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TIe BiIenna oJ MusicaI Meaninc

AulIov|s) Edvavd A. Lippnan


Souvce InlevnalionaI Beviev oJ lIe AeslIelics and SocioIocv oJ Music, VoI. 12, No. 2 |Bec.,
1981), pp. 181-189
FuIIisIed Iv Croatian Musicological Society
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DISCUSSIONS, IRASM,
12
(1981), 2, 181-202
DISCUSSIONS
THE DILEMMA OF MUSICAL MEANING
Meaning
has doubtless been the chief
object
of musical
speculation
in
our
century.
For
good
or for ill it has
largely replaced
older
philosophic
and aesthetic
concepts
such as
beauty, imitation, expression,
and content.
The
replacement
seems
very
much to the
good
as far as content is con-
cerned,
for it is not at all clear that music >contains<<
anything,
but there
seems little doubt that it has
meaning
of some
kind,
if
only
because the
music of distant times or cultures does not
always
make sense.
The
predominance
of
meaning
in musical
thought
is a
reflection,
as
we
might expect,
of its
importance
in
20th-century philosophy,
which
brought
about a
deeper understanding
of
logic
and mathematics and
language.
The
problem
of
knowledge
became a
problem
of the
symbolic
formulation of
knowledge.
The domain of
meaning
was
expanded by
an-
thropology
and
by
the
psychology
of childhood. But the
conception
of
meaning,
ramified and
complex
in
general,
was
peculiarly
intractable in
its
application
to
music,
for even if music is
unquestionably meaningful,
it
rarely possesses meaning
in the most obvious sense
-
that of
referring
to or
representing
extra-musical
objects
or occurrences.
The
emergence
of
meaning
as a central concern of
philosophic thought
has been attested to
by
three
types
of
investigation: hermeneutics, sym-
bolism,
and
semiology.
However diverse their
original
fields of
application
may
have
been,
these
approaches
to
meaning
are alike in
claiming appli-
cability
to
every
area of human
expression.
This
generality
was attributed
to hermeneutics
by Dilthey
and
Gadamer,
to
symbolism by Cassirer,
and
to
semiology by
Peirce and Saussure. In each case
nothing
less than the
distinguishing
feature of human
mentality
was at
stake,
an attribute that
was to succeed reason and
language
as the
defining
characteristic of intelli-
gence.
As a
logical
consequence
of their
generality, then,
the three modes
of
understanding
were
applied successively
to the
question
of meaning
in music.
In two articles
published
in the 1902 and 1905 issues of the Jahrbuch
Peters,
Hermann Kretzschmar advanced a detailed
plan
of musical her-
meneutics. He
provided
a verbal
interpretation
first of
intervals, rhythmic
patterns, chords,
and
themes,
and then of the first
Fugue
of the Well-Tem-
pered
Clavier. He used a conventional
vocabulary
of
types
of
feeling:
>Joyous<<, defiant<<, >elegiac<<, >energetic<<, >triumphant<,
and so on. Oc-
casionally
visual
images
were drawn into the
description.
Kretzschmar
181
DISCUSSIONS, IRASM,
12
(1981), 2, 181-202
182
pointed
out three alternatives to such an
interpretation:
a formal
description
in technical and statistical
terms,
the uncritical
adoption
of a
summary
characterization,
and a
flight
of
poetic fancy,
all of them
unsatisfactory,
although
for different reasons.
Kretzschmar undercut his hermeneutic
enterprise, however, by
intro-
ducing
a
pedagogical purpose.
His
proqposal
was
literally
one of a curric-
ulum for
beginners
in
music,
for untrained listeners.
Musically gifted
people,
he
proposed,
will be able to
skip
over much of his course. Whether
or not Kretzschmar's
plan
would have
pedagogical
value for
any group
of
people
we need not consider
here;
but words of course cannot
faithfully
convey any
non-verbal
experience.
They may
characterize
music,
but
neither
descriptive
words nor the
concepts
represented by
them are de-
noted
by
the
music,
and it is difficult to
imagine
a connotation without a
denotation. Nor can music be reduced to a means of
communication, espe-
cially
not for a
message
that can be stated in
language.
With
respect
to
an essential musical
meaning, then,
Kretzschmar's hermeneutics must be
regarded
as
inadequate.
It is
clearly
to be used in alternation with the
music
itself,
a
practice
that amounts to
lan
implicit acknowledgment
of its
inadequacy.
It has the further defect that Kretzschmar's
descriptions
are
in his own view the same as those of the
Baroque Affektenlehre;
there is
no indication that hermeneutics
may
be a historical variable.
The chief musical
representative
of Cassirer's views of
symbolism
is
Susanne
Langer,
who like Arnold
Schering, attempts
to define musical
meaning
in terms of the
conception
of
symbolism.
She tries
persistently
to
arrive at a
satisfactory
definition of musical
symbolism, continually
revis-
ing
her
terminology
and her
conception.
She
employs paradoxical
notions
such as
,presentational(< symbol
and >>unconsummated<
symbol.
The mu-
sical
symbol
is fused with its
meaning,
she
maintains,
but finds subse-
quently
that music has no
meaning:
it has
import
instead. Or
again,
music
becomes a virtual
image
of inner
experience.
But if the inner
experience
in
question
has no existence
separate
from or
independent
of the
image,
how can it be
represented
or referred to
by
the music.
Finally symbols
are
said to formulate as well as to
refer,
and formulation is
logically prior
to
reference;
musical
symbolism
formulates
only.
But
how, then,
can music
have
meaning?
Schering's
difficulties are
equally
evident. After his valuable studies
of Bach's
symbolism,
he
begins
to find external reference where there is
no evidence of it
-
an understandable
tendency
for some one convinced
of the
universality
of
symbolism.
Both his theoretical
position
and his con-
fusion can be examined
readily
in two
important
articles
published
in the
Jahrbuch Peters for 1935 and 1936
respectively.
The motif that
opens
Tristan,
to take a
conspicuous illustration, may
have the antecedents that
Schering proposes,
but in what sense are these antecedents
symbolic? Sym-
bolism in vocal music does not
appear
to
represent
a
problem,
for the
question
can
simply
be transferred to the
text,
where the
imponderables
conveniently
seem to
disappear.
Even
though
the transfer is
actually
not a
DISCUSSIONS, IRASM,
12
(1981), 2, 181-202
183
legitimate one,
the falsification it entails is
readily
overlooked.1 But the
problem
of instrumental music cannot be
disposed
of
quite
so
easily.
One
important approach
is
certainly
to trace
meaning
to some
explicit
verbal
connection. Just as a title or a
program
can
specify meaning,
so can instru-
mentally performed
melodies or motifs
acquire meaning
if
they
are
sung
elsewhere in the same
work,
or if
they
are well known to
begin
with as
vocal music. Or
alternatively, meaning may
be bestowed
by
a visible dra-
matic action or event. The
vocabulary
of
symbols
derived in these
ways
from
explicit
connections is
obviously very
different in different
spheres
of musical
practice
-
very
different for Bach than for Beethoven or for
Wagner.
And it is
apparent
that the contents and even the existence of an
older
symbolic
world will be known
only
to some one conversant with the
styles
and documents and
pictorial
evidence relevant to a
given problem,
even if
familiarity
with the
symbols
was
relatively
common at the time
they
came into existence. In this
respect Schering
cannot be
criticised;
he was
particularly
sensitive to the historical career of musical
symbols.
For that
very reason, however,
there are times when we cannot
easily
distinguish
unfounded
speculation
from
insight
in his case.
Demonstrating
the
presence
or the exact nature of musical
symbolism, particularly
of an
esoteric or
purportedly suppressed symbolism,
can
obviously
be a difficult
if not
insuperable problem.
Did Beethoven
really
have to
provide
a
key
to the
question
and answer of
>Mu13
es sein?< or was the
symbolism
suffi-
ciently
well known at that time to. make
explanations unnecessary?
Or
again,
were the
portentous questions
asked in terms of the same motivic
family by
Liszt and
Wagner recognized
as such even
apart
from their
programmatic
and dramatic context? Or to take a
difficulty directly
in-
volved in
Schering's work,
when is instrumental
lyricism symbolic
of
sing-
ing?
If the lack of
precision
in
Schering's thought
is added to the
problem
of
obtaining
evidence for his
contentions,
it is not at all
surprising
that his
protracted
and
provocative
effort to convert
symbolism
from a
particular
device to a
phenomenon accounting
for musical
meaning
in
general
fell
short of his
goal.
Semiology
has been still less
productive
for music than hermeneutics
and
symbolism.
Its
generality,
like that of all schemes for a universal
language,
has been more
promise
than fulfillment. It has been based for the
most
part
on
linguistics,
so that its
application
to music
-
which has been
undertaken most
prominently by Jakobson, Ruwet,
and Nattiez
-
consists
largely
in
searching
for similarities between music and
language.
The
similarities, unfortunately,
are
outweighed by
the differences.
To be
sure,
the distinction between an individual musical work
(or
an
improvisation)
and the musical
system
it is
grounded
mirrors the dis-
tinction between an individual
literary
work
(or
an
improvised discourse)
and the
systematic
structure of the
language
it
employs.
And tones can be
compared,
with some
degree
of
accuracy,
to
phonemes, just
as successive
The falsification is a
simplification,
for the
symbolism
of vocal music is actual-
ly
the resultant of the
symbolism
of the
sung
text and that of the
accompaniment.
DISCUSSIONS, IRASM,
12
(1981), 2, 181-202
musical
motifs, themes, phrases,
and so on
(in
an articulated
style)
can be
compared
to
morphemes, words, linguistic phrases,
and so on. Cadences are
comparable
to
junctures,
the scalar
system
to the
phonological system,
melodic
grammars
to
linguistic grammars.
But resemblances such as these
do not
appear
to advance our
understanding
and
analysis
of music in
any
significant way; they
seem
simply
to
provide
fashionable rubrics for
prob-
lems that can be handled
just
as well with traditional
terminology.
Even
worse, they pretend
to be sufficient in
themselves,,
and thus succeed in
eliminating
the historical
study
of
style,
which is their true
competitor
in
defining
musical
meaning.
The
question
is
really
how
thoroughgoing
the
similarities are. Double articulation in
music,
for
example
-
if it exists
at all
-
is
certainly
different from double articulation in
language,
for the
relationship
of tones to themes is
really
not the same as the
relationship
of
phonemes
to
words,
which differ from one another much more
sharply.
But even the
comparable aspects
of music and
language belong
almost
entirely
to the
province
of
structure;
a
comparative
consideration of mean-
ing yields
a
completely
different and much more
negative
result. In the
end,
semantics
may
be no more than a new word for the familiar referen-
tial
aspects
of musical
meaning,
and
syntax
a new word for form or for
structure.
The value of
replacing
>form<< and
>meaning< by >syntax<
and >se-
mantics<<
may
be
simply
that our attention will be directed to
aspects
of
music that would otherwise not be
considered,
tol the detailed course of
meaning,
for
example, through
whole musical statements or
sections,
which
would be
analogous
to sentences or
paragraphs.
The intimate connection
of
syntax
and
semantics,
which is much more
striking
in music than it is
in
language,
is a relevant circumstance here. While it
may
seem to
pre-
vent or obstruct the
separate study
of
syntax,
it
suggests
at the same time
that we
may
be able to
get
at musical semantics
through
musical
syntax
- to
get
at the
invisible,
as it
were, by
means of the visible.
Certainly
the
types
of
repetition
and recurrence and
equivalence
in musical
syntax,
which
generally play
so
prominent
a
role,
are
responsible
for
conspicuous
aspects
of musical
meaning. They
are also an
example
of the character of
the
relationship
between music and
language,
for
syntax
in
language
is
based on
principles
which are
entirely
different from
repetition
and
equiv-
alence,
so that music would seem closer to
poetry
and rhetoric in
partic-
ular
-
as indeed it has been
historically
-
rather than to
language
in
general.
On the other
hand, syntax
is
responsible
for
meaning
in
language
also,
even if this kind of >structural
meaning(<
is
relatively inconspicuous.
The various
inadequacies
of
hermeneutics, symbolism,
and
semiology
as accounts of musical
meaning
-
at least as
they
have so far been con-
ceived
-
prompts
a return to musical
experience
itself in a renewed effort
to discern features which would
explain
the unmistakable
feeling
that
music makes sense and that it is
meaningful.
Now we can sometimes dis-
tinguish
in music an instance of
meaning
in its
proper
sense of external
reference. There
may
be a
duplication
or an imitation of external
sounds,
184
DISCUSSIONS, IRASM,
12
(1981), 2, 181-202
or an
approximate
formal
similarity
to some external
object
or
event,
or
to some narrative or dramatic action.
Through
its formal
properties
or the
feeling
it
evokes,
or
through
both at
once,
music
may
refer to some emo-
tional
experience
known outside of music or to some
general conception
such as heroism. References of these kinds
during
the
Baroque
era could
make use of a conventionalized
vocabulary
of
figures.
In
general, however,
references such as these would not be
grasped
without a
descriptive
title
or narrative to
guide
the
performer
or listener. Indeed
program
music so
increases the
range
and
precision
of
every type
of external
reference,
that
music is
given
a
deceptive versatility
of
meaning
which
suggests
the
cap-
ability
of
language.
On the other
hand,
even
purely
instrumental music will
represent
the
society
or culture in which it had its
origin.
And there is
finally
what we
may
call associative
meaning,
which consists in the
images
or ideas entertained
by
various listeners in
response
to
music, although
these
are
always private
reactions or reveries that can be
entirely
unrelated to
the music that evokes them.
External reference
may
also be musical in nature. One work
may
refer to another
-
one of Brahms to one of
Schumann,
for
example.
Or
a work
may
refer to an older
style
in
general
-
to the imitative
polyphony
of the
Renaissance,
or to the
style
of Bach. Even without the
composer's
intention,
a musical work will
normally represent
the
composer's
own
style,
and the
styles
of its
genre, nation,
historical
era,
and so forth. Somewhat
similar to this is the reference of functional music to the occasion of its
use: of
liturgical
music to a
religious service,
or a
wedding
march to a
wedding.
Meaning
can also be based on the division of the musical
experience
itself,
with one
part
or
aspect becoming
the
meaning
to which the other
part
refers. This division can occur with
composite
musical arts such as
song, dance,
and
opera.
The
melody sung
will
point
to the
meaning
of the
text as its own
meaning,
or to the text itself. The music of a dance will
refer to the
dance,
even if this is not
present.
A
general type
of division is
that of the sound of music from its acoustic sources. This is a fundamental
type
of
perceptual meaning:
the tones
represent
the
singers,
or the instru-
ments
being played; they
are in fact
part
of their
sounding
sources.
A
very important type
of internal
meaning
is the reference of a
part
of
a musical
composition
to other
parts
and to the whole. The
meaning
of
the
opening
of a work is made
up
to some extent of
anticipation
or inti-
mation;
it often becomes
charged,
in
addition,
with the
meaning
of the
whole. Recurrences of themes refer to their earlier or initial
appearance;
cadences of various kinds
signify
the end of sections and of the
work;
indeed each
distinguishable phrase
contains some
reference,
however
poorly
defined,
to the
whole, especially
after
repeated hearings;
and in its melodic
and harmonic
characteristics,
the
phrase
defines its
particular position
and
its status with
respect
to the movement or work as a whole. Each
phrase
also contains some reference to its
predecessors, particularly
to the
phrase
directly
before it. It
may
be a
repetition,
for
example,
or
begin
as a
repe-
185
DISCUSSIONS, IRASM, 12
(1981), 2, 181-202
tition, only
to
diverge
as it
ends,
like the
answering phrase
in the balanced
structures with half and full cadences that are so familiar to us. It
may
form a contrast
having relatively
little resemblance to what
precedes it,
as in the
Abgesang
of a Bar form. Or it
may
have a
complex relationship
made
up
of both
similarity
and
difference,
as in the second section of
Baroque
dances.
Extremely
common also are
motifs, themes,
melodic
phra-
ses,
or whole melodies that differ from their initial form in some
way,
dec-
orating, inverting, augmenting it,
or
changing
the
rhythm
or
key
or mode.
It is not difficult to see in instances of
any
of these how the
meaning
of the
repetition
or
transformation or novel
configuration depends
on what
pre-
cedes. Indeed in a
larger framework,
even the
meaning
of the individuai
style
of a
composer
or of a work is constituted
by departures
from the
past
or from the
style
of some other
composer
or the
style
of a
given
genre.
This alteration of what is
past
is not
only
the source of
meaning
but
the source of the
precise quality
of the
meaning.
Matched
against
the
given,
the new
brings
a difference into existence that is measured
accurately by
the mind, which
closely compares
the
moving specious present
of the new
with the retained trace of the
original.
This is the basis of the
composer's
construction of the new as well as the listener's
reception
and constitution
of it.
Anticipation similarly
is not limited to the
opening
of a
work,
but is
more or less
present throughout,
and in
crescendos, accelerations,
or tran-
sitions to
significant
restatements of
themes,
can reach a dramatic
intensity.
Thus
meaning
can best be defined
by form;
the two are
paired aspects
of
the same
totality.2
Simultaneously
with the
production
of
meaning by partition,
another
type
of division will also reveal
relationships
of
meaning
in a fashion that
is more continuous and that is not
dependent upon
the relative similarities
and the
properties
of
parts.
The inner course of musical
feeling
can be
separated
from the audible
physical process
that
accompanies
it. The sound
then will refer to the
feeling
that it embodies as an outcome of the
process
of
composition
or the
process
of
performance,
and to the
feeling
it
provokes
the
performer
and the listener to constitute. All of these inner
experiences
are
ideally
the
same,
but will differ
substantially
from one another when
the
performer
and listener
belong
to a later or distant culture or to a
different social class than those connected with the work when it was
composed.
The inner
experience
follows
every
detail of the flow of
sonority.
It is
compounded
of the sensational and sensuous
quality
that is
directly
attached to the
sound,
the concomitant course of emotive and volitional
experience,
the
dynamic feeling
of forward
motion,
which
ranges
from
languishing
to
propulsive,
and
perhaps
also of associated ideas and visual
images,
which
represent
an external
type
of
meaning.
The
qualities,
feelings,
volitional
properties,
and
propulsion
are not
fully separable
from
one
another; they
tend to fuse and
interpenetrate.
Each instrument and
2
Even the material
represented by
the musical
system possesses
form and mean-
ing,
which can be connected
;(somewhat abstractly)
with the nature and
history
of
society.
186
DISCUSSIONS, IRASM, 12
(1981), 2, 181-202
187
each
range
of
pitch
and loudness and
rapidity
contributes its own
sphere
of
feeling
to the
totality.
The
trombone,
for
example, possesses
an intrin-
sic
quality
to which the characterization )>reverential and
awe-inspiring<<
might
well be
applied, although
its association with
occasions of
religious
solemnity
and with
supernatural figures
in
opera
has reinforced and en-
hanced this
quality
for
many generations
of
composers
and listeners. The
association
may
even reach back
further,
to the use of sackbuts in Renais-
sance
ceremony
and to their
depiction
in
paintings
of
angelic
musicians.
Internal
meaning
is both
meaning
in the
process
of
forming
and mean-
ing
as
already formed;
the
segments
of the work as well as its
larger
divi-
sions and the work as a whole all create not
only
a
dynamic, moving
and
growing meaning
but also a
synoptic,
static
meaning
that is
synthesized
by
the retentive
powers
of audition. It is a
striking
and essential feature
also that
many
if not all of the
components
of internal
meaning
take on an
objective
as well as a
subjective character;
they
are
perceived
as
belonging
to our inner
experience
and at the same time as
belonging
to the sound
-
in the tendencies of the tones and the
phenomenal
ebb and flow of the
course of the music. While we attribute colors to environmental
objects
and
pain
to
ourselves,
music combines both of these localizations.3 What
justifies
or at least
motivates, then,
the division of music into sound and
feeling,
into outer and inner?
This division would seem to
represent
a fundamental
tendency
of
thought, grounded
doubtless in
perceptual
and environmental
experience;
our successful
adjustment
to life rests on
detecting
the
significance
for
our well
being
of
every symptom
and
physical
event around us. We auto-
matically
connect our reactions with their
provocation,
and our formative
and
constituting
activities with their external
products.
In the case of art
and music in
particular,
more than in non-aesthetic
experience,
we find
that our inner
experiences appear
also outside us,4 as
properties
of aesthetic
objects.
But the
very
institution of the musical
audience,
of
listeners,
com-
posers,
and
performers, reinforces the division of music into outer and
inner, while the fundamental dualities of Western
thought,
of
object
and
subject,
of
body
and
soul, impose
themselves on our
experience
as a matter
of course. And in aesthetics
also,
we
speak
of form and
content,
or more
usually now,
of form and
meaning.
The internal reference of
part
to
part
and of
part
to
whole,
and
espe-
cially
of sound to inner
experience,
seem to account for the
meaningfulness
of
music,
for the fact that it makes sense.
They
also
explain why
it has
been said so often that music means
itself,
but also has been said
just
as
often that music has no
meaning.
The
meaning
is wedded to the
form; they
are both
aspects
of a
single experience,
both
present
even in the most ele-
mental fcrmulations of sonorous material. But from its
very beginning,
3
Strictly speaking,
musical
properties
do not adhere to environmental
objects,
but to
phenomenal ones,
which are not localized at all.
4
Cf. footnote 3.
DISCUSSIONS, IRASM,
12
(1981), 2, 181-202
this inner
meaning
is a
product
of cultural modes of musical
perception.'
There is a basic constituent of
meaning
that is universal: the
continuity
and
self-identity
of
consciousness,
the kinesthesis connected with audible
rhythm,
the
variety
of
auditory
and
vibratory qualities
connected with
differences in
pitch.
But
any
tonal
pattern
whatsoever builds on these
foundations a cultural mode of
organization,
a musical
style specific
to
time and
place,
and
may
add to this cultural
style
a further
specificity
of
genre,
of
person,
and of instrument and
type
of vocal tone. The
style
of the
culture
may
be
entirely foreign
to our
own,
and from this circumstance
there arises the
necessity
of hermeneutics.
The value of
hermeneutics, however,
is another matter. For the mean-
ing
of music is so
idiosyncratic
that it cannot be
conveyed
in
language.
Words can at best
give
us a
very approximate description,
a kind of locus
of
meaning
rather than the
meaning
itself. And the
universally intelligible
features of music are
only
a small
part
of the
whole;
their relevance is
appreciable only
as
they
enter into the
culturally specific meaning
of the
style.
But if verbal
description
is taken
together
with the music rather than
in
place
of
it,
the musical
meaning
is
really changed
and made
precise.
It is
impossible
to
give
a
description
of the
meaning
without
making
the
meaning
conform to it
-
so
eager
is music to
cling
to
every suggestion
from the outside. This is not to
say
that the
meaning
of instrumental music
in itself is not
precise.
It is
just
that this
precision
is not amenable to inter-
pretation
of whatever
kind;
a new
precision
created
by
the
description
suppresses
it and
replaces
it.
Still another
approach
to musical
meaning
is
provided by
a
knowledge
of other
aspects
of the culture in which the music was created. These will
have some familial
similarity
to
music, they
will
present
kindred modes
of
thought
and
expression,
and at the same time
they
will doubtless be
easier to
comprehend. Ultimately
we must
rely
on the music itself: on
listening
and
perhaps
on
performing
and
composing
as well. Indeed the
performance
of some one sensitive to the
style
of a work is
nothing
less
than a non-verbal hermeneutics. The
meaning
of music
-
taken now as
the consummation of the
experience implied
and initiated
by
its
perform-
ance
-
will
yield
at least in
part
to a combination of
approaches.
But
full
comprehension
is
possible only
to the extent that we can enter into
the
culture,
in
imagination
if not in fact.
There is
finally
a
pragmatic conception
of
meaning,
which looks
beyond
the
original
context of the musical work to its
subsequent perform-
ance and
use,
to the
changing
institutions and varied social
settings
that
become its context in turn. And there is another
pragmatic
determination
of
meaning
in the
history
of the criticism of the
work,
in which the insuffi-
ciency
of verbal
description
is somehow
dignified by
its inclusion in a his-
torical succession of
attitudes,
probably
because we then almost auto-
5
I have treated the
interrelationship
of
form, meaning,
and
style
in detail in A
Humanistic
Philosophy of Music,
New York
1977,
Ch. 3-5.
188
189 189
matically
take the
interpreter
and his social milieu into consideration.
Hermeneutics is made more
precise;
and it is made more relevant as
part
of a broader kind of
meaning.
A third
type
of
pragmatics
is
comprised by
the musical works that refer to or are derived from a
given
work.
These
also
belong
to a
historically
broadened
conception
of musical
meaning,
and
they
in turn are
subject
to a verbal
interpretation.
In
principle,
the accre-
tion of
meaning
never
ceases,
since each
interpretation
itself calls for
interpretation.
Edward A. LIPPMAN
New York
LE DISCOURS DES COMPOSITEURS
En vue d'un travail
plus important, portant
sur >>la creation dans la
musique contemporaine<<,
des entretiens ont ete realises avec
quatre vingts
compositeurs d'origine
et de tendances
diverses,
entretiens axes sur la
phase pr6cedant
la concretisation. A travers le >>discours<< de ces musiciens
sur la
representation qu'ils
se font de leur travail
d'elaboration, apparais-
sent des differences de
vues, determinees
par
un certain nombre de fac-
teurs:
-
la tranche
d'age: ainsi,
les
compositeurs
de
plus
de
cinquante
ans
qui,
dans l'immediate
apres-guerre,
ont vecu la
periode post-serielle, pensent
autrement
que
ceux de trente
ans, qui
sont arrives
lorsque
ces
problemes
etaient
deja depasses.
-
le
type
de formation:
jusqu'a
une
epoque recente,
la
plupart
des
musiciens-createur,s se cantonnaient dans le domaine
qui
leur est
specifi-
que,
et faisaient des etudes dans les seuls
,conservatoires;
mais
desormais,
on rencontre de
plus
en
plus
de
compositeurs ayant regu
d'une
part
une
formation
musicale,
et d'autre
part
une
autre,
dans un domaine totaleinent
etranger: physique, lettres, philosophie...,
ce
qui
les amene a aborder
les
problemes
de la
composition
en d'autres termes
que
les
,>purs
musi,
ciens<, parce que
leurs etudes ont
developpe
en eux des modes de
pensee
dissemblables.
-les choix:
l'apparition
dans le
champ
du musical des
magnetopho-
nes, generateurs
et autres
appareils
destines a
produire
des sons
in-ois,
possedant
une ?texture<<
singuliere,
a fait
surgir
un
type
de
compositeur
procedant,
sur le
plan
de
l'Slaboration,
autrement
que
celui
qui
ecrit de
la
musique
instrumentale. Les choses deviennent encore
plus complexes
avec l'ordinateur considere en tant
que producteur
de sons.
-
les
origines ethniques/culturelles:
en
effet,
,il semblerait
que
le
mode de
pensee
des
Franqais
soit different de celui des >autres<<
(terme
matically
take the
interpreter
and his social milieu into consideration.
Hermeneutics is made more
precise;
and it is made more relevant as
part
of a broader kind of
meaning.
A third
type
of
pragmatics
is
comprised by
the musical works that refer to or are derived from a
given
work.
These
also
belong
to a
historically
broadened
conception
of musical
meaning,
and
they
in turn are
subject
to a verbal
interpretation.
In
principle,
the accre-
tion of
meaning
never
ceases,
since each
interpretation
itself calls for
interpretation.
Edward A. LIPPMAN
New York
LE DISCOURS DES COMPOSITEURS
En vue d'un travail
plus important, portant
sur >>la creation dans la
musique contemporaine<<,
des entretiens ont ete realises avec
quatre vingts
compositeurs d'origine
et de tendances
diverses,
entretiens axes sur la
phase pr6cedant
la concretisation. A travers le >>discours<< de ces musiciens
sur la
representation qu'ils
se font de leur travail
d'elaboration, apparais-
sent des differences de
vues, determinees
par
un certain nombre de fac-
teurs:
-
la tranche
d'age: ainsi,
les
compositeurs
de
plus
de
cinquante
ans
qui,
dans l'immediate
apres-guerre,
ont vecu la
periode post-serielle, pensent
autrement
que
ceux de trente
ans, qui
sont arrives
lorsque
ces
problemes
etaient
deja depasses.
-
le
type
de formation:
jusqu'a
une
epoque recente,
la
plupart
des
musiciens-createur,s se cantonnaient dans le domaine
qui
leur est
specifi-
que,
et faisaient des etudes dans les seuls
,conservatoires;
mais
desormais,
on rencontre de
plus
en
plus
de
compositeurs ayant regu
d'une
part
une
formation
musicale,
et d'autre
part
une
autre,
dans un domaine totaleinent
etranger: physique, lettres, philosophie...,
ce
qui
les amene a aborder
les
problemes
de la
composition
en d'autres termes
que
les
,>purs
musi,
ciens<, parce que
leurs etudes ont
developpe
en eux des modes de
pensee
dissemblables.
-les choix:
l'apparition
dans le
champ
du musical des
magnetopho-
nes, generateurs
et autres
appareils
destines a
produire
des sons
in-ois,
possedant
une ?texture<<
singuliere,
a fait
surgir
un
type
de
compositeur
procedant,
sur le
plan
de
l'Slaboration,
autrement
que
celui
qui
ecrit de
la
musique
instrumentale. Les choses deviennent encore
plus complexes
avec l'ordinateur considere en tant
que producteur
de sons.
-
les
origines ethniques/culturelles:
en
effet,
,il semblerait
que
le
mode de
pensee
des
Franqais
soit different de celui des >autres<<
(terme