Re: On the Grammar of Music ("O.T.Furnes" )

Subject: Re: On the Grammar of Music
From:    "O.T.Furnes"  <oddtf(at)>
Date:    Fri, 27 Apr 2001 14:43:18 +0200

Martin Braun wrote: > Fine. Then you will surely agree that there is so much variation in = the > chordal treatment within the work of each composer that they were = obviously > not following any grammar. >=20 No, I cannot agree. Variation does not rule out the existence of a = typicality. If the chordal treatments in Bach and Debussy or Nirvana where = interchangeable=20 without anyone noticing any difference, then I maybe would start to = agree with you. > A grammar of chords could only exist, if there were at least a few = chords > that had a meaning. Such a meaning would have to be the same for = composer > and audience. We don't have such things in music.=20 Let's imagine four different types of meaning: 1. One chord carry an unequivocal universal concrete meaning.=20 2. Musical elements (e.g. chords) carry stylespesific meanings. 3. Chords are classified in more general terms (degree of intensity, = stability) 4. Chord-progressions follow certain patterns in different styles. The first point can be disregarded. Today there are little to be found = of point 2 as well.=20 Point 3 and 4 are present in music today.=20 As to point 4; the recurrent aspect will, on an ecological basis create=20 stability and lets us make sense of our surroundings.=20 And when things make sense, they are meaningful to us.=20 This is another kind of meaning than what you are looking for.=20 My allegation is that without the recurrent aspect=20 there would be no mental schemas - what's left is chaos.=20 And, if we understand style as a type of schema;=20 if there weren't different recurring aspects in different musical = styles,=20 then we would have no idea of different styles whatsoever.=20 > The examples of possible > meanings of chords, given by Julian Vrieslander earlier today, clearly = show > that an agreement on meaning is not possible in this field.=20 Is that how you read his contribution? I think he describes meaning as under point 3.=20 Odd Torleiv=20 ______________________ Odd Torleiv Furnes Department of Musicology University of Oslo Norway oddtf(at)

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