenties of the last Century, there existed, as I have mentioned time and again, rules and regulations, that concerned, first and foremost, how to combine different voices into a good harmonic sentence, how to create a well formed melody, how to balance, or rather, how not to balance between the three components: melody, harmony and rhythm , and how to find the right measure so as not to overburden the listener’s emotions. These were the aesthetic guidelines that reflected the “Zeigeist” of the different musical periods . It is of course true that keeping all these rules did not ensure the quality of the music, but it was a “sine qua non”, (an imperative condition) without which the music would have been rejected. This is very similar to the evaluation of a good musical performance. A good technique is not yet a guarantee for a good performance but it is a “sine qua non” for any performance. In response to the anticipated question from my reader: If keeping to the rules is not a guarantee for good art, how can one know what is good and what is not ? I would answer: Quality is not made of one piece. Quality also has its degrees. Therefore if a musical composition abides by all the accepted rules, it can well be considered a good piece of music and can claim its place among the other compositions of the same period. But if it does keep to the rules and over and above succeeds in excelling them, bringing something new that touches the heart and affects not only the listeners of to-day but also those of the future, as a true message, than one can say that we are talking


Chapter Thirty One

about an excellent art. Have we not said, in the beginning of this chapter, that creation also aims at leaving something behind and eternalizing one’s composition within the musical repertoire.? Let me give an example from a quite different art. Let me call your attentiononce more to the prophecies of the Biblical Jeremiah. His passionate reproaches were indeed aimed at the kings of Judea, at Uziyahu, Yotam, Achaz and Zidkiyah.. Jeremiah had an important message to deliver to them, and his immediate aim was indeed to chastise the ways of the people of Zion on those days. But the quality of his speeches, the way they were constructed, the style of his sentences, the credible rhetorics, the ability to convince and the sincerity of his intentions, made them not only into great art but also relevant for all eternity. One can perhaps say that the ability to mould the work of art so that it will be relevant also for later generations, is one of the important criteria of good art. I found another criterion when discussing this subject with theatre director Gadi Roll. He ventured to suggest that true artistic experience summons the listener, or the viewer, to an encounter with himself, be it on an emotional level or an intellectual level, and thus brings about a change, even if only a momentary one, to his perception of life or his understanding himself. I, for one, can testify to this from a personal experience that listening to the second movement of Schubert’s string quintet, touches me so deeply, not only because of the wonderful music, but mainly because this music succeeds in confronting me with my innermost self. Is this not a worthwhile criterion for maintaining good art? Having said this I feel that I have to warn my readers of two mistakes, or pitfalls into which they should not fall: A. Composers whose compositions are not understood or not accepted by their audience, tend to boast and maintain that their generation is simply not yet ready to understand them, and that their creative compositions are meant for generations to come, who will surely be better prepared to enjoy them; they claim that even Mozart and Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms, were not understood during their time, whereas to-day they are considered to be geniuses. These accusations are as wrong as they are untrue. First of all because they are not based on historical facts. I do not know of any worthwhile composer whose compositions were not recognised and sought-after

What do we mean by Art? And what is the Art of Music?


during his lifetime. It is true enough that such recognition was not always backed up with great sums of money, and more then once great difficulties were placed in some composer’s way, be it out of jealousy or just a determination to harm. It is also true that one or another composition was rejected by an audience ( this happened for instance to the opera Carmen by George Bizet, because it was the first time that a tragic ending was shown at the Opera Comique. Even the ninth Symphony by Beethoven, where the composer himself changed and rechanged its last movement, knowing full well that despite its greatness it was not sufficiently well balanced, and because he encountered difficulty in writing for voices). But every known composer who is estimated to-day was highly regarded, respected, and greatly cherished already during his life-time. There are of course composers who were highly esteemed during their lifetime and later forgotten, like George Wagenseil, who was one of the important composers to mould the form of the Classical Symphony, or Carl Friedrich Zelter, a close friend of Goethe, who were recognised during their lifetime but later became irrelevant. Therefore let us conclude that the language of music, this “give and take”, this sounding of the musical message and the grasping of it by the listener, is, first and foremost, a matter of the time of its expression. If the listener cannot internalize what is being played or sung to him, while it is being played or sung, then the musical process has failed to be completed. That is why we cannot hide behind the claim of a composer who has not been duly accepted, and who then maintains that what he is delivering to-day will be grasped the day after tomorrow, when the listener will have become cleverer and more intelligent. It is true that great music is recognised also by its becoming eternalized and that also later generations are eager to listen to it again and again, but first of all it has to be recognized by its own generation. B. The second mistake that I want to warn my readers not to make, concerns the notion that a work of art, that was lucky to be rediscovered, must be an excellent art because it succeeded in lasting for generations. May I remind my reader of Susan Langer’s comparison, (discussed in the beginning of this chapter), between a jar that you buy in the supermarket and an ancient Greek jar that has been excavated and put in the museum as a great piece of art. Langer is correct when she maintains that only this art that has passed historical judgment can be considered as great art, but one has to take into account that an ancient jar that stands in the museum, is standing there only because it technically withstood the


Chapter Thirty One

pressure of the bowels of the earth for such a long period, and not necessarilly because it has such a wonderful shape. In this case the jar did not stand the test of time because it reflects a great art, but only because it was lucky enough to have been excavated. * All that has been said up till now, is firm and abiding as long as aesthetical rules and regulations formed the basis of art. As far as I know Art Music, anywhere in the world, either in the East or in the West, either in ancient times or in modern times, never existed without being based on aesthetical criteria, on rules and regulations that were known and agreed upon by musicians as well as by the listener. It is true enough that these rules, or some of them, were changed from period to period, but Art Music always was based, written and performed according to known rules. Alas, since the mid twenties of the last Century those rules were thrown by the way-side as an unnecessary utensil, and finally they disappeared completely. The dilemma that arose consequently, remained a great one. because if music is indeed a language – and I do hope that I have succeeded in convincing my readers that it is a language - then we have to take into consideration that no language cannot survive without a known alphabet, without laws of syntax and grammer of its own. Without them the world of Art Music becomes a Tower of Babel. That is why all contemporary music is indeed an art, but the audience has no means, no criteria, no access to grasp it and to call it his own. Thus we can do nothing but wait for the judgment of history to determine its worth.

Notes 1. Psalms 103, verses 15,16. 2. Croce, Benedetto, “Estetica”, translated by Ainbie, London 1922, 2nd edition, p. 177 3. Dewey, John, “Art of Experience”, N.Y. Capricorn 1958, appeared in “Contemplateing Music – Source Reading in Aesthetics of Music”, by Ruth Katz and Carl Dahlhaus. 4. Langer, Susan, “Philosophy in a new Key – Study in Symbolism of Reason, Rite, and Art ”, N.Y.: A Mentory Book, New American Library, 1952, pp. 166171, “On the Significance of Art”. 5. Mersmann, Hans, “Versuch einer Musikalischen Wert Aesthetik”, Zeitschrift fur Musikwissenschaft, XV11, 1935

What do we mean by Art? And what is the Art of Music?


6. Stravinsky, Igor, “Musikalische Poetic”, Mainz, B. Schott’s Söhne, 1949, Harvard Lectures, Translated by Heinrich Strobel. 7. See also chapter 13 of this book: ”Is there only one Music, or are there many Musics?” 8. I remember a lecture given in the Tel-Aviv museum, in 2004, by the art critic Ruthy Director. She claimed that every creation whose creator proclaimed its being an art, has to be considered as an art. Whether it is good or bad art is another question altogether. 9. See also chapter 16 of this book: “The Two Movements of Soul and Music”. 10. This is of course also true of theatre and dance, but then, I have often claimed in this book, that those three belong to-gether as “Greater Music.


The need to understand the different phenomena present in our lives, their meaning and their origin, is an essential part of the nature of the human being. It is difficult for man to accept these phenomena, without. understanding why they are there and from whence they came. This is why philosophers and scientists, are constantly trying to provide possible answers to these basic questions. When trying to locate and understand the phenomenon of art, we tend to think that its aim is first and foremost to excel in the“how”. How to describe and interpret the different objects existing in the world, and how best to eternalize their existence according to the artistic interpretation of them. In other words: the “what” that art puts on paper, exists in nature and within human society. Therefore the uniqueness of art is the “how”, or if you wish, the way in which the artist interprets the “what” and implements it on paper. By doing so the artist also eternalizes his interpretation of what he sees, and thus it is kept for generations to come. In this “how” lies the artists ability not only to describe it but mainly to convince the viewer or the reader of his interpretation, and it is here that the greatness and uniqueness of the artist is to be found. Take for instance a vase with flowers. Most painters drew at least once in their lifetime a vase with flowers. But each painter draws this vase in a different fashion. It is in the way that he draws this vase, and not in the fact that he has drawn a vase with flowers, that one can detect the greatness of the painter. The different ways or the different “hows”, reflect the differences in the stylistic historical periods: The vase that is drawn in the Baroque differs greatly from the vase drawn in the Romantic Period, or that which was drawn in the 20th Century. The flower vase of the Impressionists is quite different from that of the Expressionists. Painters always drew vases, but the vases differ greatly from period to period and from artist to artist.

Is Music an Imitation of the World or is it a World of its Own?


What is more, and this remark may be the most important one, no painter of any period invented the vase out of nothing. In all periods known to us, vases were used, and in all periods flowers were blooming. That is why we maintain that the “what” of the painting, is basically not all that important.. What is important in art is the “how” in which the artist interprets and describes the vase . One can put forward the same argument regarding sculpture, playwriting and literature. Anna Karenina’s greatness is not contained in the story of this marvelous novel; the eternal triangle - a married wife falling in love with another man, running away from home and when her lover tires of her, commits suicide. This can be found at every level of human society, even in any sentimental petit-bourgeois novel. The marvels of Tolstoy’s book manifest themselves not in what he tells us, but mainly in the way in which he tells the well-known story; in the way that he describes the different characters that appear therein, in the way that he portrays the aristocracy of Russia on the one hand, and the lives of the peasants and farm-workers in those times of the Tzar, on the other hand; in the way that he understands and describes to us what happens in the hearts of his heroes; in the way that he follows their behaviour, their pains and their joys. All these, and not the actual story, is what makes “Anna Karenina”, such a great book, and ranks it among the masterpieces of the literature of the 19th century. That is why I hope that it will not be incorrect to maintain that the artist detects the themes of his creation, its subject, or what I dare to call, its “what”, from the outside world. His being an artist manifest itself in the “how” in which he describes what he has detected; in the way that he quarries this “how” out of his innermost self. In the quality of this “how”, we will detect his talent, his artistic qualities and, if he and we are lucky enough, his genius. That is why we can sum up and maintain that art is “creating something out of an existing something” But if we examine music and try to use the same criterion in music as well, we will find ourselves in great difficulty: Flowers in a vase exist indeed in every society and in every period, and a “love triangle“ can be found everywhere and in all times, but a symphony by Beethoven is not to be found anywhere. It does not exist in real life, and that is why it has to be created “out of nothing” This is why the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) writes in his book : “Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung” (“The World as will and imagination”), that music is in no way as all the other arts. Because


Chapter Thirty Two

the arts are the image of the Idea whereas music is the image of the will itself. In other words: as distinguished from all the other arts that are formed out of the awareness of the ideas and thus describe only the shadows of these ideas, music is the only art that arrives at the essence of the idea itself. Music puts the metaphysics versus all that is physical in our world, and the “thing itself” (“dass ding as sich”) versus all that looks as if it were this “thing”. This is why the world is the realization of music; the realization of will.1 Indeed I presume that we can not avoid the acceptance that art basically aims to imitate or rather to interpret life. Theatre director, Gadi Roll, with whom I had a chance to discuss this issue, took great offence at my using the word “imitation”. For him “art” and “imitation” are a contadiction in terms. He did agree that art evolves mainly around the “how”, but what I described as the “what”, he sees as being a “means” to serve the purpose of the artist. Roll may be right in demanding the use of the term “means” instead of “What” and certainly we may leave “imitation” out of this discussion., but it may also be a matter of semantic differences. Be that as it may, I , for my part gladly and respectfully agree with him, and will use the term “imitation” as little as possible. Other critics may hold it against me and declare that paintings and sculptures created in the second half of the Twentieth Century, are completely abstract, and thus do not “imitate” any existing phenomena. They will maintain that if a modern painter paints a woman it is imposible to recognise her as a woman. Therefore the “means” that the modern artist chose to describe are his invention. In self defence I will give those critics two answers: The first is that even if “The Woman with the Blue Hat”, by Pablo Picasso, is not a direct representation of the woman who passes in the street, she still portrays the image of a woman that Picasso envisioned in his mind while painting, and that the picture is still as good as an imitation, or rather as a “means” to serve Picasso’s purpose. Especially as at the same time the museums presented not only paintings of existing objects, but also the objects themselves. If the painter Marcell Duchamp hangs a toilet on the museum’s wall and calls it “ A fountain”, could there be a greater imitation, or “means”, than that ? As to my second answer, I would like to suggest that visual art, namely the art that we look at through our eyes, appears in the 20th Century as if in two dimensions. The first dimension is that of the painting, the second is that of the photograph. This second dimension took over the task of portraying, of imitation par excellence. That is why

Is Music an Imitation of the World or is it a World of its Own?


the first dimension could allow itself, realizing the existence of the new second dimension, to deviate from the need to portray accurately and thereby allow himself some freedom and imagination. This may be one of the reasons why modern painters chose, instead of using the realistic phenomena as they appear to us, to imitate or “use as means” their individual imagination of the existing phenomena. After all, the author and the playwright and all the more so the scriptwriter, never ceased, not even during the 20th Century that was so enamoured of the abstract, to imitate or rather to use as a means, to emphasise, even to exaggerate, the existence in which they lived. * But our immediate subject is music. And if we consider the composer, as distinguished from the painter or the auther, we have to admit that despite Schopenhauer’s encouraging philosophy that hightens music to the level of the will itself and maintains that music is the image of the world itself, I find it difficult to translate Schopenhauer’s words into practical language and I am afraid that my reader will feel the same. There can be no doubt that Schopenhauer speaks the truth, but maybe he does not speak the whole truth. It is True that music has no image in nature, and that symphonies do not emerge suddenly into our surroundings, as do flowers or people ( to remain true to the metaphors we have used above). It is also true that a musical composition, as distinguished from a painting, for instance, is creating “something out of nothing”. But, as far as I am concerned, music also conceals an element of imitation, or rather of variation of a melody that already existed before. If one wants to, one may see in the musical composition an edless row of changes and variations on a basic image of music: be it modal scales, maquamat, steigers, pentatonic scales, tonal scales, or musical motifs that are common to and well known in the local societies. Moreover music encompasses, if not an element of imitation, then at least an element of equivalence, and if music is unable to describe an actual person who can be seen, music can, perhaps better than any other art, describe this person’s inner feelings, his state of mind, his emotions and longings. Music “imitates” the rhythms that are pounding within us and brings them to our attention. By doing so music turns our feelings and emotions into something more pure and more objective, and by this lends them a kind of double meaning. Music enables us to cling to the feelings


Chapter Thirty Two

that clamour for our attention, and thus soothe, comfort and support us. As for my own part, this is the true meaning of music; this is its intention, and this is the message that music is supposed to bring us. This is also the criterion that we have to apply when we attempt to evaluate music. If music suceeds in touching the listener, to such an extent that he will be able to identify his internal feelings and emotions, then the mission of music has reached its target and fulfilled its aims. This criterion is far from being objective, I certainly agree, and there are surely those who will maintain that in this case it cannot serve as a criterion at all. But long lasting experience teaches us that there are more things common to most people than there are differences between them. Especially so between people living in the same area and at the same time. And also that although our feelings are personal and individual, they have much in common within the larger group, raised on the same lullabys and songs, on a common musical language that is known and loved, on rhythms and sound-turns that have become, with time, the private heritage of every individual within the greater group. It may well happen that the musical intellect of some among us will rebel against these sentimental definitions, claiming that a musical composition is a sophisticated and thought-through art and thus is directed first and foremost to the logic and intellect of the listener. But I will confront them and say that although composing music demands sophistication, knowledge, logic, and deep thought, all this intellectual reservoir, and what is more: the empathy, the emotional consideration and discretion, the ability to understand the other, and a sense of proportion and good taste - all these important assets, are barely sufficient to “imitate” what goes on in the innermost self of the listener, and to succeed in raising within him a parallel echo. That is why I still suggest that in a musical composition as well, pretty much as in painting, sculpture, a play, or a literary novel, there exists an element of “imitation”, or better still, a recreation of what goes on within the world of the artist. Notwithstanding that while the painter or the sculptor interprets what is revealed to their eyes, the composer reveals the happening within his innermost being and thus may enthrall and calm his listener.

Is Music an Imitation of the World or is it a World of its Own?


Notes 1. Schopenhauer Arthur, “Die Welt alls Wille und Vorstellung”, Berlin, Wien, Tilgner publication 1924, p 309 paragraph, 52..


In contemporary art, and most likely also within our society and our understanding of the world around us, we have, for some reason accepted the assumption that our daily life and all that surrounds us, is ugly and evil, and that beauty exists only in our imagination and desire. In the aftermath of the horrors of the second World War, ugliness became for art the overruling ideal. Ugliness was perceived as representing the truth, while beauty was looked upon as being falsehood . “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain” writes King Salomon, (Proverbs chapter 31, vers 30). And in Exodus (chapter 23, verse 7) we are reminded: “Keep thee far from false matters”. If beauty was basically a lie, then truth had to be ugly. Is that not so? The musicologist Friedrich Herzfeld, writes in his book “Musica Nova” (‘New Music’), that was published in 1954, that ‘Western art moves, or changes, between two possibilities: either art reveels the truth, or it disguises the truth with an artificial gloss. The Gothic period that dominated the visual arts from 1150 to the beginning of the 16th century, exaggerated at times, as if stricken obsessed, in describing the truth, expressing the naked truth by presenting what is horrifying and frightening. In the Cathedrals in Magdeburg and Cologne [or the Notre Dame in Paris] we find the most horrifying diabolic faces of frightening monsters. Even the sufferings of Jesus of Nazareth are depicted showing horrible wounds. This urge to describe suffering, basically never completely vanished from the canvases, in other periods as well. It is enough to look at the Inferno of Breugel, Busch, or Goya, even of Daumier, in order to realize this’. ‘In music of the western world’ writes Herzfeld, ‘ this obsession is less apparent… Basically music tends to turn towards the world of beauty and its description and it became music’s main challenge…But in the music of the Romantic period the way was being paved towards the description of frightening death and its awe. The classicist Goethe despises this approach

The Yearning for Beauty or the Commitment to Truth?


that seemed to him a form of illness. But the Romantic soul seeks to describe illness and looks towards the unknown and the sub-conscious… Schubert gathered his friends and told them that in his “Winter Reise” (Winter Journey) he composed terrifying music. Death speaks from nearly every one of the songs. And death is not the redeeming liberater, as it appears in Bach’s aria “Herr ich habe Genug” (Master, I have had enough), but the frightening death, the “terrible journey that one has to go, and from which no-one has ever returned”. Heine’s poem “Der Doppelgänger” (The Double), to which Schubert composed the music, became a symbol for a kind of split personality; a symbol of the fact that besides the known and outwardly familiar person there exists another inner person, an unknown one…and thus’ concludes Herzfeld, ‘anxiety became a dominant factor in the art of the second half of the 19th century. Eduard Munk paints the “Screem”, and Franz Kafka becomes the greatest author and poet to express horror’.1 Before returning to matters of “truth” and “falsehood”, that are, as it were, the “ugly” and the “beautifull”, I would like to place before my readers three basic assumptions: 1) Every artistic style, or aesthetic style, is valid for a limited time only. When its time has passed the style will change, and it may prefer the style, or the aesthetics that the formerly rejected. In most cases the new style will repeat some parts of an aesthetical style that has long vanished. 2) Notwithstanding the first assumption, there exists also a vertical line strengthening an exisisting direction that becomes intesified and reinforced from period to period. 3) Allthough we are accustomed to think that an aesthetic style of a certain period is characteristic of all the arts within this period, and wether an artist creates on canvas, or with stone, or on paper or with musical instruments, he creates according to the same aesthetics, this concept has sometimes proven to be wrong.. Thus it seems that music may, at times, develop differently from the development of the visual arts, or from that of literature. These assumptions need, I feel, further explenations and clarification. First assumption: As I have already claimed several times in this book, one of the style indications, that exemplifies the aesthetical character and image of art, is to be found in the fact that it remains in force for its time only. As


Chapter Thirty Three

successful as the existing style may be, when its time comes it expires and has to give way to the incoming new or renewed style. In the world around us there exists constant change: day changes into night, spring changes into summer. But it is important to remember that those changes also repeat themselves. This years summer will return again next year, as if saying that what has been will be again. It is true that it will not happen tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, but next year it will surely happen. However it will never repeat itself exactly as it has been before. It’s reappearance will always be some kind of a variation of what it has been in the past. If the Creator of the world continues to recreate similar but not exsactly the same world over and over again, all the more so is the creation that is done by the human being. All of human creation holds its own for a certain time only before it becomes tiresome and boaring and will be seen as a rediculous “déjà vu”. As if maintaining: “we know already”, “we have seen already” , “it served the past, now it has to be renewed.” It is important, I feel, that my reader will note that I said “renewed” and not “new”. From nature we have learned that there is nothing new under the sun, and that what has been will re-appear, but in a “renewed” apparel. There cannot be any doubt that renewal is an imperative need for the human being. And this not necessarily because the old was bad, but only because its time expired, it became old fashioned and therefore irrelevant.. As mentioned in former chapters, Fashion, and here I mean the style of dressing, can serve as an immediate example to understand this phenomenon. It’s renewal happens so frequently that one has ample opportunity to experience it several times in one’s lifetime. Contrary to fashion the style-changes in art, take time to come about. Most people do not have the opportunity to experience them within their lifetime, and if they do, it proves difficult for them to absorb and accept them. It is not easy to give a plausible or even a correct answer to the question concerning the time frame that exists, if at all, in the changes of the aesthetical style in art, as it does within the phenomena of nature. It seems that each style has its own time limits, and that within the character of each style is hidden the length of time it will need to develop and decline. In cotrast to that, one can also maintain that once in a certain and known time – perhaps once every 150 years – the style changes. And once in 300 years or so there occur a change of a more revolutionary character.

The Yearning for Beauty or the Commitment to Truth?


So based on this assumption, let me examine the style changes as they have occured within the development of music, and I will limit myself to the second Millenniun. Our knowledge of the first Millennium is too general and not detailed enough to draw such conclusions. Roughly speaking we can construct the following map: 1000-1300: the late Middle Ages. Establishing the Authentic and Plagal Church-Modes and the existence of Polyphony, namely the birth of Art Music, first and foremost within church music. This church music is completely based on a spoken text, in this case - the prayers, which fix the length and the rhythm of its music. The beginning of non church music, mainly the songs by the secular knights: Trouveres and Troubadors, Minnesänger and a bit later the Meistersänger. 1300-1600: The Musical Renaissance (including Ars Nova). The modal scales serve as the basis for musical compositions. The birth of the polyphonic counterpoint . The rhythmical independence. The birth of the polyphonic Motet and Mass. The liberation from the religious exclusivity. The acknowledgment of different folk dances and folk songs. 1600-1900: The Tonal Era and the dualism tonic-dominant, alongside polyphonic counterpoint that has turned tonal. The tonal monody and harmony become a relevant and characterstic factor. Instrumantal, absolute music develop and grow in importance . New forms are being created and grow in importance: the Suite, the Sonata; the Symphony, the Concerto, together with the new vocal forms: Opera, Oratorio, Passion, and Cantata. The striving towards the “Beautiful” in music. The devision of music into serious and light music. Paying new attention to court dances and social entertainment on the one hand, and Folk Music as a important source of Art music, on the other hand. 1900: the cancellation of Tonality. Looking for a new musical language - Dodecaphonic Music, Serial Music, Pointilistic Music, Musique Concrete, an unsuccessful attempt to abolish acoustical instruments and introduce Electronic Music. Finally the annulment of a musical language and all the aesthetic rules, as if opting for complete freedom in Art Music. The birth of Jazz, Pop, and Rock, which serve as a kind of contrast to Art Music. Thus I have tried to mark four different and contradictory musical eras that replaced one another, constituting the bulk of musical development in the second millennium. The fourth era began nearing the end of that millenium and is still in progress. Each era lasting, more or less, 300 years, although, during its course other somewhat different styles existed, either simultanously or one after the other.


Chapter Thirty Three

In the Renaissance we discern the Ars Nova that followed the Ars Antiqua. some include these two periods within the Late Middle Ages, but I would like to suggest that in this case the musical development anticipated that of the other arts and the musical Renaissance started as early as the 14th century, with the Ars Nova. Within the Tonal era, we will find four different periods: the Baroque, the Rococo, the Classicism, and the Romanticism, replacing one another. As regard the A-Tonal era, that began only in the twenties of the 20th Century, and that is still in force. It would not be an exaggeration if I were to suggest that each 20 years a new style emerges into the foreground of this A-Tonal era. The tracking of it, within the different “musics” that partake in the new musical carousel, may prove a very dizzying experience. This very short survey should suffice to clarify that the very changein-style and the style-renewal is one of the basic characteristics of the phenomenon of art in general and of the art of music in particular. Another basic characteristic of art is the duality that exists in its aesthetical “Weltanschaung” , its outlook: There is, on the one hand, the artistic portrayal of reality. As if the artist is endowed with some sort of “feelers” that enable him to envisage, better than the average human being the dangers that are approaching and oblige him to portray them and to warn against them. Obviously these dangers are, by their very nature, ugly and frightening On the other hand art claims that notwithstanding the ugly truth of reality, it is obligated to depict and describe beauty and pleasantness. Because ugliness exists in any event in the daily experience of people. Art, as distinguished from reality, was envisioned in order to liberate man from the ugly reality of daily suffering, and introduce him to that which he does not meet in real life – to beauty. These two poles are constantly provoking each other and competing with each other. One period, or aesthetic style, prefers the description of beauty, like for instance the Renaissance, the Rococo, or the early Romaticism; then there are those that favour the relevance of ugly reality, like the late Middle Ages (the Gothic Period), parts of the Baroque, and mainly the art of the 20th century, in which beauty is considered to be “Kitsch”, devoid of truth, and thus not serious. The second assumption: This assumption may seem an inversion of the first one. But it turns out that a concept and its opposite may dwell peacefully together, in neighbourly relations and in perfect harmony. This second assumption

The Yearning for Beauty or the Commitment to Truth?


maintains that notwithstanding the constant changes from one aesthetic style to its opposite, there exists an ongoing rising line of a single development that is persistently ascending. Let me remind my readers of the quote by Herzfeld, (mentioned above at the beginning of this chapter), where he maintains that in painting there has existed throughout all times and different stylistic periods, the desire to describe the threatening reality. Practically ever since the end of the Renaissance, that endowed us with Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”, as the epitomy of beauty, painters have never ceased to bombard us with every depiction of all that is ugly and horrifying. Thus it seems that never before were ugliness, anger (remember the “Angry Young Men” in the culture of the mid-20th Century), fear and hatred, so prominent in the arts, as in those of the 20th century. And they excel in raising the sense of threats, darkening the colours and increasing the volume. And thus it continued until “beauty” became obscene and “ugliness” became the epitomy of “beauty” that one must persue. The third assumption: This assumption rejects the idea that the aesthetical rules and regulations of a stylistic period imposes an obligation on each and every art belonging to that period. This idea may hold true vis-à-vis some arts and some periods (like the Impressionistic Style, that flourished in Paris, at the end of the 19th century and the beginnings of the 20th, as depicted by the painters Manet, Monet, Degas and Cezanne, and the composers Debussy and Ravel). But in general this idea of complete aesthetical symmetry between the different arts during the same period, is greatly exaggerated, somewhat artificial and sometimes even plain wrong. Suffice is for us to look at the Renaissance, the beginning of which in the visual arts took place around the mid fifteenth century, while in music we encounter the Renaissance, in Italy, as early as the beginning of the fourteenth century (Ars Nova). Such is also the comparison between Gothic Art and the music in the Late Middle Ages, which seems to be completely accidental. This erroneous idea stems, it would seem, from the effort that were made by the new aesthetics in the 18th century, to bring all the arts under the umbrella of aiming for the “beautiful”, an attempt that , as I see it, was not successful. Certainly for music this idea did not hold water, and there is no possibility other than maintaining that music’s aesthetical development is independent of the other arts, and in any given period music expresses itself somewhat differently from the other arts. Although, from time to time music also develops parallel to one or more arts, there is


Chapter Thirty Three

always some difference. There being no other choice, music accepted and took upon itself the division into the aesthetical art periods, as all other arts did. But music does it half-heartedly and in spite of itself, and it succeeds, only with difficultly, in expanding or contracting its ‘official boundaries’ so as to abide by the different periods in art history. Nevertheless in music as in all the other arts, the concepts of “beauty” and “ugliness” play a central role. But in music it is done with less sharpness and with more restraint.Let me enlarge a bit on this concept. Theodor von Adorno quotes Friedrich Hegel who maintained that beauty is the sensory likeness of the idea of beauty, and he adds, and one cannot but agree with him, that ’as difficult as it may seem to formulate what “beauty” is , it is still impossible to give up the concept of beauty’.2 ‘…Beauty is created out of the “terrible” and rises above it. Thus beauty leaves the “terrible” outside, as if on the outside of the “Temple”. That which is repellent and dreadful strengthens its fortifications like an enemy in front of the besieged city walls and starves it into submission. “Beauty” has no other choice than to act, even if the acting proves to be contrary to its own direction’.3 And Adorno adds that ‘beauty exists in its movement, and that its different phenomena become beautiful through their movements. Their aim is not only to be, but to continue to be. If at all than the origin of “beauty” lies in the “ugly” and not vice versa.’ Thus Adorno. As much as the heart yearns for a different, more positive truth, one cannot deny what he says. From the beginning of time, “beauty”, like “goodness”, find itself in a defensive position vis-à-vis the “ugly” and the “evil”. Their power is ovewhelming and they rule over us with a mighty hand. The absence of “beauty” in contemporary art, and the worship of “ugliness”, have their own justifications. One reason is hidden in the elusive nature of “beauty”. Despite the endeavours of philosophers and theorists to define rules of beauty, they will always be contradicted. Because beauty lies in the eye of the beholder and not in the art that portrays it. While in the world of to-day, which is not only completely pluralistic, but is also familiar and obvious to everyone, like in a pluralistic global villiage full of contradictions, it is impossible to find a single answer appropriate for every one. The other reason is hidden, most probably, in the fact that we are still in the middle of a cultural revolution, that began somewhere in the sixties of the last century, and that rebelled with all its might against the sensitivity of the Romanticism of the 19th century, that worshiped “beauty” to such an extent that it began to seem phony and artificial.

The Yearning for Beauty or the Commitment to Truth?


But even if we accept all these facts and agree with Adorno that “beauty” stems from “ugliness” and that its very exsistence is indeed doubtful, and if we accept that “beauty” and “goodness”, have been relegated to the background, we will find that the destiny of “goodness” has been more fotunate than that of “beauty”. Because the moral and ethical rules are much better observed, and even if they are neglected, people who wish to maintain them, know how to do it. Not so the rules of aesthetics. As distinct from ethical rules aesthetics has not only lost all its criteria, it has purposely thrown them overboard as a useless vehical. The meaning of non-aesthetics that dominates to-day is apparently the rule that ‘everything goes, everything is allowed, everything is permissable. We do not need any rules that limit our freedom. We have matured and triumphed over them!’ Thus art finds itself to-day as if boundless, broken open as it were and vulnarable to every whim and gust of wind. Not only that “ugliness” became its master, because “ugliness” is also a kind of aesthetics, but in the absance of any rules, art rejects every framework of form, and without these I am very doubtful that art can exists at all. But let us leave aside the visual arts, that may perhaps succeed in some way or other, without paying heed to aesthetics. In music this effort is an impossible one. As a rule the eye is able to accept ugliness even with some equanimity, provided that it can understand it and that it is presented in a convincing manner. When this happens than the eye may even derive some satisfactionfrom out of the experience of vewing such ugliness. What is more, the eye is much more curious than the ear and looking at something new and strange may satisfy its curiosity. Not so the ear! If the eye has the luxury of looking as long as it wishes at something tangible, the ear hears only an abstract sound-movement that disappears immediately upon sounding. This sound-movement must be accepted by the listener, must penetrate his inner ear and be registered in his memory. All this while the sound-movement lasts and before it disappears. In order to do all this the music must be based on something that is familiar not only to the composer but also to the listener. This is so because when it comes to music we do not talk about beauty or ugliness. Oddly enough, we talk about being understood or not. This last remark may seem as a contradiction. Have I not allways maintained that literature and philosophy speak to logic while music is an emotional language and speaks to our senses? And yet here I claim that we have to understand music in order that our emotions will be able to grasp it. Is it not a contradiction in terms?

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My answer is no! as odd as it may seem it is impossible to be emotionally moved without understanding the meaning of that which moves us. * Finally let me give my own answer to the question raised in the heading of this chapter: “The yearning for beauty or the commitment to truth?” For my part I must admit that, contrary to some great thinkers and to the “weltanschaung” of the philosophy of art, I cannot find any discrepancy between “beauty” and “truth”. Truth can be both beautiful and ugly and is both trustworthy and yet also false. I do not see any reason to separate the two. This separation yields nothing but conflict and strife. The less we stress the extremes, the less we contradict each other, and the better, not only for us, but for art as well.

Notes 1. Herzfeld, Friedrich, “MUSICA NOVA – Die Tonwelt unseres Jahrhunderts” (Musica Nova, the World of tones of our Century), Berlin, im Verlag Ullstein, 1959, pp. 65,66. 2. Adorno Theodor W, ”Aesthetische Theory” , (Aesthetical Theory), Frankfurt am Main, Surkamp Taschenbuch Verlag, 1974, p. 81. 3. Ibid, pp. 82,83



Form is an important component in all the arts. In music, though, form is a paramount component. Precisely because of the ephemeral nature of music, because of the fact that music disappears immediately after being heard, and because music lacks all earthliness, form is so important to music’s very being. Form defines music, it fixes music’s frame-work and borders, and it is form that makes the difference between a musical composition and a meaningless jumble of sounds. We have already realized that although music speaks to the emotions, one cannot grasp and internalize it unless one understands its meaning. Therefore we can conclude that form is considered among the most important components that lends music its meaning Strangely enough only in architecture is form almost as important as it is in music. Because without form and frame architecture has no right of existence. This fact is not self evident as architecture in its earthliness and its solidity and firmness, is as if completely contradictory to music. And yet there is much truth in the saying that ‘architecture is frozen music’. Thus it appears that sometimes it is precisely the contrasts that reveal such great similarities. When talking about form in music, we mean this firm and fixed frame, that is known and accepted by all concerned, into which the composer pours the sounds, namely the musical content of a particular composition. These, in their turn, may appeal to the listener precisely because of the form into which they have been cast. Form is thus a midfield player that connects music to its listener. It is the form that helps to make this ephemeral and abstract composition understood and accepted by the listener. Thus we find ourselves once again on this vital bridge that conducts the musical movement on its way from composer to listener. When we say: form, we mean first and foremost the external frame. When talking about a human face, which is also a kind of a form, we mean an eliptic circle that has on its upper part a forehead, beneath it, in a


Chapter Thirty Four

horizontal position, two eyes, beneath them a vertical nose, and in the lower part, again in a horizontal position, a mouth and a chin, one beneath the other. This is the external form of a human face, its outward frame. We have not yet said anything about the beauty or ugliness of this face. We, as yet, know nothing about its expression or character. We do not know the expression of its eyes neither do we know anything about its mood, whether full of sorrow, or pleased and satisfied. These chracteristics belong to the content, to those values that fill the form. It is as if we would have said that form is the outward frame that is well known and through which one could realize that we speak about a human face. Whereas it’s content is the individual artistic material that is cast into this outward frame. The content of this particular face, its expression, the message that it transmits, all of these the painter casts into the framework of the outward form. Therefore I would like to suggest that form is the general format that exists as long as this form is in use, while the content is a private value that is forever changing from one face to the other, from one work of art to the other. Thus we have reached, albeit in a simplified manner, the differentiation between form and content. Let us focus on music. I would like to bring just two examples of musical form, one vocal and one instrumental: When speaking about the form of Opera, we mean a multi- act format in which solo singers and a choir sing and act on stage, with full scenery and costumes, accompanied by an orchestra. This then is the form of an opera. We do not know yet what is the story of a particular opera, how many acts it has, what is its character, its message, and its ideological values. On the other hand, when speaking about the classical Sonata form, we are talking about an instrumental composition, containing mainly three, but sometimes also four movements; the first, in a not too quick tempo, is divided into three sections: the exposition that introduces the two main heroes or musical themes, that contradict yet complement each other; the development, that serves as the battlefield betweem those two heroes and is the dramatic climax of the movement; and the recapitulation or repriza, that basically repeats the exposition but alters its harmonic order, (so as to end on the same scale of this movement). The second movement is a slow, (in Beethovens case, very slow) movement, and the third is quick again, that may remind one of a dance (rondo), and tends to show forth some virtuosity. ( In the case of a fourth movement, a Minuet or Scherzo is added between the second and the last movement, consisting of, three units, in the spirit of the first movement: minuet, trio, minuet).

Form and Content or Form as Content?


These are but two examples of musical forms, out of many others, that serve as the outward frame into which the individual content of each composition is cast. As far as we know, when music first appeared, it was always attached to a given text. This text lent to music not only its rhythmical character and its length but also its content and form. Music, as it were derived its form from the text: as long as the text lasted, so did the music; when the text finished, the music finished as well. and when the text paused,, after a point or a semicolon, so did the music. Music, thus, was completely dependent on the text, whereas music, on its part, gave the text its emotional meaning and helped, not only the listener but also the singer, to memorize the text. It is a well-known fact that a text that has music attached to it, is much easier to remember. The “Primitive People” (a politicaly wrong term that has been changed into “Nature People”),1 cannot perform any music without moving about and singing the text. As a matter of fact, so do very small children. Whereas among the ancient cultures, in ancient Greece for instance, as well as in ancient Christianity (Gregorian Chant) and Judaism (Bible Cantillation), there did not exist any separate musical notation. Greece used the Greek alphabet as signs for the music as well, and Christianity and Judaism used as a reminder specific graphic signs that were written above or below the text that they were meant for. Music was released from its ties to the text and granted its independence only after it was given its own separate notation, (in the Ars Nova of the 14th century), as well as forms of its own, which made it possible for the listener to grasp music even in the absence of a text. But there has never been a stylistic period in music, in which it was completely independent of any given text. Even during Classicism (1750-1800), in which Tonality was at its peak and served as the language of music, and Absolute Music reigned supreme, even then vocal music, namely music with text, did not stop. On the contrary. Where would we be without the magnificent operas of Wofgang Amadeus Mozart? Eduard Grell, the professor of composition in the Academy of Berlin, who died in 1886 and whose pupil, the composer Heinrich Bellermann (1837-1903), published his scripts and documents only after Grells death , wrote that ‘instrumental music without words, namely without ideas, is but a sentimetal music which we detest. This music is like a mishmash of images and colours in a painting, that has no meaning and no content… Instrumental music is like a magnificent garment that lacks the main thing – the human body that has to wear it. Or, if you want, we can say that


Chapter Thirty Four

instrumental music is similar to a charming body that has no soul or idea, namely no word’…2 Grell expresses here a very widespread “Weltanschaung”, but the dispute never really stopped between the supporters of programme music, namely music that has a non-musical story to tell, and those who favour Absolute music, headed by Eduard Hanslick. Richard Wagner, in his article “The Art of the Future”, writes that ’the arts of dance, sound and poetry, are the names of three primaeval sisters who join in a unified dance of being, wherever the conditions of art-formation enables it. By their very nature these three are inseparable without violating the dance of being, namely art. In this threesome, that signifies the movement of art, these three are embracing and bound together by the bonds of love, and if we take one out of this threesome than it will remain lifeless, as if unable to move and become an artistic illusion into which artficial life has been pumped.3 Indeed it seems, that these three – word, movement and sound descended upon the world bound together in an embrace. Their separation would leave each of them as if diminished, causing it to be misunderstood by the viewer or the listener. Indeed these three, as we have seen in chapter 7 of this book, are very close to each other: they are measured in time, they all disappear immediately upon appearance and each of them is a direct expression from the human body. They do not need any “go betweem” like paper, stone or a musical instrument., just as all three, some more than othars, are abstract in their expression. But since the 18th century, Absolute Music became a focus of attraction for those who sought a deeper musical meaning. This urge may have stemmed from the vagueness of Absolute Music and the possibility that was given to its listeners to interpret this music personally to their heart’s content. Thus Absolute Music gained in importance and its exponents tried to characterize and explain its inner meaning. Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935) known as the founder of the theory of the “Gestalt” in music, writes about the structure of tonality. He does not differentiate between the language of syntax, which is the musical scale on which the music is composed, and its musical form. Schenker claims, according to Ruth Katz and Carl Dahlhaus, that each composition is based on an “Ursatz”, out of which the different changes and the harmonic and contrapunctal relations stem and are brought forth during the development of the composition. In his book “The Significance of Fundamental Structure”, Schenker maintains that ‘the principles according to which the human body is built, have to be applied to the development of the musical composition, as well.

Form and Content or Form as Content?


Both grow from the inside to the outside. Just as the baby is born whole and complete, so too is the musical composition as well. All of it stems from the initial structure, the diatonic buildup, that shows the upper melodic line of the composition and represents a statement of the harmonic chord. Every further development is a kind of repetition or parallelism of the same basic harmony that “rules” this certain composition. Always the same thing but not in the same way. Just as the human body is made of a basic part, a middle part and an upper part, so is the musical composition as well. The compositoric process spins the organic connection between the different parts of the composition as well as between these and its “Ursatz”.’4 Whereas the musicologist Carl Dahlhaus reasons as follows: Like a work of plastic art, music is also an aesthetic object, a focus of aesthetic contemplation. However, its objectivity is displayed not so much immediately as indirectly: not in the moment when it is sounding, but only if a listener, at the end of a movement or a section, reverts to what has passed and recalls it into his present experience as a closed whole. At this point, music assumes a quasi-spatial form (Gestalt). What has been heard solidifies into something out there, an ‘objectivity existing on its own’. …Insofar as music is form, it attains its real existence, paradoxically expressed, in the very moment when it is past.5

In another book, Dahlhaus relates to music of our times , that has no syntax to base its music on, and claims that the concept form arouses respect even if it is obscure and has a double meaning. This formality [in its formal meaning] is considered as the aesthetic morality of the music, and we deem it self evident. But at the moment that it is clearly defined and becomes fixed it is suspected of constraining the music and thus rejected. Still, form and content are concepts that are co-ordinated with each other; and the one becomes empty without the other. That is why the concept of form in itself, and not only the question whether form exists in a certain composition, has turned to-day into a problem.’ 6 The philosopher Immanuel Kant, in his book “Kritik der Urteilskraft”, (The critic of the power of Judgment) maintains that ‘Form is the unity within plurality’ and the composer Gyorgy Ligeti (1923-2006) claims that ‘Form is the relation between the different parts, and between them and the whole’ and adds, similar to Dahlhaus, that ‘the musical form exists only if one sees it as a process in time and space’.7 The most desparate cry is expressed by the composer and theoretician Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924):


Chapter Thirty Four Music was born free and to win freedom is its destiny. But freedom is something that mankind have never wholly comprehended, never realized to the full. They can neither recognize nor acknowledge it. Therefore, representation and description are not the nature of music; herewith we declare the invalidity of programme-music, and arrive at the question: what are the aims of music? [we answer : its aim is] absolute music! what the lawgivers mean by this, is perhaps remotest of all from the absolute in music. ‘Absolute music’ is a form-play without poetic programme, in which the form is intended to have the leading part. But form in itself is the opposite pole of absolute music, on which was bestowed the devine prerogative of freedom from the limitations of matter. In a picture, the illustration of a sunset ends with a frame; the limitless nature phenomenon is enclosed in quadrilateral bounds; the cloud-form chosen for the picture remains unchanging forever. Music can grow brighter or darker, shift hither and yon, and finally fade away like the sunset glow itself. Instinct leads the creative musician to employ the tones that press the same key within the human breast, and awaken the same response, as the process in nature. Per contra, ‘absolute music’ is something very sober, which reminds one of music-desks in orderly rows…Our law-givers have identified this spirit and emotions [in such a way ] that were left powerless to recreate either the spirit, or the emotion, or the time, and have retained the form as a symbol, and made it into a fetish, a religion.’ 8 Thus Busoni.

Busoni’s words indeed touch ones heart. I understand fully the urge for freedom that Busoni so urgently demands. But truthfully speaking, unlimited freedom leads to anarchy. Rule and law, limitation and framework, are the keepers of freedom and not its destroyers. Only law and order can prevent anarchy. This is the reason why those who wish to abolish form as the necessary framework for Absolute Music, because they think that its rules are limiting and supposedly block the complete freedom of the composer, are those who brought about the complete misunderstanding of this music that is devoid of any accepted and known form. That is why there is no escape from maintaining that music that does not tell a story and has no ideological or poetic content, cannot be accepted by the listener without a known framework. Especially if this music is not based on an established syntax (‘scale’) that is known to both, composer and listener. In this case the formless composition, although frank, sincere, interesting and deeply thought out, will regretfully be as if poured out in vain; it will not have a chance of being accepted by the listener, and thus, it would seem never to have existed at all

Form and Content or Form as Content?


Notes 1. For “Nature People” or “Primitive People” , see note 1. for chapter 10. 2. Riemen Hugo :”Catechism of Musical Aesthetics”, second edition p. 144. 3. For further information about the interrelation of the “Three Sisters”, see chapter 7 of this book. 4. Ruth Katz and Carl Dahlhaus : “Contemplating Music”, volume 1, p.580. 5. Dahlhaus, Carl : “Esthetics of Music”,pp 11,12. 6. Dahlhaus Carl: “Form in der Neuen Musik” Katz-Dahlhaus, “Contemplating Music”, volume 3, p 747. 7. Ibid. p.781. 8. Busoni, Ferruccio:”Sketches of a new Esthetics of Music” pp. 76,77, 78.


Style in its very essence stands for the way in which things are done. In principle, style describes the ‘way’ in which we do what we do, as distinguished from the substance of what we are doing. Style does not ask the question :’what are we saying?’ but: ‘how are we saying it’. The fundamental basis of all the arts is contained within this ‘how’. And as I have mentioned already a few times, the greatness of the art of a novel, or a painting, for instance, is not to be found in ‘what’ they describe, but in ‘how’ they describe it This ‘how’ distiguishes, for example, between a police report about a murder that has occurred in a certain neighbourhood, and a literary description of the murder, relating to the circumstances, the horror, the fright, the general atmosphere, the feelings , the emotional behaviour of all concerned, and the outcome of this horrible act. The police report is a function of a clerk, while the literary description is an act of artistic creativity. Saying this I have not yet evaluated either the police report nor the literary novel. It may well be that the police report is accurate, well phrased and reliable, while the description by the writer is dull, inferior, and written in bad taste. But this does not change the fact that the first is not a work of art, not least because the policemen did not declare it to be a piece of art, whereas the second is a work of art, although it may not be a good and qualitative work of art. It may well be that this claim is over simplified and thus not quite accurate. Therefore let me elaborate further. As a matter of fact one can claim that every act that is not an act of nature but an act of the human being can be considered as an act of art. And indeed such a claim has often been voiced. The validity of this claim depends on the stylistic quality of a certain act: It may well happen that the verdict of a certain judge in court may be considered a professional work

Musical Style: Meaning and Substance


that is clear and trustworthy, but it may also happen that a certain verdict will, because of its extraordinary style be seen as a work of art; just as it may happen that a surgery will be performed professionally and correctly, but may also rise to an artistic degree of life-saving skill that is mirraculous. It may happen that sewing a dress will be accurate and done according to size and the latest fashion, but another seamstress will produce a gown of such artistic style that it may be shown in a museum. It all depends on the quality of ‘how’ this dress was created, namely on the style of this particular seamstress. This is true not only considering the deeds of the human being, but also his behaviour. He may behave rudely, violently and without consideration, or his behaviour may be considerate, attentive, well bred, calm and relaxed. In this case people will regard him as a man of style who acts according to artistic standards of living. Thus it is obvious that style does not belong solely to art, it characterizes all of human activity. But with every other activity, style serves as a means to achieve a certain aim; in art style is the aim, it is the very essence of creating art. The quality of an artistic style does not simply establish the quality of a certain art, it is one of the most important criteria for considering the work as indeed a work of art. In music these differences are much more extreme, because the value of the ‘what’ is of much less importance when compared to the literary or visual arts. As opposed to this, the ‘how’ in which a certain composition is put together, namely the ‘style’ of this composition becomes the ultimate goal. Going back to the beginning of this chapter and to my suggestion that style is the criterion according to which things are created, we can assume that the quality of a composition is determined by the quality of its style, namely by its aesthetics. This determination will be correct if we understand ‘style’ in its broadest sense, that is a style which includes, not only the theoretical and technical components – harmony, melody and rhythm, its interior and formal structure, and its agogical and dynamical treatment - but also the personal components: the talent and accomplishment of the composer, his imprint and his artistic stamp. And even, though of a lesser importance, the talents of the performing artists. Because the performance as well, namely ‘how’ the intentions of the composer are presented, is part of the style of the composition, in its all-embracing meaning. *


Chapter Thirty Five

Up till now I have discussed the concept of style and its special role in art. Let me now refer to the ‘duality’ that this concept holds within art. Namely that duality that exists between the style of the period and that of the individual artist, who belongs to this period. What are the relations that exist, or do not exist, between these two? Which of the two determines and as such dictates the style? And who gains the upper hand in this dualism? It is customary to think that the style of the period determines the style of the individual who belongs to this period. In a certain time and place in which men used to wear powdered wigs on their heads, everybody wore them while in another period and another place in which style dictated walking the streets, wearing a red tarboosh with a black tail of thread in the middle, everyone followed suit. All this belongs to the aesthetic style of clothing, of fashion, that imposes itself on people who happen to live in this period and in this place. It may be worthwhile adding that despite this coercion, it is possible that it is not the style that imposes itself on people, but rather that people wish to be part of the style of society and do as all the others do. Thus we have no way of knowing what came first: the wish of people not to deviate from the decree of fashion? Or the dictatorship of fashion that imposes itself on the people? Most probably there exists a little bit of both. This example of fashion, that I have used is because fashion changes more quickly than other styles, and we have ample opportunity during our lifetime, to observe the character of these changes. If we watch carefully, we realize that changes are never completely new, they are rather ‘renewing’ themselves. A style that was completely abandoned may well come back, with only small changes, in later, or even much later periods. Thus we will find that a new style is never created ‘out of nothing’, but is rather a creation ‘out of something’. As King Solomon has already taught us: “The thing that has been, it is that which shall be” (Ecclesiastes, chapter 1, verse 9) The question that arises is not why a style changes, because we have already seen that even the best of styles changes when its time has come, but rather who determines when a style should change? and what shall its new image be? In order to deel with this intrigueing question, the answer to which is complicated and I doubt whether it can be given in full, let me nonetheless try and suggest a small experiment: Let us ask ourselves: if Ludwig van Beethoven would have lived today, and not in the second half of the 18th Century and the first quarter of

Musical Style: Meaning and Substance


the 19th, in Bonn and Vienna, would he have composed the same Ninth Symphony, including the “Ode to Joy”, that serves to-day as the identity card of Western Art Music as a whole? In my opinion the answer would surely be: ‘no, out of the question! If Beethoven would have lived to-day he would have composed in the style of to-day, better still, in the nonexistent style of to-day!’. And thus the question arises even more strongly: Who is it, than, that determines the style of a period? In order to examine this question in greater detail, and having already given as an example, Beethoven, one of our greatest composeres, let us concentrate for a while on the period to which he belonged, the “Classicism”. In the “Encyclopedia of Social Sciences”, I found the following description of this extraordinary period, with which I agree wholeheartedly: “Classicism: primarily denotes certain qualities especially revealed in the art of Greece and Rome…Its essential elements are restraint, simplicity, dignity, serenity and repose. It is further characterized by perfection of form, based upon a unity in which the detail is subordinated to the whole, and clarity of conception, which springs from an imaginative rationality….The purpose of Greek Classical art, especially, was to invest the universal with beauty. Classicism is objective rather than subjective since its universal conceptions were derived, rationally as well as imaginatively, from the world of impressions. Its abstract nature, however, gives it an element of repose and aloofness from the jarring and conflicting elements of life.”1 Extending those characteristic elements, so that they cover the musical style of “Classicism” (1750-1800) as well, I would add to what has already been said, and suggest that the main asset of this style was its form. This form was the “Sonata Form”, that when written for piano solo or for any other instrument and piano, was called Sonata; when written for an orchestra, it was called Symphony; when written for solo intruments with orchestra, it was called Concerto, and when written for a group of soloists, from duo to octett, but mainly based on the string-quartet, it was understood to be classical Chamber Music. This is thus the only period in musical history where its musical creation, could be concentrated into a single musical form. Classical composers, as a matter of course, used other forms as well, as we will realize soon, but the essence of their style was concentrated on this single form. The priciple idealogy of the Sonata Form was to create a symmetrical pattern, that, nonetheless, was built on a threesome format: A-B-A, namely, one musical idea, a second idea that contradicts the first, yet compliments it, and then comes the repetition of the first idea. This


Chapter Thirty Five

triangel has sufficient contrast - A contasts B that contrasts A- and yet similar, or rather, reassuring enough, because of the reappearance of A, that is, by now, an old acquaintance. This threesome becomes a symmetrical form by repeating the first A twice. Thus we receive a form of A-A-B-A . Not only the musical theme is built according to this pattern, but also the relationships between the different parts of the first movement, as well as the relationships of the different movements within the whole Sonata (2) . the first movement consists, as I have already mentioned in the former chapter, of three parts, repeating the same A-B-A principle: Exposition, Development, and Recapitulation. And in order to create a symmetrical form the exposition is repeated twice, and thus we get A-AB-A. The same holds true as regards the relationships between the movements of this Sonata Form. The first movement ‘A’ is quick (it is also called Allegro Sonata), the second movement ‘B’ is slow, and the last movement ‘A’, is quick again. Because of the quest for a symmetrical form a fourth movement may be introduced between the second and the third movement. (done mostly in the symphonies) . This is either a Minuet or a Scherzo, which in itself falls into three parts – Minuet, Trio, Minuet. Thus classicism created a perfect pattern, in that it succeeded in squaring the circle by creating four parts out of the basic threesome. Thus enabling the composition to be at one and the same time both intrigueing but pacifying; dramatic and yet reassuring. A simple miracle! The Classicism was exemplary as the period in which Absolute Music, namely that music that has no story to tell and no content except the intermusical relations, reigned supreme. It did so because its music relied exclusively on the tonal scale, in which every sound and every interval has a definite meaning and a definite role to play; a role that makes the music completely understandable just like any other language. Thus this music could finally give up the need to describe a story, and become selfsufficient and completely independent from its “sisters”, word and movement. One must add that this unique period indeed kept its aims of maximal moderation. It knew no extremes: quick was never too quick and slow was never too slow. Quiet was not feeble and loud did not tend to thunder. All these were then the main characteristics of classicism within musical history. Let us now examine how reality implemented these principles: The 18th Century, within which this Classicism took place, excelled in numerous style changes at a time of excessive political unrest. (one should not forget that this is the century of the French Revolution, 1789, and the wars of Napoleon). The 17th Century was all Baroque, the 19th Century

Musical Style: Meaning and Substance


was all Romanticism. But in the 18th century, three different periods and four different styles were crowded together: The Baroque that lasted untill the death of Johann Sebastian Bach, namely untill 1750; The Roccoco, with its “Style Galant”, that was centered in France and streched out during the two middle quarters of the century; the “Sturm und Drang” (‘Storm and Pressure’) of the pre-classical period in Germany, that existed in parallel with the Style Galant, and finally the “jewel in the crown” of Tonality, the Classicism that reigned supreme during the second half of this stormy 18th Century. As representatives of this Period we find, among others, Muzio Clemeny, Franz Xaver Richter, Luigi Boccherini, Johann Friedrich Reichardt, Carl ditters von Dittersdorf, Francois Joseph Gossec, Antonio Salieri, Christian Canabich, and Domenico Cimarosa. And these are but a mere sample of many other composers. They all fulfilled the well defined and easy-to-follow rules and regulations of Classicism. But almost all these composers vanished from the classical repertoire when this period ceased to exist. They were relegated to the margins of the musical history. The Geniuses Of Classicism, on account of whom Classicism was so outstanding and seemes to rise above all other periods of Western Art Music, were Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven. But Haydn was in reality still deeply rooted in the “Sturm und Drang”, and is rather seen as the herald of Classicism; Mozart, though endowing Classicism with a crown of diamonds, did not find total satisfaction with the principles of Absolute Music, and during his short life ( only 36 years old) he composed, apart from the 41 symphonies, scores of concertos, piano music and many works of chamber music, also 23 Operas, 71 compositions for voices and instruments, 63 songs and an extraordinary Requiem. All of these are programme music par exelance. While Beethoven who indeed brought Classicism to its peak, was in reality a Romantic personality and it was he who broke open the welldesigned frame of Classicism and burst uninhibited and unrestrained onto the Romantic Period. Well then, who coerced the style upom whom? Is it not so that those who are willing to be coerced are the least intelligent and the more commonplace among the composers?; those who resign themselves to the rules of fashion and seem content simply to follow custom? Can it not be that ‘genius’ is also recognised in the wish to put ones own unique and very personal mark on ones creation?, even if it means departing from the existing style? Or rather keeping the language style intact and only altering it a bit, if they feel that they have no choice?


Chapter Thirty Five

After all the duration of a period is a long one, and the period moves constantly, as does music itself, and it may well be that what was true and necessary in 1750, may demand changes in1775; changes that are not big enough to change the whole period., yet they do demand a renewal even within this same periodic style. This description of the meaning of classicism in music may be overly detailed, but I have done it in order to demonstrate the characteristics of stylistic periods within the history of music, and the relations between the style of the period in general, and that of the individual composer of the same period. In general the musical style is not made out of one piece. We have to identify its many different units. Concerning its syntax, namely the way in which the different sounds are attached into a basic melodic line, that serves as an identifying mark for the language of a certain period , like, for instance, the modus, the tonal scale, pentatonic, dodecaphony, the maquam, the schteiger, etc. This syntax style serves as a ‘sine qua non’ for a certain period, that indeed imposes itself on all composers. During the ‘rule’ of the church modes, between the 6th and the 13th Centuries, we will not find a single composer who does not use this syntax; Whereas during the rule of tonality, from the beginning of the 17th to the beginning of the 20th Century, we will not find a single composer who does not compose tonal music. This is why, if returning to the question that I asked in the beginning of this chapter: If Beethoven would have lived in the 20th Century would he still compose tonal music? the answer would have to be: no! But all the other indications that exist in a single style, such as form, instrumentation, choice of instruments, agogical and dynamical usage etc. can be seen as less binding obligations. They serve mainly the less inspired composers, those who opt for toeing the line; those, who in most cases, do not survive their time and disappear when their period comes to an end. These composers, as we have seen above, stick to all the dictates of their stylistic period, so as to be on the safe side, while the geniuses of their generations use these dictates for their own purpose. They turn them into tools in which they can wrap the unique yearnings of their hearts and their inspiring imagination, and leave their personal imprints, that, with the help of these tools, are preserved forever, and will remain eternally in the musical repertoire. Thus, these geniuses pave the way for music’s progress, set the music free for renewal and guarantee its advancement and its continuation. *

Musical Style: Meaning and Substance


The period in which we live, that began in the sixties of the 20th Century, brings forward, for the first time in the relatively short life of Art Music, a great novelty. This unique period has no aesthetical style of its own. It is solely dependent on the very different individual styles of its composers. This did not happen intentionally. It stems from a mishap. Arnold Schönberg, the musical genius, who was the most effective banner-raiser against tonaly, knew very well that without a common syntax there can be no style. And that without a style music cannot survive. That is why he invented a new style for the new syntax, namely that of Dodecaphony, that gave birth to the Serial System.3 This new syntax was accepted by all composers, and during a short period of time nearly every composer did indeed try to compose music based on this syntax. But soon they realized that this syntax and the musical language that resulted from it, had no natural raison d’etre, because this syntax was created artificially. And thus it happened that this language simply could not “catch on”, and was soon cast by the way-side, as a useless tool. A few musical prophets, I do admit, such as the late Joseph Tal (1910-2008), until very recently vehemently maintained that the Serial language was much in advance of its time, and that the day would come when it would be recognised and would bloom, but I personally do not see the likelihood of that happening. One hundred years that have elapsed since this style was concieved , is ample time for a style to develop, and the style that was offered, has proven to be unsuccessful. This is the biggest problem, I maintain, that stands before Art Music to-day. The Tower of Babel that we have erected in search of a common musical language, has resulted in an inconceiveable confusion of languages, that has created anger, extremism, and vain hatred. This Tower of Babel may possibly lead to a complete vanishing of the new Art Musik, preserving only that Art Music that existed up to the Mid- Twentieth Century. But at the very least it will drag classical music down from the status that it held in the center of the concert stage, and relegate it to the musical back yard.


Chapter Thirty Five

Notes 1. Richard P. Jones, “Classicism” in the “Encyclopedia of Social Sciences” . Volume 3, p.542. 2. Compare this with the previous chapter (34), in which I introduced the Sonata Form. 3. For “Dodecaphony”, see note 3 for chapter 5 : “The Concrete within the Abstract”.


When analyzing a phenomenon, and especially those phenomena that nature has endowed our world with, we tend to ask ourselves: is this phenomenon an aim in itself, or is it a means for some other aim? Are we not accustomed to assume that everything exists in order to fulfill some purpose? And that this purpose has, in most cases, something to do with our survival, and our reproduction, namely with the ongoing continued existence of the world, it’s nature and it’s human beings? Nearing the end of our deliberation on music as an art, I too, ask myself: what is Art Music? is it an aim in itself? or perhaps it is but a means to an aim, that may not even be connected with music ? In attempting to answer this question, I would like to draw the attention of my readers to the fact that Art Music may be considered the youngest of all the arts1 – with the exception of the art of cinema – but music itself is the most ancient of all, among the world’s phenomena. Music researchers are in complete agreement that the age of music is at least as old as the age of the human being himself. That means that ever since the human being has existed music has also existed, and there are those who go even further and claim that music existed before the human being. (the movement of the wind, the murmer of the waves of the sea, not to mention the twittering of the birds).2 The unavoidable question will be thus: what was the purpose of music before Art Music existed? and did this purpose change when Art Music came into being? We have already established the fact that whenever people came together in order to fulfill some purpose, be it to satisfy the gods, or to pray, to work, to march, to go to war, to be entertained, to dance, to celebrate, or to mourn their dead – they did it with, or through, music. Only when music joined any social activity - and such a music was different and special for every activity - did this activity achieve its correct meaning; only then was it fully realized and evolved from an activity into an experience. And this not only in the public arena, but also in


Chapter Thirty Six

private: a mother lulling her babe into sleep did it by singing a lullaby, a man wooing his beloved did it with a love song , a person who had lost his way pleaded to god for help by singing a prayer, and the one whose life journey was successful, burst out singing a hymn. All this leads us to the conclusion that music is always a means. Music serves primitive man (“Nature People”), as one of the most important means in their effort to reach out to the unknown and the mysterious. Through music they heal their sick, they exorcise the devil, they ensure fertility, they bring rain in its time, they hope to win their wars against their enemies, and most important of all – they hope to be able to appease this mysterious power that directs their lives, to please it, and gain its favours . But also when the human being advanced from this primitive stage, and gradually emerged to join civilisation and become a cultured person, who found suitable answers to some of the world’s enigmas, and thus gained confidence and a sense of security, even then music still served him as the most important means to reach his god. Thus in Christianity, in Islam, in Judaism, and thus too among the cultured peoples of the Far and Near East. As far as I am concerned, the nearest connection that music has to any other phenomenon, is not to the other arts, but to religion. From its very inception, all music emerged from prayer and ritual . Nevertheless, music serves not only as a means to reach ones god, but also to encourage productivity, to win wars, to dance and enjoy oneself, to put ones child to sleep and to bury the dead. What is more, music served, for instance for Plato and Aristotle, as a most important means of educating people and influencing their characters: All men agree that music is one of the pleasantest things…[but] may it not have also some influence over the character and the soul?….music has a power of forming the character and should therefore be introduced into the education of the young… There seems to be in us a sort of affinity to musical modes and rhythms, which makes some philosophers say that the soul is a tuning, others, that it posesses tuning.3 And that too: music, served to measure, by the means of its intervals, the celestial distances and those between the seasons of the year as well : The four seasons were separated from one another not only by definite amounts of time but also by musical intervals: following the up and down principle, there was a fifth from autumn to spring, a fourth back to winter, and a fifth to summer, producing the strange equation similar to the late Babylonian conception.4

Music as a Means or Music as an Aim?


In this way music was also accepted into the “Quadrivium” , those studies that comprised Mathematics, Geometry, Astronomy and Music, and that served, together with the Trivium , the three sciences of language (Grammer, Rhetoric, and Logic), known as the “Seven Artes Liberales” that were taught in the first European Universities, in Italy and in France, at the beginning of the second millennium. Beyond this, music served, through the different national anthems, to define a nation as an entity separate from the other nations; in the sphere of medicine, physicians and other therapists used music to cure diseases, mainly those that are hidden within the human soul; politicians used music for their own aims, such as at times forbidding dance for religious reasons, or the banning of Jewish music during the Nazi regime, or forbidding modern music as being “Entartete Kunst” (degenerate art) by the same regime, or the boycott of Richard Wagner in Israel, or Zhdanovs‘s draconian rules forbidding modern music in Soviet Russia, and many more. And I have not yet mentioned the role of music in our own times, as means for advertising and publicity, the famous “Jingles”, even playing music to the cows so that they give more and better milk, or soothing the fears of nervous passengers in lifts and aeroplanes . To answer the question, what is it that makes music such a proven means of achieving so many different aims? Many different answers have been given, but according to the psychologist and musician Geza Revesz, (1878-1955), none of them gives a satisfying scientific answer.5 If we look more attentively at these aims, we will realize that all of them belong to the realm of communication, be it in the connection with god, or with our fellow man, or with nature and the life that surrounds us. That means that music contains an ability to awaken in us an emotional experience, to satisfy us, to frighten us, to make us sad or happy . Revesz writes that ‘when speaking about the emotional experience we feel embarrassed, we all know this experience but looking at it with scientific eyes we become embarrased… Basically music turned out to be a problem for many thinkers, and for researchers of psychology and physiology of music. And as much as they have come up with some solutions Revesz doubts the correctness of their findings. This is true also when it comes to the philosophical findings. It seems that research into feelings, has not produced reliable results. They are still within the realm of laboratory experiments. Because our experiences are not composed out of elementary sensations, and our awareness depends on many more psychological components than only feelings and images.’ 6


Chapter Thirty Six

Is it not possible that not all the answers concerning music can be found in facts that are scientificaly proven? I wonder! Are we not aware that not all phenomena have been scientifically validated? Have we indeed found all the answers to the phenomenon of life itself? Or to the enigma of god’s existence? May it not be that it is not given to us to fully know all the answers and to be able to define them scientificaly? I would go even further and ask myself: do we really need scientific proofs in order to understand, enjoy, and be moved by music? Is it not enough that we know for sure, as a result of many years of experience, that music has a power to arouse in us overwhelming emotional experiences. Need we really to explain them scientifically? Can we not be satisfied with the assertion that a certain way of attaching sounds one to the other, and the substance of the rhythm in which these attachments are being moulded, can have an indelible impact on our souls, as if a magical effect on the one hand, and can repell us and cause us to turn away, on the other hand? * Until now our thoughts have been turning to music that existed before Art Music came into being, and to music that existed simultaneously with Art Music. Now I owe my reader an answer to the question: Is Art Music also a means, or is it an aim in itself? Many musicians are of the opinion that since the Renaissance (end of the 15th Century, and there are others who claim, like me, that the musical Renaissance started already with the Ars Nova, at the beginning of the 14th Century, in Italy), music liberated itself from being a means - first and foremost to a Religious aim - and became an aim for itself. From now on, thus some try to teach us, music has no other obligation than to itself alone. In some respect they are right. Because untill the Renaissance music not only served religion and was performed in churches, but music was also dependent on religion, better still, on the text of the prayers that determed music’s form and duration. (It has to be mentioned, though, that secular music was also composed, as of the 11th Century, for texts written by Minnesänger, Trouvers, Troubadours and Meistersänger. But they were not as central as the church-prayers, not to speak of the fact that among this love poetry we will find many religious songs) Therefore it is correct to assume that with the Ars Nova, namely with music’s rhythmical independence, music at large became independent. Nevertheless, I disagree with the claim that Art Music is obligated only to itself, and that since the days of Ars Nova, music has ceased to be a means other than to itself. I whole heartedly believe that the first and

Music as a Means or Music as an Aim?


foremost aim of Art Music is the listener. Have we not established that music is another form of communication? a less precise but much more intimate and emotional form of language? And that, like any other language, its aim is to be caught by the listener, and to uplift and inspire him? Music’s aim is a very human one. It exists so that it may be understood and internalized by the human listener. My reader may possibly accuse me of idle chatter. It is well known, he or she will say, that every art wants to be recognised by other people, and that this is not especially true only of music. In reply I would remind my reader that this was true until the electronic revolution broke out; a revolution that has completely changed the relationships between composer and listener. I would remind my reader that to-day, when contemporary Art Music is mainly recorded and broadcast, the composer cannot consider the listener as being his aim, or, at least, not his most important aim. As distinguished from the concert hall, where contemporary music is seldom performed, but in which the audience play a most important role, the recording studio is closed to the public. When music is being broadcast, the listener is not present. The composer has no idea who his listener is going to be, when and where he will listen , and what he will do when, if at all, he listens to the music. The hermetically sealed walls of the recording studio have ejected the listener out of his normal place in front of the performer who presents him the composer’s music. Thus the composer has completely neglected to take the listener into consideration . He has lost touch with his listener, and the listener has been reduced to a position of no importance, an added fifth wheel to a fourwheel car.7 But, as distinguished from other arts, music is but moving sounds; movement that transmits a message in sound. And like any other movement music also has its point of departure, namely the composer, and its point of arrival, namely the listener. Until this movement has not completed its mision and, not only arrived, but has been internalized by the listener, its mission has not been fulfilled, and thus has failed its aim. Lately psychologists are turning their attantion more and more to the Emotional Quality (E.Q), as distinguished from the Intellectual Quality (I.Q.). Daniel Goleman, a Harvard lecturer and one of the chief editors of “Psychology To-day” writes in his Book :”Emotional Intelligence” published in 1995, that ‘seen from a certain aspect we have two brains, two souls and two different sorts of intelligence: a rationalistic one and an emotional one…Indeed our intellect has difficulty in functioning without emotional intelligence… Thus the old understanding of the tension that exists between reason and feeling, is turned upside down: we do not want


Chapter Thirty Six

to eliminate feeling and put logic instead, as did Erasmus. We want to find the intelligent balance between the two. The old paradigm believed in freeing reason from being attracted towards feeling, whereas the new pradigm urges us to find harmony between head and heart.’8 Music, as I understand it, is one of the most essential nutrients for emotional intelligence. Most likely, music is the vehicle to bring about an emotional uplifting, and thus a greater empathy, a rejection of petty feelings, and an attentive soul, not only to survive life’s hardships, but also to enjoy and be edified by this survival. This, then, is the almost forgotten aim for which Art Music serves as its means.

Notes 1. Although I have dealt with the meaning of Art Music in former chapters, I want to remind the reader that I tend to see Art Music as music that is written down as a composition of several voices that sound simultaneously, and is performed by professional musicians, before an audience, on a concert stage. Its beginning may be dated as from the 11th Century. 2. Sachs, Curt, “The Rise of Music in the Ancient World – East and West”, chapter 1. 3. “The Basic Works of Aristotle”; Politics, book 6, chapter 5, 1339-1340 4. Sach, Curt, “The Rise of Music in the Ancient World – East and West”, pp.109,110, writing about Ancient China. 5. Revesz Geza, “Introduction to Psychology of Music”. p.50. 6. Ibid. pp.51,53. 7. For music in Mass-Media see also the next chapter, 37. 8. Goleman, Daniel, “Emotional Intelligence”, Hebrew translation by Amos Carmel, Matar publishing, 2001, pp. 42,43



Mass-communication is one of the most impressive innovations of the 20th Century, and it has made an indelible mark on the world of music as well. It would not be an exaggeration if I were to say that mass-media counts among the most important factors that contributed to the revolution that has taken place within the different types of contemporary music: the record, the disk, radio, television, but also electronic music, the Synthesiser, the computer, as well as the endless possibilities of amplification and changing acoustic instruments into electrically amplified ones. All these have caused an enormous turnaround not only in the industry of contemporary music but in its creation as well. New parameters have been fixed for music; parameters that we have not yet fully grasped and formulated. It is my intention, In this chapter, to try and touch on some of these parameters, and thus explain the many changes that have occurred in contemporary music as a result of the external influences of masscommunication into the world of music. I must ask my readers to forgive me for repeating some thoughts that have already been raised in this book, and to bear with me for this somewhat lengthy introduction before coming to the revolutionary influences of Mass Media. Let me start by reminding the reader that music is basically a social affair, intended to take place among people. Whenever people come together for any aim whatsoever, be it in order to pray, to dance and enjoy themselves, to celebrate or to march, to mourn their dead, or to mark an important event – they do it with music. Only music that is specialised and different for every event, lends to this feeling of “togetherness” its real meaning, and elevates it up so as to become an impressive social function. What is more, as a matter of principle, music, be it Art, Folk or Entertainment music, is not performed except before a crowd that has gathered together in order to listen to it or take part in it.

Music in the Age of Mass-communication


As opposed to the visual arts, the basic aim of music is not to be written down but to be heard . Music cannot exist without the listener. A painter can finish his painting and wait until the viewer comes to look at it. Music will not be heard unless a listener is there to listen to it. This is so because the listener is an integral component in musical progress.. The fact that accurate musical notation was formed so late, does not prove that musicians were unable to invent notation. On the contrary, it proves that notation is but an exterior technical factor within music and is not an integral part of music. Pretty much as the different notations of dance the art that I included in what I prefer to call, “Greater Music”1 - such as Laban, Benesh, or Eshkol-Wachman, developed, for the same reasons, only during the last 200 years. Music, thus, occurs in a certain place, at a certain time and among a certain group of people. In principle music is not necessarily an art created by an individual composer, but much more, a communication between people; a means of transferring feelings, sensations, reactions, memories, ideals, and traditions, that are shared by a particular society. These emotions and many more are the sum-total of this society’s expression, of which word-language is but the outward layer. All this does not mean that the composer has a less important role to play, it only means that he exists first and foremost in order to grant meaning to this “inter-clan music”, and deepen its influence. At times the composer is needed to advance music and move it forward. But the main importance of the composer is to reach out and attain music’s peaks and summits. . The relevance of the visual arts, amongst others, is to hold , preserve and thus immortalize nature’s phenomena, or some social event, that are basically transient. Music cannot accomplish this. By its very nature music is transient as well. Music, like life itself, passes with the passage of time. But music, as distinguished from visual art, can return, by way of a repeated performance, and gain a new life; and as in nature this new life will always appear in a different image. Thus music, even if it was composed many years ago, becomes a ceremony that exists always in the present. Music’s continuity is ensured by its potential to be reborn again and again. Personally I am convinced that this re-birth is music’s life elixir. Because every rebirth is a different creation. Music, thus, is forever renewing itself. On a different matter, may I remind my reader that many languages use the same verb for a game and for a musical performance. They are both “played”. One plays ball, and one plays the piano. And indeed a


Chapter Thirty Seven

game, like music, is also a social event and can only take place when people come together in order to play. As mentioned previously, I have always compared music to a game of tossing a ball. The performer, on the one side of the play-ground, throws, or better transmits the ball, the listener, on the other side of the pitch, catches it. Both parties to the game are partners in this same game. For certain one partner has an active role to play, the other a more passive one, but both are essential for the game, that cannot take place in the absence of either of the two. We have though to note well that the essence of the game, its true mission, is that the ball that has been transmitted will definitely reach the other partner to the game, the one that has to catch it. Catching the ball is the aim of the game. This ball game is based on two assumptions. The first one is that the two players will know each other well enough, and be well versed in the game of tossing and catching the ball, so that their fluency in the “game language” is guaranteed; the second is that the two parties to the game will both be present on the same pitch at the same time. All these assumptions demand a reduction in the numbers of people involved in the process of Art Music. That is why music has always been a tradition of the few, of the initiated. It is of course true that this limitation gives the impression of Art Music being elitistic and discriminatory, and thus unfair. Nonetheless there is no way out but to admit that the peaks of Art Music would not have been realized if not for these limitations. The age of the technical achievements, that has developed within the 20th Century, barged onto the concert stage like an arrogant intruder. And the Radio, that sprang out of this remarkable electronic development, like the Genie from Alladin’s lamp, changed all those circumstances radically. There cannot be any doubt that the radio has achieved in full the social hope, that, for many years was on everybody’s lips :”Music for the millions”! This hope, that seemed, for too long a time, a mission impossible, was all of a sudden within everybody’s reach. The radio became the greatest disseminator of music. Its sounds could be heard all day long, in every place; at sea, on the air, from every car, in every shop, elevator or coffee house. Since the age of the radio, everybody has been able to enjoy listening to music without having to travel to concert halls, and without the need to spend money on concert tickets. All they had to do was to switch on the button of the radio. On the face of it, the listener seemed to be completely satifyed. But on the other hand, the realization of the dream, ”Music for the milions” anulled at one go those circumstances that had hitherto been a guiding principle to the musical activity. The masses of potential listeners,

Music in the Age of Mass-communication


who were completely anonymous, brought about the loss of these listeners who would have been the partners to the musical process. The thick and impenetrable walls that surround the broadcasting studio, added their part to the physical detachment of the listener, who was now left completely outside of the musical experience, and alienated from the performer, who had no idea who his listeners were, and when, if at all, they would listen in. The modern composer became fully dependent on the different national broadcasting stations, that were put up in Western Europe, after the Second World War. West Germany, alone, that was divided into different states, had 11 such stations. All of them disseminated Art Music, and saw themselves responsible for encouraging and fostering contemporary music. They initiated new composition from the composers, they funded them and they broadcasted every modern composition. Thus the radio became, until the Eighties of the last Century, the biggest promoter of contemporary Art Music, and the new musical creation was, as if, locked in between the studio walls. In this way, the vital connection between performer, or rather between composer and listener, was cut off. The composer did not have a clue for whom he was composing, and where the unknown listener would indeed listen to his compositions. Against his will and his intention, the composer learned to give up on the listener, or better still, to forget entirely about the musical dialogue that had once taken place between him and the listener. The listener ceased to be a decisive component in the musical process. The “transmitting ball game” ceased to exist, and became a solitary gam: the composer throwing a ball at the studio wall and catching it back, devoid of any echo and reception, all by himself. What had been a mutual love game turned into merely personal gratification. Thus a gap opened up between what was played in the concert-hall and what was composed and broadcast in radio programmes. The national radio stations were bound by their rules to encourage the art of their time, and until the eighties of the last Century, had not needed to care about the listeners and therefore disregarded them. The radio stations continued to broadcast again and again new music, which, lacking any response, constantly sought and was encouraged to try and invent new ideas in composition.. Whereas the concert halls that were greatly dependent on their audiences continued to perform music of bygone times. This was a well- known and much loved music which the audience clamoured to hear over and over again. The listener stopped trying to catch a new ball in mid air as it were, and settled for collecting old but proven “balls” that were lying around on the floor of the concert hall.


Chapter Thirty Seven

Thus our concert halls turned into museums of music, although nothing could be further away from music’s intentions than to become mummified in musical museums . All this was true untill the Eighties, until the concept of “Ratings” entered our consciousness. All of a sudden commercialization burst into the broadcasting world and commercial value became the name of the game. The aim to advance the development of new musical creation had to retreat before the needs of ratings, the numbers of which did not satisfy the demands of the advertisers, who had become the moving powers of broadcasting policy. The resources of broadcasting were suddenly impoverished and in their stead came the financial demands of the advertisers, and those quickly converted the test of quality into the test of quantity. The more listeners there were, the more financial resources were allocated. Modern music, that until now had lived satisfactorally from the national radio stations, lost its chance. Especially as many radio stations are becoming privatised and even the national stations are trying to get rid of their orchestras. The place that Art Music held within national radio and especially television stations, was taken over by new kinds of contemporary music. Pop, Rock, Jazz, World-music, and even Folk Music, that were appearing in new attires and were being elevated to the concert stage. These musics gained more then enough rating so that they were very highly considered. In the not very distant past, when talking about music, it was clear that everybody meant Art Music. Entertainment and Light music, had to be satisfied with being placed in “the backyard”, and basically were not considered to be art at all. To-day if one talks about music as such , what is meant is not contemporary Art Music, that was relegated to the back yard, but all those new musics that all of a sudden find themselves on concert stages, greatly favoured by broadcasting stations. Contemporary Art Music became a very lonely undertaking, and their compositions lost the joy of life that formerly characterised much of Art Music. To those who keep telling me that music has to portray life, and since life is bad and sorrowful, music must reflect this sad life as it is, I answer: Life always seemed sorrowful and hard to bear, yet there were times when music could also smile and awaken great happiness in its listeners. No! Contemporary Art Music is sad and painful and hurtful and heralds evil, not because such is life, but mainly, if I may dare to suggest, because the contemporary composer has lost the love-game with his listeners, the vitally needed partners in fulfilling the musical creation.

Music in the Age of Mass-communication


Yet there is another matter, that belongs to the wonderous technological development that is so typical of the 20th century, and that deals with mass-media, though it does not necessarilly belong to the creation of music but more to the musical performance. I am referring to the invention of the record, the disk, and the video. The electronic technology that lead to these inventions was indeed outstanding in the advancement and promotion of music, and in immortalizing the individual performer. But the price that civilization had to pay for these innovations, was as great. This immortalization meant exchanging living music for music that was virtually dead. The unique vitality of music is assured by the live performance of it. Whenever music, any music, even ancient music, is performed live in front of an audience, it is living music. I admit that this music dies at the end of the performance, but it can forever live again with each new performance, provided that the performance is indeed a new performance. It is only the live performance that prevents music from dying. Immortalising music on record is like eating canned food. But whereas eating canned food, which counts as being “inestead of” fresh food and can be eaten only once, hearing canned music from a record can happen again and again and yet again, and with each hearing it retreats farther and farther away from the real live performance. What is more: using this new technology has brought the listener, in my mind, to a wrong appreciation and evaluation of the performance. Instead of a new creation of yesterdays music, brought about by its interpretation of to-day, that has necessarily to be a new interpretation and obviously different from the original one, we have adopted a new, and to my mind, wrong ideal, namely that of sticking to the old performance and wishing to copy it. It is that performance that has been preserved for us so accurately on the record that we have bought, and that has become one of our proud posessions, so much so that it became self evidently the best interpretation imaginable, and we thus refuse to accept any other interepration, be it as wonderfull as it may . We call this approach “to be true to the original”, although what we really mean is not the original performance, because no-body alive to-day has ever heard Mozart perform his music, and we really have no idea at all how he peformed it, but we mean rather that interpretation that we have in our posession at home. In this way the copy takes over the place of a re-creation. And since the new performance can, by its very nature, never be an exact reproduction of the original, the result is that originality turns into pseudo originality.2


Chapter Thirty Seven

In fact Art Music of to-day, also under the influence of the much advanced technical-electronic techniques, seems to be a distorted body with one very long arm and one quite short one. The creative arm is the long one that has gone much further than either theatre or literature, in probing new directions in composition, so much so that it has nearly separated from the body that holds it together. While the second arm, that of performance, is getting shorter and shorter and seems to be dwindling away, because it has lost the the power and the authority, to create a renewed interpretation of By-gone music, which is the real intention of Art Music. This arm is doomed to forever copy that which has been already said and thus finds itself “chewing the cud” over and over again. Well, these are some of the dilemmas that are part of the fate that Art Music has to cope with under the new age of Mass-Media; a media that has brought to music a great deal of good, although Art Music is paying a very heavy price. I do not know the answer to the question whether these are heavenly decrees that man can do nothing against? What is more: I am not at all sure that it is desireable to change these circumstances. What I do know for sure is that we have to be aware of them. We have to understand the permutations that are taking place around us, acknowledge them, and not flinch away from the need to cope with them.

Notes 1. As for “Greater Music”, see chapter 7 : “Sound, Speech and Movement – three that are one”. 2. See also chapter 11 in this book: “ Creator and Performer”.


At the end of the previous chapter I may have exaggerated a little by comparing contemporary music to a distorted human body, which has one very long and far-reaching arm, namely that of composition, and a short and very unimaginative and withered arm, namely that of performance. In this respect music to-day differs greatly from its “sister” the Theatre. The creator namely the playwright, basically has never lost the close contact with the audience, and seems always ready to speak in their language; whereas the director and the actors, the interpreters of the play are constantly renewing their interpretation. To this particular subject, that concerns the freedom of creation and its limitations, I would like to devote this chapter. Although I am well aware that passing judgment on these matters is not only highly complicated and multi-faceted, but also dangerous and even prone to failure. But notwithstanding I do not think that one can ignore this pittfall. If we go even slightly deeper into the meaning of freedom, we will soon come to the conclusion that freedom is nothing other than the liberty to fill the gap between the needs, opinions and creative thoughts of the human being, and his different obligations to society and the laws of the state, that are there in order to create a state of equilibrium in human relations and maintain them in good working order. This is the difference between freedom or liberty, and anarchy. Because anarchy, as distinguished from freedom or liberty, does not recognize any limitations whatsoever. The freedom of the anarchist, so he believes, allows him to behave and do exactly as he pleases, and his behaviour depends entirely on his own desires. But the subject of this chapter is freedom, which is a positive concept that forms one of the basic human rights, and is the aspiration of every decent human being. This as distiguished from anarchy which is a


Chapter Thirty Eight

negative concept and cannot guarantee any quality of life, nor any quality of creation. Although these two concepts, freedom and anarchy, seem to be so closely connected and so similar, the difference between them is enormous That is why I do hope that we are in agreement that the subject before us deals with creative freedom and not with creative anarchy. The British political researcher Harold J. Laski, writes: “liberty must always be conceived, if its philosophy is to be an adequate one, as related to law. It can never be absolute…Liberty in fact always means in practice, liberty within law, and law is the body of regulations enacted in a particular society for its protection”. 1 That means that liberty, as well as freedom, are always confined between borders, between limitations. They are bound by rules and regulations, in the framework of which, and maybe even from the power of which, liberty draws its freedom to create. Let me thus move from social freedom to creative freedom, and let me start by examining the limitations that fetter this freedom. Concerning the freedom of the performer, namely the interpreter of the creation, the one who creates “being from being”, his limitations are defined by demanding an absolute loyalty to the text of the composition. Take note that this limitation is accepted even to-day, when the aggressive fight for absolute freedom and “laissez faire”, is at its peak. It is true that there exist differences between the interpretation of the performing arts, those that I have dared to suggest as being bound together and belonging to “Greater Music”. In the area of theatre more freedom is allowed in the interpretation of the text, although loyalty to the text itself is, in most cases, strictly observed. Whereas in music ( as we have noticed in the former chapter), the interpretational freedom is much more limited, not only by keeping exactly to what is written in the score, but also to the observance of the tradition, style and habit of interpreting a well-known composition. While in the area of dance, the freedom of interpretation is, to-day, nearly unlimited. It may well be that this is so because the choreographical script, if it exists at all, is, as of now not really binding . Whereas in music the performing interpretation by well known artists is preserved on records and discs, and, for some reason, is meant to be followed to the letter. If we were to deviate from the defined area of performing arts and look at visual arts or literature, an area in which nearly no separation exists between creation and performance, we will see that in the art of contemporary painting or sculpture the freedom to create is nearly absolute. It seems as if the painter has left to the photographer the need to create from “being into being”. It is the photographer that is to-day

Importance and the Limitations of Freedom of Creation and its Renewal 265

gaining more and more esteem, while the painter has freed himself from the loyalty to the “being” that exists in nature or in society. Although, lately, one cannot ignore a certain retreat from the complete abstract into a more concrete reality. As regards literature, the situation is very different, since literature never entirely freed itself from the concrete and objective description of real lif. Literature never lost contact with the reader and was much more loyal to the “being” it aimed to portray. Before turning from performance to composition, I wish to make one more remark. In Art Music today there exists a nearly complete separation between composer and performer. Only very rarely one finds a performer who also composes. Leonard Bernstein and Shulamit Ran, and only a very few others, are the exceptions to this rule. In most cases the performer is not able to create even a “Cadenza” within a Concerto, that is only an improvisation that the composers of the past left open to the performer as a gesture, so as not to completely close before him the opportunity of co-creation,. As mentioned above, it is even much rarer to find a composer who is able to perform his own compositions. One must remember that this was not always the case. In the days in which notation did not exist, such a separation was unthinkable. But also in later years that separation was an exception to the rule: Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Rachmaninov, and Mahler, are but a few among the composers who, not only performed their compositions, but composed them mainly in order to perform the works themselves. Today this identity between composer and performer is mainly preserved in the art of Jazz. This may be one of the reasons why Jazz counts among the most important arts within contemporary music. But let me focus now on the area of composing Art Music. The question that we have to ask ourselves is: what are the limitations on the freedom to compose Art Music, namely to create a “being fron nothing”? (as distinguished from the limitation, already discussed, on the freedom to perform). In the past, namely before the twenyties- thiryties of the last century, this question did not and could not arise. The whole of musical creation, Art Music, as well as Folk Music in its diverse forms, was based on recognised and well known languages that served the vertical melodic line, the horizontal harmonic line as well as the rhythm, and was designed for a certain period and a certain place, that was later replaced by a new language. These languages, or, if you prefer to call it, “syntax rules” of


Chapter Thirty Eight

how to combine one voice with another and one sound to another, served as the limitation of the freedom of composition. One was free to compose as one felt the need to, as long as the different syntax limitations were not exceeded. If I were to be asked: if so how could music be renewed since one was not permitted to exceed those limitations? I would answer that deviations from the existing rules have always taken place. Moreover, it was these deviations that enabled progress and renewal. But both composer and listener recognised these limitations and knew in which way they were over-stepped and what kind of renewal took place. But if there does not exist any language, and there are no limitations whatsoever, how then can one renew? And from what can one deviate? Since the Dodecphonic and Serial language of music, that were aimed to replace Tonality, were discarded by the greater part of contemporary composers as unsatisfactory, and they were left without any rules within which to express their freedom to compose, there seemed to be nothing left for them to do but surrender themselves to anarchy. Each as he pleases, each to himself. The listener was abandoned. He too could do as he pleased, and in his distress he turned to the past, to those composers who have already proved themselves to be able to “deliver the goods”, and to awake in the listener the much creaved-for enlightenment. Sure enough, every composer, even nowadays, composes according to a language that he has invented for himself, and that he uses for one or more of his compositions. But these are secret languages, without any formal and generally known regulations, and are known to the composer alone. Nobody else knows for sure what they represent, least of all the listener, although he is supposed to be the partner to the musical dialogue. In this connection it may be important to remember that the basic principle of all these systems, rules and regulations lies in their being public. A rule that has not been made public, and that is not accessible to those who need to abide by it, is as if still-born. Having said all this, I now repeat my question: what should be the limitations on the freedom to compose to-day, so as to remain relevant and protect Art Music from the pitfalls of anarchy? In answering this question, may I venture to suggest that the freedom to compose is limited, today as well, by the willing listener’s ability to understand the language in which this music is addressed to him. That means the existence of a method and a reasoning, that a well versed music listener is able to understand. I am well aware of the discrepancy that could arise from maintaining, as I am, that music speaks to the emotion, and yet at the same time

Importance and the Limitations of Freedom of Creation and its Renewal 267

demands a logical understanding of the meaning of music. Let me therefore re-stress my conviction that the arts demand the comprehension of what one reads, sees, or hears, in order that one will be able to enjoy them emotionally. For me comprehendig art does not contradict the emotional appreciation of art and especially of music. On the contrary, the emotional edification through music is conditioned by understanding the meaning of this music. It goes without saying that I understand very well the unfair trap that confronts the contemporary composer today. Because the rules and regulations that served the musical language in the past, were not invented out of nothing. They were composed out of idiomatic coins of musical expressions that were customary among a certain society, and served Art Music as well as Folk Music and Religious Liturgies. What the composers or the theoreticians did was only to select them and establish them as a method. Whereas in the first scores of the 20th Century, composers, headed by Arnold Schönberg, invented a musical syntax out of nothing that was aimed at replacing tonality. This syntax, that did indeed contain some elements of genius, was envisioned artificially, contrary to the rules of natural listening, and was very far from containing the familiar idiomatic currency of musical expression, and therefore could not survive and was soon discarded. Thus we were left as if “exposed to the four winds”, without any method or rules to guard the freedom of the composer. Is there any possibility to retreat from this trauma that occurred to Art Music in the second half of the 20th Century? I am not really sure. Still I would venture to suggest that the rules that have to bind the limitations of the freedom to compose has to have enough power over the listener and be able to rivet his attention and convince him of the sincerity of the composer. These boundaries are the truest limitations that can today restrict the freedom of composition that I can think of, and may count as the only criteria for the evaluation of contemporary music. I am well aware of the simplicity of my suggestion and I am not entirely satisfied with it, but it may serve as the lesser of all evils. In any case any other suggestion has to take the listener into account, because the listener is an integral part of the musical process. It may well be that this factor will prove to be the only innovation of my suggestion. The following remarks are the final ones in this chapter. They concern the renewal of the musical composition. Let me start by re-stressing that musical renewal has an importance of the first degree. It is inevitable, just as an art that is stagnating means


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disaster. My difficulty therefore does not lie in the renewal itself, but rather in the extent of this renewal. In praying to god the religious person worships him by repeating the words: ‘blessed be all-mighty God who in his goodness renews each day always, the act of creation’. There is a good deal of wisdom in this renewal that nature, or the All-mighty, endows us with; a wisdom which is of great benefit to the human being: It contains enough innovation to challenge us and keep us on the alert, and enough comforting familiarity, lucid and safe, that enables us to relax in anticipation of the forthcoming innovation. Because we are talking of renewal and not of an absolute innovatiion. If we properly observe the two thousand year progression of changes in the different stylistic periods throughout the history of music, we will observe that the renewal that occurred was never completely dissociated from the past; it carried along the old together with the new, changed the old here and there, and served it to us as a completely renewed dish . Only once during those two thousand years, a complete revolution did occur within this developing course. I am referring to the beginning of the 17th Century, when the polyphonic syntax, that deemed all voices as being equal in their importance, changed into a homophonic one, in which the melodic line, in the soprano, became the ultimate goal, the bass was entrusted as the carrier of the harmony, and the two middle voices withdrew into the background, and were seen as having a lesser importance, in only an accompanying position. But because of its complete innovation, the new style did not replace the old one. It was only added to the old one, and this in a less important status. The new style had to be satisfied with being named “Stile Secundo”, while the old style remained the important “Stile Primo”, and this for a period of nearly 150 years, (until the death of Johann Sebastian Bach). Only in the beginning of the 20th Century, when the banner of revolt against tonality was hoisted, tonality was thrown overboard with complete contempt and contemporary composers tried to orientate themselves to the many confusing new ways of composition that suddenly opened up to them. However none really succeeded in gaining surprimacy, to be looked upon as a worthy replacement for tonality. Renewal was in all periods an important means for development, but it was never looked upon as a goal in itself. But the stylistic revolutionary change of the musical style in the mid 20th Century, was not done in order to introduce a new style. No! it was done for the sake of change itself; or better still, it was done as a deliberate invalidation of the old tonality.

Importance and the Limitations of Freedom of Creation and its Renewal 269

Innovation for innovation’s sake, that was the cry that hung on everybody’s lips. Could it be, that the innovation that occurred in science during those days, that emerged in the aftermath of the Second World War, caught the fancy of the musicians who aimed to introduce innovations to music as well, if only for innovation’s sake? We have to bear in mind that this was the period of the renewal of Musicology that demanded recognition as a branch of science, and be given a rightful place in the universities. Can it be that this new development claimed also the radical innovation of musical composition? Be that as it may, the fact remains that until recently new compositions, were not accepted as worthy by most repertoire committies, for instance of national radio stations, if they had any remnants whatsoever of tonality within their notes . I will not venture to add anything to these remarks beyond what I have already suggested. It is up to each and every reader to make up his own mind as he or she seems fit.

Notes 1. Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences”, entry “Liberty”, volume nine, pp. 444446.


It may seem strange that I have decided to end this book by chosing three important values, that have, on the face of it, nothing in common, and yet they seem to me to encompas the subject matter that this book aims to express: Ethics, that concerns itself with justice, morality, law, and the just interrelations between people; aesthetics that adresses our tastecombinations, searches how best to combine one art-component with another, looks for suitable adjustments and yearns to decipher the meaning of beauty; and finally humanism that searches for ways and means to educate happy, satisfied, well versed, and well integrated people within their societies. All the three are “go-betweens”, serving as intermediaries, as mediators connecting the many scattered units that roam our world, and endeavour to create a feasable and meaningful whole out of them. Musical sounds are also scattered units that roam our musical world. These single sounds become meaningful only by being connected. Only by threading the sounds into a significant combination, by weaving them into a meaningful carpet, only then does the art of music find its expression. Let me now detail these somewhat simplistic observations: ETHICS: “And thou shall do that which is right and good , in the sight of the Lord”. This is God’s command to us, human being, (Deutronomy, chapter 6, vers 18); a command which is repeated several times in the Bible. The story is told of Hillel the Elder (known as “Hillel Hazaken”), the greatest of the sages of the Second Temple period, that a heathen came to him, considering the possibility of conversion to Judaism on condition that Hillel could teach him the entire Torah (Bible) , “while standing on one foot”. Hillel answered: ”What is hateful to you , do not do unto your

Ethics, Aesthetics and Humanism


neighbour; this is the entire Torah, all the rest is commentary, now go and study it” God’s command, and Hillel’s interpretition of the Biblical laws, can, in my humble opinion, be looked upon as one of the pillars on which ethics as well as morality and equity are based . T.V.Smith, in his entry on “Ethics”, in the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, writes: Ethics may best be distinguished from theology by regarding its commerce with ideals as a piecemeal give and take rather than as initial surrender and subsequent devotion. Ethics is the secular and critical manner of taking account of the rationalizing process in conduct. Its temper is non-mystical, and its orientation is social rather than theological. It was Socrates who indicated mankind as the proper concern of “lovers of wisdom”. While Plato consciously took the good as the kingly center of his system of ideas, Aristotle thought to reunite the ideal and the real into a functional unity.

Thus T.V. Smith in his detailed entry on “Ethics.” Ethics, morality and equity, both in their religious meaning as well as in their philosophical meaning, became the foundations of human law. Justice Haim H. Cohn in his book: “The Law,”1 differentiates between them and the law in the following way: ‘The arena of law is between a human being and his fellow; the arena of morals is between a human being and his conscience. Sometimes law and morals are congruent to each other, sometimes they separate from each other…we recognize injustice by our sense of justice, while we realize immorality through our conscience…According to Aristotle, objective justice applies to every person and is suitable for everyone; whereas equity is meant to aid the individual. Equity laws aid those that the law (“rigor juris”) is unable to grant. For me,’ so writes Haim Cohn,’ the greatest Biblical rule is “ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” ( Leviticus, chapter 19, vers 18)’. It is possible that I may have dealt with the phenomenon of ethics for too long, but I had two reasons for doing so. One is that ethics, morals and equity resulted in a changing code of civil law. And I firmly believe that every discipline or every phenomenon that deals with combining different factors into a unified whole, has to do it on grounds of a definite, albeit changing, code of rules and regulations. The second and most important reason is the close contact between ethics and aesthetics. “In ancient Greek music ethos designated the “ethical” character of the various modes (harmonia).”, writes Willy Apel in his “Harvard Dictionary”. The theory of Ethos, that was formulated by Plato and Aristotle, and that claimed the close affinity and influence of

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every Harmony ( tone-scale) on a certain mood or characteristic of the human being, and therefore the great importance of music to education, was thus derived from ethics. (See also Oxford Dictionary.)2 May I remind my reader of what I wrote in the Prologue to this book, when I mentioned the Hebrew writer A.B. Yehoshua, who claimed with regrets, in his book: “The Terrible Power of a Minor Guilt: Literary Essays”, that ‘contemporary literature and literary critique neglect to address the moral issues of a book, a play or a screenplay, and do not refer to the moral behavior of the characters. Thus questions of good and bad are entirely ignored. Yehoshua adds that he himself will not stop trying to assimilate into his novels subjects of good and evil, morality and immorality’. In the prologue I maintained, and wish to suggest it again in this last chapter of the book, that ethics to literature and theatre are aesthetics to art, first and foremost to music. What was said about ethics that was expressed in a changing set of rules and code of law, and, according to Yehoshua, is a necessary requirement of every kind of literature, must be said of aesthetics as well. It has to be regulated by a changing set of rules and regulations that are the foundation upon which music can be be created.. AESTHETICS: The Oxford Dictionary cites the following descriptions for aesthetics: The discipline of the things perceptable by the senses, as opposed to things thinkable or immaterial”; “The science of conditions of sensuous perception – 1803”; “The philosophy of taste”; “The perception of beautiful (1833)”; “Having or showing refined taste”. “In accordance with good taste (1871).

The concept, although it has been dealt with by many philosophers since Ancient Greece, received its, more or less, conclusive meaning from Alexander Baumgarten, in the middle of the 18th Century. The need was felt that besides logic and the criticism of consciousness and awareness, a special branch had to be created that would teach us how to feel, how to sense, and mainly how to look at and how to distinguish and be impressed by the objects that exist in nature and society. The new Aesthetics took the place of the “sense of taste” or “the judgment of taste” and dealt first and foremost with the beauty of a work of art. Aesthetics was considered to be dealing with everything that could be comprehended by the senses, and

Ethics, Aesthetics and Humanism


the aesthetic experience was the pleasure and enjoyment that occurs by the mere watching or listening to an artistic composition . Aesthetics is thus the discipline of sensitive consciouness that is characterized by a cognitive mechanism. As opposed to analysis which is the ability to separate the different factors within science, so as to understand what they are made of, aesthetics connects the separate factors into a meaningful and satisfying whole. It is my belief that the main issue of our life as well as our art, which basically comments on our life, is not to be found in the different factors and details but rather in the way that those details are connected with each other. Literary meaning and greatness will not be found in the single letter, or even the single word, but in the way and in the artistic skill with which these words are put together. Just as we will not find a musical meaning in the single sound, but only in the togetherness of these single sounds. I have already reminded my reader that a human being comes into this world alone. Alone he comes and alone he leaves. His whole life can also be seen as an endless effort to establish contact, to pave a way so as to reach out to a fellow human being, not to remain alone, but to belong, and to be together. Ethics and aesthetics are the driving forces that settle and indicate a way of togetherness. Ethics settles, navigates and betters human relations, and aesthetics is the one discipline that settles, navigates and betters the relations between the different factors within art, and mouldes them into a satisfactory whole; into an agreeable polyphony of sounds; into a composition, or if you like, a blending that can provide a satisfactory response to those who are being nourished by these aesthetic and pleasing mixtures of sounds, in other words - the listeners. HUMANISM As we have noted time and time again, music is a social art . Because of the fact that music does not occur unless people come together, and it accompanies evey social event, one can even dare to describe music as a human art. What is more, the listener, representing the human being, is ,in fact, an integral part of the musical process; a process that does not come to an end until the listener, namely the reciever of the musical message that moves towards him, has succeeded in catching this message and intenalizing it. Music cannot exist without a listener . The music producer and the listener are thus forever linked together in a common, or if I may


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dare to call it, a human bondage, and because of this fact I named music a human art. * Unfortunately in our times, in these days of despair, nihilism and the negation of all conventions, ethics is being shunted aside as if it were a useless vehicle, irrelevant to the order of the day. Aesthetics, for its part, tries with all its might to relinquish beauty as being untrue and unreal, and is relegating to the lower depths everything that is agreeable and satisfying. The contemporary outlook on life aims at abolishing everything that is meant by aesthetics because it is presently considred unsuitable and not sophiticated enough. Contemporary aesthetics thus commits suicide. Instead of uniting and tolerating the different factors that exist in life and consequently in art as well, the current aesthetics urges us to become more extreme and express more ugliness, more wickedness and more hatred. This is how some of the leading contemporary composers see the reality of our life. Their duty, therefore, is to put life’s mirror before todays audiences. If contemporary music, as hateful and ugly as it may be, would have been based on acknowledged rules and regulations, the listeners could at least comprehend the message that is being delivered to them , and even if sad and full of pain, they would have accepted the bitter pill and may be even feel redeemed by the music that is being presented to them. But without any rules, listeners are unable to understand the sounds that are being thrown at them, and dissapointed they turn their backs on Contemporary Art Music, and look for musical solace, either in Art Music of the past, or in other musical messages, that are so abundant in this new world.

Notes 1. Haim, H. Cohn, 1911-2002, Deputy Chief Justice of Israel, Prof. at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Tel-Aviv University, on the philosophy of law. His book “Hamishpat” (The Law), was published, in Hebrew, in 1996 by Mossad Bialik. Pp. 94-99. 2. For more details on the theory of Ethos, see chapter 19:”The “Ethos” and the theory of Cathrsis”, in this book.


Growing up is perhaps the most difficult challange that confronts the human being. The more sensitive he is, the more difficult it becomes. The dependency on grown-ups, the need to follow their orders, the wish to be independent though knowing quite well that this is, as yet, a mission impossible. Then the first realizations of the difficulties that lie ahead though being unable to solve any of them, let alone take responisibility for them, and the great discrepancy between the urge to find a remedy for the ills of the world and the awareness that this remedy is out of reach and that basically one is completely helpless vis-a-vis the avalanche that seemes to be thundering overhead. In my own growing understanding, all these turned my adolescence into a nightmare. My refuge was music. It was the record library that my father installed, with much care and love, in our large living-room. I remember only too well when the first radio-gramophone appeared on our doorstep. It was an enormous contraption, a square piece of furniture about four foot high. The records that could be played on it, were Long Play 78’s which had to be turned over every three minutes. The year was 1934 and I was eight years old. Like a dove watching over her nestlings, so did I hover over these records. They seemed to me to be my own living spring, forever welling up, so as to quench my thirst for music. Whenever fear and anxiety overwhelmed me, I fled to this, my secret refuge, and I always found solace and repose therein. This library became the core of my most personal repertoire. It contained the six Brandenburg Concerti by Bach with Willhelm Furtwangler as conductor; the Bach Sonatas for violin solo performed by Adolph Busch ; The Kreutzer Sonata by Beethoven played by Yehudi and Hefzibah Menuhin; Beethoven’s five Piano concertos, and all the 17 String Quartets, some performed by the Busch Quartet, and others by the Lehner Quartet. Brahms was my father’s favourite. Most of his


Where has melody gone? A Personal Confession

compositions were placed in this library; the Clarinett Quintet played by Reginald Kell, his Piano Quintet performed by Benno Moisevitch, the German Requiem and the Alt Rapsody, and all four symphonies. As a matter of course the library included most of Schuberts chamber music, his three Lieder cycles, which served me as my very personal prayer book and his “Great” symphony conducted by Leo Blech. Beside these there was Chopin’s piano music played by Rachmaninov, Waltzes by Johann Strauss, Symphonies by Tchaikovsky, German folk songs and music sung by the miraculous “Swingle Singers”, and “The Companion de la Chanson”, and so on and so forth.. When my teen-age life seemed too hard to bear, I used to sneak into our living room, search very carefully among the records for that music that seemed, at that moment, to suit me best, spread myself out on the couch, close my eyes, and devote myself totally to the sounds that emerged from the gramophone. It was then that I learned how to internalize music, by identifying its melodic line and following, with great care, the melody’s wandering through the different voices and the formation of the harmony that engulfed the melodies, and produced in them an ever-changing mood and atmosphere. It was than that I first realized the enormous influence that this internalizing of the music had upon my inner being. When thus listening, the difficulties that threatened me seemed to fade away, and in their place I felt an enormous calm that surrounded me and brought forth a deep and hitherto unknown happiness that seemed to flood over my whole being Twice in my life I succeeded in overcoming unsurmountable difficulties with the help of music. The first was the pangs of growing up. The second occurred when my beloved husband passed away . All of a sudden I found myself a quite young widow of thirty seven. We were only married for a few years and were very much in love. With his death, life, I thought, was utterly unbearable. When I was on the verge of giving up, I felt music reaching out to me, as if it were holding my hand and whispering: “You go on. Don’t you see that I am here? Hold on to me! move to my rhythm! Grasp my power and with its help dare to rise from your mourning! Hear my sadness and overcome your own!” And, lo and behold, I dared and succeeded in prevaling. I looked in my record library for the saddest music and became addicted to the longing, crying, and oh so beautiful sounds of the second movement of Schubert’s String Quintet for two celli. I closed my eyes, removed all other thoughts from my mind and pain from my heart, and devoted myself entirely to the sound combinations of this sublime music.

Where has melody gone? A Personal Confession


I cried with the violin that was rising, ascending and winding upwards ; moaned with the plucking away of the cello, that answered the rising violin by moving deep down as if into the recesses of my being; and held my breath internalizing the thicket of the chords performed by the rest of the instruments. A harmonic existence that seemed to be locked between the violin that moves high above among the stars, and the weighty earthy but very reassuring plucking away of the cello, forever descending, that finds its way nearing the nether world. I wept with the sadness of the world and was thereby strengthened enabling me to cope with my own sorrow. It was then that I knew for sure that it was only music that could give expression to my own very personal sadness and help me to be able to live with it. Just as it is music that encourages and assures my happiness, when I am blessed with good fortune.. Can it be that this is what we mean by internalizing music, as distinguished from knowing, understanding and enjoying it? I wonder! * Since growing up, and experiencing deep personal loses, I have matured, trying to learn as much as possible about music, first and foremost by teaching it, and finally I came to be recognised as an expert of sorts. To-day, having arrived at a quite respectable age, and looking back at what I have read, learned, experienced, written and taught, I cannot ignore my instinctive understanding that in music it is first and foremost the melody that moves us, that touches us and overwhelms our inner being . Of course melody alone is not sufficient any longer. Melody has to be engulfed by joined polyphonic sounds, by convincing rhythms and by being developed and going through different metamorphoses. But melody, being but one of many musical ingredients of Art Music, is a sine- qua-non, an imperative condition of music . Very unfortunately melody seemes to have vanished from contemporary Art Music. In chapter 6 of this book I went deeper into this problem, and tried to supply some reasons that brought about this deplorable disappearance of the melody. Here, in the epilogue, before parting from my readers, I mourn for the loss of melody, longing for its reappearance, and deploring the fact that we are doomed to make do without this musical elixir. Or are we? Is there really no way out? I wonder. Listening attentively to the newest creations in Art Music, I am able to trace, here and there,


Where has melody gone? A Personal Confession

some efforts to restore the loss. Whether they will prove significant, only time will tell. The conductor Gary Bertini (1927-2005), whose ardent wish as a growing up child, was to become a composer, decided to show his very complicated symphonic score to his most admired composer, Mordechai Seter (1916-1994), with the hope that Seter would accept him as a pupil. Seter glanced at the score for a few moments , turned to Bertini, who had just celebrated his 18th birthday, and said: “You go home, forget your over-loaded score, and compose a single-voice eight-bar melody. If and when you have succeeded in this very difficult task, come back to me…” They became life-long friends who enjoyed mutual admiration. * I started this epilogue by confessing a personal childhood memory. Let me finish by reminding my readers of what may be their own cildhood memories. Let us go back to the magical forest of “Arcadia”, this world of human equality in which all beings, although they were animals, were treated with the same attention and empathy. Let us remember the sweet voice of Christopher Robin when realizing the misshaps of WINNIE THE POOH, and saying to him “ ‘Silly old Bear’, in such a loving and melodious voice, that everybody felt quite hopeful again”. (1) Adding the word “melodious” and emphasizing it is, admittedly, my own interpretation of this touching sentence, and hopefully I shall be forgiven this “Sacriledge”. For, when all is said and done, music is a treasure, meant to awaken us into adulthood and, if we are lucky, accompany us on our way, being one of the miracles that makes our life worth living.

Notes 1. Taken from the second chapter of the book “Winnie the Pooh”, by A.A. Milne, published by Methuen, London, 1926.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Adorno, Theodor W: “Aesthetische Theorie”, (“Theory of Aesthetics”), Frankfurt am Mein:. Suhrkamp Verlag, 1974. Aristotle: “The Basic Works of Aristotle” ( Richard MacKenon), New York: Random house 1941 (seventh edition) Augustinus: “Viduyim”, (“Confessions”) translated into Hebrew by Aviad Kleinberg, Yediot Achronot publishers, 2001 Barthel, Ernst: “Die Welt als Spannung und Rhytmus”, (“The World as Tension and Rhythm”), Leipzig 1928 Benjamin, Walter: “Schriften” Bd.1, “Omanut Beidan Hashiatuk Hatechni”, (“Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter technischer Reproduziebarkeit”, “The Work of Art in the age of Reproduction”), Hebrew translation by Shimon Berman. Hakibutz Hameuchad publishers,1998. Bergson, Henri: “Matiere et Memoire”, Paris , Presses Universitaire de France, 1939. (“Matter and Memory”), Traslated by Nancy Margaret Pau Palmer, New York: Zone Boos 1988. Boehmer, Konrad: “dass schöne ist dass Haessliche”, (“the Beauty is the Ugly”) , Neue Zeitschrift Für Musik, November 1994. Bosanquet, Bernard: “Three Lectures on Aesthetics”, Indianapolis, Ind: Bobbs-Merrill, 1963. Brinker, Menachem: “Estetika ketorat Habikoret” (“Aesthetics as the Theory of Criticism”), Tel Aviv: Broadcasted University publication, 1982 Buber, Martin: “Pney Adam” (“Human Face”, Examinations in Philosophical Antropology): Jerusalem, Mossad Bialik publication, 1962, fourth edition, 2000. Bukofzer, Max: “Die Musikalische Gemütsbewegung – Erlebnisse, Erkentnisse, Bekentnisse”. ( “The musical Emotion – Experiences, Awarenesses, Confessions”) Sammelung Musikwissenschaftlicher Einzeldarstellung, Heft 17: Leipzig, Breitkopf und Härtel, 1935. Burke, Edmund: “Vom Erhabenen und Schönen”, (“ On the Sublime and the Beautiful, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful”. translated into German by Friedrich Bassenge, Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag, 1989


The Mission and Message of Music

Busoni, Ferruccio: “Sketch of a new Aesthetic of Music” (A chapter in the Book :”Three Classics in the Aesthetic of Music”, New York: Dover publications, 1962. Carriere, Moritz: ”Aesthetic, Die Idee des Schönen” (“Aesthetics, The Idea of Beauty”), Leipzig; F.A. Brockhaus, 1873. Carritt, E. F.: “ The Theory of Beauty”, London: Methusen, 1962 Cassirer, Ernst: “An Essay on Mann: An introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture” . New York: Doubleday, Anchor Books, 1953. Cook, Nickolson: “ Between Process and Product”. Music Theory on line. Volume 7, no. 2, 2001 Croce, Benedetto: “ Estetica”. Translated into English by Douglao Ainste, London, Macmillan&Co. 1922 Dahlhaus, Carl: “Die Idee der Absoluthen Musik” (“The Idea of Absolute Music”), Kassel: Bärenreiter Verlag, 1978. —. “Aesthetics of Music”, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982. —. “Form in der Neuen Musik”, (“Form in New Music”), Darmstadt: Internazionales Musik Institut. De La Motte, Helga: “Das Schöne und das Hässliche”, (“The Beauty and the Ugly”), Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, November, 1994. Einstein, Alfred: ”Nationale und Universale Musik”, (“National and Universal Music”), Pam Verlg, 1958. Foltin, Peter: ”Aesthetik Heute. Skizzen zum Gegenstand einer Umstrittenen Wissenschaft”. ( “Aesthetics Today. Sketches on a Cnotroversial Science” ) Melos – Neue Zeitschrift fuer Musik, MärzApril 1972 (2). Fubini, Enrico: “The History of Music Aesthetic”, Houndsmills, Basingstoke: MackMillan,1991. Gatz , Felix, M.: “Musik-Aesthetik in ihren Hauptrichtungen,” (“Musical Aesthetics in its Main Directions”), Stuttgart: F. Enke, 1929 Goleman Daniel: “Inteligenzya Rigshit” (“Emotional Intelligence”) Translated into Hebrew from the English, by Amos Carmel. Tel-Aviv: Matar Publishing house., 2001. (Original book published by Bantam Books New York. 1995). Haezrahi, Pepita: ”Hapeilut Hamitbonenet”, (“The Contemplative Activity. Studies in Aesthetics”), Jerusalem: The Magness Pulishers of the Hebrew University,1965. Hagelberg, Garry, L.: ” A Review of a History of Western Musical Aesthetics”, Perspectives of New Music, Vol. 33 (Winter 1994).

The Mission and Message of Music


Hanslick, Eduard : ”Vom Musikalish Schönen: Ein Beitrag zur Revision der Aesthetik der Tonkunst” ( “Of Beauty in Music. A Contribution to the Musical Aesthetics”). Leipzig: Johann Ambrosius Barth, 1902, tenth edition. Herzfeld, Friedrich: ” Musica Nova. Die Tonwelt unseres Jahrhuderts”, (“Musica Nova. The Soundworld of our Century”), Berlin,: Im Verlag Ullstein, 1954. Hirschfeld , Ariel :”Drama Bemusika”, ( “Drama in Music”), Tel-Aviv: “Sal Tarbut” publishers,The Israel Association of Community Centers, 2002. Kadem, Christian: ”Schönheit entspannt – Musikalische Werte im Prozess der Zivilisation” (“ Beauty relieves. Musical Values in the Process of Civilisation”) . Neue Zeitschrift fuer Musik, November 1994. Kant, Immanuel: “Kritik der Urteilskraft” , ( “Critic of the Power of Judgment”), Wiesbaden: Suhrkamp Verlag im Insel Verlag, 1960. Katz, Ruth & Dahlhaus, Carl: ”Contemplating Music: Source Reading in Aesthetics of Music”, New York : Stuyvesant, : Pendragon Pr., 19871993 (four Volums) Kung-Fu-Ze (Konfuzius): ”Maamarot” (“Sayings”), Translated from Chinese by Daniel Lessly and Amazya Porat, Jerusalem: Hebrew University and Mossad Bialik Publishers, 1987. Kurth, Erenst: ”Musik Psychologie”, (“Psychology of Music”), Bern: Verlag Krumpholz, 1947, (2nd Ed.) Lamish, Dafna: “Ligdol im Hatelevisia. Hamasach Hakatan Bechajehem shel Yeladim Ubnei Noar”,(“Growing up with Television. The Small Screen in the Lives of Children and Juvenile- Youth”), Tel-Aviv: Open University Publishers, 2002. Langer, Susan: ”Philosophy In a New Key. A Study in the Symbolism of Reason, Rite, and Art”, New York: A Mentor Book, published by The New American Lirary, 4th printing 1952. Langfeld, Herbert Sidney: ”The Aesthetical Attitude”, New York: Kennikat Press, 1967. Lasky, Harold: ”Liberty”, in Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, New York: The Macmillan company, 1953, vol.9 , pp. 442-447. Lee, Harold Newton: ”Perception and Aesthetic Value”, New York: Prentice-Hall, 1938. Lippman, Eduard: ”A History of Western Musical Aesthetics”, Lincoln: University of Nebrasca Press, 1992. Malinowsky, Bronislav: ”Culture”, in Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, New York: The Macmillan Company 1953, Vol.3 pp621-645.


The Mission and Message of Music

Mersmann, Hans: “Versuch einer Musikalischen Wertaesthetik”, (“ An Attempt in Finding the Aesthetic Value in Music”), Zeitschrift fuer Musikwisenschaft, 17, 1935. Meyer, Leonard B.: ”Emotion and Meaning in Music”, Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1956. Niedt, Friedrich Erhardt: “Musikalische Handleitung” ,(“Musical Instruction”), Buren, Netherlands: F.Knuf,1976. Nietzsche Friedrich W.: ”Gesammelte Werke“ (“ Complete Works”), Muenchen: Musarion Verlag, 1920. Parker, DeWitt H.: ”The Principles of Aesthetics – an Analyses of Art”, New Haven, 1926. Peppard, Harold M.: “Sight without Glasses”, New York: Garden City Books, 1940. Plato: “The Laws”, (Translated by Trevor J. Saunders), Hardmondsworth: Penguin, 1970 Pleasants, Henry : “ The Agony of Modern Music”, New York: Simon & Schuster. 1955. Reik, Theodor: “The Hunting Melody: Psycoanalytic Experiences in Life and Music”, New York: Grove Press, 1960. Revers, Wilhelm Josef: ”Das Musikerlebnis”, (“The Musical Expereience”), (Eine Schrift der Herbrt V. Karajan- Stiftung) Dusseldorf: Recon, 1970. Reversz, Geza : “Introduction to Psychology of Music”, New York: Dover Publication, 2000. Rieman , Hugo : ”Catechism of Musical Aesthetic”, London: Augener and Company, 1892 (second edition). —. “Grundlagen der Musik Aesthetik”, (“Rudiments of Music Aesthetics”): Leipzig: 1919 (third edition). Sachs, Curt: “The Rise of Music in the Ancient World – Eart and West”, New York:W.W. Norton & Company, 1943. —. “Rhythm and Tempo: A Study in Music History”, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1953 . Santayana, George: “The Sense of Beauty”, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1983. Scherchen, Hermann: “Vom Wesen der Musik”, (“ On the Substance of Music”), Band 1 in der Reihe “Musikwisenschaft” , Wintertuhr: Mondial Verlag (N.D.). Schneider, Marius: “The Birth of the Symbol in Music”, The World of Music,1984, Vol.26 (No. 3 , Sacred Music.)

The Mission and Message of Music


Schönberg, Arnold: ”Harmonielehere” (“The Instruction of Harmony”), Wien: Universal Edition, 1922. —. “Letters”, New york: Faber & Faber 1987. Schopenhauer, Arthur: ”Die Welt Als Wille und Vorstellung” , (“The World as Will and Imagination”), Berlin, Wien: Tilgner, 1924. Scruton, Roger: ” The Aesthetic Understanding: Essays in the Philosophy of Art and Culture”, London: Methuen, 1983. Seashore, Carl E.: ”Psychology of Music”, New York:Dover Publication, 1967. Segal David: ”Mechir Haemet” (“The Price of Truth”), “Quaveret”, Periodical of the department of Science of behaviour, Minhal Colledge, vol.8, January 2004 pp.34-36. Shmueli, Herzl: ” Mila uzlil – Hirhurim al hakesher beineihem”, (“ Word and Sound – Reflections on the Connections betweem the Two”), “Archives of Israeli Music, Documentation and Research, vol.7 September-October 1995, pp. 7-13, Tel Aviv University. Smoira-Cohn Michal: ”Mashmauyot Bamusica” ,(“Meanings in Music”), Tel-Aviv: Music Library, “Mifalei Tarbut Vechinuch”, 1982. —. “Repertuar Ishi”,(“Personal Repertoire”), Tel-Aviv : Zmora- BitanDvir Publishers,1997. Solger, Karl Wilhelm: ”Vorlesungen über Aesthtetik” (“Lecturs on Aesthetics”), Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgeselschaft, 1969 Strall, Rolf R.: ”Das Schöne in der Musik”,(“The Beauty in Music”), Neue Zeitschrift der Musik, November, 1994. Stravinsky Igor: ”Musikalische Poetik,” (Musical Poetic”), Mainz: B. Schott’s Soehne, 1949. Stuckenschmidt, Hans Heinz: ” Musik des 20. Jahrhunderts”, ( “Twentieth Century Music”), München: Kindler Publishing, 1979. Stumpf, Carl: “Tonpsychologie” (“The Psychology of sound”), Leipzig: S.Hirzl, 1949. Tal, Josef: ”Musica Nova im Dritten Millenium”, (“Musica Nova in the third Millenium”), Tel-Aviv, Israel Music Publication, 2002. Tame, David: ”The Secret Power of Music”, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire: Turnstone Press, 1984. Wagner, Richard: ”Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft”, (“The Art of the Future”), Leipzig: O.Wigand, 1850. Wallaschek, Richard: “Anfänge der Tonkunst” (“The Beginning of the Art of Sound”), Leipzig: J.A.Barth, 1903. Werkmeister, O.K.: “Ende der Aesthetik”, (“The End of Aesthetics”), Frankfurt-am- Main: S.Fischer Verlag, 1971.


The Mission and Message of Music

Windelband, Wilhelm: “Geschichte der Philosophie”, (“The History of Phylosophy”), Tuebingen: Verlag von J.C. Mohr, 1919. Wittgenstein, Ludwig: “Prakim Baestetika” (“Chapters on Aesthetics”) Hebrew Translation, Tel-Aviv , Sifriat Poalim Publishing houses, 1994.

INDEX A. Absolute music – XXII, 47-8, 102, 141, 153, 235-238, 244. Abstract music – 29, 30, 32, 33, 72, 110, 149, 235-6. Adorno, Theodor Von (1900-1990) – 23, 229- 230. Aesthetics – XI, 8, 53, 56, 62, 171, 173, 211, 225-6, 229, 231, 270-274. Aesthetc Rules and Regulations – XVIII, XXI, XXIV, XXV, XXVI, 41,50-1, 59, 62, 117-118 ,149, 171-3, 182, 211, 213, 216, 218,264, 266,272. “Affecten Lehre”, (the theory of the emotional state) –151. Amplitude – 3. Anarchy – 264-266. Ancient Chinese music-theory – 103-4. Ancient Greek culture – XX, 13, 105, 130. Anderson Merian (1902-1999) – 94 “Angry young men”- 229. “Anna Karenina” – 24, 219 Apel, Willi, (1893-1988) - 271-2 Apollo – 43, Architecture – 233. Aristoxenos of Trent – 30. Aristotle (384 B.C.E.-322 B.C.E.) – 8, 100, 102, 112, 130-1, 135, 202, 250,271. .“Ars Antiqua” – XX, 210, 228. « Ars Nova » - 93, 210, 228-9, 235. Art – 205, 218, 228, 231, 241, 249. Art Music – 36-7, 42 note1, 60, 70-1, 75, 90-1, 93, 96-7,108-110, 184,188, 195,208-210 212, 216, 247, 249, 252, 254 note 1, 258, 260, 262,265-6. “Artes Liberales” – 209-10, 251. Armstrong Louis (Satchmo) (1900-1971) – 95. Arrezo, Guido von (980-1020) – 181. A-Tonal music – 47, 66, 124, 228 Augustinus (354-430) – 23. B. Bach, Carl, Philip, Emanuel, (1714-1788) – 85, 151. Bach, Johann, Sebastian, (1685-1750) – 55-6, 79, 88, 123, 167,192,225. Bad (versus Good) – X, 224. Barenboim, Daniel (b. 1942) – 134. Baroque - XVIII, XX, XXII, 51, 54, 56, 63, 65, 75, 81, 102,110, 111 note 6, 150, 162, 165, Bartok, Bela , (1881-1945) – 88, 93.



Baumgarten,Alexander, Gottlieb – XXI, 272. Beauty in music – XI, XIII, XV, XVIII, XIX, XXI, XXV, XXVI, 106, 118, 136-7, 172-4, 208, 224-5, 229-30. Beethoven, Ludwig, Van (1770-1827) – XXI, XXII, 33, 37, 55- 57, 60, 74, 81, 878, 93, 215, 245. Belcanto – 53. Benesh, Rudolf (1916-1975) – 257. Berenstein, Leonard, (1918-1990) – 48, 93, 96, 134, 162, 265. Berg, Alban (1885-1935) – 40, 191. Bergson, Henri (1859-1941) – 24, 26. Berio, Luciano (1925-2003) - 75. Berlioz, Hector, (1803-1869) – 33. Bertini, Gary, (1927-2005) - 278 Bible Cantilation – 45. “Blues” – 95. Bizet, Georges,(1838-1875) – 215. Boethius, Anikius, (480-524) – 102. Brahms, Johannes , (1833-1897) – 134, 192-3, . Brell, Jaque ( 1929-1978) - 195. Brinker, Menahem,(b.1949) - 146. Broadcasting and Recording Studios – 86-7, 253. Bukovzer, Manfred, (1910-1955) – 14, 124. Burk, Edmond , (1729- 1797) - XXIII, 125. Busoni, Ferrucio, (1866-1924) – 12, 114, 158-9, 188, 238 C. Cadenza – 76, 265. “Camerata” school – 151,153 note 7. Carriere,Moritz, (1817-1895) – 113. Cassirer, Erenst (1874-1945) – 114. “Catharsis” – 130, 134-136 Choral texture – 54, 63, 94. Chorus – 32, 44. Classical music. see Art Music. Classicism (Vienese), Classical period –XX-XXII, 8, 33, 47, 54-6, 65-6,150, 1624, 177, 242-246. “Clusters” – 68 Cohn, Haim,H. (1911-2002) - X, 164, 271. Colour - 10 Composer, Composition – 37,158-9,161,174, 253, 259, 267. Concert – 77. Concertare – 77, 79. Concerto –77. Conductor – 79, 81-83. Consonance – 68, 69 note 1, 171.

The Mission and Message of Music


Consort – 78-9 Content of music – 234. Cook, Nickolas ( b.1950) - 74. Copland, Ahron,( 1900-1990) – 93, 96. Cortot, Alfred (1877-1962) – 151. Counterpoint – 53, 194-5. Covenant between musician and listener – 19. Creativity – 70, 72. Croce, Benedetto ( 1866-1952) – 210- 211. Cultural revolution – 212, 230. D. Dance – 24, 32, 44-46, 72, 107, 157, 165, 257, 269. Dahlhaus, Carl (1928-1989) – 203, 236-7. Debussy, Claude, (1862-1918) – 58 note1, 73. Dewey, John, (1859-1952) – 211. “Dixiland” – 96. Direktor, Ruthi – Israeli Art historian – 217 note8. Discipline of Aesthetic - XXIII Dissonance – 151, 171-3. ”Dodecaphony” (see also Twelf-Tone music) – 34 note3, 40-1, 47, 66, 152,182-3, 191, 195, 247, 266. “Dominant” – 8, 39, 68, 69 note1, 186. Donauaeshingen festival – XXIII. Duchamp, Marcell (1887-1968) – 220. Dynamic Arts – 16, 22, 23, 72, 115. E. Ear – 40, 61, 120, 140, 172, 231. Eichendorf, Joseph, Carl, Benedict (1788-1887) – 103 Eighteenth Century Music – 150, 167, 173, 243-245. Einstein, Albert (1879-1955) – 23. Einstein, Alfred (!880-1952) - 110. Electronic music – 6, 89. “Emotional Quality” – 253. “Entartete Kunst” (Degenerate art) – XXIV, 251. Erasmus Roterdamos (1466?-1536) – 254. Eshkol, Noa , (1924-2007) – 110 note1, 257. “Esperanto” – 41, 183. Ethics – 270-272, 274. “Ethos” – 109, 130, 202. Ethnic music Equity – 271. Euklid of Alexandria (300 B.C.E.) – 179.



Evil - 224, 230. Eye – 140, 231. F. Fashion – 17, 242. “.Finalis” – 10, 39. Flaubert, Gustav, (1821-1880) – 20. Folk music – 90-93, 97, 188, 210, 212, 260. Foltin Peter – XV. Form in music – 233-239 Fugue – 62. Furtwängler, Willhelm (1886-1954) – 123. G. “Galiard” – 165. Gerschwin, George (1898-1937) 93, 96. “Gestalt” – 236-7. Glass, Philip (b.1937) – 195. Gluck, Christof Willibald, (1714-1787) – 75. Goethe, Johann, Wolfgang (1799-1832) – 145, 199, 215, 224-5. Goleman, Daniel (b.1946) – 253. Good (versus Bad) –XIX, 231. “Gospel” – 95. Gothic period – XX. “Greater music” (Word, Movement, Sound) – 32, 48, 71, 236, 257, 264. Greek Mythology – 22, 43. Gregorian chant – 39, 45, 53, 61, 92, 94. Grell, Eduard (1800-1886) – 45, 235-6. H. Haezrahi, Pepita , (1921-1963) – XX, XXV. Halevi, Jehuda, (1075-1141) – 103, Händel, Georg, Friedrich, (1685-1759) – 56, 149. Hanslick, Eduard, (1825-1904) – XXII, 122-3, 129, 236, 149. Harmony – 36, 38, 65, 109, 160, 188. “Harmony of the Spheres” – 100-103. Harnoncourt, Nikolaus (b.1929) – 123. Haydn, Joeph, (1732-1809) – XII, XXI, 61,81,88,122,127,245. “heavy Rock” – 96. Hegel, Friedrich (1770-1831) – 230. Heifetz, Jascha (1901-1987) – 80. Heine, Heinrich (1797-1856) – 225. Helmholtz, Hermann (1821-1894) – 10.

The Mission and Message of Music


Henri, Pierre, (b.1927) – 3. Herakleitos, (532 B.C.E.-475 B.C.E.) – 14, 162-3,190. “Hermeneutics” – 151-2. Herzfeld, Friedrich – 224, 229. “heterophony” – 67. Hitler, Adolf, (1889-1945) – XXIV. Homophonic texture – 65, 196, 194, 197note6,268. Humanism – 270-1,274-5. I. Identification (with music) – 118. Idiomatic writing – 55. Internalizing music – 24, 30-1, 47. Interval – 7, 13, 157, 164,173,188. Improvisation - 70 J. Jazz – 37,41,48, 76, 80, 93-5, 110, 163, 209, 212,260, 265. Jeremiah the prophet – 88, 214. Jewish tradition – 92. K. Kafka, Franz (1883-1924) - 225 Kant , Immanuel, (1724-1804) – XXVI, 113, 140, 211, 237. Karpel Dany - 94 Katz Ruth, (b.1925?) – 236. Kepler, Johannes, (1571-1630) – 102. Kestenberg, Leo, (1882-1962) – XI. “Kitch” – 152, 228. Klempere, Otto (1885-1973) – 123. Kopytman, Marc (b.1929) – 60, 67. Korean music – 104-5. Kretzchmar, Hermann, (1848-1924) – 150. Kung-fu-ze, (Confucius), (551 B.C.-479 B.C..) - 104. Kurth, Erenst, (1886-1946) –9, 12-3, 113. L. Laban, Rudolf (1879-1958) – 257. Lamish, Dafna – 136. Langer, Susan (1895-1985) – 211, 215. Language (of music) – 5, 8, 32-35, 39, 41, 47, 80, 144, 153, 164, 178, 199, 2001,216.



Laski, Harold (1893-1950) – 264. Levi-Strauss, Claude (1908-2009) – 199. “Lied” – 56, 110. Ligeti, Georgu (1923-2006 – 237. Light nusic – 93-4, 210. “lilly Marlein” – 156 Listener – 84-89, 93, 113, 117, 121, 128, 132-3, 136, 138-141, 151, 158, 160-163, 165, 174, 184, 200, 203, 253, 257, 259, 266, 273. Liszt, Franz (1811-1886) – 55. Luther, Martin – (1483-1546), 63. M. “Maquam” – 39, 70, 76note2, 204 note7. Mar-Chaim, Josef, (b.1940) – 3. Mass-Media (Mass-Communication) – 41, 73, 256-262. Matheson, Johann, (1681-1764) – 151, 203 . Meaning of music – 7. Measure – 25, 103-4. Melody – 25-6, 36-40, 65, 160, 196, 203, 277. Memory – 27, 29-30. Mendelssohn, Felix, Bartholdy,(1809-1847) – 78, 198-9. Mersmann, Hans, (1891-1971) – 211. “Mese”, (In Ancient Greek Music – 10. Meyer, Leonard, B. (1918-2007) – 31, 114. Middle-Ages - XIX, 13, 36, 39, 45-6, 53, 63, 102, 135, 208 ,209 227. Milne, Allan, Alexander (1891-1971) – 278. Mission of music – 133-4, 141. Mode, Modus, Modal scales – 39,70, 109,130-1,179,186-7. Modern music ( see also: Contemporary music, Twentieth century music) – 412,47, 260. Monodic texture – 64, 110, 111note6. Monophony – 59-60. Moonteverdi, Caudio, (1567-1643) – 110, 196. Motte, Helga de la – XI, XXIII. Movement – 44, 46, 115, 190. Mozart, Leopold, (1719-1785) – 73. Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, (1756-1791) – XXII, XXIV, 37, 55, 60, 85, 88, 112, 122, 193, 245. Multi-Media – 96, 152. Munk, Eduard, (1803-1871) – 135, 225. Muse – 22, 43-4. Music as a social phenomenon – 83,107-8, 110, 130, 144. “Music for the Millions” – 87, 258-9. “Musica Viva” - 71 Musical process – 85, 87, 89

The Mission and Message of Music


Muskato, Jehuda ben Josef Arie, (1535-1590) – 103. Musique Concrete – XIX, 3. N. National Radio Stations – XXIV, 259. Neums – 13,158,181. Newton, Isaac, (1642-1727) – 100. Noise – 2. Notation – 13, 44, 71,145-6, 158-9, 168,180,235,257. Numbers – 159. O. Olsvanger, Immanuel, ( 1888-1961) – 145. Opera – 46, 65, 234. Oratorio – 46. Orchestra players – 82. Oriental music – 61, 165. “Orpheos and Euriduche” –74. Overtones – 3-6, 33-35, 67, 187. . P. Paganini, Niccolo, (1782- 1840) – 55. ”Panta Rhey” - 14, 18, 162.. Parallelism Membrorum - 53. Partosh, Oeden, (1907-1977) – XXIII. Passion Play – 46. Pausseur, Henri,(1929-2009) – 75. Pelleg, Frank, (1910-1968) – 213. Pentatonic scale – 39. Peppard, Harold, H. – 22-3. Performer, performance – 48, 70-77, 84-87, 93, 117, 140, 151, 158-9, 161-2, 165, 167-8, 173, 213, 241, 261-2, 264 Plato, (428-7 B.C. – 348-7 B.C.) – 25, 100, 250, 271. Perlmann, Itzchak, (b.1945) – 134. Perahia, Murray, (b.1947) – 89. Piano (instrument) – 54. Picasso, Pablo (1881-1973) - 220 Plutarch, (46-120) – 100. Polyphony , Polyphonic texture – 37, 54, 57, 59, 61-2, 65, 188, 268. “Pop music” – 41,47-8, 58, 68, 76, 80, 96, 134,163,195,209, 212,260. Primitive (people, music) – 235. Programme music – 33, 45-47, 102, 149, 235-6. Pythagoras (570 B.C.-495 B.C.) – 4, 100-1, 188-9.



Q. Quadrivium – 209, 251. R. “Raga” – 39. “ragtime” – 96. Radio stations, studios – 41,89,96,173-4,258-260. Rameau, Jean, Philip, (1683-1764) – 64, 182. Ran, Shulamit, (b. 1949) – 265. “Rap” music – 58, 96. “rating” – 41,260. Ravel, Maurice, (1875-1937) – 37. Record – 16, 72, 261. Reich, Steve, (b.1936) – 195. Reik, Theodor, (1888-1969) – 129, 173. Renaissance – XX, 37, 53, 63, 90, 92, 165, 196, 208-9, 252. Renewal – 17-21, 72, 74-5, 226, 228, 242,257, 262, 267-9. Respighi, Ottorino, (1879-1936) – 73. Revers, Wilhelm, (1911-1987) – 139, 141. Revesz, Geza, (1878-1955) - 251 Rieman, Hugo, (1849-1919) – 113-4, 167, 180, 190. Rilling, Helmuth, (b.1933) – 123. Rococo style - XXII, 150. Rock music – 41, 48,58,68, 76,96,134 (hard Rock), 135, 209, 212, 260. Rock’n Roll – XX, 95. Roll, Gadi ,(b.1959) – 214, 220. Romanticism (Romantic Period, 19th century music) – XXII, XXIII, 33, 54, 66, 789,102, 110, 150, 152, 168, 196, 202, 224-5, 230. Rosbaud, Hans, (1895-1962) – 40. Rousseau, Jean, Jack, (1712-1778) – 32, 54. Rubinstein, Arthur ,(1887-1982) – 77note4. Rules and Regulations , see:Aesthetic Rules and Regulations. Rhythm – XX, 25, 26, 36-38, 44, 46, 60-63, 159-164. S. Sach, Curt, (1881-1959) – 22, 25, 107-8. Salzman, Pnina, (1924-2007) - 151. Scale(musical) – 8, 39-41, 67, 176, 185. Schaeffer, Piere, (1910-1995) – 3. Scherchen, Hermann, (1891-1966) – 140. Schenker, Heinrich, (1868-1935) – 236. Schneider, Marius, (1903-1982) – 24, 155.

The Mission and Message of Music


Schönberg, Arnold, ( 1874-1951) - XIII, 34note3, 40, 56, 66, 135, 137note4, 1823, 247, 267. Schopenhauer, Arthur,( 1788-1860) – 219-221. Schubert, Franz, (1797-1828) – 73, 225, 276-7. Scrutton, Roger, (b.1944) – 199. Seashore, Carl, (1866-1942) – XI, XV, 26, 113. Serial system – 40-1, 42note9, 47,67,152,183,247, 266. “Serious music” – 93, 210. Seter, Mordrchai, (1916-1994) – 278. Shapira, Arik, (b.1943) – 3. Shemer, David – 133, Shmueli, Herzl, (1920-2001) – XI. « Shteiger » , Jewish scale – 39. Silence – 101. Socrates, ( 469B.C. – 399B.C.) - XIX, Solo, soloist – 79-81. Sonata – XXI, 234, 162, 243-4,. Song – 156.Sonata form – XXII, 163-4, 234, 243. Sound – 3, 5, 9, 85, 109, 148, 188. Souveur, Joseph, (1653-1716) – 4. “Spirituals” – 95. Stalin, Joseph, (1878-1953) – XXIV, 170. Static arts – 16, 22-3. Stockhausen, Karl, Heinz , (b.1928) – 76. Strauss, Johann, (1825-1899) – 134. Stravinsky, Igor, (1882-1971) – 37, 93, 96, 139, 162, 172,180,199,211. String-quartet – 55, 80. Strobel, Heinrich, (1898) – XXIII-IV, 173. Stuckenschnidt, Hans, Heinz, (1903-1988) – 182. Style – 240-243, 247. Style Antico, Style Nuovo – XVIII, 54, 65. Suite – 165, 185. “Swing” – 96. “Systema Telayon” - 10, 39, 42note6, 179. T. Tal, Josef, (1910-2008) – 183, 247. Technological revolution – 41,256,258. Tenor – 39. Time – 14, 22- 25, 27, 29, 46, 139-40, 208. Tonality – XXII, 8-9, 33, 34note8, 40, 47, 67, 97, 153, 158, 163, 176-178, 181,184, 187, 228, 246. Tonal scale, harmony – 5, 8, 33, 39, 47, 66, 176. “Tonic” – 10, 39, 177, 186, 267-8. Tolstoy, Lev, Nikolayevich, (1828-1910) – 219.



Tragedy, Greek – 135. “Trecento” – 165. “Trirone” – 151, 172-3. “Trivium” – 209, 251. Truth in art – XX, XXIII, 136-7, 232 Twelf-tone system, see also “Dodecaphonic” music – 31, 182-3, 191. Twentieth Century music, See also, Contemporary music, Modern Music: XXIII, XXIV, 3, 5, 8-9, 33, 34note3, 37-8, 40-1,47-8, 57, 61, 75, 86, 90, 94-5, 97, 131, 136, 173, 180-183, 195, 208, 212, 216, 221,224,229-30, 247, 253, 256, 259, 261, 267, 269, 274. U. Ugly, Ugliness – 174, 224-5, 228-231. Unger, Max – 10,136. “Updating”, (musical performance) – 123.. V. Violin – 54. Vivaldi, Antonio, (1678-1741) – 193. Voice – 2, 51-56, 62. W. Wagner, Richard, (1813-1883) – 46, 156, 236, 251. Wagenseil, Georg, Christoph, (1715-1777) – 215. Warhol, Andy (1928-1987) – 73, 208. Well-tempered piano – 191 “Winnie the Pooh” - 278 Wittgenstein, Ludwig, (1889-1951) – XIX, XXVI, 199. Word – 32, 44-46, 109. “World-music” - 47,97,165,212,260. Y. Yehoshua, Avraham, B. – XVI, XVII, 272. Z. Zamenhof, Ludwig, Lazars, (1859-1917) – 41, 183. Zarlino, Gioseffo, (1517-1590) – 181. Zelter, Carl, Friedrich, (1758-1832) – 215. Zimmermann (music theoretician) - 10. Zhdanov, Andrei, Alexandrovitch , (1896-1948) – XXIII, 170, 251.