Thursday, December 15, 2011

Semester Overveiw

Over the course of the semester these are the topics that we have discussed that stick out in my mind.

Early on we established that music is more than organized sound and using that definition results in difficulties. Through Q&As, class discussions, and readings on and about Adorno we learned that the social aspect of music is essential. Not too long after that, in order to distinguish sounds of nature from composed pieces we added the condition of intentionality. This condition lead us to talk about musak, and we decided that since there was no intention in computer programs that we could not define it as music but it could be sound art. Musique concrete and John Cages piece 4'33'' are not music but sound art. In Hamilton's book we discussed how rhythm is interfused with everything, and rhythm is a necessary condition for music. Imperfection is a part of performing and the fact that we interpret music makes it "abstract in form and humane in utterance." Music is not a language despite Cooke's opinions because music does not tell us anything semantically. Music is considered to display "the emotional life of humans" according to Langer, yet that is culturally specific. According to Woods music is its own revelation and its own truth because music does not have to refer to anything beyond itself.

So in conclusion we have established that: music is beyond organized sound, intention and rhythm are needed, and the social impact of music is essential. Computer generated music, musique concrete, and 4' 33'' are not music, but sound art. Music is not language and music does not need to refer to anything beyond itself.

Question: What were some of the other important discussion topics that we have had in class?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Music Definition

We didn't really get to talk about everybody's definition of music today, and I'm kind of disappointed about it. I know that there is never really a definite answer when it comes to any realm of philosophy, but the fact that there are multiple answers and differences in opinions are a part of why it is so great. I was hoping to hear more opinions and arrive at a little bit more of a resolution. Even though only a small portion of the class does blog postings I think it would be beneficial if everyone who does to post their definitions and we can offer alterations or comments to each other.

My definition of music is:

A perceived aural art that involves intention and a practiced skill whose end drives to be aesthetically pleasing, enriching, and emotionally arousing. The content must contain rhythm. Melody, harmony, and linguistics do not need to be included, but when they are melody, harmony, lyrics, and rhythm, work together holistically and the tones are organized.

Question: What do you think of this definition? Does anything need to change? What is your definition of music?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

RE: Wesley's "Album that changed my life"

Earlier this week Wes wrote a post about how Justice For All changed his life and asked me and the other bloggers to join him in writing a post about how a specific piece or an album of music changed our lives. Now, I don't mean to be the odd man out, but I cannot think of one song, album, soundtrack, or even a specific composer who has changed my life. If there was one, the name would have come to be instantly. I don't want to choose one and lie about it just to be a part of the group. Yet, I will attest that music as a whole has definitely changed my life.

I read in a book recently, that the evolution of music makes no sense from a Darwinian perspective, because music has no means of survival. Darwin himself claimed music to be an "evolutionary accident". It's a sad fact that if there was no music, the world as a whole would be basically the same. We would still have power plants, electricity, water pressure, desk jobs, criminals -- all of the good and bads of life. Despite this, a world without music seems to be empty, similar to like a world without poetry. Yet, perhaps music is a part of every culture because it brings us together and no one, not even Darwin can rid music of that.
Music may serve the purpose of bringing us together as a society, but what about at the individual level? What purpose does music serve to us individually? How has music changed your life?

For me, music has changed my life because my future career choice would be completely different, and the musical experiences I have been through have changed me as a person.
It seems as though most musicians have played the same instruments their wholes lives, that's not the case for me. I went from clarinet to singing to keyboard to singing to keyboard to singing (seriously I made the switch that many times) to Mallet percussion to saxophone to piano and then to trumpet. It took me a while to find the instrument that was right for me and even though I changed around quiet a bit, never was there any part of my life where I wasn't involved with music at all.

It took me until I was a sophomore in high school to really become dedicated to music and not until my freshman/sophomore year in college until I decided that I wanted music to play a large role in my life. Around this time I realized my love of psychology and music and that I wasn't going to part with either of the two. Music has changed my life because without it I would not have chosen to go into music perception. I would still go for a PhD in psychology and aim to being a psychology professor, but I honestly do not know what I would study. I can't see myself doing anything else.

Music has also changed my life because of the musical experiences I have been through. I was in Drum and Bugle Corp for two years. (Basically the major leagues of marching band). Drum and Bugle Corp stresses the military mentality to their members, you have to push yourself beyond your limits and you have to sacrifice everything down to breathing (literally) for the whole. Even outside of Drum Corp this mentality makes it way into everyday situations, and makes the push to the finish a little easier.

I can't see a life absent of music because music has always been a part of my life. Creating and playing music is a skill that one can always get better at and because of this it never gets old. Composing and playing is a hobby that I intend on sustaining through the rest of my existence.

Question: What purpose does music serve to us individually? What purpose does music serve for you? How has music changed your life? How have you become the musician (if you are one) that you are today? What is your musical history?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Re: Wesley "Emotions in Music"

Wesley has been talking about metaphorical and physical emotions in music. Physical emotions being from the lyrics and metaphorical being from the tones. This is a switch from our usual talk of absolute music. When lyrics come into play the emotional distinction becomes blurred, perhaps that is why philosophers tend to be drawn towards absolute music, so the the lyrics do not get in the way of any distinctions. So we have to be careful when making any judgment claims between the lyrical and tonal roles of a piece.

Although parodies offer a good example of contrast between the emotions elicited by the lyrics of a song, its kind of like looking at identical twin studies in psychology to tell you how much genes play a role in personality. In these songs we have to also look at the metaphorical emotions in the piece, and in the twin studies we also have to look at the role of the environment too. Wesley gave an example of Coolio and Weird Al's "Gangster Paradise" and "Amish Paradise" to show the effect of lyrics on emotional responses. Yet, If the lyrics stayed the same in these two pieces and the form of the song changed there would be a difference in emotional response too.
Take Johnny Cash's and Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt." Even though there is only slight differences in the two pieces, mainly timbrel (Cash just plays it on an acoustic guitar and piano, and NIN use drums, keyboard, and an electric guitar) these little differences still have an impact on the emotional responses to the two pieces. Both of them still accentuate the same rises and falls, have similar dynamic contrasts, and are about the same tempo.
Johnny Cash's "Hurt"

Nine Inch Nails "Hurt"

This shows that both of the physical and metaphorical emotions play a role in our reaction to music. This kind of gets back to an earlier post of mine talking about Hanslick's and Kivy's distinctions on where the emotion in music is, although these two philosophers never talked about (at least in my readings from them) non-absolute music, I think that Hanslick would deny lyrics to have an impact and Kivy would consider them equal because they both relate back to human behaviors.

Question: Do you think that physical and metaphorical emotions expressed by a piece have an equal effect on our emotional responses to them?

Creativity Hierarchy

Last week the Q&A question was "What do you think the relations are between imagination, creativity, improvisational, and music composition"? I used my voucher for not turning in this Q&A, because I was very busy that week, but I still think that it is a good question and would like to answer it briefly in this blog post.

From chapter IV in "Bridges in Autonomy: Paradoxes in Teaching and Learning," the hierarchy between Imagination, creativity and improvisation is described like this:

When incorporating Music composition I think the hierarchy should be altered to look like this:

I propose that composing Music is a form of critical thinking. Also, Problem solving should be a subcategory of both improvisation and critical thinking because critical thinking is essential in problem solving, and not all problems are solved on a whim.

Question: What do you think of problem solving being a subcategory of both critical thinking and improvisation? Should it be under both? Why or why not?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Music and Language

The current article we are reading for class, is all about music and language. I'm going to bring up some more research on the correlations between music and Language. (Sorry, I can't help myself I'll try to tone down the Psycholingo).

Jackendoff (2009) mentions seven cognitive similarities between the learning and course of understanding music and language. Music and language necessarily involve memory, both bring together units in working memory with methodical regulations and arranged schemata, they both involve making predictions, music and language involve controlled muscle movement of the mouth or hands (mouth for talking, singing, and wind instruments; and hands for sign language, percussion instruments, and string instruments), acquisition involves the aural reproduction of what other’s sing, say, or do, we have the capability to create new words and songs, the potential to do the action of speaking and playing with other people. Jackendoff mentions that these capacities are not singularly related music and language.

One cognitive ability that is just applied to music and language that he mentions is that they both entail a pattern of time-based sounds. Yet, language relies on syllables and music relies on notes which can vary widely in length over time. Intonation in speaking, is comparably invariable because it tends to move between two secure pitches. Yet, these two pitches are not set like the first and fifth scale degree in music. Furthermore, two separate areas of the brain are in charge of prosodic intonation and musical pitch (Jackendoff 2009). Yet, contrary evidence supports that prosodic grouping involves related brain regions as music grouping-- the mental gathering and condensing of components into separate hierarchy levels (Patel, 2006).
Jackendoff claims the process of music processing does not match that of prosodic processing because music does not have syntax which is the basis of mental hierarchy. Music has no conceptual meaning so it does not have a match to this mental organization (Jackendoff 2009).

Converse to Jackendoff’s claim, Patel, Peretz, Tramo, & Labreque (1998) measured syntactic commonalities between music and language and found that music and language both have syntax.

Slevec, Rosenberg, & Patel (2009) found that musical syntax and linguistic syntax use the same cognitive resources and musical syntax and linguistic semantics do not occupy the same mental resources.

Yet, even though semantics do not occupy the same cognitive resources as musical syntax, listening to music still primes semantically related words. Koelsch, Kasper, Sammler, Schulze, Gunter, & Friederici (2004) found that words that the composers used to describe their pieces semantically primed words in a lexical decision task. (A lexical decision task is when either words on non-words are presented and participants have to quickly judge "yes" or "no" to whether it is a word or not. For example a non word would be manty. Both related and non-related words were used). So when participants listened to pieces that the composers labeled as happy, they were quicker to respond "yes" to the word happy than to sad. This shows that listening to sad music on some level makes us think of the word sad -- it semantically primes it.

I hope I didn't confuse anyone and hopefully you learned a little bit about Music perception!

Question: Jackendoff mentions eight simillarities between language and music (seven that do not only pertain to music and one that does) Can you think of any other correlations/similarities between music and language?


Jackendoff, R. (2009). Parallels and nonparallels between language and music. Music Perception 26(3), 195-204.

Koelsch, S. D., Kasper E., Sammler D., Schulze K., Gunter T., & Friederici A. (2004). Music, language and meaning: brain signatures of semantic processing. Nature Neuroscience, 7 (3), 302-307.

Patel A.D. (2006). Musical rhythm, linguistic rhythm, and human evolution. Music Perception, 24(1), 99-104.

Patel, A. D., Peretz, I., Tramo, M., & Labreque, R. (1998). Processing prosodic and musical patterns: A neuropsychological investigation. Brain And Language, 61(1), 123-144.

Slevc, L., Rosenberg, J. C., & Patel, A. D. (2009). Making psycholinguistics musical: Self-paced reading time evidence for shared processing of linguistic and musical syntax. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 16(2), 374-381.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

RE: Peter's "Vamp's rhythmic patterns, and musical definitions"

In Pete's blog post "Vamp's, Rhythmic Pattern's and Musical Definition's" he ends with the question: "Does strange rhythmic variety detract from the piece and make it sound art?"

I do not know too much about Vamps, but I do know about uneven rhythmic patterns and the way that western brains respond to them. Uneven rhythmic patterns sound bad to us because they go against our Musical schemata (plural of schema), schemata are stored structures that we have about a body of knowledge, it is an organization of past experiences and reactions. Schemata are the frameworks in memory that shape how we think that a given story, situation, and even musical piece should go. Our tonal schemata in western countries are I-V-IV chord progressions and V-I cadences. When we encounter a new situation we retrieve our related past schemata to know how to behave in that situation. We compare the new material with our old material and if it does not fit we alter the given information to match our prior knowledge.
In music our rhythmic schemata is very stubborn, western ears do not like uneven rhythmic patterns because they do not fit in with our prior knowledge an how we expect rhythms to sound like. In a study by Hannon & Trebhub (2005) western and European participants were exposed to meters with asymmetrically spaced beats (which is found in eastern music) for two weeks. At the end of the trial they still had trouble recognizing and comprehending these culturally unfamiliar meters (Creel 2011).

Yet, in an other study it was found that our tonal systems give a little more leeway when it comes to new musical experiences. This is why we can little to Turkish pop and Bollywood music, because they have a different tonal system, yet they follow the western rhythmic schemata. If the music has an eastern culturally specific rhythmic pattern that is uneven and our tonal system on top of it, we will not find it aesthetically pleasing. Take this Turkish pop song as as an example (of a western rhythmic and eastern tonal song)
So to answer Peter's question, no uneven rhythms do not make pieces less musical or sound art, westerns just perceive them as less aesthetically pleasing because they do not fit our schemata.

Question: How do expectations in music shape how we perceive it?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Kivy vs. Hanslick

Kivy defends the contour theory of music, which states that the emotions in music are perceived because the we relate the emotions in music to the contour of human behaviors. For example we talk slowly and walk slowly when we are depressed. I found an empirical article that backs up Kivy's hypothsis.

Curtis & Bhurucha (2010) studied the relations between the intonation of speech with specific emotions and the intervals of music when it demonstrates specific emotions. In the first experiment nine female actresses read four different scripts with four diverse affects: anger, happiness, pleasantness, and sadness. (Each of these emotions corresponded to different quadrants of the RTCRR.) In each condition the participants were told that their voice recordings were going to be used in future experiments and to make sure that people could distinguish the emotion in each phase – Intonation was recorded for all four conditions. Each phrase had two syllables, sense each syllable stays on one pitch there was one interval in each phrase. Curtic & Bhurucha (2010) found that sad speech was highly correlated with the use of a descending minor third. Anger was correlated with both an ascending minor second and perfect fifth. Pleasantness and Happiness did not have consistent intervals.

Hanslick subscribes to the representational theory which states that the emotions are in the subject and form of a piece. I found another study that may or may not support this view.

Chapin, Jantzen, Kelso, Steinberg & Large (2010)
conducted a study where a mechanical condition (a computerized piece without tempo fluctuations or dynamics) and an emotive piece played by a person on a piano with tempo fluctuations and dynamics. It was found that more brain regions that are asocciated with emotions were stimulated by the expressional piece. The researchers concluded that dynamics and tempo were the main forms that elicited emotions.

Question: Does the study by
Chapin, Jantzen, Kelso, Steinberg & Large (2010) support Hanslick's theory?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Musilanguage hypothesis

There is a theory called the Musilanguage hypothesis that states that music and language first developed as one and then separated. Many critics oppose, but to my mind it makes sense in some aspects. Neanderthals may have started with what ever vocal productions they could make and then once they were distinguished as communication sounds and emotive sounds, language and music grew from there.
Let us look at a couple of different aspects of speech that relate to music:
Inflection/intonation: When most people speak, they fluctuate in pitch (unless they are monotone). The most common example in English is that we go up in pitch at the end of a sentence when we are asking a question, and down in pitch when we are saying a statement. This is also reflected in music as well.
Tone: Like they saying goes, "if doesn't matter what you say it's how you say it." Tone of voice can change a sentence from being serious to sarcastic, funny to stupid, etc. Emotion and dramatics could also be in this category and are definitely prominent in music and language.
Yet, there are some aspects of speech like semantics, pragmatics (things that differ beyond their literal meaning, for example: Do you have the time?), and syntax (grammatical rules) that do not have a direct relation to music. How did we acquire these if music and language were formed together? Perhaps that is the reason for their split.
Question: Do you think the Musilanguage hypothesis is valid? Why or why not?

Re: Peter Unconscious rhythm

In his latest post Peter, asked if rhythm is unconscious.
I would say that rhythm is unconscious to an extent. When it comes to intentionally writing a piece of music, rhythm would be conscious. Yet, the unconscious would still play a role. Like Peter pointed out, we had to get those ideas from somewhere. Yet, you are consciously accepting or rejecting the thoughts and ideas that come into your mind. Also, you may have unconsiously altered the the unconscious source of rhythm.
Yes, walking and typing is rhythmic, in fact when students first learned how to use a typewriter (back in the day) they did so to music. Yet, I'll argue that rhythm, whether it be unconscious or from a voluntary thought process, all goes back to organization. In music, rhythm holds everything together and distinguishes the meter. We do not like atonal music because it is not organized. In our daily actions, our brain may very well be rhythmic because that is its way of being organized. Our muscle movements are rhythmic because of the signals they get from the brain and due to the refractory periods between synapses (period before a signal can fire again). That is why we can only move our arms so fast.
To add in a little developmental psychology, rhythmicity is a type of temperament. Temperaments are personality traits that we have starting from birth that are carried out through the rest of our lives (although they may change). A rhythmic infant would be one that gets hungry the same time everyday, has the same nap schedule, and same diaper changing schedule as well. When we get older this tempernment translates to eatting, showering, using the restroom, sleeping around the same time everyday, and scheduling as well. Our daily events are even rhythmic, we make schedules to keep ourselves organized and this also may be due to memory, it is easier to remember to do something if we do it everyday. We even have patterns with in our rhymic activites like the order we do things in. You may brush your teeth before you shower for example. Since rhythm is a temperament this is evidence to the fact that these rhythmic components are at least somewhat innate.
Our biology, machines, and even the revolution of the earth and solar system are rhythmic. Yet what would it be like if they were not? I cannot even imagine. Perhaps we have evolved to be rhythmic in our thoughts, actions, and creations because of the earth's rhythm. Questions: Is that idea farfetched? What events or objects in life are not rhythmic?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Re: Peter Mitchell: Acousmatic Principle and Music Videos

In one of Peter's latest blog posts he ends with the question: "Do music videos truly change our perceptions of a song?"

This is an interesting question and I'm glad to get off the topic of computer generated music.
There are different types of music video's, some go for a literal interpretation, others make no sense whatsoever and have nothing to do with the lyrics, some take a song that would otherwise have ambiguous meaning and give it one, others do not add a meaning or interpretation to a song, etc. If one were to say that music videos tamper with one's interpretation than we would have to apply that same theory to ballets. I watched a few music videos of songs that I have heard many times and have never seen the music videos for. My perception did not change, the songs still mean the same thing to me, yet my I might have been persuaded by the interpretation of the visuals if I had never heard any of the songs before. I'm not sure how the music industry runs music videos, if the musicians themselves choose the story line of their music video or if it is some management position that decides. Yet, if it is the musicians that decide the story line they have every right to put their interpretation of their song into the visual aspect. It may change one's perception but what does all that matter? Why does a song need to be interpreted on one's own terms? Even if the directors, producers or whoever wrote the plot for a song, it is part of the art and adds quality to a song rather than takes it away.
As for ballets, one of the differences is that the music originally did not have words (at least for most ballets I can think of). So in this case, the music was very open for interpretation, yet what other interpretation can you take from a programmatic piece without a visual other than , "that sounds beautiful"? Ballet also is an interdisciplinary art, it is meant to be presented aurally and visually-- one does not distort the perception of the other, rather they work together to give one full aesthetic perception.

Question: Does watching a music video distort your perception of a piece? Should songs leave room for interpretation?

Music in life and Life in Music

This past chapter of Aesthetics & Music, has made me think about how music and life are interfused in not only by rhythmic activities but also the process of learning and performing music mirrors life.

The other day when I was practicing I began to think about the process of learning music is much like carrying out life goals. When you first get a piece it is intimidating, especially when it is outside your comfort zone. It seems impossible, and it may seem like you cannot do it but with patience and a calm approach you soon reach your goal. By slowing it down, viciously repeating it, chunking it together, and increasing the tempo gradually each day your impossible goal doesn't seem so impossible anymore. This relates to life. There is a great quote that I received in a fortune cookie one time it stated, "Every truly great accomplishment is at first impossible." Although fortune cookies are not a reliant source, I have to give the validity of this statement some credit. Like with learning a new piece, when we break down our goals into individual steps and take one step at a time, and take precision and care in each step we soon reach our goals. Of course not every goal is carried out this way, that would be unrealistic, yet a great deal are. Sometimes we may just wing it, but even that improvisation has somewhat of a plan involved, it there was not a plan how would you know if you carried out all of the steps.

Another relation between music and life is performing. The hardest thing for me, and the number one rule of performing is to keep going even if you make a mistake. Like music performance, life is spaced over time, time travel does not exist (at least yet anyways) there is no going back and fixing a mistake you made or taking back something that you said. In life you have to keep going.

Question: Other than rhythmic activities, performing, and practicing, how else is music intertwined with life and what other activities have musical qualities?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Re: Sean's 'Importance of sound origin'

In one of his posts Sean ended with the question, "Does sound origin play a significant role in music?"

Like Sean and Hamilton stated the acousmatic thesis states that when listening to music we should divorce tones from their source. Yet, Hamilton later subjected to the two fold thesis which states that the musical experience should include focusing on the physical, literal, holistic and individual properties of the tones while also realizing the origin of the sounds. (pg 110).
I think that the sound origin does play a significant role in music. Knowing what instrument the timbre is coming from and knowing things about that instrument like the range or the fact that it may squeak from time to time gives a new appreciation to the experience. Take for example you are listening to a trumpet concerto and you hear notes that you know are at the top of that instruments range, you then can associate that the trumpet player is talented and spent many hours practicing that piece. Knowing other qualities about instruments like the fact that clarinets squeak, can make it easier to dismiss the error when it occurs in a performance. Being able to distinguish instruments by their timbre while listening to an ensemble makes the experience more pleasurable because you can focus in on one or more specific instruments and make a mental score. Anything is more enjoyable when you can understand it better.
Let's turn to vocalists. Knowing what band is playing a song you have never heard before is easy for most people to do when they listen to the vocalist's timbre. It is important to know who is singing what because you do not want to give credit or discredit the wrong artist. Typically when songs are covered we prefer the original sound source to the 'stolen' or 'copied' versions. (of course there are exception to this.) This raises the question of why.

Question: Why do we prefer the original sound origin, to the redone version? Do we choose which sound origin we prefer based on which sounds better or something else?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Computer Music ... Again

In class on Monday Dr. Johnson asked if the intention in creating an artificial composing computer program is enough intention to constitute it as music?

We have defined music so far as organized sound with the intention to be aesthetically pleasing. We have also noted that if we are to create something not intending it to be music, and then work on it, it then becomes intentional. When we compose a song we are intentionally placing each note on a score and considering how it works together with the other notes that are being played at the same time as well as reflecting on what came before and what will come after. Composing is a strategic process embedded in intention. Creating a computer program that creates compositions does have intent, but the individual songs themselves do not have intent. The pieces that this program generates are bi-products of the original intent to create the program. The intent needs to be to the notes directly, like with human compositions to be considered music. The computer programs create more of a template of the general rise, falls, and resolutions that are typical in music. Yet, if one takes this template and works on it, changes chord progressions, tweaks rhythms, and adds in new voices/instruments, then I think it is safe to say that it is then music. (of course if it at least 80% original).

Question: Is it safe to say that computer generated music can become real music if someone changes it around and adds intention to it? How much intention must be added in order for it to be considered music?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Re: Wesley/ Peter "Contribution and Computer Generated Music"

An ongoing topic in blogging this semester is computer generated music. Wesley recently talked about a program from Hans Zimmer & Pharrell Williams which can turn any hum or whistle into a song. He ended with the question "How much contribution is needed to consider something music?" Peter then replied and ended with the question, "Does something with no contribution whatsoever have the right to be called music"?

Nowadays music producers do not write a single note of their own. They take tracks from older songs and replay a clip over and over again in the back ground. Or they take midi loops and organize them in their own sequence. I would consider that as sound art and not music. If you take loops and do not compose every single note yourself, then it is not truly yours, yet I may not goes as far to say that any contribution aside from ones self makes the piece not music or sound art. In writing articles, books, or any other publication, the rule of thumb for plagiarism is that it cannot be more than 20 percent of other works. Since composing is a type of writing, I think we should apply this principle. If a work is not at least 80% of the composer(s) then it is not their music. So if a composer took one loop and had four harmonies that he/she wrote themselves they are safe. Yet, if a composer took two loops and wrote three harmonies it would be sound art. I agree with Peter that computer generated music is at least sound art. These percentages are just a starting point, feel free to offer suggestions if you feel that they are too strict or not strict enough.

Questions: I'm going to change this around a little since it is such a recurring theme, let's talk about the ethics of these "composition machines". What if the creators of these computer programs never told anyone that they created it and they used it to generate compositions in their credit? Would it be plagiarism? If you never knew it was created by a machine would you call it music just the same? It is the conception that it is an artificial creation rather than the quality of the composition that makes us dislike it. Are we being racist towards computers? (Just kidding).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Nietzsche and Music

In our latest chapter in the text, Hamilton brings up Nietzsche and some of his philosophies. As many people in our class know, especially those who took The Ring Cycle with Dr. Dilthey, Nietzsche was involved with music since childhood and later did work with Richard Wagner, one of the most famous German opera composers. I will try to stray away from the compositions and the music that influenced him and focus on his philosophy of music.

I'll start by discussing what was said about Nietzsche in Aesthetics & Music. Nietzsche believed that the parts of music are meaningful and combine aesthetics of representation and form (pg70, Hamilton). My interpretation of this is that Nietzsche believes that you cannot separate representation and form from aesthetic perception because the meaning of a piece is inseparable the parts of the music. Another claim Nietzsche made was that great art must be created through Dionysian consciousness and "musical mood" rather than being exactly musical(pg 79). The Dionysian as we discussed in class, is the crazy, "alcoholic", and ecstasy driven side of the dichotomy; whereas Apollonian is the concept of dreams and organization. A literal interpretation would be that, when we are drunk and crazy, and in the mood to make music then it is great art. Yet, since Nietzsche is a translated philosopher room is needed for the lack of correct translatable terms. Perhaps this statement means that when we are drunk with inspiration and driven to create music we create the best art. Another statement from Nietzsche was that since poetry converges with music in a rhythmic, stress (of syllables/words), and dynamic sense, it offers insight to the "inner world" and allows it to act as a language of feeling(pg 80). This convergence allows us to associate specific parts of the music with certain feelings. Nietzsche is saying that the poetic aspects in music is what allows the music to speak to us and without these qualities it does not.
Putting these three statements together as well as Hamilton's claim that Nietzsche is a follower of radical aestheticism, I come to the conclusion. Nietzsche believed that you cannot separate representation and form from aesthetic perception because the meaning of a piece is inseparable the parts of the music, the direct translation would be that great art is made when someone is drunk and in the "musical mood", but perhaps there was a loss in translation, and finally poetic aspects of music allows music to speak to us. A follower in radical aestheticism believes that aesthetics is the highest value, above morals and all other values. That leads me to my question...
Question: How can aesthetic value be above moral value? What sort of other philosophies would someone have to adopt in order to not contradict themselves with this claim?

"Without music life would be a mistake"
- Nietzsche
(Twilight of the Idols)