I have finally finished Robert Jourdain's Music, the Brain and Ecstasy. It's a complex but worthwhile book. I was disappointed by the ending where he promotes the progress myth. You know the one I mean--everything is improving over time, and soon we will reach nirvana. This is bosh.
The only progress experienced by humans is the one created by the application of the scientific method. One scientific proof builds on another, one invention builds on another, creating improvements in the way we live.
All music exists in the specific context of style. He talks about the trees of anticipation and completely misses the forest of style. It is the style of music that creates the anticipation. A body of people create a style. The composer then manipulates the elements of this style to create his composition. No style, no anticipation; no anticipation, no music.
Reviewing my blog entries on this book, I think you will be glad I have reached the end. I love stuff like this, but enough is enough.
Broadcast: The Merry Widow
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