The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0673 Monday, 7 April 2003
From: Sam Small <
Date: Saturday, 5 Apr 2003 20:26:19 +0100
Subject: 14.0650 Re: Critical Encounters of the Negative Kind
Comment: Re: SHK 14.0650 Re: Critical Encounters of the Negative Kind
> << Oh, Ted Dykstra, thou student of the art of sarcasm! How can you
> equate scales with stories? >>
>"Perhaps because I am educated in the field of music."
Dear, dear. Is this another academic saying "Shutup, I have a
degree!"? Let us put Ted's confusion down to my poor grasp of English.
Ted. Scales are boring to listen to. Stories are not. Listening to
scales can induce rage and violence. People tell stories all the time.
In bars, schools, on TV, in the street, in books, in jokes, in gossip,
in fairy tales - stories are everywhere - and there is an insatiable
appetite for more stories. Scales are an important technical aid to
musicians - stories are the finished thing. Shakespeare cleverly lifted
established stories and retold them in high poetry with an enlightened
understanding of human nature.
The Well Tempered Clavier is not a series of scales but series of
musical works to demonstrate that music can be written and played in all
of the 12 major and minor keys irrespective of the error called the
"comma" which Bach distributed across the 12 notes in each scale. What
we hear is wonderful music - not boring scales. Stories are totally
different. They are not practise material or even raw material - they
stand as finished folk art in their own right.
"The very first story told was no doubt the result of witnessing an
event or phenomenon of nature. Perhaps a man fought a tiger heroically,
There is, in truth, only one story. Everyman is attacked by the dark
forces of antagonism and by some human quality that he raises from his
soul, wins the day. Shakespeare certainly stretched the envelope on
that principal but modern writers use it every time. Anti-classicists
who do not do so have a very small audience.
So there is no original story - it is the perennial story - one that
will be told over and over again. So in disagreeing with Martin Steward
I maintain that scales approximate to spelling tests for writers - and
the study of stories approximates to the study of popular musical form.
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