Corporeal Music Analysis

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In Genesis of a Music Partch describes a distinct difference between corporeal and abstract music, and the opposition of these two forms were central to his musical philosophy. He specifies the elements and forms of corporeal music as (1) stories and poems which are sung, chanted or recited e.g. folk music and ballads, (2) musical dramas such as early Florentine opera, and (3) narrative dance music. His examples of abstract music are (1) song where words are used to accentuate the mood of the music, rather than convey any literal meaning, (2) musical drama such as modern opera, where the true expressive quality of the words were ruined by the manner of rendition, and of course (3) any form of purely instrumental music. Partch felt that corporeal…show more content…
Consider the content of the Classical art-work, say the free-standing statue of a naked man, here every essential and important element of Being, its whole rhythm, is exhaustively rendered by surfaces, dimensions and the sensuous relations of the parts. The Pythagorean notion of the harmony of numbers, although it was probably deduced from music – a music, be it noted, that knew not polyphony or harmony, and formed its instruments to render single plump, almost fleshy tones – seems to be the very mould for a sculpture that has this…show more content…
Classical Greek philosopher and mathematician Plato repeatedly insisted that rhythm and harmony are both dictated by the words and not the other way around. Plato’s view can be backed up by the fact that Greek music most often took the form of dramatic accompaniment. Music was usually written by the playwrights or dramatists themselves as a means of enhancing the dramatic effect of the words used. For example, while some dialogue in these dramas would take the form of a recitative the accompanying instrument(s) such as the kithara would follow the vocal melody note for note. Other times such as at critical dramatic points the instruments would play loudly alongside the chorus and actors. Partch’s own kithara plays a similar role in his music, being used more for dramatic or theatrical effect rather melodically or

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