Reflections on Art: A Source Book of Writings by Artists, Critics, and Philosophers

By Susanne K. Langer | Go to book overview

Music and Silence.

GISÈLE BRELET

MUSIC AND SOUND cannot be pure surface show, inert data imposing themselves upon us from the outside: their whole being is in their action, since they live only by their perpetual rebirth. Hence they exist only by virtue of their unceasing victory over that silence which they embrace in order always to conquer anew their fragile and immaterial being, and to oblige the listener to participate in the inner act by which they are defined.

Sound is an event: by its coming it breaks an original silence, and it ends in a final silence. And music, like sound, projects its form upon a background of silence which it always presupposes. Music is born, develops, and realizes itself within silence: upon silence it traces out its moving arabesques, which give a form to silence, and yet do not abolish it. A musical work, like all sonority, unfolds between two silences: the silence of its birth and the silence of its completion. In this temporal life where music perpetually is born, dies and is born again, silence is ever its faithful companion...

IF MUSIC, which is a becoming, is to live, it must be incarnate in ordinary time; but it is not to be confused with such time. The

-103-

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Reflections on Art: A Source Book of Writings by Artists, Critics, and Philosophers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction ix
  • Beauty as Feeling 3
  • Art and Feeling 10
  • Beauty and Significance 37
  • The Paradox of Aesthetic Meaning 62
  • On the Problem of Artistic Form 71
  • The Aesthetic Problem of Distance 79
  • The Nature of Dramatic Illusion 91
  • Music and Silence. 103
  • Time in the Plastic Arts 122
  • Bergsonism and Music 142
  • Music and Duration 152
  • Notes on the Superposition of Temporal Modes in the Works of Art 161
  • The Concept of "Tonal Body" 174
  • The Essence of Rhythm 186
  • Morphological Poetics 202
  • A Boston Criticism of Whitman 229
  • Modern Ballet 234
  • Art and Craftsmanship 240
  • The Eye Is A Part of the Mind 243
  • On the Problem of Musical Hearing 262
  • The Image in the Rock 298
  • Problems of A Song-Writer 301
  • The Histrionic Experience 311
  • Sketch for A Pychology of the Moving Pictures 317
  • Music and Myth in Their Mutual Relation 328
  • Modern Architecture: Toward A Redefinition of Style 342
  • Index 357
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