Agustin Barrios " -Julia Florida" -

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Rasputin
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Re: Agustin Barrios " -Julia Florida" -

Post by Rasputin » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:57 pm

DCGillrich wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:00 pm
The back story on Julia Florida is given in 'Six Silver Moonbeams: The Life and Times of Agustin Barrios Mangore' by Richard Stover. You can read about it in 'Reflections On Agustin Barrios Mangore’s Julia Florida' at: http://www.benjaminverdery.com/bens-dee ... ia-florida. Her name was Julia Martinez de Rodriguez, but she was nick named Florida by her family because she 'bloomed' early into a young woman. She was a student of Barrios and the niece of Francisco Salazar, a guitar aficionado and friend of Barrios. Here is a sound clip by Richard Stover talking about Agustin Barrios Mangoré and meeting Julia Florida (Martinez): https://soundcloud.com/classicalguitara ... on-agustin.
It's not easy to describe the mood of this piece but it has a kind of bittersweet quality to it like the appreciation of a man for the beauty of a woman he is far too old for.

There is so much longing and sadness in Barrios's music but there is generally something positive there too. I think this mixture is is a big part of what makes it so engaging.

[Edited to put in the context]

Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: Agustin Barrios " -Julia Florida" -

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:20 pm

I don't find Julia bittersweet at all. The melody in the first section is lovely and of course the harmonies are lush--all blooming! And the 'rowing' rhythm is energetic and perhaps sexual. The second section has more rowing; the third is lovely development with a few 'ah!'s thrown in as a series of harmonics--like someone admiring something beautiful and touching. Perhaps everything profound has a bit of bittersweet to it in the sense that time is passing and nothing can be kept as it is or for our own. But I find this piece more descriptive and celebratory than regretful.

of course tomorrow I may change my mind.
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Rasputin
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Re: Agustin Barrios " -Julia Florida" -

Post by Rasputin » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:45 pm

Interesting. I can't remember which of the musical aesthetics guys it was who tried to argue that Mendelssohn's overture The Hebrides expressed hope, largely to be shot down on the grounds that music can't possibly express anything as specific as that in itself, and that where it seems to, it's really because of something outside the music like lyrics or dramatic action. So when I hear kindness tinged with sadness and resignation in this piece, it may be coming from somewhere else (I was dimly aware of the backstory already). Still, there's a section in Sueno en la floresta which expresses trepidation and determination to me, which is another example of the contrast I was talking about. I don't know where that can have come from if not the music itself. I also find it hard to accept that, if Recuerdos was called something else, it would not sound nostalgic. With all of that in mind, I am not sure the aesthetics guys really got to the bottom of it, and in fact I believe this may be impossible in the current state of music theory. The reason there is little or no bridge between these two areas at the moment is that the Kostka and Payne brand of theory does not really explain how music works. I am very pleased to see that Jacob Collier's (borrowed) ideas are getting attention - one of the most interesting things about him is that his analysis of the musical mechanics (essentially, you can move either from the plagal side or the perfect side, and in either case there is a specific voice leading) is allied to a understanding of the basic feeling created by either move (inward, warm, cosy vs outward, confident, definitive). He is getting a backlash from people who are invested in the Kostka and Payne approach in one way or another.

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Re: Agustin Barrios " -Julia Florida" -

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:01 am

This is a complicated subject. But certainly music, among other things, reveals the depths that emotions can reach when they're creatively ordered. And so to say that "hope" is something that can't be shown in music strikes me as...misguided. Delimiting. Music is in discussion with our emotions and can develop them. Every teenager knows this. Of course there's no formula. And the fact that we're often baffled when trying to put our responses to music into words also itself speaks to a fundamental mystery in life, perhaps ("I can't pin it down but Lob der Thranen moves me more than something I entirely understand in a clear and distinct way"). Music plays on the 'unpindownableness' of life.

I'm unfamiliar with the writers Rasputin mentions; I'll try to look into them.
Last edited by Jeffrey Armbruster on Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Rasputin
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Re: Agustin Barrios " -Julia Florida" -

Post by Rasputin » Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:31 am

Jeffrey Armbruster wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:01 am
I'm unfamiliar with the writers Rasputin mentions; I'll try to look into them.
If you are interested enough, the following article can be read for free on Jstor, if you register.

Levinson on Hope in the Hebrides
Gregory Karl and Jenefer Robinson
The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism
Vol. 53, No. 2 (Spring, 1995), pp. 195-199

There is a distinction between the visceral aspect of an emotion (people seem to agree that this can be expressed in music) and the cognitive aspect (this seems to be more controversial). More complex emotions like hope are said to be impossible to convey unless you can express the cognitive aspect, partly because the visceral aspect is the same as, say, relief, and partly because even if music can express, say, love, you can't really have love in the abstract - it is felt for someone or something, and music cannot possibly tell us who or what. I think this underspecification is connected with the 'unpinadownableness' you mention. It means that you may end up feeling hope without knowing what you are hoping for, or may end up feeling something in the neighbourhood of hope or relief, without quite being able to put a name on it. I don't find Karl and Robinson's way out of this very convincing, I must admit.

As for Jacob Collier, check him out on YT. He has also been mentioned in a few recent threads on here.

llebron
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Re: Agustin Barrios " -Julia Florida" -

Post by llebron » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:14 pm

Another possible translation could be "Julia in bloom" like flowers at their peak. From what I have read Julia was one of Barrio's students.
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Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: Agustin Barrios " -Julia Florida" -

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:50 pm

I haven't yet read the article that Rasputin mentions, but I have a question. It's stated that everyone agrees that the 'more visceral' aspects of emotion can be conveyed by music, but more complex emotions require a particular object in order to be known and so can't be expressed by music, which is abstract and object-less. So...how do we know the visceral, object-less emotions that music supposedly CAN convey? Being object-less in music, like the other emotions, wouldn't they also remain unknown? And what exactly are these emotions?

Thomas Aquinas writes about 'the reversion to the phantasm', which means that our knowledge of abstract realities always reverts to an image, something concrete. This is a quasi-Kantian position. Perhaps music presents us with something abstract that each listener then understands by reverting to a series of known emotions that are drawn from life experience. This would be the emotional reversion to the phantasm.
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Rasputin
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Re: Agustin Barrios " -Julia Florida" -

Post by Rasputin » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:40 am

Jeffrey Armbruster wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:50 pm
I haven't yet read the article that Rasputin mentions, but I have a question. It's stated that everyone agrees that the 'more visceral' aspects of emotion can be conveyed by music
I'm not sure we can go that far - my impression is that it is a majority view among those who accept this distinction in the first place, but I am sure there are people who would reject it, and it's a while since I've looked at this in any detail.
, but more complex emotions require a particular object in order to be known and so can't be expressed by music, which is abstract and object-less. So...how do we know the visceral, object-less emotions that music supposedly CAN convey? Being object-less in music, like the other emotions, wouldn't they also remain unknown? And what exactly are these emotions?
The way I understand it is not so much that there are two different categories of emotion, but that an emotion has a raw feel which is filled out by an understanding of what gives rise to it and what its object is. If you strip out the understanding, i.e. the cognitive aspect, you get a feeling that is powerful but hard to put into words. It's like waking up from a dream you can't remember feeling good somehow, but not knowing whether it's contentment, or relief, or pride, or what. I wouldn't say the emotion is unknown, even though it has slipped anchor and no longer has an object - it's just more generalised and harder to pin down. If you could only remember the dream you would be able to fill in the details, and the idea is that the emotion would then take more definite shape. The more sophisticated the emotion, the more important it may be to have the cognitive side. So I am not sure that, on this view, any emotion can be completely represented without the cognitive side - it's more that if we can express the visceral side, we can gesture towards a general emotional response like happiness, sadness or fear, even if something will always be missing. We know of course that music has a far richer palette than this, hence the mystery. It may just be that the importance of cognition has been overstated.
Thomas Aquinas writes about 'the reversion to the phantasm', which means that our knowledge of abstract realities always reverts to an image, something concrete. This is a quasi-Kantian position. Perhaps music presents us with something abstract that each listener then understands by reverting to a series of known emotions that are drawn from life experience. This would be the emotional reversion to the phantasm.
Well, this still leaves the question of how we relate a particular piece of music to a particular known emotion, which for me is the main issue. Kivy made a good start on this when he asked (borrowing I think from Langer) why the St Bernard's face expresses sadness - but because he was unable to explain how music could convey a bearing or gait (due to the impoverished theoretical framework we have all inherited) he had to postulate another mechanism based on simple association, and thus turned to the dark side.

Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: Agustin Barrios " -Julia Florida" -

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:07 am

Thanks Rasputin for your very well thought out responses. You know these issues more fully than me. I'm just tossing out thoughts.

I wonder if artists and mystics might come at this from the other end, so to speak. Sure, the visceral might be raised up to symbolic reality--enter consciousness through language--by becoming a named object. We hope FOR the health of our wife. We love our daughter. But what about transcendent experience--which is neither visceral nor an object (the definition of the transcendent is that it isn't an object) and yet is known, once again, emotionally. The beautiful, the sublime, the numinous. If music, or art, touches on this, then it may be gesturing upwards towards what exceeds the cognitive rather than raising up the merely visceral into the symbolic.

In other words, the inexpressible might not be the result of a lack--music is abstract and a definite object is missing--but rather of a plenitude, a saturation of meaning--there is so much going on at once that we can't grasp it in the time we have before it's moved on to something else. We are overwhelmed by a plenitude, rather than left mystified by a missing object or concept.
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Rasputin
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Re: Agustin Barrios " -Julia Florida" -

Post by Rasputin » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:23 am

Yes, good point. Perhaps part of the joy of music is that it turns the humdrum into the sublime precisely by taking our everyday feelings and stripping the of their objects (if musical expression really does work this way). I see the connection with mysticism - if you were that way inclined you might even say that this is a way of reminding us of the non-duality of self and other.

Is it right that there are no objects in JF though? Doesn't it express the impression she makes on Barrios and his own secondary reaction to this? If so, are the objects supplied by the backstory we are given, and does it follow that the backstory prevents the music from being sublime?

It's all still a conundrum in my opinion.

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