[Smt-talk] "Art of Models"

Stephen Soderberg hyperchord at me.com
Fri Nov 21 05:49:52 PST 2014

Please visit my blog Essays & Endnotes for the most recent post in the Desperately Seeking Relevance thread. This one is "Maverick Integration." It extends ideas about rubbish theory and is meant to lay groundwork to argue toward a possible worlds approach for musics.

It took me much longer than I expected to work through the presentation issues once I decided to approach it as a problem in modeling, plus I had to break it into several installments.

The email subject heading above, "Art of Models" comes from Rene Thom, "Topological Models in Biology" in Topology, vol.8 issue 3, July 1969, 313-335: "Here we do not deal with a scientific theory, but more precisely with a method, And this method does not lead to specific techniques, but, strictly speaking, to an art of models."

The model I'm building here uses roles rather than specific content. This abstract approach may be confusing at first. It may help to think of the model as a play; the reader is encouraged to imagine his or her own favorite historical or current actors (e.g., specific theories) in those roles.

In the first part of this post there is certainly no challenge to the current pedagogical assumptions giving primacy to theory & analysis, but the model soon incorporates a role that has been all but ignored in music theory today - and often eliminated almost entirely.

Stephen Soderberg
Keswick, VA

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