Thursday, January 30, 2014

on sonority

Besides the usual aspects of music -- melody, harmony, rhythm, counterpoint, development, resolution -- could there something deeper, more essential at work in a composition? A quality to which the listening soul is helpless against impressions that subtly register in and integrate with the unconscious?  That's a question each person will have to answer for himself or herself.

Here, I propose, is sonority as a fantastical commingling of timbres into an organ-like resonance:

This effect is distinct from strictly religious connotations that the word "organ" usually conjures. It's more like a primal synthesis of the human and the unaskable question -- time become the sound of itself. Does sonority only happen during performance, or is it also something mediated through the composer's intuition and imagining?

The blending of timbres into an organ-like plangency is, I suggest, a clue to art as such.

Perhaps through a poet. In some poems (Adam Zagajewski's?), sonority is a thing happening apart from the aural. Not the usual "music" of a poem's language but a something implicit and symbolical. An unheard effect, a cumulative vibration within written gesture -- a poignancy of being in confrontation with Being. Mood as a sonorous choiring of memory, presence, and the necessity of a meaning that is impossible.  


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  2. Firstly: this piece of music is indescribable. How Sibelius and wherefore Sibelius conveys the listener to another land, is one mystery--how your words meld with the strings, is another.


    Quotes from Jacques Andervilliers' posts, 2-1-2014

    ...And mystery is a corrective against nihilism because nihilism says there is nothing while mystery says there is the potentiality of something. With science, it is not as if the mystery of things is removed. If anything, the mystery is heightened. Scientists consistently talk of a feeling of awe. Einstein mentioned it.

    “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”

    (Einstein). The quite unsentimental and rigorous philosopher Wittgenstein also mentioned the mystic, the mysterious:

    “The mystical is not how the world is, but that it is.”

    (Wittgenstein). One could say: “how” the world is, is the area of science. “That” it is, relates to suchness. So: we can see how the category of what we call the mysterious, the mystical, exists not only in spite of science, but as a result of it, or as a natural counterpart. Science can tell us how the world works: it can provide for us an ever-unfolding, ever-more elaborated parts-book, and assembly-guide to the universe. However it does not try to tell us “why” the universe is; rather science tells us the details of how it is. The “why” of it all, the “meaning” or “value” of it all, that is left for the poets.............

    Mystery is so important. Mystery is ambiguity. Where there is mystery, there is potentiality. There are multiple things that could be. It is like the fuzz of the quantum flux, before it is forced by being watched by the observer to freeze into this or that determinate form. In the bluish-gray shadows, where we cannot see distinctly, where maybe we saw the tail of a cat flicker, or maybe it was a tree twig shaking, or maybe it was nothing at all – there lies ambiguity. Mystery is celestial because it is that magic space where what is joins up with what could possibly be. We are too quick to say that all that Reality is, is what Is, what is existent, physically determinate, tracked on our sensors. That is most definitely not all that Reality is. For Reality also includes the daydream of a dragon, it includes all stray thoughts, fantasies, it includes all possibilities, all potentialities. This is very important and this is a source of freedom. Poetry has a lot to do, I think, with the preservation of this realm of existence.

    I feel like good poetry stands outside that. Good poetry is unable to be ideological. It is too sensitive to texts, too hyperaware of voices, too intuitive of the variety of minds, to fall into that selfish error of believing only you are right and all others are in error. It goes through a lot of anguish as a result of this.