Why music?

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by hanzosbm, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Music seems to me to be greater than the sum of its parts.

    Not only are there notes there are also tempos. I recall reading an account of maestro giving lessons to a musician, explaining that a particular tempo must be warm, and having the student practice until it was so.

    Consciousness and intent may be the most important aspects of music. Compare, for example, the wartime performances by Furtwangler of Beethoven with his peacetime performances a few years later.
     
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  2. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    There are subjective elements to be sure. I find it interesting that there seems to be quite some hostility to music in the Lodge among some Brethren.
     
  3. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Fear of change...
     
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  4. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    I disagree with the assertion that music is based on scientific principles. Back to my earlier post, I would say that science (namely mathematics) can be used to describe what is happening in music. Harmonics is the study of waves and could probably be classified within trigonometry. If this is what is meant by music, then I suppose that is an avenue worth consideration. However, the modern usage of the term 'music' has to do with the arrangement of those various harmonics; something that is entirely artistic.
    One could just as easily name interpretative dance as one of the 7 arts because body movements are based on solid scientific principles. Yet, it is not the movement of limbs nor the plucking of a string that makes dance or music respectively. Their arrangement is based on expression.

    By the way, I should've mentioned earlier, I hope that none of this is coming off as an argument. That's not the way that it is intended. Rather, I'm trying to use discussion (including playing the devil's advocate) to inspire thought.
     
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  5. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    It's parts are mathematical. It's result is emotional. Music is the path of mathematics into the soul of the savage beast that is the rough ashlar.

    Fear of doing that which was always the standard but that was lost locally. The same as business meetings in the EA degree.

    Blessed is the lodge that has a musician.
     
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  6. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    I recall an incident recounted by a member of the Berlin Philharmonic. The orchestra was tuning up and producing the usual discordant noise when suddenly the sounds became harmonious.

    He looked around to see what was happening, and there at the back of the auditorium the conductor had stepped through the door. Just the presence of the conductor was sufficient to change the tunings from discord to harmony.

    The conductor was Furtwangler.
     
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  7. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    I suppose it depends upon what you mean by "modern" and what you mean by "music". I still hold that music is both art and science. As a composer, in order to arrange those various harmonics, as you put it, I must use proportion and mathematics. I must choose a meter (or several) for my music, and divide notes accordingly. Creating an effective composition of course requires considerable artistic talent however as my undergraduate mentor, Stanley Hollingsworth used to say, "Flair and talent are not enough; you must have CRAFT", and by "craft" he meant disciplined and thorough-going understanding of the theoretical aspect of the craft of composition. Those who have studied both 15-16 century counterpoint (say, according to Fux's "Gradus ad Parnassum") and 18th century fugue as well as harmony, serial techniques and dodecaphonic theory--which would apply to every conservatory or university trained composer and to some extent or another instrumentalists and vocalists--are well aware that the art in composition lies in knowing how to manipulate the scientific principles which underlie Western music.
     
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  8. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    Furtwangler was an odd man, and had an extremely unusual style of conducting (you can see him on YouTube). However, the era of conductor as dictator ended years ago. I suspect Bernstein and Solti were among the last of that 19th century inspired approach. When I conduct orchestras and choirs, which I have done quite frequently, I take a very different and more collegial approach as do most conductors today. As for an orchestra warming up it is actually very necessary though it can certainly sound like discord. Actual tuning, traditionally led by the first oboist and then the concertmaster (first violinist) focuses on bringing all tunable instruments to a particular Herz frequency, in the US, typically 440, the "A" above middle "C". Again, more science!
     
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  9. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    While I agree with this, I think that at the heart of things, it speaks to recognized style. In that, as with any kind of art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just as with painting, there are certain "rules" that apply to different styles and understanding them allows the medium to fit nicely into that style, but the most untrained person can still make music. Granted, that music might not be appealing to everyone, but this again brings up the subjective nature of music.
    I'm still having a hard time understanding music as being in the same category as the other 6. Appreciating art is great, but the other 6 are meant to teach us about the world around us. Music, as an entirely man made phenomena, doesn't fit this pattern, so I'm struggling to understand.
     
  10. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    About 20 years ago a forger of paintings was caught. He forged in all sorts of styles and sold them for years through Sotheby's.

    He said that he was very surprised that the experts were fooled. He said that when he stood in front of a great master's painting his hair stood on end, but nothing happened in front of his fakes.

    Thus we have the proposition that true art directly interacts with the energy body of humans, and perhaps other entities.

    And the Furtwangler story above may indicate the inverse relationship holds also.
     
  11. Classical

    Classical Premium Member

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    Have any of us heard (or better, performed in a lodge) the ritual music written by Jean Sibelius? I am a devotee of his music but have not heard those pieces. I don't know if Sibelius was active in a lodge, but he was a Freemason. Near the end of his life, even in his silence from composing, he composed a set of pieces to go with parts of the ritual. Are any of you familiar with them?
     
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  12. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    I know that he wrote them, and intend to make myself familiar with his Masonic works if I can find them. I do, as incoming Lodge Organist, intend to use some arrangements of Bro. Sibelius' works for use in Lodge as well as those of Mozart and Haydn--also Freemasons as I am sure you know--and also original works of mine written or improvised for the occasion.
     
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