240 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANING10. Esthetic understanding is not contained in propositions, but in particular presented objects.11. In the language of art, expressive materials and expressive content are virtually inseparable.12. It is through the arts that esthetic understanding is most direct- ly and deliberately cultivated.13. The fine arts, traditionally comprise these seven: music, poet- ry, painting, sculpture, architecture, dance, and drama.14. The fine arts are particularly suitable for the study of mean- ings and for the special attention of educators.15. The fine arts provide the basis for the analysis of distinctive varieties of esthetic signification in the most pure and unambigu- ous forms. They are an excellent foundation for the explicit pursuit of esthetic meanings through education.16. The subject matter of music consists of individual musical com- positions.17. Musical sounds directly impart their own qualitative meanings.18. Because music is made up of sounds, any given musical work is ephemeral; it is gone as soon as the last note has been sounded.19. A musical work is a pattern of sounds and silences.20. Musical understanding includes familiarity with the many kinds and shades of tone color and with the varieties of musical in- struments employed (including the human voice).21. The meaning of music is most intimately connected with the rhythmic sense.22. Preoccupation with theory sometimes interferes with the com- prehension proper to music by diverting attention from the hearing of the work itself to ideas about the work.23. Anyone who seeks musical understanding or hopes to teach it needs a knowledge of the structure of sound that is the source of musical delight to the practiced listener.24. If a piece of music is to qualify as a composition worthy of es- thetic interest, it must have a certain organic unity among its parts.25. The principle of unity in variety is central in all esthetic en- deavors.26. The meanings of a musical composition rest principally on its musical ideas, a term referring to those tonal or rhythmic pat- terns that provide the points of departure for the composition or for an episode or aspect of the composition.27. Enrichment of experience through music depends upon openness to the boundless variety of possible musical ideas.28. A person’s musical understanding is unnecessarily impoverished if he limits himself to certain traditional, conventional, and habitual musical patterns as being the only ones he considers authentic or admirable.29. Anyone who wishes to enlarge and deepen his esthetic insight must practice receptivity to unfamiliar musical forms listening to them hospitably and without preconceptions, until such inher- ent power to delight as they possess makes itself felt.30. Each work of music should be invited to speak its own message and to stand on its own merits alone.31. Musical understanding in the final analysis is consummated in love. ____________________
MUSIC 241Just as the empirical meanings in the sciences are essentially dif-ferent in kind from the conventional meanings in the symbolic realm,so the esthetic meanings in the arts differ in kind both from symbolicand from empirical meanings. The chief feature distinguishing estheticmeanings from symbolic and empirical meanings is the particularity ofesthetic meanings. Symbolic meanings are general in the sense the con-ventional forms are devised to serve as bearers of meaning in an in-definite number of instances. Symbol-systems are formal types inwhich the structural pattern alone matters and not the particularconcrete instance of utilization. Similarly, science is general in thesense that the particular data of observation are not the goal of in-quiry, but only the raw material for generalization and theory for-mation. Knowledge in language is primarily of general patterns ofexpression, that may be used in a great variety of particular con-texts. Knowledge in science is ideally of general laws and theories,connected with observable particulars by way of prediction and veri-fication. THE ESTHETIC REALM CONCERNED WITH INDIVIDUAL OBJECTS In the esthetic realm, on the other hand, the object of knowl-edge is the singular particular form. The primary concern is not withtypes of things—not with kinds and classes of things—but with unique in-dividual objects. Essentially, every esthetic object is incomparable.To classify it is to engage in an activity which is empirical, or per-haps philosophical, rather than properly esthetic. DISTINCTIVE MEANINGS MUST BE ACKNOWLEDGED AND UNDERSTOOD One may raise the question whether esthetic meanings reallydeserve the name of knowledge at all. This is a matter on which opin-ions differ. Some prefer to limit the term “knowledge” to the strictlydiscursive and cognitive fields (i.e., mathematics and empiricalscience). Others prefer a wider reference, comprising meanings in theother realms, including the esthetic. The question is not of much impor-tance. What is important is that by whatever name they are called,the distinctive meanings in each of the realms be acknowledged andunderstood. If the narrower interpretation of the term “knowledge” ispreferred, a broader concept such as “understanding” may be used forthe arts and other nonempirical fields. PRACTICAL INTELLECT Aristotle made a useful distinction between the theoretical orspeculative intellect belonging to mathematics, science, and philoso-phy and the practical intellect1 belonging to art and morals. Thespheres of practical intellect may further be divided into the activityof making, that belongs to the arts, and the activity of doing, thatbelongs to morality. The understanding of art is of making particular1 Here “practical” is used in a broad sense, to refer to any active transformationof things, not merely to “utility” in the ordinary sense. Thus, “practical” as hereused includes the activity of the “fine” artist as well as the craftsman.
242 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANINGthings and of particular things made. In other words, meanings in thearts refer to particular works, for example, individual things thathave been brought into being as a consequence of work. ESTHETIC MEANINGS ARE BEST UNDERSTOOD IN THEIR WHOLENESS Esthetic meanings are gained by acquaintance and not by de-scription, as in the case of empirical meanings. Each work of artcontains its own meaning and speaks for itself. Its significance cannotbe embodied in separable symbolic patterns, as in the sciences. Knowl-edge in science is about kinds of things in certain of their aspects. Un-derstanding in the arts is of particular things in their wholeness. Sci-entific knowledge is mediated by general symbolic forms. Esthetic un-derstanding is immediate, referring directly to the objects perceived.Empirical knowledge is mediated by general concepts. Esthetic under-standing is attained in direct perception. The content of scientificknowledge is expressed in prepositions, statements that may be calledtrue, false, or probable, or as holding within certain limiting condi-tions. Esthetic understanding is not contained in propositions merelycontribute to the content of the work of art, and their truth or falsi-ty is not the measure of the esthetic meaning of the work. Descriptive propositions may be used to give information about awork of art, such as its origins and effects, the processes used in mak-ing it, and the designer’s intention. Such information does not in itselfyield esthetic understanding. It may, however, call attention to per-ceptual features in the work that would not otherwise be noticed andin this fashion become relevant to the esthetic meaning. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SCIENCE AND ART Another difference between science and art has already beentreated in the discussion of symbolism in Chapter 7. The language ofscience is discursive, aiming at precise literal descriptions organizedaccording to the principles of ordinary logic and reaching perfectionin the formulas of mathematics. On the other hand, the language ofart is nondiscursive, symbolical, and metaphorical, and is organizedaccording to the different logic of presented forms. Furthermore, thelanguage of science is more readily separable from the expressions inwhich it is employed than is the language of art, where expressive ma-terials and expressive content are virtually inseparable. It is possi-ble to have well developed autonomous disciplines of mathematics andordinary grammar, but not of the languages of music and painting. CRUCIAL DISTINCTION BETWEEN EMPIRICAL AND ESTHETIC MEANINGS For a philosophy of meaning, the really crucial distinction isbetween empirical and esthetic meanings and not between knowledgeof natural things and of things made. On the one hand, the sciencesregularly deal with things made, and, on the other hand, one mayhave esthetic understanding of natural objects. Man-made products(i.e., works of art, in the broad sense) are properly studied in physics,
MUSIC 243chemistry, and the social sciences (especially anthropology). Thenatural world of stars, plants, and people is an endless resource foresthetic delight. The essential distinction in type of meanings is be-tween the descriptive, generalizing approach to things in the empiricalrealm and the immediate attentive perception of individual objects inthe esthetic realm—in either case regardless of whether the things de-scribed or perceived are man-made or natural objects. KINDS OF UNDERSTANDING GAINED The fields of science and art are therefore by no means mutual-ly exclusive. For example, one may find deep esthetic meaning in thingsthat are studied scientifically in interesting crystal formations or inthe ritual patterns of a primitive tribe. The theoretical structures ofscience may be themselves esthetically admirable. Likewise, thingsthat have been made to yield esthetic delight, such as buildings or thesounds of a symphony, can be analyzed empirically, and the activitiesof the creative artist can be subjected to scientific scrutiny. The em-pirical and esthetic realms are not divided by the nature of the ob-jects treated or by ostensible subject matter. These realms are divid-ed by the kinds of understanding gained—the difference being betweenthe general-descriptive and the individual-perceptive modes. THROUGH THE ARTS ESTHETIC UNDERSTANDING IS DIRECTLY AND DELIBERATELY CULTIVATED Esthetic meanings are herein treated in connection with a studyof the arts because it is through the arts that esthetic understandingis most directly and deliberately cultivated. Of particular signifi-cance in this regard the fine arts, traditionally comprising theseseven: music, poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture, dance, anddrama. The fine arts have been commonly regarded as the mainsource of the esthetic heritage of humankind. Actually nature pro-vides far more extensive resources for esthetic experience. The manyartifacts constructed for other than esthetic purposes (in the “prac-tical” arts and crafts) exercise a much more pervasive influence onthe esthetic consciousness of humankind than do the fine arts. Never-theless, the fine arts are particularly suitable for the study ofmeanings and for the special attention of educators. The fine artsprovide the basis for the analysis of distinctive varieties of estheticsignification in the most pure and unambiguous forms. They are an ex-cellent foundation for the explicit pursuit of esthetic meaningsthrough education. The fine arts are to the esthetic cultivation of hu-mankind what the pure sciences are to the general development of em-pirical competencies. MAJOR VARIETIES OF ESTHETIC MEANING IN THE FIELD OF MUSIC Following this preliminary general orientation to the estheticdomain, we shall now proceed to consider several major varieties ofesthetic meaning within the fine arts, beginning with the field of music.Musical Compositions The subject matter of music consists of individual musicalcompositions. A “musical composition” is a patterned sequence of
244 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANINGsounds which has a beginning and an ending and is deliberately createdfor an esthetic purpose—that is, to be listened to for its own intrinsicinterest and not for any ulterior utilitarian ends. The meaning ofeach musical composition belongs to that composition alone and is notderived from its membership in any collection of such compositions.Comparing Music and Language Music is similar to language, in that both consist of patternedsound-sequences. The essential difference is the sounds of music are notformed into conceptual symbols that communicate discursive meanings.Musical sounds directly impart their own qualitative meanings; theydo not stand for ideas, as do the elements of intelligible speech.Musical Sounds: Writing, Performing, and Listening Because music is made up of sounds, any given musical work isephemeral; it is gone as soon as the last note has been sounded. In or-der to make re-creation of the work possible, a composition may berecorded by means of some sound-reproducing device, and it may be putinto written form using certain conventional notations. The writtenscore can then be read by performers, who render the compositionwith more or less fidelity to the composer’s original intention for thebenefit of other listeners. While composing, performing, and listeningare substantially different activities, calling into play quite differ-ent skills, all three embody the same kinds of musical meanings. usingthe medium of sound, the composer fashions the forms of musical mean-ing by the power of his creative imagination. The performer recon-structs those meanings, employing sound-producing instruments appro-priate to the composition. The listener responds to these meanings inthe corresponding patterns of his own feeling-states. The perceptualcontent is similar to all three; only the initiatives and the modes ofactive participation are different.Elements of Music A musical work is a pattern of sounds and silences. The soundsmay include irregular and complex vibrations, called “noise” (such asproduced by percussion instruments), “vocables,” that is, the sounds ofspeech (in songs), and “tones,” that consist of regular and relativelysimple vibrations. Each tone is characterized by “pitch” (measured byits fundamental frequency of vibration), “tone color” (depending onthe distribution of subsidiary frequencies, or harmonic vibrations),“loudness” (measured by the amplitude of vibration), and “duration.” Pitches. The pitches used in music may vary over the entirerange of audible frequencies, just as in speech an indefinite variety ofphonetic elements is possible. Just as only certain phonemes are usedas the sound basis for a given language, so in music certain distin-guishable tones are selected as the basis for composition within a giv-en musical tradition. For example, most European and American musicof the last few Hundred years has been based upon some selection oftones from the chromatic scale (the successive notes on a piano).
MUSIC 245 Humans teach their children the arts to help them achieve what we consider a well-rounded education, exposing them to new and interesting forms of sensory satisfaction. The music teacher has the responsibility to help all students develop their own interests. How well-rounded will the child’s education be if the band director teaches only the musical style that he/she prefers?
246 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANINGPicture
MUSIC 247 Scales. Although musical scales are arbitrary conventions,they are not ordinarily adopted without a rational basis. For exam-ple, the diatonic scale consists of a succession of octaves, each ofwhich contains seven distinct tones and follows the same pattern ofwhole and half steps (depending upon the mode, e.g., major and minor),the frequency of vibration doubling in the ascent from one octave tothe next. The chromatic scale results from inserting half steps be-tween the whole steps of the diatonic scale, yielding twelve tones tothe octave. A whole tone scale, with six distinct tones, results fromusing only whole steps in passing through the octave. Tone. Most music in the Western world has been so constructedthat in any given section of the composition one particular tone (thekey tone or tonic of the scale) serves as a kind of basis of orienta-tion or reference for all the other tones. Different compositions maybe written in different keys, and modulations from one key to anothermay be made within a composition. It is also possible to constructatonal music without any such reference tones. In music of this typesome principle other than tonality is adopted to lend coherence to thework. Non-Western music is generally constructed on a different ba-sis from that of the West and therefore sounds odd to those accus-tomed to ordinary Western tonality. Color Produced by Harmonic Vibrations. Actual musicaltones seldom consist of a single frequency of vibration. The funda-mental vibration is nearly always accompanied by harmonic vi-brations whose frequencies stand in simple numerical ratios to thefundamental. The relative amplitudes of these constituents of thetone are responsible for its color or timbre, and these amplitudepatterns are consequences of the structure of the instrument used forproducing the sound. Musical understanding includes familiarity withthe many kinds and shades of tone color and with the varieties of mu-sical instruments employed (including the human voice). These instru-ments range from simple pipes, membranes, and strings, through morecomplex systems of the same, controlled by keys and valves, to elec-tronic instruments based on the oscillations of electrical circuits. Rhythm, Meter, and Tempo. Music comes into being whentones are organized into significant patterns, and the understandingof music results chiefly from sympathetic attention to these patterns.The most fundamental musical patterns have to do with rhythm, thatis the time relationships of tones. Meter is the pattern of regularlyrecurring accents, indicated by the time signature (e.g., 4/4, 5/4,6/8, signifying four or five quarter-note beats or six eighth-notebeats per measure). Tempo is the number of beats per minute, indicat-ing the speed of the music. Rhythm goes beyond meter and tempo, andproperly refers to the entire temporal organization of tones intophrases and the larger musical forms produced by the patterned com-bination of phrases. Musical Time and Human Experience. The meaning of musicis most intimately connected with the rhythmic sense, which in turn isdirectly related to the fundamental human experience of time. Time ismeasured by movement, rooted in the human organism in the regular
248 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANINGpulses of the heart and in the periodicities of breathing, with its re-current cycles of cumulation, tension, and release. The meaning ofmusic is not simply a matter of intellectual comprehension. It is alsoan act of organic response in which the vital rhythms upon which lifedepends are brought into relation to the sound patterns of the music.Roger Sessions sums up this idea as follows: “Music is significant forus as human beings principally because it embodies movement of aspecifically human type that goes to the roots of our being and takesshape in the inner gestures which embody our deepest and most intimateresponses.”2 Melody. An organized succession of tones constitutes amelody, which is also referred to as a voice part, whether or not itis actually sung. A composer working out a melody, an instrumental-ist attempting to play it, or a listener seeking to understand it, mayprofit greatly by voicing the melodic line because in so doing his wholebeing is caught up in that rhythmic flow of sound which is the soul ofthe music. Motif. The basic unit of melody is the melodic motif, an elemen-tal tonal pattern that is capable of expansion and development intolarger sequential structures. Motifs are stated, contrasted, and re-stated in hierarchies of rhythmic patterns comprising phrases (somecomplete, others incomplete, leading on to further resolutions), peri-ods, and a great variety of more complex melodic forms, such asstanzaic, binary, ternary, song, rondo, dance, and so forth. Thesemelodic constructions are analogous to the patterns of discoursebuilt up in prose and poetry using words, phrases, clauses, sentences,and paragraphs as part of literary compositions. Chords. Combined tones formed by sounding two or more tonessimultaneously constitute chords. Different combinations of tonesproduce quite different effects, with varying degrees of consonanceand dissonance, depending on the simplicity or complexity of the ratioin which the respective tonal frequencies stand. Chord patterns arean important part of musical structure. They are closely connectedwith tonality because the tones from which chords are constructedare selected from the scales in which the music is composed. Chordsare also connected with rhythm, some being “chords of movement,” be-cause of their dissonance and the sense of incompleteness produced bythem, others being “chords of repose,” because of their consonanceand the resulting sense of finality. Texture. The weaving together of different sound patternsyields musical texture. Melodies accompanied by chords constituteharmonic texture, while melodies combined with other melodies com-prise contrapuntal or polyphonic texture. Music that is only a sin-gle melody is called “monophonic,” and music that has one melody withchords is called “homophonic.” Harmony. In general, the sounding together of tones is called“harmony,” whether as combined melodies or as chords. Harmony lendsdepth and richness to musical expression that is not possible using only2 The Musical Experience, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1950, p.19. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
MUSIC 249single notes in temporal sequence. Melody and harmony together per-mit the construction of a two-dimensional manifold of sound in whichthe horizontal melodic lines are associated with vertical harmonicdistributions, and the whole is visually represented by the form of thetwo-dimensional musical score.Musical Forms Just as complex melodies are built up from melodic motifs by ex-pansion, repetition, and contrast, so melodies and chords may be com-bined into successively larger musical patterns. The larger formshave been classified into such traditional categories as minuet, scher-zo, rondo, theme and variations, passacaglia, fugue, and sonata,each with its characteristic structure. For example, the form of thefirst movement of the classical sonata consists of three main parts:exposition (usually repeated), development, and recapitulation, theexposition using two or more closely related keys with two or morecontrasting themes that are further elaborated in the developmentand finally restated in a single key in the recapitulation. An intro-duction may precede the exposition and a coda may be added as a finalsumming up. A complete musical composition may consist of a combina-tion of several of these larger forms. Thus, a classical sonata,string quartet, concerto, or symphony usually consists of three orfour movements, of which the first is in the sonata (or “first move-ment”) form. MUSICAL UNDERSTANDING IS A SOURCE OF DELIGHT While the analysis and classification of musical forms is impor-tant to the musicologist, such theoretical knowledge does not in itselfconstitute musical understanding, which also requires direct sympa-thetic awareness. Preoccupation with theory sometimes interfereswith the comprehension proper to music by diverting attention from thehearing of the work itself to ideas about the work. Musical meaning iscommunicated by the sound patterns that the theorist discerns andnames. Anyone who seeks musical understanding or hopes to teach itneeds a knowledge of the structure of sound that is the source of mu-sical delight to the practiced listener. The value in the conceptualstudy of musical forms is in the direction of attention to esthetic possi-bilities hitherto unnoticed or otherwise only imperfectly sensed.
250 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANING Teachers allow their students to spend large amounts of time developing their talents. Teachers encourage student’s expressiveness in order that they may gain confidence andappreciation. Upon leaving the educational sys- tem, many of the students no longerhave a venue for their talent that took so many years to develop. When this occurs, should teachers feel that all the energy required to learn was wasted?
252 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANINGTHE MUSICAL COMPOSITION MUST HAVE ORGANIC UNITY The ultimate object of esthetic attention in music is not the sev-eral forms and qualities disclosed by analysis, but the musical compo-sition as a whole. If a piece of music is to qualify as a compositionworthy of esthetic interest, it must have a certain organic unityamong its parts. It may not be simply an aggregate of separate ele-ments, no matter how interesting each element may be in itself. Theprinciple of unity in variety is central in all esthetic endeavors. Thesource of significance in all of the arts—and indeed also of esthetic de-light in natural objects—is in the weaving of contrasting parts into asingle complex whole.Musical Ideas The meanings of a musical composition rest principally on itsmusical ideas, a term referring to those tonal or rhythmic patternsthat provide the points of departure for the composition or for anepisode or aspect of the composition. A “musical idea” may be a motif,that becomes the basis for larger melodic development, or a chordfrom which further harmonic elaborations grow. It may also be arhythmic figure worked out in a variety of interesting modificationsand contrasts. Musical ideas are the source of organic quality in thecomposition in that they lend it its distinctive character as a uniquewhole and embody its characteristic internal directions of growth.Musical ideas are the formal factors binding the elements of the com-position into a whole so as to impart a sense of life and motion.Enrichment Through Music Deepens Esthetic Insight Enrichment of experience through music depends upon openness tothe boundless variety of possible musical ideas. A person’s musical un-derstanding is unnecessarily impoverished if he limits himself to certaintraditional, conventional, and habitual musical patterns as being theonly ones he considers authentic or admirable. Anyone who wishes toenlarge and deepen his esthetic insight must practice receptivity to un-familiar musical forms (including the initially strange forms of non-Western music), listening to them hospitably and without preconcep-tions, until such inherent power to delight as they possess makes itselffelt. Each work of music should be invited to speak its own messageand to stand on its own merits alone, for in music, it is in perception ofthe singular work of art, and not in the conceptual classes to whichthe abstractive intellect may assign it, that its esthetic meaning con-sists. Musical understanding in the final analysis is consummated inlove. As earlier pointed out, although a knowledge of music theory,including an ability to analyze patterns of rhythm, melody, harmony,and tone color—the basic elements of all music—may be helpful, suchrational competence does not in itself disclose esthetic meanings. Suchmeanings derive from the cultivation of self-forgetful delight in thedirect contemplation of the patterns of musical statement, contrast,accent, progression, repetition, and variation that critical analysisdescribes. WAYS OF KNOWING1. What is the chief feature distinguishing esthetic meanings from symbolic and empirical meanings?2. What is the object of knowledge in the esthetic realm?
MUSIC 2533. Why should the esthetic meanings deserve the status of being considered knowledge?4. What is meant by practical intellect?5. How are esthetic meanings gained?6. What is meant by “each work of art contains its own meaning and speaks for itself”?7. To say the language of science is discursive means what?8. To say the language of art is nondiscursive means what?9. What is the essential distinction in the types of meanings be- tween the empirical and esthetic realms?10. How are the realms of empirics and esthetics divided by the kinds of understanding gained?11. How are esthetic meanings in the arts deliberately cultivated?12. How is esthetic understanding in the arts cultivated deliberate- ly?13. How does nature provide far more extensive resources for es- thetic experiences?14. Why is the fine arts particularly suitable for the study of meanings?15. Why should educators pay special attention to the study of meanings in the fine arts?16. What is the subject matter of music?17. How is music similar to language?18. What is the essential difference of music to language?19. What does it mean to have musical understanding?20. To what is the meaning of music most intimately connected?21. Why is the analysis and classification of musical forms impor- tant to the musicologist?22. Why does the preoccupation of theory sometimes interfere with the comprehension proper to music?23. What is the value in the conceptual study of musical forms?24. Why is the ultimate object of esthetic attention in music the mu- sical composition as a whole?25. How does a piece of music qualify as a composition worthy of esthetic interest?26. Why is the principle of unity in variety central to all esthetic endeavors?27. What is the source of significance in all of the arts?28. How are musical ideas the source of organic quality in a com- position?29. How do musical ideas in a composition impact a sense of life and motion?30. Upon what does enrichment of experience through music depend?31. How does a person’s musical understanding become impoverished?32. How does a person enlarge and deepen esthetic insight to unfa- miliar musical forms?33. Why should each work of music be expected to stand on its own merits alone?34. Why is it said that musical understanding in the final analysis is consummated in love?