[Smt-talk] Goethe

Michael Morse mwmorse at bell.net
Sat May 18 07:26:49 PDT 2013

Dear One & All,
  Warm thanks for the references on Goethe. It strikes me that music theorists in the last century or so may be slow to acknowledge either the validity and pertinence of non-theorists' thoughts about music, and their actual influence in particular. If there is any substance to this suggestion, it may be because we were in the positivist century, in which the capacity of a discourse for non-pollution from outside influence was proof of the independence that qualified a science, or at least a rigorous, objective discussion. Of course ideas from mathematics and sometimes systematic linguistics were welcome; that's, uh, different. But an approach to music theory influenced by poetic theory, rhetoric, or sociology was--is?--infra dig, not so much intrinsically worthless as subject to instant reclassification as music history, musicology, or criticism. (Perhaps the only thing even faintly sympathetic about Susan McClary's musical Lysenkoism is her plaint that she was hoist on this particular petard.)
  These may be merely partisan prejudices, however. The core question of who should speak about music how fascinates me, however. "Who" in that statement means what kind of person, informed by what kinds of experiences. What, for example, constitutes talent in music theory? Have any of you ever taught someone who was very keen on music theory, perhaps even wanted to become a theorist, but simply didn't have "the right stuff"? What *is* "the right stuff"? And, back to the Sage of Weimar®: who outside the circles of those trained in music theory is in a position to contribute to it intellectually?
Michael W. MorseTrent UniversityPeterborough, Oshawa 		 	   		  
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