Sunday, 3 April 2016

Chin Stroke at The Disco

Plato wasn't keen on art: he said it's like pretending to be God, and it's only a pale imitation of reality, anyway. 

He thought that the real action was in this spiritual realm, where the perfect form of everything existed. Even the world as we experience it is just a phantasm compared to that.

This is what annoyed Nietzsche, and ought to frustrate materialists and atheists all day long. Plato postulates a spiritual zone that is better than the physical world. No wonder Christianity has a soft spot for Plato.

He didn't mind a bit of music though: he reckoned that good tunes had a positive effect on the soul - if the beats were legit. 

We were saying, when we spoke of the subject-matter, that we had no need of lamentations and strains of sorrow?
And which are the harmonies expressive of
sorrow? You are musical and can tell me.
The harmonies which you mean are the mixed or tenor Lydian, and the full-toned or bass Lydian, and such-like.
These then, I said, must be banished; even to women who have a character to maintain they are of no use, and much less to men.

The big idea here is that listening to Lydian music encourages sorrow, and that doesn't help a man become a become. Unsurprisingly, Plato likes his music to have an educational purpose. 

The Piano Concerto No. 14 in E flat major (Mozart), as performed in Transatlantic Crossings, probably fits in with Plato's thoughts on 'useful' music. The classical styling - by which I mean the order and zippy melodies that aren't too fussy - and the virtuosity demanded by the score - have a firm manliness. Even when they are played by a womanGabriela Montero

When I say 'manliness', I'm talking about a notional quality that has nothing to do with willies but probably exists in Plato's World of Forms and is utterly without gender. 

In the next place, drunkenness and softness and indolence are utterly unbecoming the character of our guardians.
Utterly unbecoming?
And which are the soft and convivial harmonies?
The Ionian, he replied, and some of the Lydian which are termed “relaxed”.
Well, and are these of any use for warlike men?
Quite the reverse, he replied; and if so the Dorian and the Phrygian are the only ones which you have left.

I don't think he'd have liked The Novelist, an MC I saw up The Art School. He wasn't do the Ionian thing, but all that shouting he did - mainly to predictable, sparse beats - seemed to require drunkenness to be appreciated. Actually,  Piazzolla's Three Pieces for Piano and Strings sound like they'd fit the Ionian bill. Lively and effusive, they have a relaxed, cool energy, and swayed a bit like a pissed-up invertero.

The Novelist, and Kode-9 who was headlining, might actually fit into Dorian or Phrygian modes... they are kind of macho, and while the MC was shouting his head off to no great end, Kode-9 throws down sinister electronic beats and a rumbling bass that makes me want to watch The Warriors.

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