Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Sunday, October 16, 2005

French post-structuralists -- I haven't read them as much as I may make myself sound. As for specific examples of the poets & composers predating them -- I could maybe look them up if you really want to know, but it would take a while. Fragmentary memories of desultory reading. Needles to say (yes, needles) -- needles to say, the post-structuralists didn't find all their notions pre-figured in the poets.


Complex consciousness. In, say, a New Orleans-style jazz sextet, maybe the last chorus, the drums-bass-piano section are keeping the beat and the chords. The trumpet is robust, vigorous, confident, cheerful, respectful -- stating the melody, with some personal variants on it, some splashes of generic and/or personal style; meanwhile, the trombone is smuttily responding to the melody while the clarinet is ecstatically pirhouetting around it. The three instruments each representing the player playing them while also contributing to the single piece of music, the enactment of a complex emotional event: confident and cheerful and respectful and smutty and ecstatic.

Or, say, a techno song, with the beats chug chugging at a sweaty tempo while the singer floats sultrily, semi-detachedly above it, seeming not to care, while the beats say, she or he cares very much -- a complex whole.


I once did the math: over the course of the 2 album-side-length Ellington-Orchestra tunes on Mingus at Carnegie Hall, bassist and bandleader Charles Mingus played more than 10,000 quarter notes. Didn't take a solo and didn't write the tunes, and yet -- the album is his.
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