Thursday, December 20, 2007

Music, photography, science

Filmmaker Errol Morris's extraordinary blog, Zoom, has a paragraph that hit me like a brick:
I know. It is insane, but I would like to make the claim that the meaning of photography is contained in these two images. By thinking about the Fenton photographs we are essentially thinking about some of the most vexing issues in photography – about posing, about the intentions of the photographer, about the nature of photographic evidence – about the relationship between photographs and reality. We also have the first motion picture because we have two images in sequence. We just don’t know (at first) what the sequence is because they are not conjoined in celluloid. One further point. Isn’t much of science the attempt to fill in what happened between two moments of time, t₀ and t₁? To explain how and why something changed?
Isn't much of music -- at least that much that is not about speech-like communication -- the attempt to fill in the space between two moments of time?


Charles Shere said...

Well, not to me, no. I mean, yes: music as it was thought of in its Great European Age, say Bach to 1950, yes: it's attempts to fill in "space" between moments. Or so we think of it, though I feel that many masters manage to do this sort of mechanically (though very well indeed) when in fact they have a completely different idea in mind, and that's what I like about a lot of Berlioz, Schubert, Bruckner, Sibelius: their music may be about filling a duration, but it's also about getting completely away from a concern with that.

Point is, a lot of newer music (including much of my own) is not about moving from moment to moment, but about existing within time, doesn't matter what moments one might choose as kickers or closers.

Jane said...
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