Friday, March 31, 2006

Adam Seelig - The Anonlinear Aesthetic

I have devised the term as the literary and dramatic equivalent of "non-atonal music," which is how the contemporary composer György Ligeti has described his work. Non-atonal music, as the term suggests, does not cleave to a tonal centre, as in the music of Bach and Mozart, nor does it completely eschew tonality in favor of free, unbounded, or even aleatory explorations, as in Schoenberg and Cage. Rather, it exists in a permanent state of suspension that reaches toward, but never fully grasps, tonal resolution. The only resolution, insofar as there ever is one, is in silence. In lacking a defined tonic, Ligeti’s music is certainly atonal, yet its inherent traces of tonality, as if of a harmony that once was, set it apart. By analogy, imagine an impossible physics in which electrons circle an absent, defunct nucleus and, as opposed to flying off aimlessly due to instability, remain bound by a residual, habitual momentum and a yearning for wholeness. The result would be a different kind of atom, a new construction with an inbuilt memory of its former self.more...


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