The Self and the Language of Music
Monday, November 1, 2021 at 4:45 p.m.
Sosnoff Theater, Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts
FYSEM is a course that focuses on language. It asks us to read texts closely, to write about them, and to talk about them. It seeks to deepen and widen our understanding of what words can and cannot do. Although most of our exchanges with ourselves and with others assume a linguistic character, at the same time we appear also to be a musical species. In Europe and North America, the use of sounds, notes, rhythms, and the combination of all the elements of music making developed into an elaborate world of communication and expression with its own distinct system of notation, making it possible to reach an audience well out of earshot. This tradition of music has migrated across continents and cultures, notably to Asia and Latin America. Music in this incarnation is not a language. Yet it seems to be a shortcut to one's emotions. Perhaps it is a mystical means of communication clearer and more powerful than language and therefore a link to the divine?
No music is assigned in FYSEM, but yet music co-existed with all the required reading in both semesters.
This lecture/performance is designed to inspire curiosity about how music, as a form of life, independent of words, images, and any explicit or implicit storyline, reframes time, holds our attention, suggests meaning, appeals to our memory, and becomes easily associated with feelings. The music that will be performed and discussed was not written to narrate a movie or a play. It was not inspired by a vision or a painting or any image. It is rather an eloquent example of musical ideas and thought.
ATTENDANCE AT THIS EVENT IS MANDATORY. Masks are required and there will be room for generous spacing. Students who have special requests with respect to attendance are asked to speak with their FYSEM instructor.