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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000796.txt from 2002/05

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: Re: [kl] A Colour Symphony op. 24
Date: Thu, 30 May 2002 12:34:29 -0400

On Thu, 30 May 2002 11:14:40 -0400, said:

> Since you bring it up... why ask questions then? Where will one go
> with an answer that isn't right or is one of many that are right[?]
> The Q&A is a system that is in search of something and that something
> cannot be a pile of answers of which none are "right". To say that
> there are many answers but none are right probably means that the
> wrong question is being asked.

The question, from a teacher to an student instrumentalist (perhaps I
should have made that clearer) was: "What film clip would you put to
this music?"

How can such a question be a wrong one? It's purely operant in
intention, and is not saying anything about what the music really is.

> It is understood that the answer comes before the question and the
> effort is to find the right question. The answer is the piece of
> music.

The idea is that when you get the answer, you have something that comes
from the student against which to exert leverage for your next move.

> It is fine to ask questions but most of the time when one has an
> extramusical answer, they are content with that explanation or don't
> have enough musical education to go to the next level of
> questioning[,] which will limit their emotional reaction to the music.
> It's like a child reading a book that uses many "big" words within a
> rich and complex structure. There is just so much one can skip over.
> The point of the work will be missed and the feel or texture of the
> work will not be felt.

I agree that the structure is usually too rich and complex to yield to
such a simplistic approach. The technique is merely a beginning. I was
actually arguing on your side, as when I wrote:

> The simultaneous expressing of a whole set of abstractions, which is
> one way of saying what music achieves, is something different.


> ...sometimes with students it's possible to get them to begin to be in
> touch with some of these abstractions by asking them to reverse the
> procedure of the film composer, and imagine a film clip to put to the
> music.
> Because in order to do that, they have to ask themselves *something
> about the music in isolation*, and then create the film clip on that
> basis.

I remember asking this question of a student who was 'going through the
motions' playing the Weber First concerto. He said that he didn't know,
but that the mood of the piece was 'calm'.

So I said, "What sort of calm? There's calm as in 'relaxed' calm, but
there's also calm as in 'calm in a dangerous situation', for example.
Can you unpack it a bit more?"

So he said, "Calm, as in happy calm."

I wasn't able to move him very much with that movement of the Weber
using this particular lever:-)

_________ Tony Pay
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