Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Musical precedents

So many of you are familiar with Boethius

and his attempt to "include Pythagorean elements within a reconciliation of new-platonic and Aristotelian elements." And as you also know, he was into discerning the mathematical basis for music, trigger the monochord story of music history books everywhere. You may further recall that he spoke of 2 types of music

Musica Instrumentalis - the lowest level, music that is sounding, both by means of instruments and voices.

Musica Humana - the 2nd level, refering to the physical and the spiritual and the real world symmetry of the body and how that is a real world manifestation of the God Guys magic.

Musica Mundana - The music of the spheres, the harmony that stands as the foundation of all the world and all of the universe.

Ok, that all said I was interested to discover Johannes Scouts Erigena (810-886)

This picture is not near as engaging as that of Boethius and I apologize for that, but he also had a classification system of music. How fabulous, what makes it really interesting is that his system, although similar, utilizes 2 classifications.

Musica Naturalis - music that is not made by man but rather it comes from the divine. Which includes the music of the spheres and the harmony of the body and the soul.

Musica Artificialis - artificial music, that created by man, a manifestation in tangible of sound

That all being said as a longwinded introduction that sort of lays the groundwork for a realization that I had while turning this information around and it randomly combined with something that had come up in my conversation with John Luther Adams, about a year ago. He helped me to understand that there are two types of music that I write. I have been considering the question of, "what kind of music do I write?" and the fact that I have a strong interest in writing music that is more concerned with acoustic phenomena, yet there is a part of me that enjoys writing technically challenging pieces that are really more about the player than about acoustics and the limitations of perception. That all being said, I was interested to see that I am way out of date. So I guess when people ask me what kind of music I write I can reply that it is Medieval and depending on the piece, it is of the spheres or worldly.

"The respect for one note" - nice quote eh? Maybe it is better to think of respect for one sound, not one note?


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