Min-Ad: Israel  Studies  in  Musicology  Online

2 0 0 5, Vol. 4:  Music  of  Israel

Katz, Ruth  and Ruth HaCohen, Tuning the Mind: Connecting

Aesthetics to Cognitive Science (Transaction Publishers, U.S.A. and

U.K., 2003), 317 pages.

 

Starting from the late Renaissance, efforts to make vocal music more expressive heightened the power of words, which, in turn, gave birth to the modern semantics of musical expression. As the skepticism of seventeenth-century science divorced the acoustic properties from the metaphysical qualities of music, the door was opened to discern the rich links between musical perception and varied mental faculties. Tuning the Mind traces the way in which eighteenth-century theoreticians of music examined anew the role of the arts within a general theory of knowledge. Since differences between the physical and emotional dimensions of music stimulated novel conceptions and empirical inquiries into the old aesthetic queries, the book begins with an examination of seventeenth-century epistemological issues. It reveals that painting and literature displayed a comparative tendency toward "musicalization," whereby the dynamic of forms (the modalities specific to each artistic medium), rather than subject matter, was believed to determine expression. The ambiguities inherent in the idealization of an art form whose mimetic function has always been problematic is likewise examined. While the major outlinesof the entire development (from Descartes to Vico through Condillac) is discussed at length, particular emphasis is placed on eighteenth-century British thinkers (from Shaftesbury to Adam Smith), who perceived the problems in their full complexity. The book also explores how the French and the Germans dealt differently with questions that preoccupied the British, each nation in accordance with their own past tradition and tendencies. The book concludes with a summary of the parallel development of abstract art and of basic hypotheses concerning the mind, exploring fundamental theoretical questions pertaining to the relationship between perception and cognition.

 
 

Katz, Ruth and Ruth HaCohen, The Arts in Mind: Pioneering Texts

of a Coterie of British Men of Letters (Transaction Publishers, 2003),

432 pages.

 

 A major shift in critical attitudes toward the arts took place in the eighteenth century. The fine arts were now looked upon as a group, divorced from the sciences and governed by their own rules. The century abounded with treatises that sought to establish the overriding principles that differentiate art from other walks of life as well as the principles that differentiate them from each other. This burst of scholarly activity resulted in the incorporation of aesthetics among the classic branches of philosophy. Among the writings that initiated this turn, none were more important than the British contribution. The Arts in Mind brings together an annotated selection of these key texts as the first representative sampling of what constitutes an important school of British thought. The texts are made available complete or through representative extracts together with an introduction to each selection providing essential biographical and intellectual background. The treatises included convey the changed climate of opinion which entailed new issues such as those of perception, symbolic function, and the role of history and culture in shaping the world. The Arts in Mind is a companion volume to Tuning the Mind (see above), which analyzes this major shift in world view and its historical context. 

 

 

Ruth Katz, "The Lachmann Problem": An Unsung Chapter in

Comparative Musicology (The Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2003), 417

pages.

 

 "The Lachmann Problem" tells an unknown story about a well-known German musicologist, Robert Lachmann (1892-1939), best known among scholars whose interest centers on Arabic music. After being ousted by the Nazi regime, Lachmann arrived in Palestine in 1935 to join the staff of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. However, many University officials misunderstood his interests, primarily based on a conception that the unfamiliar field of musicology was a "luxury" which the University could ill afford at the time. Presented in this volume are letters and documents (published for the first time) revealing not only a picture of life in Palestine during the 1930's, but providing new information on the early stages of comparative musicology and offer new insights into the thinking of its founding fathers. Others of these documents betray the daily routines, working style and methodology as well as the unanticipated hardships that Lachmann encountered. These are embedded in letters to parents, correspondence with former colleagues, progress reports and petitions to academic and bureaucratic authorities and several brilliant attempts to introduce non-European music to Europeans and rientals (Arab and Jews alike), who were urged to cherish their musical heritage. These documents were chosen primarily for their relevance to an unsung chapter in the history of musicology, which epitomizes Lachmann's trying times. The book tells the Lachmann story in a dramatic form. Accordingly, the central section of the book is divided into Acts so as to allude to the tragic web in which Lachmann was caught. These are preceded by a two-part prologue that sets the stage. The first part discusses the "protagonist's" background and the social milieu from which he was evicted, while the second provides the background of the institution to which he turned in hope. After the curtain is drawn, a two-part epilogue follows: the first celebrates Lachmann's scholarly triumph despite personal afflictions, while the second examines the dynamic of history in terms of theatrical genres. By positioning Lachman at the cross-roads that affected his life and scientific work, the book wishes to re-emphasize the relevance of particular junctions, i.e., distinct historical contexts, to the development of scientific work, whether at the individual, organizational, or institutional levels.

 

Cohen, Dalia and Ruth Katz, Palestinian Arab Music: A Maqām

Tradition in Practice (The University of Chicago Press, 2005), 508

pages.

 

 Palestinian Arab Music presents the results of a major research effort to determine the parameters of the stylistic variability of Arab folk music in Israel. Central to this old and highly improvised musical tradition is a unique modal framework that combines the concept of maqām - the foundation of Arab music theory - with other characteristics, including those of the text. Palestinian Arab Music is a comprehensive analysis of this music as actually practiced, examining both musical and nonmusical factors, their connection with the traits of individual performers, and their interaction with socio-cultural phenomena. The project was long in the making, initially employing the Cohen-Katz-Melograph (constructed in 1957) and later advanced computer programs. The study is based on several hundred Palestinian music performances that were recorded and digitized. The musical tradition was analyzed in light of its main variables. These include musical parameters, modal frameworks, the form and structure of the music, its poetic texts, and aspects of the social functions of the tradition. As a result of the study, the vexed aspect of intonation in practice is revealed to exist in a special relationship with the scale systems of the maqāmāt that are in turn of great importance to organizing the music and determining its modal systems.

 

Yulia Kreinin, editor. Mark Kopytman: Voices of Memories. Essays andDialogues (2004).

 

The present book is an homage to Mark Kopytman, a prominent Israeli composer teacher and theorist. The international team which prepared the book is symbolic of Kopytman's activities, both at home and abroad. It is no coincidence that among the authors are musicians from Israel, the United States and Europe (mainly Russia). While greatly devoted to Israel, Kopytman ia also a "man of the world" who is constantly involved in the international musical scene in a variety of contexts.

Among the contributors to this book are composers, Kopytman's colleagues and pupils, as well as musicologists who have analyzed his music and musicians who have performed it. Each contribution is a result of many years of dialogue and communication with the composer.

The volume consists of four parts. The first, "About Compositions," is the most analytical. It opens with an article by Nancy Uscher about Cantus II, as an example of the innovative use of heterophonic design in contemporary music. The first publication of this article in 1986, in the journal Tempo, directed the attention of the professional world to this significant topic. Heterophony, with its inexhaustible resources, has remained the main sphere of Kopytman's creative experiments and theoretical research for thirty years, so it will be no surprise that this subject is mentioned and analyzed, in various contexts, in several other essays and interviews in the volume.

The second part, "About Creative Process," includes four interviews with the composer. The interviews explore Kopytman's thoughts on many subjects, including the topic of modern compositional technique, seen both from the Israeli and world Perspectives.

The third and fourth sections, "About Personality," and "Just a Few Words," contain tributes to the composer, three lengthy ones in the third section, and a lot of very short, but highly personal and touching ones in the fourth section.

The book includes a great number of music examples, an explanation of the notational signs used by the composer, a list of Kopytman's compositions, a list of his theoretical writings, and an index of the compositions mentioned in this volume.

The book can be purchased through IMI.

www.imi.org.il

 

Min-Ad 2005, Vol. 4: Music of Israel


Last Update:September 04, 2005