1 February 2018

The expression

Most every time I'm in the shower and vigorously massaging the shampoo into my scalp, I think of a specific phrase in Schnittke's Cello Concerto No. 1. Later in the first movement, in a pause between an agitated wide-ranging melody, the cellist plays with a toneless, dry tremolo behind slow chords in the horns. A very short phrase here:

I may be scrubbing too hard.

I thought I was just making a goofy association with the music. It's been a favorite of mine for a while and so I've listened to it enough to have it naturally internalized, playing randomly in my head. But the trigger here was the physical motion that mimicked in a way the physicality of the musical technique. It's not unique to modern music--tremolos weren't invented in the 1970s--but the discursive characteristics of modern music may make that physical suggestion come out. Schnittke's associated with postmodernism rather than abstract expressionism, but the latter is really what resonates here. A primary characteristic of the (visual) abstract expressionist's art is an attempt to eliminate mediating obstacles between them and their work. That lack of representational conceit communicates the artists physical movements more directly to the observer or listener, and they feel the act of painting or performing within themselves.

(how is physicality missing in some music? electronic? is it more in folk because of the acoustic generation of sounds? is the response to dance music a different quality or a different aspect of this quality?)

No. 5, 1948.jpg
By Taken from Art Market Watch.com., Fair use, Link

[ posted by sstrader on 1 February 2018 at 7:01:05 AM in Music ]