This week at The Avid Listener, Sara Haefeli asks us to think about the scientific metaphors we used to describe music. Why do we talk about how music evolves? Why do we use “organic” and “inorganic” to describe musical materials? How do these metaphors shape how we listen to and understand music?
Here’s a teaser:
“The founding fathers of musicology had a tremendous impact on the shape of Western music history.The “victors” craft the historical narrative in order to make their victory seem inevitable. But how has our traditional study of music history made it seem like Western classical music is inevitably the most valuable or important? And why, as avid listeners, should we care? One way to make a victory seem inevitable is to make it seem organic. It is interesting how often, to promote this “organicism,” we use metaphors from the natural sciences to describe music…”
Read the full essay here. And as always, we invite you to comment, ask questions, and stay for the discussion.