In Reply to: Musical progress since the latter 19th century? What I see is... posted by mutant on November 11, 2002 at 04:03:10:
I would raise the question: is Music an 'image' in its own right in a figurative sense? A reflection of some other image? An image filtered through some figurative prism or other device? An image in someone's head that can be partially described to others in various ways...and as such could be a unique vision, but might be more likely to be the most recent refelection of a view within a mirror within a mirror within a mirror (etc) affected by many ideas and people that came before?
Is music a response to or interpretaton of 'reality'? A rebellion against 'reality'? Something created to displace 'reality'? Just another card holding up the house of cards that is 'reality'? A means for someone to attempt to come to grips with or understand 'reality'? A means to explore, share, or impose one's view of 'reality' on or with someone else?
The type of progress that I am thinking of here is about the continuation of a thread (no pun intended) of positive productivity along a given line ("positive", of course, being a subjective evaluation). That would not mean that each successive production in a given line is always superior to the last, but it might mean that a new facet of this production that will continue to be esteemed throughout time has been unveiled. And I, for instance, must in the midst of the stream of movement burst out from time to time with my own convictions about the validity of what are considered to be the latest facets, in the hopes that I will somehow be able to be part of the "cloud of witnesses" that will one day vote to confirm or deny what was progress. That is all we can try to today - we state our opinions and see if they stick with time, and in the "mean time" enjoy what we consider to be music. Thanks for contributing to the process and thanks for enjoying the music.
Ah, but is not all progress an illusion, grasshopper? Seriously, it's difficult, if not impossible, to say that music (or any art form) progresses--at least not in the sense that medical science progresses. Where we can objectively show that a person with, say, diabetes, is better off today than they would have been 100 years ago, we can never objectively say that the music (or art) of today is better (or worse) than that of the past. All we can say is "I like it better" or "I don't." Frustrating, isn't it? As much as I believe with all my heart and soul that Die Walkure is greater music than "Baby One More Time", I can't prove it by any objective standard. Thus if something can't be shown to improve, we can't show progress... blast it all.
I'm willing to live with music as atoms being vibrated in space, stimulating the little hairs inside our heads.
not the sensoral translation of reality but the language of the reflective interpretation of that sensoral translation is the thing (music). Or here in the forum it's the linguistic translation of the reflective interpretation of the sensoral translation.
So were losing some precision at every stage, growing wondrous about its increasing irresoluteness, watching the sandcastle weather on the beach, and (hopefully) celebrating this path towards nebulousness as the very thing that is ours.
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