Saturday, August 29, 2009


I found the introduction to the book rather boring. It was rather difficult for me to get through, especially in comparison to the other excerpts for the day. I found that the organization of his discussion of the different sections of the book would have been greatly helped if he had stated the divisions at the beginning, instead of introducing the individual sections after long discussions of the previous section. I found myself constantly going back to remember what the other sections were. I also feel that it would be easier to understand everything he is discussing after having read the excerpts so that the names relate to information already studied rather than there being many names that did not have much significance to me since I have not studied the twentieth century.


I especially liked the last paragraph of the first article beginning "art is the most beautiful deception". When talking with people about music, I have generally found two opinions about music: it is either to escape the world (for Debussy those who "come to music to seek oblivion") or those who think that music should reflect everyday life and be more realistic (more in line with Satie's opinion discussed later). I am still not sure in which camp I fall, perhaps between the two: that music expresses the deepest joys and sorrows that go unexpressed in our lives as well as the problems we face daily, but that it also points to something far greater than ourselves so that in this reflection, it does cause a sort of "espcape." But, whatever my stance, I can certainly agree with Debussy when he says "music can contain an everlasting expression of beauty."

In the second article the most striking point for me was his discussion of clutter in music and that those who clutter art are not sure of their purpose and intended message. I think that there should always be a reason for composing a piece, whether to express a sentiment or react to an event, and that that clarity of purpose does help shape a piece and give unity to the composition.

In the third piece the sentence "Those people who are only preoccupied with the formula that will yield them the best results, without ever having listened to the still small voice of music within themselves, would do well to think on these words." really struck me. I think that concept speaks as well to Debussy's audience in the early twentieth century as those in the twentyfirst century with our obession of perfection and magic formulas. But in the business of this post-industrial world we often miss the "still small voice of music" that is already inside of us, waiting to be left out. Similarly I agreed with his assesment that the beauty of art will often remain mysterious, and that is why it is so magical.

Overall I thoroushly enjoyed reading these articles, and found that I agreed with much of his insights into music.