Music and TOK

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Information about Music and TOK

Published on January 15, 2008

Author: Silvestre


Musical TOK:  Musical TOK Problems of knowledge in Music Slide2:  ENTERTAIN THRILL/EXCITE? CALM BIND A COMMUNITY TOGETHER MARK A COMMUNITY OR INDIVIDUAL RITUAL OR RITE OF PASSAGE MAKE A POLITICAL OR MORAL MESSAGE IMITATE (or reflect) NATURE OR REALITY EXPRESS EMOTION or FEELINGS OF SOME SORT CREATE BEAUTY PRAISE A SPIRITUAL POWER UPLIFT THE MIND CAPTURE SOME “HIGHER”/ TRANSCENDENTAL TRUTH OTHERS………………….. SOME THINGS MUSIC DOES­ (“Functions”) WHAT IS MUSIC? :  WHAT IS MUSIC? Listen to some examples. Agreed? Is it all Music? Definition could be: music is sound organized in time, involving elements of difference of rhythm and pitch, tone colour and other elements DOES MUSIC HAVE TO INVOLVE SOUND?:  DOES MUSIC HAVE TO INVOLVE SOUND? Listen to two examples Both were composed by deaf people (Beethoven and Smetena) How is this possible? Could someone who went deaf as an adult appreciate, compose or perform music? Could someone deaf from birth appreciate music? Could someone deaf from birth write music? Could someone deaf from birth perform music? DO WE THE LISTENERS PERCEIVE THE SAME? :  DO WE THE LISTENERS PERCEIVE THE SAME? If we all listen to the same piece of music….. Do we hear similar things? Do we make the same associations? Do we get the same feelings? i.e. Do we interpret a piece of heard music the same way? DO WE THE LISTENERS PERCEIVE THE SAME?:  DO WE THE LISTENERS PERCEIVE THE SAME? Strauss Piece Widor Piece Wagner piece Fong Nam piece 1 Fong Nam piece 2 Bach piece Listen to some examples Write any associations or feelings you get. Two are associated with funerals, one with weddings, can you guess which? FACTORS AFFECTING OUR PERCEPTION:  FACTORS AFFECTING OUR PERCEPTION Some people may interpret the music in the same way, may make similar associations get similar feelings, may like and value the music similarly. Other people may have big differences. WHICH OF THESE FACTORS ARE IMPORTANT?:  WHICH OF THESE FACTORS ARE IMPORTANT? Familiarity Education Acculturation Intelligence of some sort Genetic make-up Attitude and beliefs about life Attitude and beliefs about music Technical knowledge Your Aesthetic value system. Your experience and associations made during your life so far. Other? MUSIC AS A COMMON LANGUAGE? :  MUSIC AS A COMMON LANGUAGE? We don’t understand the spoken language of most other countries Is the same true for their musical language? Is the language of music very different in different countries? Or is music a universal or common language, understandable by all? IS MUSIC A LANGUAGE DERIVED FROM NATURE AND THE LAWS OF PHYSICS?:  IS MUSIC A LANGUAGE DERIVED FROM NATURE AND THE LAWS OF PHYSICS? Deryck Cooke’s “The language of music” argues that it is, and that it expresses emotion. e.g. listen to Mozart, most pop songs, regular rhythms, beats, tonal (“in-tune”) type of melody and harmony (“chords”) Does this sound in tune because it obeys some kind of absolute natural, physical, mathematical laws existing in reality? Is there an amount of objectivity in musical language and perception? OR IS MUSIC A RELATIVE HUMAN CONSTRUCT NOT DERIVED FROM NATURAL LAWS AT ALL? :  OR IS MUSIC A RELATIVE HUMAN CONSTRUCT NOT DERIVED FROM NATURAL LAWS AT ALL? e.g. listen to Webern or Schoenberg or Penderecki It sounds kind of out of tune? If we were brought up listening to this music would we think it the normal, and consider Mozart and pop songs, etc., horribly out of tune? That is, is what we consider to consider to be “good-sounding” relative? Is there an amount of subjectivity in musical language and perception? (Note: These stand-points are not mutually exclusive-(explain?) THESE “MUSICS” REFLECT DIFFERENT PARADIGMS::  THESE “MUSICS” REFLECT DIFFERENT PARADIGMS: The so called “tonal system” dominant 1600-1900 An attempt to abandon this system around 1920 -1970 in favour of a new atonal system based on different rules, (“total serialism”) abandoning old conceptions of what sounds harmonious and melodious. IS MUSIC THE “LANGUAGE OF EMOTION”?:  IS MUSIC THE “LANGUAGE OF EMOTION”? Or does it equally include REASON? VALUE JUDGEMENTS IN MUSIC::  VALUE JUDGEMENTS IN MUSIC: Is the music a work of genius, great, good, bad? Is the music “Art” music rather than something else? Which of the following statements would you agree or disagree with? It is up to you what you like, and it does not matter, it’s your right Everyone’s value judgment on a piece of music is equally correct Value is determined by experts Value is determined by history Value is determined by market forces Value is determined by consensus in a society (lots agreeing) A complicated piece of music showing great skill of composing or performance is better than a simple piece “Art” or “classical” music is better than “pop” musics. “Art” or “classical” music has more to say than “pop” music, capturing more transcendental and spiritual truths, and the “higher” aspects of humanity “Western” music, in particular, has so far achieved the highest achievements, just as “western scientists” have in science. Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton:  Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton Would you know my name If I saw you in heaven Would it be the same If I saw you in heaven I must be strong, and carry on, Cos I know I don’t belong, here in heaven Would you hold my hand If I saw you in heaven Would you help me stand If I saw you in heaven I’ll find my way to brighter days Cos I know I don’t belong, here in heaven Time can bring you down Time can bend your knees Time can break your heart Leave you begging “please”……… Guitar solo… Beyond the door, there’s peace I’m sure And I know I don’t belong here in heaven INTERPRETATION BY THE PERFORMER: :  INTERPRETATION BY THE PERFORMER: What makes a good or interesting performance? Technical ability? Beauty of voice or tone? Some other quality of the tone? Other ways to interpret or perform the piece of music? The appearance of the performer or other non-musical factors? The “charisma” of the performer in some way? PROBLEMS WITH INTERPRETATION Is it a problem if you re-interpret the composer’s intent? Why? Or is it something to be encouraged? If so, why? MUSIC AS A CREATIVE ART:  MUSIC AS A CREATIVE ART What might “creativity” mean? What might “originality” mean? Are they necessary? Science discovers and technology invents. Does music discover, invent or create? SOME DISCUSSION QUESTIONS::  SOME DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Just look at one or two, or more or all. Report back with some comments, ideas, examples raised during the discussion. “Without music, life would be a mistake”: Friedrich Nietzsche Could you live without music, is it an essential or a “frill”? Music can be written down in notes, i.e. visually. Therefore would it be possible for someone born deaf to understand and enjoy music, or to compose it, using the written notation music rather than ever hearing the actual sound? Will any of the present “commercial pop music” become the art/classical music of the future? Try some predictions as to what might achieve this. Is “Western” pop music widespread round the globe, and if so, is it because it is “better” or are there other reasons? Do you agree that classical music is “better” than pop music? If you agree, give a few reasons why. If you disagree, give a few reasons why you disagree. SOME PRACTICAL ACTIVITIES :  SOME PRACTICAL ACTIVITIES You may report back with a very short practical demo or performance instead of speaking about a discussion question. Make up and practice some rhythms or melodic phrases which might communicate a mood or feeling, e.g. sadness, happiness, fear, heroism, etc. Perform two or three of them to the group and discuss their effectiveness and people’s perception of them Choose a favourite song, or a well known standard like “Happy birthday” or “Twinkle twinkle”, and perform it with two different interpretations or feelings. No need to perform the whole song, up to you. Discuss the perceptions of the two interpretations. ESSAY QUESTIONS WHICH COULD USEFULLY CONTAIN MUSIC EXAMPLES :  ESSAY QUESTIONS WHICH COULD USEFULLY CONTAIN MUSIC EXAMPLES Q1 For some people science is the supreme form of all knowledge. Is this view reasonable or does it involve a misunderstanding of science or of knowledge? Q2 “For it is in the long run that, somehow, truth may survive – through the decay of untruth.” (John Lukas). To what extent is this case in different areas of knowledge and in your own experience? Q5 “Doing the right things starts with knowing the right things.” In what ways does responsible action depend upon sound, critical thinking? Q6 What are the differences between “I am certain” and “It is certain”, and is passionate conviction ever sufficient for justifying knowledge? Q7 To what extent may the subjective nature of perception be regarded as an advantage for artists but an obstacle to be overcome by scientists? Q10 Is knowledge in mathematics and in other Areas of Knowledge dependent on culture to the same degree and in the same ways?

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