[Smt-talk] You say structure I say structuralism lets

Ildar Khannanov etudetableau at gmail.com
Mon Jul 14 19:01:37 PDT 2014

Dear Mark,

thank you for your corrections. I quoted Zeno from memory. My teacher of
Greek insisted that we read Plato's dialogues on a bus without the
dictionary and memorize some important apophtegmata.

Translation is a difficult matter (my teacher Derrida insisted that it is
impossible). The 1895 English translation misses the point, I think.

Dokei has nothing to do with thinking. It means "it is obvious". It seems.
Or, it is clear that. It is derived from deiknumi. Another form that can
clarify this is dike.

Poieo is a verb that has strong philosophical connotations. We have its
outgrowth in an English word poetics, The process of making for Greeks was
a joyful creative experience that applied both to pottery and poetry.
Active is a very poor translation. In Zeno's other statements he
distinguishes the things that are made and that are unmade. He insists,
that Logos permeates the whole and inseminates it with thought.

Poios--I apologize, my mistake, of course.

 Ousia has been discussed thoroughly by philosophers, Essence even sounds
similar. It is a philosophical term. Existence is a very rough
translation. There is a chapter in Derrida that is entitled Ousia ou
gramme. (Some philosophers who side with ousia are nowadays labeled
essentialists). Reading it can clarify (or, God, I think I called for a
storm now, Derrida and clarify may not seem to work together). To
translate Logos as reason is simply bad taste. Reason, mind, these are the
words of English philosophy that are untranslatable into other languages.
Logos is Word. Holon is not Universe. It is simply the whole (just as it
sounds in English). Hule is not matter. It is raw condition, something that
has not been used or touched by anyone. Virgin forests. Logon ton theou is
an indivisible figure of speech,  Greek Stoics invented semiotics and
introduced the category of the Word of God that has been gracefully adopted
by early Christianity. Another one is pneuma ton Theou. This one is even
more magnificent.

In other words, reading a number of philosophical texts could clarify many
things that occur as local misunderstanding.  I trust more the
interpretations of Emile Brehier and use many translations of the same
phrase into other languages (French, German, Russian) in order to make my
own interpretive translation.


Ildar Khannanov
Peabody Institute
etudetableau at gmail.com

2014-07-14 19:12 GMT-04:00 Mark Ansoncartwright <
Mark.Ansoncartwright at qc.cuny.edu>:

>  Dear Ildar,
> I was interested to read your quotation from Zeno’s fragments, which I did
> not know before. I took the trouble to look up the Greek online and to
> check another translation, that by C.D. Yonge.
> In your quotation/transliteration of the Greek, you left out a couple of
> important vowels: "poiun" should be "poioun," while “apoioun” (“unmade”)
> is actually “apoion” (“without quality”). Also, the accusative words
> “hulen” (“clay” or “matter”) and “theon” (“god” or “God”) should be
> rendered in apposition to the words “ousian” ("existence") and “logon”
> ("reason"), respectively. At least, the rendering by Yonge would suggest
> that’s how the accusative (NOT genitive, as your suggest) functions here.
> Here is the corrected Greek (transliterated), followed by Yonge’s
> translation.
> Dokei d'autois arkhas einai ton holon duo: to poioun kai to paskhon. to
> men oun paskhon einai apoion ousian ten hulen, to de poioun ton en aute
> logon ton theon.
> Source: Stoicorum veterum fragmenta, ed. H. von Arnim, p. 24 (available at
> archive.org).
> Translation:
> They think that there are two general principles in the universe, the
> active and the passive That the passive is matter, an existence without any
> distinctive quality. That the active is the reason which exists in the
> passive, that is to say, God.
> Source: Diogenes Laërtius, The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers,
> trans. C.D. Yonge (London: George Bell & Sons, 1895) Public Domain.
>  Thanks for stimulating us with some ancient writings.
>  Mark
>  Mark Anson-Cartwright
> Queens College and Graduate Center, CUNY
>  ------------------------------
> *From:* Smt-talk [smt-talk-bounces at lists.societymusictheory.org] on
> behalf of Ildar Khannanov [etudetableau at gmail.com]
> *Sent:* Sunday, July 13, 2014 12:56 AM
> *To:* Phillip Dineen
> *Cc:* Smt-talk at lists.societymusictheory.org
> *Subject:* Re: [Smt-talk] You say structure I say structuralism lets
>   Dear Murray,
>  agree, ah those continentals! Reminds me the phrase from the Adams
> Family, You're so continental ! addressed to a vampire.
>  That structure and function should be closer related and
> examined--sure! Dokei d'autois arkhas einai ton holon duo: to poiun kai to
> paskhon. to men oun paskhon einai apoioun ousian ten hulen, to de poioun
> ton en aute logon ton theon. This crazy formulation was provided by Zeno of
> Chitteum at the time when the Contintent to the West was populated by
> savages.
>  The causes of the whole are two: the active and passive. The passive is
> an unmade essence of hule (clay); the active is the words of god.
>  I guess, the structure (something that is built) is the product of
> active cause (making) applied to the passive substance (clay, or, as in
> Latin translation, wild forest, silva).
>  If I read your thought correctly, the structure is not a passive
> material but the product of action (of function) on that passive material.
> Unfortunately, music theorists often take structure for granted, as if
> it were something given and passive by itself. Sometimes they even try to
> dissociate structure from function (as in non-functional pitch centricity).
> All our patterns, embellishments, collections and sets are clay in Greek
> terms. They become structure only after function is applied.
>  Best wishes,
>  Ildar Khannanov
> Peabody Institute
> etudetableau at gmail.com
> 2014-07-12 9:05 GMT-04:00 Phillip Dineen <murraydineen at uottawa.ca>:
>>  Oh those stretch Continentals. What a hangover.
>>  Presumably the structuralists were looking at some kind of structure.
>> Perhaps historically the functionalists -- Radcliffe Brown, Propp? --
>> stopped at that point, and concerned themselves with only the function of
>> (structural) elements within a system. (Perhaps as theorists we're
>> functional.) But following the insights of Saussure (or his students), some
>> folks took that a little further, suggesting that the nature of the
>> functional elements determined the structure (not vice versa, or maybe vice
>> versa, or probably both -- I'm simplifying here).
>>  I don't think most music theorists have gone that far, although it
>> comes to mind that articles by Roland Jackson (ITO, mid 80's) and the late
>> Chris Lewis (19thCM) might have touched upon structural thought. (I'm
>> forgetting others, memory being a thing of the past.)
>>  Cleaning the Derrida out of the way so I can get at the coffee.
>>  Murray (dineen)
>> University of Ottawa
>> murraydineen at uottawa.ca
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