A Brief Overview of Music & Music Education in the History of Ideas --from Antiquity to the Present James F. Daugherty, Ph.D. University of Kansas
Question: What do Stadium Australia and the 2001Sydney Olympics have to do with the history and philosophy of music education?
Film Clips: Opening Ceremonies Advance Australia Fair
Music contributes to: Character formation Moral education Citizenship eqos Ethics Ethnic Ethnology Doctrine of Ethos
mousikh mousike for the Greeks, a combination of music, poetry(text), and dance; broadly, any human activity governed by the Muses
areth arete virtue, excellence
Some Examples of Ethos • Platonic Tradition • Plato • Aristotle • Allan Bloom, Closing of the American Mind • Censorship of Contemporary Rock Lyrics • Debate over religious music in public schools
Letter to the Editor --from THE TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT (March 6, 1995): My daughter was thrilled to try out for Sable Palm Chorus that fourth-and fifth-graders only are allowed to participate. She approached me with the idea a week ago about tryouts, in which I encouraged her. I thought chorus would improve her self-esteem. Unfortunately, she and others were not accepted for chorus, and she was heartbroken. I’m not aware of the criteria for acceptance in chorus, except for singing abilities. Let’s be reasonable. These are 9- and 10-year old students with singing voices that have not developed, as opposed to teen-agers.
Continued... Years ago, when I was in school, whomever was interested in joining the chorus would simply sign up. There wasn’t any such of a thing as tryouts. Chorus is a school activity, which enhances kids to become sociable, to build self-confidence and to learn team effort. Any and every student who desires to join the elementary chorus should be able to, regardless of their singing abilities. If the issue is about limitation on students in the chorus, then there should be two groups, in addition to other types of activities for students that would perhaps build their confidence. Carmelita M. Williams
The Music Man What’s the solution to trouble in River City?
From ethos to symbolism • Plato, although an exemplar of ethos, was also influenced by his 6th century predecessor, Pythagoras. • Plato’s thought is also indebted to Pythagoras and especially his mystical numerology (e.g. Timaeus)
Doctrine of Symbolism • Idealism • Music as metaphysical or cosmological; a reflection of supernatural truth • Dualism
Pythagoras of Samos (6th c B.C.) His “influence on the ideas, and thereby on the destiny, of the human race was probably greater than that of any single man before or after him.” --Arthur Koestler, The Sleepwalkers
Pythagorean Thought • Mysticism and Science • The “Great Theme” (James): the cosmos is a sublimely harmonious system guided by a Supreme Intelligence • Music and the human soul are both aspects of the eternal • Inter-relatedness of all human knowledge
Limited Odd Right Male Rest Straight Light Good Square Unlimited Even Left Female Motion Curved Dark Bad Oblong Pythagorean Table of Opposites
Importance of Number • The Pythagorean system expressed these concepts with numbers
Music and number The Pythagoreans, as they are called, devoted themselves to mathematics; they were the first to advance this study, and having been brought up in it they thought its principles were the principles of all things. Since of these principles numbers are by nature the first, and in numbers they seem to see many resemblances to the things that exist and come into being; …since, again, they say that the attributes and ratios of the musical scales were expressible in numbers; since, then, all other things seemed in their whole nature to be modeled after numbers, and numbers seemed to be the first things in the whole of nature, they supposed the elements of numbers to be the elements of all things, and the whole heaven to be a musical scale and number.” --Aristotle, Metaphysics
Pythagoras’ Discovery • an exact correspondence between the abstract world of musical sounds and the abstract world of numbers • the musical intervals produced by the hammers were exactly equivalent to the ratios between the hammer’s weights
Musical Intervals Once as Pythagoras was intently considering music, and reasoning with himself whether it would be possible to devise some instrumental assistance to the sense of hearing, so as to systematize it, as sight is made precise by the compass, rule, and surveying instrument, or touch is made reckonable by balance and measure--so thinking of these things Pythagoras happened to pass by a brazier’s shop, where he heard the hammers beating out a piece of iron on an anvil, producing sounds that harmonized, except one. But he recognized in these sounds the concord of the octave, the fifth, and the fourth. He saw that athe sound between the fourth and the fifth, taken by itself, was a dissonance, and yet completed the great sound among them. ---Iamblichus’ biography
Tetractys X X X X X X X X X X 1-->unity, identity, equality 2-->dyad; principle of dichotomy 3-->emblem of beginning, middle, end 4-->number of points required to construct a pyramid, the simplest of the perfect solids Adding together these four numbers=10, the basis of Pythagorean and our mathematics
3 Types of Music in Pythagorean Thought • ordinary music (made by plucking the lyre, blowing the pipe, etc.) • the continuous but unheard music made by each human organism, especially the harmonious/inharmonious resonance between soul and body • the music made by the cosmos itself (later known as “Music of the Spheres”)
Music • In Pythagorean thought, music exists quite independently of human beings • “If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one around to hear it, is there sound?”
Music as healer • since ordinary music and music made by resonance of the human organism are of the same essence, plucking the strings of a lyre could arouse sympathetic vibrations in the human instrument • Roots of Music Therapy
Anecdote A young man from Taormina had been up all night partying with friends and listening to songs in the Phrygian mode, a key well known for its ability to incite violence. When the aggravated lad saw the girl he loved sneaking away in the wee hours of the morning from the home of his rival, he determined to go burn her house down. Pythagoras happened to be out late himself, star-gazing, and he walked in on this violent scene. He convinced the piper to change his tune from the Phrygian mode to a song in spondees, a tranquilizing meter. The young man’s madness instantly cooled, and he was restored to reason. --from a biography of Pythagoras by Iamblichus
Pythagoreanism in ongoing language • “Perfect” Intervals • Unison • Fourth • Fifth • Octave • Tritone • “diabolus in musica, the “devil” in music
Music of the Spheres Pythagoras believed that “the motion of bodies that size must produce a noise, since on our earth the motion of bodies far inferior in size and speed of movement has that effect. Also, when the sun and the moon, they say, and all the stars, so great in number and in size, are moving with so rapid a motion, how should they not produce a sound immensely great? Starting from this argument, and the observation that their speeds, as measured by their distances, are in the same ratios as musical concordances, they assert that the sound given forth by the circular movement of the stars is a harmony.” --Aristotle, On the Heavens
Boethius • Musica speculativa • Musica practica Musica speculativa reflected still today in curricula of such institutions as Harvard University University of Virginia
Plato: A Case Study of Interactions Between Ethos & Symbolism
Plato • “Ars gratia republicae”: art for the sake of the republic • Beauty is not that which induces a pleasurable sensation, but that which enobles and leads a person to a just and temperate life
Plato • Supremacy of Reason • Doctrine of Forms • Doctrine of Recollection
Plato • Allegory of the Cave
Plato • Music is so powerful that it can mislead, or corrupt the path to reality, the true or ideal world • Music must be regulated, censored • Music itself is not a path to the ideal, but properly guarded, can prepare the soul to journey there
Interaction of Ethos & Symbolism: Some Examples • Judaeo-Christian Tradition • Psalmody & Psalters • Augustine • Luther • Calvin • Singing Schools • Vatican II
1837 Statement of the special committee on music of the Boston School Committee “Let vocal Music be examined by this standard…. Morally: There is,-- who has not felt it--, a mysterious connection, ordained undoubtedly for wise purposes, between certain sounds and the moral sentiments of man….It is an ultimate law of man’s nature….Now it is a curious fact, that the natural scale of musical sound can only produce good, virtuous, and kindly feelings….And, if such be the case,, if there be this necessary concordance between certain sounds and certain trains of moral feeling, is it unphilosophical to say that exercises in vocal Music may be so directed and arranged as to produce those habits of feeling of which these sounds are types….These qualities are connected intimately with the moral government of the individual. Why should they not, under proper management, be rendered equally efficient in the moral government of the school?”
Letter to the Editor --from THE NEW YORK TIMES (February 9, 1997): To the Editor: Bernard Holland in “Listening Is Either/Or. Or Is It? (Feb. 2), asks, “Does one turn the pages of ‘A Man Without Qualities’ while making love?” Perhaps this would indeed require being in a sexual position unknown to Masters and Johnson, but where is the lover who is not carried away, whose ardor is not enhanced, by the sound of a violin or a guitar? Where is the soldier who is not encouraged by the military march or patriotic anthem? Where is the pious man unmoved by the sound of the organ or choir? Music has always been an accompaniment to other activities, and, far from lowering the status of music, this situation has usually raised it.
Continued... Old governments that understood their purpose to be the formation of human character rather than the protection of rights knew that certain kinds of music lend themselves to certain kinds of activities and to certain forms of soul or character. Therefore, they took music seriously and even practiced censorship.
Continued... Mr. Holland’s real complaint is that classical music is now an accompaniment to shopping rather to other, more serious activities, and, with this, Mr. Holland makes a fair point about the silliness of modern life. But I wonder if he would prefer to return to political orders in which the question of character (and, therefore, music) is of primary importance and in which consumerism does not exist. If Mr. Holland likes liberal democracy, then he must stop whining about Mozart being piped into Bloomingdale’s for democracy and consumerism are concomitant. John Coumarianos Brookline, Mass.
Music as Science Music as Art Music as Fine Art
Quadrivium Geometry Astronomy Music Arithmetic Trivium Language Rhetoric Logic Seven Liberal ArtsMartianus Capella
Music and Science “Pythagoras’ discovery of the arithmetical basis of musical intervals was not just the beginning of music theory; it was the beginning of science. For the first time, man (sic) discovered that universal truths could be explained through systematic investigation and the use of symbols such as mathematics.” -J. James, The Music of the Spheres
Music as Art • Renaissance Humanism: Back to the Greeks, but also: • Literary Model: Music as human expression (On to “man as the measure of all things”) • Vitality of Texted Music • Music begins shift from the quadrivium to the trivium
Today: St. John’s College Curriculum • Based on Hellenistic principles and Renaissance models • All students take chorus as a required subject their sophomore year
Music as Fine Art Emergence of “aesthetic” philosophy
“Aesthetic” Opposite of “anaesthetic,” or non-feeling “Aesthetic” not a term in the human vocabulary until Baumgarten in the mid 1700’s.