- 東京藝術大学音楽学部紀要 (ISSN:09148787)
- vol.16, pp.A25-A50, 1990
Few problems in the music world seem to have been, of late, more frequently discussed than those of contemporary music. Although the radical changes and the resulting unprecedented styles of contemporary music often cause us bewilderment and dismay, they do have something to disclose in their own way. Meanwhile we have already come down to the last decade of this century, which begins to enable us to stop and think about what has happened to music and understand it as it is. To have a clearer insight into this problem, we need to look back to the history of western music as a whole. H. Zenck and H. H. Eggebrecht insist that there are two mutually exclusive principles involved: numerus or the Pythagorean principle, on the one hand and affectus or the Muses', on the other. These dual principles imply that a crack runs through the very heart of western music and its history, which has manifested itself in the long-discussed problem of "form and content", and which has now proved to be of secondary importance. It is secondary because the "numerus and affectus" themselves are not so much principles now as what is to come later. The very principle of these old "principles" is the metaphysics of music: the belief that what is impenetrable to us, what cannot be heard, really exists behind what is heard. The beginning of this metaphysics, as we all know, goes back to the Pytagorean idea of music. It may not be too much to say that it was born from music. A retrospective research will show us that they, philosophical and musical metaphysics, come hand in hand down to us through history, only to find themselves about to collapse in our century. The strange way in which contemporary music presents itself comes from its desperate attempts to break through the frame of musical metaphysics. It no longer allows anything to be "behind its back"; there is nothing at all but can be heard in the music. This music, according to J. Cage, has become only something to be heard. This is a turning away not only from the metaphysics of music but from the traditional concept of truth, as well. In the old metaphysics only reason is believed to lead us to the truth, while the senses nowhere; the latter is thought to be unreliable, giving us nothing but illusions. But no longer do we have to doubt our senses so long as the truth comes to lie not in what hides itself but in what manifests itself. This is, so to speak, the phenomenological turn of music from metaphysics. However, this phenomenological turn of music should not be regarded as merely getting rid of the old metaphysics; it appears that it is throwing open the door to another kind of metaphysics to come: the pre-transcendental metaphysics of music. The music we hear has already been constituted as a sound-object by the intentional acts of consciousness, which leads us to the inevitable question: what is music before being constituted as an object? To this question we approach by way of the communication of music. The music in this sense is of course not what can be heard or perceived, but what should make it possible for us to hear. It might be thought to be a silent calling or a over-whelming force that no one could resist nor turn away from, which we call here "pre-transcendental affectus". This "affectus" is not a psychological phenomenon we experience every day nor even an aesthetical one, but a preceding ethical demand from "the outside" that disguises itself and emerges in the light of consciousness in the shape of pleasing and touching sounds of music. In every way of the communication in music lies hidden the fundamental silent demand of "music" and "our" silent response.