Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-5d6d958fb5-z6b88 Total loading time: 0.49 Render date: 2022-11-28T16:27:51.460Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

1 - Losing Sense, Making Music: What Erik Satie's Music and Poetry do for Each Other

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2013

Peter Dayan
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Phyllis Weliver
Affiliation:
Associate Professor of English, Saint Louis University
Katharine Ellis
Affiliation:
Stanley Hugh Badock Professor of Music at the University of Bristol
Get access

Summary

The latter half of the long nineteenth century was the golden age of the idea of absolute music; which is, to put it at its simplest, the notion that music can have a kind of meaning that is inaccessible to words, that cannot be translated into any other medium, or indeed translated at all. Innumerable composers and poets of the period (and of the subsequent two or three decades), including a disproportionate number of those who remain the most famous, expressed, in words of course, solidarity with this idea. However, all of them, as far as I know, also acknowledged that music nonetheless normally does appear to have the kind of meaning accessible to words. This is most obvious when words are set to music, or when music imitates extra-musical sounds or rhythms – the sound of the cuckoo, or the rhythm of rowing, for example; but in the nineteenth century generally, it was recognized as a wider phenomenon. It seemed to be a natural human instinct to associate music, almost as soon as it was written or heard, with words or images. For an intellectually intransigent and obstinately lucid composer such as Erik Satie, this posed a challenge. How could one, in one's music, both make it clear that music has a kind of meaning inaccessible to words, and take into account the fact that music was generally received as if its meaning could be expressed in words?

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2013

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×