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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000466.txt from 2010/11

From: Martin Baxter <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Text, meaning and interpretation
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2010 11:09:35 -0500

On 26 Nov 2010, at 22:52, Jennifer Jones wrote:

On Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 2:15 PM, Martin Baxter <> wrote:
> Tony's (as always) pertinent comments lead to the oft quoted:
> "Even when we use the correct instruments, study the historical evidence and attempt to reproduce what we think the composer would have heard we cannot listen to eighteenth or nineteenth century music with 18th century ears,
> " why bother trying".

Why not try? Or just play around with it and find stuff that is
pleasing. otherwise life can get boring.

In this quotation 'ears' is a metaphor. What it means is that we cannot regain the attitude of times past when certain dischords were much more shocking to the listener than they are to us today- the diminished seventh is an obvious example. Nor, although we may know from study that it is there, can we we relive the shock of a Renaiissance churchgower who suddenly realises that the Cantus Firmus of an anthem is a well known (contemporary) drinking song. One can study cultural attitudes of the past; one cannot relive them.

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