[Smt-talk] Geno- and phenotype musical structures

Nicolas Meeùs nicolas.meeus at paris-sorbonne.fr
Thu Jan 17 14:35:44 PST 2013

Le 17/01/2013 16:51, Victor grauer a écrit :
> You are of course right, Nicolas. Linear continuity and goal 
> directedness are characteristic of many musical traditions, not only 
> the Western liturical-classical tradition. 
Linear continuity and goal directedness ain't at all the same thing! I 
would consider goal directedness (teleology) as a defining 
characteristic of "modality". Linear continuity may well be a much wider 
     Medieval hocket (and your own examples in your figures 12.5-12.8) 
appear to me a game of apparently destroying an inherent continuity, by 
a disruptive distribution among the voices; the overall effect remains 
highly continuous ("fluent"), only the singers themselve can easily 
become aware of the disruption. This is very much the case with /Amor 
potest/: you are careful enough to quote only mes 16 sqq., when the 
hocket begins, but the mes. before clearly consisted in "lines between 
the voices", making it clear that there were two pitch strands (say, one 
around F and the other aroung C a 4th below) to be distributed among the 
singers. You claim that Pygmies and Bushmen sing "highly disjunct 
motives"; but how can you be sure that they do not realize how highly 
conjunct the overall result is?  Are you so certain that counterpoint in 
the West, especially in "free writing", "involves continuous melodic 
lines", rather than continuous overall situations?

It seems rather difficult to ascertain whether melodic fluency, in these 
case, is not merely trivial. A succession of disjunct intervals, 
fanfare-like, appears almost bound to produce apparent linear melodies. 
This is inherent to the restricted number of degrees in any 
diatonic-like (or inherently consonant) system. How can you be sure that 
these highly disjunct counterpoints that you describe are not a game to 
hide or disguise an overall, resulting linear continuity?

Nicolas Meeùs
Université Paris-Sorbonne

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