A Question of Balance: Charles Seeger's Philosophy of Music

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University of California Press, 22 dic 1998 - 278 pagine
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One of this century's most influential musical intellects takes center stage in Taylor Greer's meticulously wrought study of Charles Seeger (1886-1979). Seeger left an indelible mark in the fields of musicology, music criticism, ethnomusicology, and avant-garde musical composition, but until now there has been no extended appreciation and critique of Seeger's work as a whole, nor has an accessible guide to his texts been available.

Exploring the entire corpus of Charles Seeger's writing, A Question of Balance highlights the work of those persons who most influenced him, especially Henri Bergson, Bertrand Russell, and Ralph Perry. Invited to inaugurate the music department at the University of California's Berkeley campus in 1912, Seeger became keenly aware of his deficiencies in general education and put himself on a rigorous regimen of intellectual development that included studying history, anthropology, political theory, and philosophy. For the remainder of his life his ideas about music heavily influenced the development of ethnomusicology and systematic musicology.

Charles Seeger is perhaps best known as the father of the folk singers Pete, Mike, and Peggy Seeger and as the husband of the innovative American composer Ruth Crawford. This book makes clear that Seeger was an extremely important thinker and educator in his own right. Seeger's intellectual curiosity was as eclectic as it was enthusiastic, and Greer skillfully weaves together the connections Seeger made between music, the humanities, and the sciences. The result is a luminous tapestry depicting Seeger's ideal schemes of musicology. At the same time it reflects the turbulence and vitality in American musical life during the early decades of the century.

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Bergsons Intuition and Seegers Predicament
Russells Synthesis of Mysticism and Logic
Perrys Philosophy of Value
Seegers Theory of Music Criticism
Musical Applications
A Philosophy in Practice Music Criticism
A Philosophy in Practice Compositional Theory
Seegers Vision of Musicology

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Pagina xi - The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the sower of all true art and science. .. . To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can
Pagina 77 - The field of science is unlimited; its material is endless, every group of natural phenomena, every phase of social life, every stage of past or present development is material for science. The unity of all science consists alone in its method, not in its
Pagina 43 - So art, whether it be painting or sculpture, poetry or music, has no other object than to brush aside the utilitarian symbols, the conventional and socially accepted generalities, in short, everything that veils reality from us, in order to bring us face to face with reality itself.
Pagina 79 - You want a system that will combine both things, the scientific loyalty to facts and willingness to take account of them, the spirit of adaptation and accommodation, in short, but also the old confidence in human values and the resultant spontaneity, whether of the religious or of the romantic type.
Pagina 119 - the other. But the greatest men who have been philosophers have felt the need both of science and of mysticism: the attempt to harmonize the two was what made their life, and what always must, for all its arduous uncertainty, make philosophy, to some minds, a greater thing than either science or religion.
Pagina 41 - If there exists any means of possessing a reality absolutely instead of knowing it relatively, of placing oneself within it instead of looking at it from outside points of view, of having the intuition instead of making the analysis: in short, of seizing it without any expression, translation, or symbolic representation—metaphysics is that means.
Pagina 86 - interest" is the "original source and constant feature of all value. Any object, whatever it be, acquires value when any interest, whatever it be, is taken in it.... The view may otherwise be formulated in the equation: x is valuable = interest is taken in x.
Pagina 100 - interest” is the “original source and constant feature of all value. Any object, whatever it be, acquires value when any interest, whatever it be, is taken in it. . . . The view may otherwise be formulated in the equation: x is valuable = interest is taken in x.
Pagina 42 - one places oneself within an object in order to coincide with what is unique in it and consequently inexpressible.
Pagina 79 - tracing its respective practical consequences. What difference would it practically make to anyone if this notion rather than that notion were true?

Informazioni sull'autore (1998)

Taylor Aitken Greer is Associate Professor of Music at Pennsylvania State University.

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