No matter how painfully exact music might be notated nor how carefully protected from double meanings by indications of tempi, dynamics, phrases, accents, etc, it always contains hidden elements which cannot be clearly defined, for language is unable to explain music completely. Therefore, these elements are dependent on the talent of the one who is undertaking to transmit the music.
Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.
Maybe music was not intended to satisfy the curious definiteness of man. Maybe it is better to hope that music may always be transcendental language in the most extravagant sense.
Mozart was for much of his life a fastidious keeper of journals. His entries often display a whimsical character, to say the least, as in this poignant description of the events of a day in 1780:
About shitting, my humble self, a jackass, a hernia, again a jackass, and finally a nose, went to church, stayed home with blow my ass, blow my ass, feeling a bit out of sorts. After lunch Catherl came to see us and also Herr Foxtail, whose ass I thereupon licked…
The obscenities are actually a form of code: “Pfeif mir im Arsch” or “blow my ass” when repeated as above gives the sequence of initial letters PAPA, a reference to Mozart’s father.
A nearby entry reads as follows:
Den 26ten apud die contessine de Lodron. Alle dieci e demie war ich in temple Postea’ chez le signore von Mayern. Post prandium la signora Catherina chez uns. Wir habemus joues collés carte di Tarock…
From these we gather that Catherl’s lunchtime visits must have been frequent. Here of course Mozart is mixing German, Latin, French, and Italian.
Journal entries from Mozart: a Life, by Maynard Solomon.
30 day challenge
#24. Five words or phrases that make you laugh
I’mma cheat on this one a little bit. There are lots of words that make me laugh—I find the word “group” to be incredibly strange and creepy/chuckleworthy, for instance—but I’d like to take this opportunity to pull out of the cooker five of my favorite Southern-fried expressions.
I’m from Alabama, and proud of it. My state gets a bad rap, some of it deservedly, the vast majority of it not so. I get a bit ill when someone from the South feels the need to hide or change a Southern accent, foolishly believing it to sound ignorant—as if ignorance could ever be seeded in such superficial soil. I’ve been around: New York, West Coast, Europe, other places. I know it’s easy to be self-conscious. T’aint no excuse, my gramps would’ve said, and Faulkner and Welty would probably agree. The total homogenization of culture by syndicated television ought to be mistrusted anyway, maybe.
The composer reveals the innermost being of the world and expresses the deepest wisdom in a language which his own reason does not understand.