There was no condescending tone. You alluded to my not understanding mathematics because of a lack of education in it. I just stated what you apparently were asking for.

All of what you said does not change the fact that it is a tool, nor did you give me any information about mathematics that I didn’t understand already. And the comparison with music theory still stands.

Yes, mathematics discovers abstract truths. The point is that SO DOES MUSIC THEORY. But they are truths related to human perception of sound in certain contexts. Does it make it less universal? yes. But I still do not understand why you take offense in the comparison.

Mathematics by itself is then used as a tool for the real world. In the same way, music theory is used FOR the creation of MUSIC. Music theory is not Music despite the rules in intervals preferences it discovers humans tend to have or perceive. Mathematics is NOT the real world, despite the abstract truths it uncovers.

I did not say Robery Storey was an authority of the transcendent. Why do you TRY and go out of your way to minsconstrue what I say in order to be offended? I said that his classification was a useful and simple way of seeing what the transcendent might be partially defined as: something that we share as human beings, as a species, that allows someone from 1000 years ago to create something that someone today “feels”, and not only understands. In Music, this becomes more tricky to figure out or discuss.

]]>2) music or mathematics being greater, not sure this was really my point. What I did say is that they stand on different planes. Music encompasses more.

3) Your view of the relationship between mathematics and physics is wrong. You see, this comes from the mistake of thinking that reality comforms to the formulae of mathematics, when in truth, each refinement of formulae in PHYSICS is an approximation to reality. Purely mathematical formulas work in their abstract world, their application to the physical world in any area is a different matter. A matter of how well you can adapt it to MODEL what is happening”

Firstly, let me tell you something about myself, Mr Engineer; and as you are trying the condescending tone you’ve been adopting lately, I’ll condescend to do the same: I got my 1st degree (1st class) in Mathematics from Cambridge University. For Part III (ie. MSc) of ‘the oldest and most difficult examinations in the world’ I specialised in theoretical physics (‘coursing through’ courses in Advanced Quantum Field Theory, Supersymmetry and String Theory, amongst others).

That was the start of my studies into ‘reality’. So please don’t lecture me on the relationship between maths and physics. Incidentally, the remarks you made about physics being a mathematical approximation are obviously correct. The fact that you thought my comments hinted at anything to the contrary really just confirms my feeling that the rest of your writing really is just pretentious bluffery – I did not even make a statement about the connection between maths and physics.

Maths is only a tool when it is used as such. As an engineer, even when he uses ‘advanced’ maths (though I suspect the most advanced maths you have used was developed a century ago) is using it for an aim: to approximate a physical system eg. a bridge or turbulent fluid flow. I would use math in the same when why I describe the even horizon of a black hole.

But the actual discovery of new, totally abstract mathematical objects, as an endeavor for its own sake, is a completely creative process. That is why I emphasised PURE mathematics, several times. Already-discovered theorems are ‘used’ in the proofs – but it is the mix of deep pure reason PLUS ‘inspiration’ wherein lies the Art, the transcendent. Denying this process lacked Art is the same as saying Mozart lacked it because he was using the musical ‘methods’ that had been developed up to that point – an argument you would be the first to disavow, rightly.

You commented that maths was inherently axiomatic. If you want some interesting reading I suggest you start looking into Mathematical Logic and then onto the philosophical foundations of maths (vice-versa if you prefer). Two of what, indeed? You may even then conclude that the ‘reality’ you claim to be grounded in is LESS real than mathematics…..

The fact that your comments seem to imply that you haven’t even thought about such ideas makes me worry you haven’t even read Plato. Meaning the rest of your allusions to 20th century philosophy are just pretensions.

Now, if we can (both) drop the condescending tone in future we may have a chance at some decent discussions. I, for one, promise never to bring up that you consider an arch-hipster such as Robert Storey as an authority on the transcendent.

]]>It is the outside that differs, and this is just like the religions, in the end they seek similar things and speak of similar needs, but through different methods — even wildly different approaches.

consciously grasping this transcendence as an artist is impossible, I think and is often done through windows, certain convictions and longings that are akin to ancient needs and longings. This is what feeds someone like Varg Vikernes, which is why he has done so much, even though what is recent is more musically questionable from teh technical point of view (less *interesting* in that sense). This translates to certain sound arrangements, certain sense of proportions , etc

Your decision to insist on the ‘occult’ nature of music on the basis that such ordered sounds influence mental states I initially included in the former category but after reading the rest of the piece I feel it is one of your better points (as long as we understand ‘occult’ in its decidedly vague definition as ‘hidden but observable’).””

This might come from a misunderstanding of what “occult” actually is. Also, artists do not usually consider themselves to be doing that, precisely because they would not want themselves associated with it, but it is precisely what they are doing, in the best of the cases, when they do believe in that “something” that ommunicates all human beings, the perfection behind whatever veil we cannot see and all that.

>”My only real disagreement regarding specific content was your rather facile understanding of the nature of Mathematics. It is emphatically NOT a method, certainly not in essence. PURE Mathematics, not music, is the most original creation of the human soul. Its USE, for example in theoretical physics or engineering, is what you have confused PURE mathematics with. This is why books that teach such ‘ready-to-use’ math are always called ‘mathematical METHODS for physicists’ etc.”

Err 1) Mathematics is a tool, not discussing that, it simply is

2) music or mathematics being greater, not sure this was really my point. What I did say is that they stand on different planes. Music encompasses more.

3) Your view of the relationship between mathematics and physics is wrong. You see, this comes from the mistake of thinking that reality comforms to the formulae of mathematics, when in truth, each refinement of formulae in PHYSICS is an approximation to reality. Purely mathematical formulas work in their abstract world, their application to the physical world in any area is a different matter. A matter of how well you can adapt it to MODEL what is happening

> “If you have not studied PURE math up until at least 2nd year degree level I can very much forgive you for making this mistake – as all of the math below this level is of the ‘methods’ variety, so you may not have had all the information needed to see the matter in its true light”

I’m in engineering currently coursing through a Master’s Degree. But don’t let yourself be fooled by saying we do not do pure math. I do have friends who are more into the pure sciences, and you can read good discussions of this elsewhere as well (20th century philosophy, for instance).

> “What confuses me is why you would feel that trying to draw analogies with math would make your article’s arguments more forceful.”

The article was attempting to classify not MUSIC, but MUSICAL THEORY as a useful tool. The article was not about music, but about classical theory as a methods compiled through history, stacked on top of one another through observations of many different people through time.

> “Because if that’s what you DO believe then what do you even mean when you talk of the transcendental?”

The idea is that transcendental goes beyond the method, beyond the mathematical, beyond the “theory” itself. And that these, if used properly are extremely powerful, not detrimental. And they will only be detrimental and a distraction if they become a goal in themselves.

Of course, mathematics is more pure, by itself it does stand for clear abstract concepts that are just true (2 is 2, 2 of what? it doesn’t matter, and so on with the rest of arithmetics, but what are the constraints? we are counting indivisible units, etc). But its application to the physical world is not straight as some may think.

]]>Your decision to insist on the ‘occult’ nature of music on the basis that such ordered sounds influence mental states I initially included in the former category but after reading the rest of the piece I feel it is one of your better points (as long as we understand ‘occult’ in its decidedly vague definition as ‘hidden but observable’).

Your arguments against most of post-Enlightenment ‘theory’ as being totally ideology driven are, of course, correct.

My only real disagreement regarding specific content was your rather facile understanding of the nature of Mathematics. It is emphatically NOT a method, certainly not in essence. PURE Mathematics, not music, is the most original creation of the human soul. Its USE, for example in theoretical physics or engineering, is what you have confused PURE mathematics with. This is why books that teach such ‘ready-to-use’ math are always called ‘mathematical METHODS for physicists’ etc.

Pure mathematics is the highest of the Sciences but is also the Art possessing most Beauty. Music comes a close second. It is an entirely creative endeavour. Pure mathematicians are exactly analagous to musicians. Though the masters of the art are even rarer in mathematics (if we are classing Varg et al. as master musicians, that is) The only reason most people do not see math in this way is simply due to the fact that virtually all humans are capable of at least appreciating if not creating music, whereas the vast majority of mankind are biologically incapable of even understanding the heights mathematics has now reached, much less so creating it further.

Please do not take this as necessarily an attack on your wisdom. If you have not studied PURE math up until at least 2nd year degree level I can very much forgive you for making this mistake – as all of the math below this level is of the ‘methods’ variety, so you may not have had all the information needed to see the matter in its true light (though this defense would be insufficient to clear you of charges of pretentiousness however…)

What confuses me is why you would feel that trying to draw analogies with math would make your article’s arguments more forceful. I would understand this if you believed that the human mind/spirit contained a spark of the TRANSCENDENTALLY divine. But you SEEM to believe that the whole of human consciousness can be explained (if only one day) by neurotransmissions along nerve pathways. I would be genuinely interested to hear your views in this area.

Because if that’s what you DO believe then what do you even mean when you talk of the transcendental?

]]>“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.”

Here’s my response:

The work of art succumbs to rules of its own, mostly aesthetic ones in his case. Whether we name them as rules or not has little import.

His distinction is trivial, or linguistically clever but not actually on point, because he admits that rules can be inferred from the work of art, therefore it is also rule-based, only from the instance and not the abstract. This is a nonsense observation since history is comprised of events, like works of art, from which we learn the rules. Thus, his statement is a linguistic deflection that does not hold up to even basic analysis.

]]>I’m everywhere and nowhere!

I am the bringer of storms and golden showers.

Fear us, for we are many and we come bearded.

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