Language, Ineffability and Paradox in Music Philosophy

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Simon Fraser University, 2005 - Ineffable, The - 294 pages
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Despite the direct communication that language may allow for in various art forms, it can be both help and hindrance when combined with music. Similarly, philosophical writings on music can be "mixed blessings." They can negatively influence the choices of music in music education by prescriptive, sometimes censorious opinions and personal tastes. The educational institutionalization of band, choir and popular music demonstrates neither the desire nor the capacity to genuinely value the music or the individuality of the musicians involved. All music, despite the genre, may have profound individual meaning to us, as evidenced by Gilles Deleuze's concept of the "refrain". These meanings are frequently incapable of satisfactory explanation through human utterance but can express the inexpressible. Just as the absence or avoidance of language to describe music often spawns ignoble treatment by those who rely upon it almost exclusively, such is the frequent response to music lacking traditional notation.

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