Log24

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Sense of an Ending

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:23 PM

Sir Frank Kermode died yesterday (British time) at 90.

“Time cannot exist without a soul (to count it).” — Aristotle

— Passage quoted on the title page of Kermode’s The Sense of an Ending  (Oxford University Press, 1967)

The Cambridge Companion to Plotinus, Lloyd P. Gerson, Cambridge University Press, 1996, p. 208—

“Although Aristotle seems in general to regard time as something independent of the soul and objective, he occasionally gives a leading role to soul. He says, for example, that time cannot exist without a soul to number it (Phys. 223a21-9)….”

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/100818-AristotlePhysics223.gif

Soul Riff for Sir Frank— See

  1. An obituary for D-Day piper Bill Millin that says he also died on August 17 (British time)
  2. A Log24 post for the day that Peter O’Toole turned 70
  3. O’Toole in the 1967 Casino Royale.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Riff Design

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:09 AM

From yesterday

Call and Response

“One would call out, in the standardized abbreviations of their science, motifs or initial bars of classical compositions, whereupon the other had to respond with the continuation of the piece, or better still with a higher or lower voice, a contrasting theme, and so forth. It was an exercise in memory and improvisation….”

The Glass Bead Game

Today’s New York Times  has an obituary for Bernard Knox, classics professor. Knox died on July 22. On that date this journal happened to have a post, “Soul Riff,” featuring a professor— shown below. Click on the professor for a very relevant classical quotation.

The Soul Riff  post also contained the above secondary title—

Call and Response

Doonesbury 2/29/08-- Assignment: Identify Sources

For a response from the next day,
March 1, click on the professor
.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Utopia 14

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 4:16 AM

The following, from Wikipedia, is an image of Utopia 14, the 1954 paperback reissue of Kurt Vonnegut’s 1952 novel Player Piano.

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/100816-Utopia14-Vonnegut.jpg

Commentary from Wikipedia

“A player piano is a modified piano that ‘plays itself.’ The piano keys move according to a pattern of holes punched in an unwinding scroll…. Like its counterpart, a player piano can be played by hand as well. When a scroll is run through the ghost-operated instrument, the movement of its keys produce the illusion that an invisible performer is playing the instrument.”

See also last night’s “The Game“—

“One would call out, in the standardized abbreviations of their science, motifs or initial bars of classical compositions, whereupon the other had to respond with the continuation of the piece, or better still with a higher or lower voice, a contrasting theme, and so forth. It was an exercise in memory and improvisation….”

— as well as Vonnegut in this journal yesterday and the following from the August 14 post Iconic Notation

A question from Ivan Illich
(founder of CIDOC, the Center for Intercultural Documentation,
in Cuernavaca, Mexico)—

Who can be served by bridges to nowhere?

For more about nowhere, see Utopia.

For more about Cuernavaca and ghosts, see a recurring motif in this journal.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Game

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:07 PM
'Magister Ludi,' or 'The Glass Bead Game,' by Hermann Hesse

We shall now give a brief summary of the beginnings of the Glass Bead Game. It appears to have arisen simultaneously in Germany and in England. In both countries, moreover, it was originally a kind of exercise employed by those small groups of musicologists and musicians who worked and studied in the new seminaries of musical theory. If we compare the original state of the Game with its subsequent developments and its present form, it is much like comparing a musical score of the period before 1500, with its primitive notes and absence of bar lines, with an eighteenth-century score, let alone with one from the nineteenth with its confusing excess of symbols for dynamics, tempi, phrasing, and so on, which often made the printing of such scores a complex technical problem.

The Game was at first nothing more than a witty method for developing memory and ingenuity among students and musicians. And as we have said, it was played both in England and Germany before it was ‘invented’ here in the Musical Academy of Cologne, and was given the name it bears to this day, after so many generations, although it has long ceased to have anything to do with glass beads.

The inventor, Bastian Perrot of Calw, a rather eccentric but clever, sociable, and humane musicologist, used glass beads instead of letters, numerals, notes, or other graphic symbols. Perrot, who incidentally has also bequeathed to us a treatise on the Apogee and Decline of Counterpoint, found that the pupils at the Cologne Seminary had a rather elaborate game they used to play. One would call out, in the standardized abbreviations of their science, motifs or initial bars of classical compositions, whereupon the other had to respond with the continuation of the piece, or better still with a higher or lower voice, a contrasting theme, and so forth. It was an exercise in memory and improvisation quite similar to the sort of thing probably in vogue among ardent pupils of counterpoint in the days of Schütz, Pachelbel, and Bach — although it would then not have been done in theoretical formulas, but in practice on the cembalo, lute, or flute, or with the voice.

Bastian Perrot in all probability was a member of the Journeyers to the East. He was partial to handicrafts and had himself built several pianos and clavichords in the ancient style. Legend has it that he was adept at playing the violin in the old way, forgotten since 1800, with a high-arched bow and hand-regulated tension of the bow hairs. Given these interests, it was perhaps only natural that he should have constructed a frame, modeled on a child’s abacus, a frame with several dozen wires on which could be strung glass beads of various sizes, shapes, and colors. The wires corresponded to the lines of the musical staff, the beads to the time-values of the notes, and so on. In this way he could represent with beads musical quotations or invented themes, could alter, transpose, and develop them, change them and set them in counterpoint to one another. In technical terms this was a mere plaything, but the pupils liked it; it was imitated and became fashionable in England too. For a time the game of musical exercises was played in this charmingly primitive manner. And as is so often the case, an enduring and significant institution received its name from a passing and incidental circumstance. For what later evolved out of that students’ sport and Perrot’s bead-strung wires bears to this day the name by which it became popularly known, the Glass Bead Game.

Hermann Hesse

“For although in a certain sense and for light-minded persons non-existent things can be more easily and irresponsibly represented in words than existing things, for the serious and conscientious historian it is just the reverse. Nothing is harder, yet nothing is more necessary, than to speak of certain things whose existence is neither demonstrable nor probable. The very fact that serious and conscientious men treat them as existing things brings them a step closer to existence and to the possibility of being born.”

— “Albertus Secundus,” epigraph to The Glass Bead Game

From DownloadThat.com

(Click to enlarge.)

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/100815-ThePaletteSm.jpg

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