By Daniel Chua
This ebook examines the highbrow historical past of instrumental tune, particularly the belief of absolute song. It attempts to teach how definite principles in philosophy, theology and the sciences impact the which means and, certainly, the lifestyles of instrumental track, and the way, in flip, instrumental song is used to unravel or exemplify definite difficulties in smooth tradition. rather than present in a natural and self sufficient shape, track is woven again into the epistemological textile and entangled with a number of discourses, therefore demonstrating the centrality of track within the building of which means.
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Extra info for Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning (New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism)
Their revival of monodic song turned an ancient practice into a modern condition, for what monody cannot tolerate is precisely the mixture that characterises the ancient world of resemblances. Galilei lamented the ‘composite and different natures’ of modern contrapuntal music, echoing the complaints of his mentor, Mei;23 today’s music, says Mei, ‘does not work any of the miracles [known to the ancients], since it conveys to the soul of the listener at one time diverse and contrary signs of affections as it mixes indistinctly together airs and tonoi that are completely dissimilar and of natures contrary to each other’; modern polyphony, he adds, ‘differs haphazardly from one part to another .
See Silke Leopold, Monteverdi: Music in Transition, trans. A. Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), 96–8. 39 The Garden of Eden Musica cannot control his own passions and so exchanges for Utopia an alienation from nature and his desires. In the end, he is divided from Euridice, and is isolated in an Arcadia which has hardened into an indifferent landscape as cold as the symmetry and structural calculations of the ritornello. The dualism that started with the oscillations of vocal and instrumental textures in the prologue spawns a series of extreme fissures in the opera between joy and sadness, light and dark, Arcadia and Hades, gods and men, and it culminates in an unintentional dualism that is the impasse of the final act: there are two endings.
What is different about the word-tone debate is not primarily the question of intelligibility or morality, which, after all, are arguments that the ascetic reformers could easily glean from their reading of St Augustine; it is rather the question of disenchantment that effects the relationship between word and tone, forcing music into a kind of instrumental functionalism where tones are no longer things with a magical ontology but tools of efficient utility. 8 This unity, however, divides. Prior to the Reformation, music was not ‘pure’ music as if it were a separate entity of pitches and rhythms.
Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning (New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism) by Daniel Chua