[Smt-talk] Narrative/analysis (was theory of film music)

Ildar Khannanov etudetableau at gmail.com
Thu Jul 10 19:24:19 PDT 2014

Dear Nicolas,

thank you for the quotations from Husserl. The two short fragments are,
unfortunately, not enough to make a picture of the philosophical concept.
The point that Husserl is making in this text is the same as he and
Heidegger never tired to promote. They fought against onto-teleology. Why?
The format of a blog will not allow to engage in this discussion. This is
the history of the so-called continental philosophy.

So, in a nut shell, phenomenology denies goal-setting (teleology) that
comes from outside of the phenomenon. These things must be eradicated
(reduced, deconstructed). In the text that you quoted Husserl argues
against Meinong's understanding of melody as a process that is oriented
toward its end (typical, unfortunately, for most of music theory until

Transformation in Lewin's terms--a pure mathematical procedure--is
onto-teleological in essence. A set A is transformed into set B by means of
preestablished operation. B predetermines the A (just as your I
predetermines the V). Such transformation requires an external point of
reference, the eye of the viewer, the point of view, the control tower.
This process does not describe inner time perception, it reproduces it
(makes a copy of it). A complete misunderstanding of phenomenology, if
there has been an attempt to adopt it! That is why, I believe, Brian Kane
places Lewin's "phenomenology" in brackets.

Mathematical model of transformation should be placed in brackets (epoche,
in Husserlian terms). Only then the intuitive grasp of inner time as a
continuity of a flux will be possible.

Sorry for a plug, but there is a discussion of this fragment in my chapter
in recently published book Sounding the Virtual: Gilles Deleuze and the
Theory and Philosophy of Music.  I would be honored to know your opinion.

As for structuralism, this question is not for me to clarify. I can only
say that it is not Saussure's invention at all. Common knowledge suggests
that major structuralists were Roman Jakobson and Claude Levi-Strauss. And,
yes, as Michael mentioned, Anglo-Saxon formalism and  Continental semiotics
are not the same.


Ildar Khannanov
Peabody Institute
etudetableau at gmail.com

2014-07-10 13:53 GMT-04:00 Nicolas Meeùs <nicolas.meeus at scarlet.be>:

>  Ildar, Murray,
> Could you make more explicit what you understand by "phenomenology" or
> "structuralism", or in what sense you think that your understanding can
> substantiate your claims?
> As to Husserl's *Vorlesungen zur Phänomenologie des inneren
> Zeitbewußtseins*, it seems to me that on the contrary in might be shown
> to support a transformational view, as for instance when he writes:
> Erst dadurch, daß jene eigentümliche Modifikation eintritt, daß jede
> Tonempfindung, nachdem der erzeugende Reiz verschwunden ist, aus sich
> selbst heraus eine ähnliche und mit einer Zeitbestimmtheit versehene
> Vorstellung erweckt, und daß diese zeitliche Bestimmtheit sich fortgesetzt
> ändert, kann es zur Vorstellung einer Melodie kommen, in welcher die
> einzelnen Töne ihre bestimmten Pläne und ihre bestimmten Zeitmaße haben.
> It is only because a specific modification occurs, because the sensation
> of the tone, after the generating excitement faded away, awakens a similar
> representation provided with a temporal determination, and because this
> temporal determination is continually changing, that the representation of
> a melody is made possible, in which the isolated tones now have their
> determined plans and their determined temporal measure.
> This I understand to mean that a melody can only be perceived as a melody
> (instead of a succession of isolated tones) because the representation one
> can form of each tone changes (is transformed) as new tones appear.
> And later:
> Wir glauben eine Melodie zu hören, also auch eben Vergangenes noch zu
> hören, indessen ist dies nur Schein, der von der Lebhaftigkeit der
> ursprünglichen Assoziation herrührt.
> We think to hear a melody, that is, still to hear what is just past, while
> this is but an appearance that arises from the vividness of the initial
> association.
> That is to say, it is the association of tones between themselves, not
> their mere succession, that allows to hear a melody [as melody].
> I don't think that transformational grammars developed from group theory
> (even if Lewin might have been influenced by it, I don't know). They may
> have an indirect origin in the linguistic notion of transitivity, i.e. the
> idea that one element (e.g. a word) acts on another. I am of the ones who
> believe that, in a perfect cadence V–I, it is the dominant that determines
> I to be the tonic, and the tonic that determines V to be the dominant.
> Without this transitive relation, the same movement between the roots
> remains possible, but does not produce the tonal effect (as may be the
> case, say, in Renaissance polyphony). You are right, though, because the
> transitive relation is possible only because V is a dominant and I a tonic:
> it is the paradox of the whole affair. We are dealing here with
> explanations, which of necessity stress one or another aspect. But I don't
> think that any of them is incompatible with phenomenology.
> Nicolas Meeùs
> Professeur émérite
> Université Paris-Sorbonne
> Le 10/07/2014 17:23, Ildar Khannanov a écrit :
> [...]
> A major point of Lewin's "phenomenology" (I put it in brackets the way
> Brian does) is to prove that a chord (a note) does not have its unique
> meaning outside of context. This is an old Schenkerian view. It is also an
> old scientific systemic and organic understanding. However, it is
> incompatible with phenomenology. [...]
>  The conceptual background of transformational theory is well-known. It
> is group theory, which is applied, among other fields, to crystallography.
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