Music and the Myth of Wholeness: Toward a New Aesthetic Paradigm

Music and the Myth of Wholeness: Toward a New Aesthetic Paradigm

by Tim Hodgkinson

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Overview

A new theory of aesthetics and music, grounded in the collision between language and the body.

In this book, Tim Hodgkinson proposes a theory of aesthetics and music grounded in the boundary between nature and culture within the human being. His analysis discards the conventional idea of the human being as an integrated whole in favor of a rich and complex field in which incompatible kinds of information—biological and cultural—collide. It is only when we acknowledge the clash of body and language within human identity that we can understand how art brings forth the special form of subjectivity potentially present in aesthetic experiences.

As a young musician, Hodgkinson realized that music was, in some mysterious way, “of itself”—not isolated from life, but not entirely continuous with it, either. Drawing on his experiences as a musician, composer, and anthropologist, Hodgkinson shows how when we listen to music a new subjectivity comes to life in ourselves. The normal mode of agency is suspended, and the subjectivity inscribed in the music comes toward us as a formative “other” to engage with. But this is not our reproduction of the composer's own subjectivation; when we perform our listening of the music, we are sharing the formative risks taken by its maker. To examine this in practice, Hodgkinson looks at the work of three composers who have each claimed to stimulate a new way of listening: Pierre Schaeffer, John Cage, and Helmut Lachenmann.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262034067
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 02/12/2016
Series: The MIT Press
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Tim Hodgkinson is a composer, musician, and writer. In 1968, he cofounded (with Fred Frith) the politically and musically radical group Henry Cow. His compositions have been performed at concerts and festivals around the world.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

I Word and Body

1 Prelude 3

2 Information 15

3 From Semantics to Imagination 25

4 Subjectivation 33

5 Dreams and the Oneiric Subject 43

6 Imagination Space 51

7 Topography of Culture 55

8 Discourse as Cultural Phase 63

Polarization of Order and Indeterminacy 66

Discursive Subject 67

Indeterminacy in Contemporary Art 70

Silences 73

9 The Sacred as Cultural Phase 75

Ritual Body/Ritual Subject 79

Transition and Affliction 82

Ontological Moment of Ritual 90

Anthropology 93

10 Art as Cultural Phase 99

Sociology versus the Aesthetic Object 99

Formalism 103

Art and Ritual 105

Incubation of Western Art Music 109

Art and Society 114

Musical Space in the Renaissance 118

Social Difference and Subjectivity 121

II Music and Ontology

11 Toward a Materialist Ontology of Art 127

12 On Listening 131

On the Sensations of Tone 133

Ici-bas 136

Your You versus Your Brain 137

Recursivity in Aesthetic Production 139

Aesthetic Worlds (1) 143

Hamburg, January 2010 146

Field Recordings, Xenochrony, and Charles Ives 147

Aesthetic Worlds (2) 149

The Fifteenth Quartet 150

The Other of Music (1) 151

Ut at the Luminaire 152

The Other of Music (2) 153

Form and Formativity 154

Aesthetic Risk 157

Ontological Power of Music 159

Expression 164

13 Three Poietics of Music 169

John Cage and the Wandering Subject 169

Pierre Schaeffer and the Sonorous Object 176

Helmut Lachenmann and the Learning Subject 182

14 Conclusion 191

Ethnomusicology 192

Embodiment and Enactive Aesthetics 196

Notes 201

Bibliography 229

Index 249

What People are Saying About This

Ed Sarath

Arguing for a disentanglement between biological organism and cultural backdrop in how we understand and derive meaning in art, Tim Hodgkinson turns some of our most cherished aesthetic convictions on their head. Whether or not one agrees with all of his premises, it is difficult to imagine anyone better equipped to undertake this ambitious task. Drawing on direct experience as improvising musician and a wide range of theoretical sources, he moves fluidly between disparate worlds as his account unfolds. An important and impressive contribution.

Gerard J. Puccio

A boundary-spanning exploration of music that culminates in a profound glimpse into a unique human quality—the imaginative and aesthetic experience—with the added pleasure of traveling through Hodgkinson's own creative process, which stands as an exemplar of Janusian thinking. A truly mind-expanding read.

From the Publisher

A boundary-spanning exploration of music that culminates in a profound glimpse into a unique human quality—the imaginative and aesthetic experience—with the added pleasure of traveling through Hodgkinson's own creative process, which stands as an exemplar of Janusian thinking. A truly mind-expanding read.

Gerard J. Puccio , Chair and Professor, International Center for Studies in Creativity, The State University College at Buffalo

Arguing for a disentanglement between biological organism and cultural backdrop in how we understand and derive meaning in art, Tim Hodgkinson turns some of our most cherished aesthetic convictions on their head. Whether or not one agrees with all of his premises, it is difficult to imagine anyone better equipped to undertake this ambitious task. Drawing on direct experience as improvising musician and a wide range of theoretical sources, he moves fluidly between disparate worlds as his account unfolds. An important and impressive contribution.

Ed Sarath , Professor of Music, University of Michigan; author of Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness: Jazz as Integral Template for Music, Education, and Society

Endorsement

Arguing for a disentanglement between biological organism and cultural backdrop in how we understand and derive meaning in art, Tim Hodgkinson turns some of our most cherished aesthetic convictions on their head. Whether or not one agrees with all of his premises, it is difficult to imagine anyone better equipped to undertake this ambitious task. Drawing on direct experience as improvising musician and a wide range of theoretical sources, he moves fluidly between disparate worlds as his account unfolds. An important and impressive contribution.

Ed Sarath, Professor of Music, University of Michigan; author of Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness: Jazz as Integral Template for Music, Education, and Society

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