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of driving forward


p12 (of 16), notes scribbled during Thinking with your Eyes symposium,
Cambridge, 28 February 2014
detail; levels altered

This archipelagic scribble accompanies my notes to Robert Cogan's presentation "Imagining music's expanded compass : spectral, modal, cosmic." Cogan argued the virtues of a visual and even three-dimensional sense of unfolding musical experience, one that is manifested in spectral visualizations of performances.

I was reminded of Mario Davidovsky's account of his experience in the electronic studio in the early 1960s — "Sometimes I would listen to a single sound for hours... and this increased my understanding of sound a thousandfold. I began to think of melody not only as a succession of pitches, rhythms, dynamics and articulations but as a sequence of 'spaces' as well."
ex Perry Goldstein's profile of Davidovsky, "He knows what he likes (and he doesn't like much)," The New York Times, February 27, 1994

Cogan, in comments prompted by the talk about molecular visualization that followed his presentation, expanded on how the idea of molecules was more useful than atoms for musical composition and understanding.

One of three or four pieces he walked us through was Schubert's "Wanderer's Nightsong" *

Wandrers Nachtlied I

Der du von dem Himmel bist,
Alles Leid und Schmerzen stillest
Den, der doppelt elend ist,
Doppelt mit Erquickung füllest,
Ach! Ich bin des Treibens müde!
Was soll all der Schmerz und Lust?
Süsser Fried,
Komm, ach, komm in meine Brust.

You, who are from heaven,
Quiet all sorrow and pains;
And he who is doubly wretched,
Fill doubly his refreshment.
Ah! I'm so tired of driving forward!
What's all this pain and pleasure for?
Sweet peace, come,
Oh, come into my breast!

J. W. von Goethe
Tr. Robert Cogan

2 March 2014
tags: Robert Cogan; Mario Davidovsky; archipelagics; drawing; islands; scribble; spectra; thinkeyes2014