"Don’t stay up on the barren heights of cleverness; come on down into these verdant valleys of silliness."

~ Ludwig Wittgenstein

13 December 2013 ·

"The only thing Phoebe liked was when Hamlet patted this dog on the head. She thought that was funny and nice, and it was. What I’ll have to do is, I’ll have to read that play. The trouble with me is, I always have to read that stuff by myself. If an actor acts it out, I hardly listen. I keep worrying about whether he’s going to do something phony every minute."

~ J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye

26 October 2013 ·

"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."

~ Stravinsky (via theangryviolinist)

(Source: angrykoreanguy)

14 April 2013 ·

"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."

~ T.S. Eliot (via oiseaur0uge)

8 April 2013 ·

from Intonation in the Kongo language, K. E. Laman, 1922.

from Intonation in the Kongo language, K. E. Laman, 1922.

5 January 2013 ·

Noam Chomsky on language and ideology

wittgensteinsnephew:

WOMAN: Dr. Chomsky, it seems the terms of political discourse themselves are a tool for propagandizing the population. How is language used to prevent us from understanding and to disempower us?

CHOMSKY: Well, the terminology we use is heavily ideologically laden, always.  Pick your term: if it’s a term that has any significance whatsoever – like, not “and” or “or” – it typically has two meanings: a dictionary meaning and a meaning that’s used for ideological warfare.  So, “terrorism” is only what other people do.  What’s called “communism” is supposed to be “the far left”; in my view, it’s the far right, basically indistinguishable from fascism.  These guys that everybody calls “conservative,” any conservative would turn over in their grave at the sight of them – they’re extreme statists, they’re not “conservative” in any traditional meaning of the word. “Special interests” means labor, women, blacks, the poor, the elderly, the young – in other words, the general population.  There’s only one sector of the population that doesn’t ever get mentioned as a “special interest,” and that’s corporations, and business in general – because they’re the “national interest.” Or take “defense”: I have never heard of a state that admits it’s carrying out an aggressive act, they’re always engaged in “defense,” no matter what they’re doing – maybe “preemptive defense” or something.

As I said in a recent post, I generally don’t like mixing social and political thought into my arts blog. But I wanted to put this out there today because Chomsky’s often-repeated point here about the relationship between language, ideology, and power structures is, in my opinion, an absolutely fundamental and relatively poorly understood fact of history and culture—and one that’s essential to grasp in order to make sense of the forces that shape the world around us (and within us, unfortunately). 

This quote is over twenty years old, and still achingly relevant (not to mention that Socrates was given the choice between exile or death over fairly similar sentiments more than two thousand years ago).

(Source: rocknrolldeathsquad)

1 July 2012 ·

"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."

~

Charles Ives

12 March 2012 ·

34

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.

16 February 2012 ·

imaginarydances:

Creek, Cherokee and Tinneh script.

Never seen Creek script before…and I’m from Creek country! Actually, local lore says the Native Americans would hunt where I live, but wouldn’t settle here. “The Valley of Sickness,” they called it. 
Sniff, cough.

imaginarydances:

Creek, Cherokee and Tinneh script.

Never seen Creek script before…and I’m from Creek country! Actually, local lore says the Native Americans would hunt where I live, but wouldn’t settle here. “The Valley of Sickness,” they called it. 

Sniff, cough.

30 January 2012 ·

reaktorplayer:

Language Map of Europe

reaktorplayer:

Language Map of Europe

3 August 2011 ·

blogthoven:

Gustav Mahler (7 July 1860 - 18 May 1911)

“Ich weiß für mich, dass ich, solang ich mein Erlebnis in Worten zusammenfassen kann, gewiss keine Musik hierüber machen würde.”
(“If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.”)


Literally: “I know for myself that I, so long as I could encapsulate my experiences with words, certainly would not go about making music.”

blogthoven:

Gustav Mahler (7 July 1860 - 18 May 1911)

“Ich weiß für mich, dass ich, solang ich mein Erlebnis in Worten zusammenfassen kann, gewiss keine Musik hierüber machen würde.”

(“If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.”)

Literally: “I know for myself that I, so long as I could encapsulate my experiences with words, certainly would not go about making music.”

(via deus-ex-musica)

7 July 2011 ·

12

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.  

  • y’all. I whole-heartedly and unapologetically embrace the word “y’all.” The English language could hardly be hindered by the use of a unique second person plural pronoun. In the South the word often also carries a connotation of endearment: an assembly crowd would be “you,” but a group of friends or family would be “y’all.” Besides, it’s much more musical than “youse guys,” though there’s nothing wrong with that one either, strictly speaking. 
  • I’ll swanny! My grandmother used to say this all the time. Possibly derived from “I swear,” it means something much like “OMG.”
  • fixin’ to. In the South, we’re never “going” to do or “about” to do anything. We’re “fixin’” to do it. Like, “I’m fixin’ to post this, y’all.” 
  • Lordy mercy. Akin to “I’ll swanny,” but more resigned and less visceral.
  • blow dry a chicken. Of a similar meaning to “polish a turd.” Example: “Well, company’s comin’ in an hour and this house is a big mess. I’m fixin’ to blow dry a chicken.” If one needs to sell a chicken which looks much the worse for wear, it is apparently common practice to fluff up the feathers with a hair dryer.  

16 June 2011 ·

redofromstart:

From English As She is Spoke, 1883, by José de Fonseca and Pedro Carolino—two Portuguese gentleman who, not knowing English, set out to create for themselves an English phrasebook with the help of a French phrasebook and thereby obtained some interesting results. Mark Twain was a great fan and wrote an introduction to an early edition.

redofromstart:

From English As She is Spoke, 1883, by José de Fonseca and Pedro Carolino—two Portuguese gentleman who, not knowing English, set out to create for themselves an English phrasebook with the help of a French phrasebook and thereby obtained some interesting results. Mark Twain was a great fan and wrote an introduction to an early edition.

15 June 2011 ·

"The composer reveals the innermost being of the world and expresses the deepest wisdom in a language which his own reason does not understand."

~

Schopenhauer

21 May 2011 ·

19 May 2011 ·

Curtis Lindsay
Pianist, composer,
expert in nonsense.



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