existentialist music?

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
Rognvald
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Re: existentialist music?

Post by Rognvald » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:59 pm

Andrew Fryer wrote:
Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:48 pm
Just my tired opinion. It depends how you define poetry. I have a friend who defines it as, "any words that are not 100% concerned with perfect logic;" in other words, "it sounds good, but it doesn't mean anything."

Andrew,
It is obvious your friend is either uneducated or if he had a high school/university education, it must have been in Physical Education. To say that poetry "sounds good, but it doesn't mean anything" is a denial Poetry's intent: to communicate through verse Man's relationship to the world in which he lives. Homer's "Illiad and Odyssey," the oldest English poem, "Beowulf," Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," Dante's "Divine Comedy, Milton's "Paradise Lost," the poetry and plays of Shakespeare, are prime examples. My personal advice to you is get rid of your friend . . . this kind of thinking could be contagious. Playing again . . . Rognvald P.S. And, isn't this ability to communicate the essence of serious music . . . unlike the pervasive cacophony that carries the name today?
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: existentialist music?

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:09 am

Another riposte might be, logic is truth stripped of beauty. But then, it couldn't be truth after all.
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Rognvald
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Re: existentialist music?

Post by Rognvald » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:24 am

Jeff,
If it is true . . .it is logical. If it is logical . . . it is true. Both truth and logic are beautiful. At least in my world . . . Playing again, Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: existentialist music?

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:38 am

I'll try again. There is truth in King Lear. Andrew's friend says the play doesn't mean anything. I say that an entirely logical summary of the play would leave out its beauty. I would add that the truth shown in King Lear transcends what Andrew's friend seems to mean by 'logic'. I don't think we understand Lear raving on the heath by examining everything that's led up to it through the categories of logic. I don't think we appreciate Hamlet that way either.

There's certainly a highly logical structure to Bach's B minor mass. I don't think Bach wrote it as an essay in logic. To hear it as if it were would be reductive. Again, you'll miss the beauty.
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Andrew Fryer
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Re: existentialist music?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:42 am

My friend has an MA in philosophy from Cambridge university. The rest was my interpretation of what he might mean, based solely on how he expresses himself in internet discussions. Face to face he is slightly different, but not so much so that it isn't worth getting him onto the subject of beer as quickly as possible. I myself thought of adding that poetry and art can say more about man's condition than anything else, but the lack of logic in Joe public is frightening and should be addressed. And the people one has endless chat-room arguments with are neither poets nor artists, so perhaps my friend also intends irony.

I have done CSE applied maths, O-level pure maths, A-level applied maths, A-level pure maths, a degree in maths, and yet the only place I have ever been taught any logic (other than the Boolean stuff that I was taught during an engineering degree I dropped out of) is in the Open University's Introduction to the Humanities. So when a person on a forum or in the street tells me he knows what logic is, I suspect he has learnt the word from Star Trek.

Actually, I'm probably misremembering - in O-level pure maths we did Venn diagrams. That probably constituted our education in logic.

On this forum I have been told that there are written sources that predate the invention of writing. Poetry! [/irony]
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

malc laney
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Re: existentialist music?

Post by malc laney » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:13 am

Lordy Mumma ! I would not have posted this thread if i had known it's juvenile argument about poetry and logic ."Je pense donc je suis" well i'm not so sure.........

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: existentialist music?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:47 am

It's Jeffrey's fault for not letting sleeping dogs lie!
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: existentialist music?

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:47 pm

Thanks Malc for giving me my youth back! Gee, is that French? Golly.

The old 'an insult will serve when I have no meaningful reply' gambit. I guess you win! Oh well who cares? I'm just tossing off words while I rest my hands during practice. You?

Andrew, I still think that your very highly educated friend has a poor notion of poetry. But you're right, I kicked this poor dog for no good reason. Sorry pup!
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oc chuck
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Re: existentialist music?

Post by oc chuck » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:32 pm

RobMacKillop wrote:
Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:19 pm
"I don't think, therefore I ban" seems to be a modern credo.
Absolutely Brilliant!!!

oc chuck
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Re: existentialist music?

Post by oc chuck » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:33 pm

Laudiesdad69 wrote:
Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:11 am
Neil Diamond:)

Maybe Neil Diamond is existentialist, with a few exceptions, only he can
sing his own songs

Rognvald
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Re: existentialist music?

Post by Rognvald » Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:07 am

Jeffrey Armbruster wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:38 am
I'll try again. There is truth in King Lear. Andrew's friend says the play doesn't mean anything. I say that an entirely logical summary of the play would leave out its beauty. I would add that the truth shown in King Lear transcends what Andrew's friend seems to mean by 'logic'. I don't think we understand Lear raving on the heath by examining everything that's led up to it through the categories of logic. I don't think we appreciate Hamlet that way either.

There's certainly a highly logical structure to Bach's B minor mass. I don't think Bach wrote it as an essay in logic. To hear it as if it were would be reductive. Again, you'll miss the beauty.
Jeff,
To posit that a poem, novel, painting, or musical composition loses it beauty by logical summary/explanation is to negate the artist's primal reasons for creation: namely, communication. If we do not seek to communicate through Art, then what is the purpose? Your example of Lear is a good one since Shakespeare develops the motifs of greed, love, politics, betrayal, lust and family as Lear descends into madness. How else could one understand the nuances of King Lear if he /she did not understand human personality, emotion, and motivation from a logical perspective?
In regards to Bach, logic was not the motivating force/animus for creation, but rather expression and "communication" through the musical idiom. We certainly agree. However, can Bach's music be dissected through logical application of music theory? Absolutely, but if one embraces this approach, he risks losing the visceral magic and beauty of Bach to a cold, academic approach. Only a musicial academician could see Bach's B Minor Mass as an "essay in logic" and would thusly circumvent its expression of beauty. However, it is fair to say that the B minor Mass was written after the death of Augustus II of Poland in hopes that Bach would become the court composer to Augustus III. . . a certainly mercenary incentive that, in my opinion, in no way invalidates its beauty, art and message. Playing again, Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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Re: existentialist music?

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:24 am

That's a highly thoughtful response, Rognvald. We certainly agree on most things. Sometimes I get a bee in my bonnet. In this case, I would qualify your first sentence. My visceral response to Andrew's friend's statement that "poetry sounds good but it doesn't mean anything" involves this. You say that a logical summary of a Shakespeare sonnet (say) would retain the beauty of the poem itself. The beauty lies in its logical meaning; the rest is just pretty words that are superfluous. (You didn't say this but I think it's implied in your position.) But that's not how poetry works. Lear isn't studied in one of Andrew's A level applied maths courses because it would be senseless to do so. Lear appeals to our emotions, senses, imagination, Reason (which I would say isn't just another word for logic), empathy (pity), moral sensibility etc.etc. These are all existential (that word!) realities that are poorly described or understood or summarized by logical categories alone. I mean, Lear's madness is irrational; and he descends into madness because of an unbalanced judgment concerning his daughters. Shakespeare is exploring the irrational, the illogical aspect of human behavior and its consequences. But my main point is, no logical summary of the play to date has succeeded in eclipsing its poetry and rendering it incidental. It can't. Just like a photo of Notre Dame can never be an adequate summary of one of Monet's paintings of that Church.

By the way my earlier phrase 'logic is truth stripped of beauty' is an allusion to Keats' Ode to a Grecian Urn. I was just trying to be clever.
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Andrew Fryer
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Re: existentialist music?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:15 am

Jeffrey Armbruster wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:24 am
Andrew's friend's statement that "poetry sounds good but it doesn't mean anything"
Whoa, hosses!

My friend stated nothing - he isn't a member of this forum - I pretended to speak for him.
"any words that are not 100% concerned with perfect logic;" in other words, "it sounds good, but it doesn't mean anything."
This quote is my interpretation (and the second half of it is meant to be more flippant than the first half) of why he uses the word poetry to condemn poor reasoning in the context of a forum discussion. The word "it", if you like, refers to "the argument you just offered" not to "poetry". I doubt very much if it would be his definition of poetry in every context.

If only all the world's forum contributors had jobs in the legal business!

The Romantic fallacy is something we all tend to suffer from nowadays, unless we have been trained not to, so perhaps my friend is merely addressing his audience?

===============================================================================================================

I've got a feeling there's far more to this than has been said so far, but every piece of diffusion I perform will weaken what I say, so I'll end with some notes. Poetry is the tool, not the content (although I can picture you saying, No, it's the content! not realising that may be contradicting everything else you say). The content of Lear, apart from the arguments, the dialogues, is tragic drama. It happens to have been written in verse, not prose. I had a discussion once about Lear with a RADA graduate. We agreed it had things in it that didn't hang together (i.e. it contains less truth than you imagine) - Cordelia's wimpery, e.g. If I remember correctly, his comment was along the lines of "yes, Shakespeare needn't make any sense, but the secret to acting it is to plough through it with total conviction as though it made sense". In modern parlance, I suggest, this will suspend the audience's disbelief (an expression I hate because of all the fools who think it means you have to pretend it's good when it's bad)? BTW, I haven't read Lear for 40 years, so don't expect me to remember any details.

===============================================================================================================
Poetry's intent: to communicate through verse Man's relationship to the world in which he lives.
I don't know about intent. Also you neglect the inadvertently ignoble things such as the transmission of cultural values that, rightly or wrongly, enable that culture to survive. Propaganda in modern parlance.
I'm poor on generalisation about the Classics. For example, the other day in a Pirates of the Caribbean commmentary I heard someone explain what a Greek chorus does. I started by thinking, I doubt I could say that in a nutshell. Then I thought, no, probably it's because every Greek chorus is different, and he's just quoting what Screenwriting 101 taught him. But originally poetry was the only form of communication, because it was oral communication and verse is easier to memorise than prose. It doesn't have to be good poetry, as oral poetry recordings in the Caucasus 90 years ago showed. But Homer was indeed a very special poet, albeit riddled with cultural values, not all good. Again, I refuse to try a succinct summary of Homer. (Greek) Prose was a tool invented by Ionian proto-scientific writers in the 6th c BC.

The more I say, the worse it will get, so to hell with it. I'm off to read Plautus.
Ha ha, learn to scan Plautus's Latin - that will teach you what poetry is!
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

PeteJ
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Re: existentialist music?

Post by PeteJ » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:58 am

Rognvald wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:24 am
Jeff,
If it is true . . .it is logical. If it is logical . . . it is true. Both truth and logic are beautiful. At least in my world . . . Playing again, Rognvald
...in my world also.

Rognvald
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Re: existentialist music?

Post by Rognvald » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:28 pm

Jeffrey Armbruster wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:24 am
That's a highly thoughtful response, Rognvald. We certainly agree on most things. Sometimes I get a bee in my bonnet. In this case, I would qualify your first sentence. My visceral response to Andrew's friend's statement that "poetry sounds good but it doesn't mean anything" involves this. You say that a logical summary of a Shakespeare sonnet (say) would retain the beauty of the poem itself. The beauty lies in its logical meaning; the rest is just pretty words that are superfluous. (You didn't say this but I think it's implied in your position.) But that's not how poetry works. Lear isn't studied in one of Andrew's A level applied maths courses because it would be senseless to do so. Lear appeals to our emotions, senses, imagination, Reason (which I would say isn't just another word for logic), empathy (pity), moral sensibility etc.etc. These are all existential (that word!) realities that are poorly described or understood or summarized by logical categories alone. I mean, Lear's madness is irrational; and he descends into madness because of an unbalanced judgment concerning his daughters. Shakespeare is exploring the irrational, the illogical aspect of human behavior and its consequences. But my main point is, no logical summary of the play to date has succeeded in eclipsing its poetry and rendering it incidental. It can't. Just like a photo of Notre Dame can never be an adequate summary of one of Monet's paintings of that Church.

By the way my earlier phrase 'logic is truth stripped of beauty' is an allusion to Keats' Ode to a Grecian Urn. I was just trying to be clever.
Jeff,
I neither said, nor implied that "The beauty lies in its logical meaning; the rest is just pretty words that are superfluous" since we would lose the the second(no rating intended) most important ingredient to good writing: the way you communicate your idea(s). It would negate the musical beauty of Shakespeare, the subtle rhythmic and piercing metaphors of Yeats, and the sparse, descriptive verse we see with the Zen poets. Poetry, as all good writing, must have two elements: thought and expression. Without both, it descends into doggerel or worse. Secondly, as someone who has read all of Shakespeare's plays in addition to Ben Johnson and much of Christopher Marlowe, I don't see Lear's madness as "irrational" but rather as a logical sequence that is precipitated by Leer's denouement where he finally sees the loyalty of Cordelia and the duplicity of his other two daughters who seek the throne. Of course, we have the elements of greed, betrayal, lust, court intrigue, a lost battle, and murder to round out Old Lear's descent into what I I prefer to call interminable grief rather than "madness." Remember, Lear's grief was the result of Cordelia's unnecessary death and had nothing to do with a descent into madness . . . just the darkest emotional state of grief that leads to his ultimate end. I hope our readers are kind since we have certainly traveled a path beyond the Classical Guitar but nonetheless a discussion which reflects the communal bond of thought and expression in all the arts. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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