Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

What does it all mean?

Perhaps the search for meaning should be abandoned altogether.

What does the music mean? We need to know. We've got to know. Maybe we can read the composer’s private correspondence and figure out what the music means. What does it mean? What did the composer’s father do to him? What did his love-life involve? Was he gay? We need to know what the music means. Tell us what it means.

Video

Bruckner Symphony No 8 C minor Karajan Wiener Philarmoniker

The idea here is what does the music mean.

When there is text in the music then the meaning becomes more solid. When a composer has added a title such as Don Juan or 1812 then the meaning becomes more clear.

When there is no text or title, what are we supposed to do? How will we know what the music means? What does it mean? I was thinking about this the other day and recalled an incident from my relative youth.

Once upon a time, I was busily proselytizing my roommates regarding classical music. One night they appeased me and we sat down to listen to Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony. At one point in the first movement, roommate Bruce piped up with, “So, what did that part mean?”

Uh — what?

I didn’t know what it meant, so I started bullshiting. It’s just what you did when you’re living in Ocean Beach in the 1990s and listening to Bruckner. I can’t remember what I came up with because there is no meaning to Bruckner’s Eighth. Bruckner's Eighth is all about how you allow yourself to feel. On some level I knew that but I couldn’t put it into words.

The meaning of the music is either secondary or nonexistent. What the composer was going through at the time, or what the circumstances of the sociopolitical system were, et cetera, are influences on the music but we are not in those circumstances. We are in our own circumstances.

What the music makes us feel is preeminent — even when there is text and a title involved. In opera or lieder or choral music, there is text guiding the meaning but the feeling we get from the music with the text supersedes what we would experience if we merely read the word-for-word libretto of Madama Butterfly.

We can experience music all over again if we shift from trying to define the meaning and instead live in the feeling. Maybe we can even let ourselves go a little. Maybe we’ll end up squeezing out a few tears for no other reason than that’s where the music took us.

Instead of bringing our mood to music and then selecting the piece that will reinforce our mood, perhaps we can bring a blank slate to music and let it write something new into our experience.

Are you feeling me on this?

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
4 Beds 2 Baths house, $459,000,
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 26, 2020
2015 NISSAN ROGUE SV AWD
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
SMALL ONE BEDROOM
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
WANTED: Speakers, amps
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
Foosball table
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 22, 2020
Ad
Previous article

Is the corona virus pushing us into the future?

“Unlike with MERS and SARS, this is so televised. All day, every day!”
Next Article

Boozemakers get into hand sanitizer business during shortage

Local distilleries to supply first responders, health care workers, and the San Diego Food Bank
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

What does the music mean? We need to know. We've got to know. Maybe we can read the composer’s private correspondence and figure out what the music means. What does it mean? What did the composer’s father do to him? What did his love-life involve? Was he gay? We need to know what the music means. Tell us what it means.

Video

Bruckner Symphony No 8 C minor Karajan Wiener Philarmoniker

The idea here is what does the music mean.

When there is text in the music then the meaning becomes more solid. When a composer has added a title such as Don Juan or 1812 then the meaning becomes more clear.

When there is no text or title, what are we supposed to do? How will we know what the music means? What does it mean? I was thinking about this the other day and recalled an incident from my relative youth.

Once upon a time, I was busily proselytizing my roommates regarding classical music. One night they appeased me and we sat down to listen to Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony. At one point in the first movement, roommate Bruce piped up with, “So, what did that part mean?”

Uh — what?

I didn’t know what it meant, so I started bullshiting. It’s just what you did when you’re living in Ocean Beach in the 1990s and listening to Bruckner. I can’t remember what I came up with because there is no meaning to Bruckner’s Eighth. Bruckner's Eighth is all about how you allow yourself to feel. On some level I knew that but I couldn’t put it into words.

The meaning of the music is either secondary or nonexistent. What the composer was going through at the time, or what the circumstances of the sociopolitical system were, et cetera, are influences on the music but we are not in those circumstances. We are in our own circumstances.

What the music makes us feel is preeminent — even when there is text and a title involved. In opera or lieder or choral music, there is text guiding the meaning but the feeling we get from the music with the text supersedes what we would experience if we merely read the word-for-word libretto of Madama Butterfly.

We can experience music all over again if we shift from trying to define the meaning and instead live in the feeling. Maybe we can even let ourselves go a little. Maybe we’ll end up squeezing out a few tears for no other reason than that’s where the music took us.

Instead of bringing our mood to music and then selecting the piece that will reinforce our mood, perhaps we can bring a blank slate to music and let it write something new into our experience.

Are you feeling me on this?

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Mr. Peanut tumbler glass
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 12, 2020
LEARN MAH JONGG
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
WILL PAY CASH....
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
BAJA STEEL ERECTION & FAB
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
INDUSTRIAL KITCHEN EQUIPMENT for sale
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 27, 2020
Previous article

A little nod to Joy Division

Tulpa Luna, Red Flag, Glass Spells, Lenny Morris III, David Robles
Next Article

Walter Mencken's guide to self-quarantine

Former San Diego Reader writers – Richard Meltzer, Anne Albright, Duncan Shepherd, Judith Moore – offer their suggestions
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close