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Thread: The heart has its reasons , which reason does not know

  1. #1
    Roland Paingaud
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    Default The heart has its reasons , which reason does not know

    Please, what is melody ?


    Please correct my approximate English

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    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    this is something only MR can answer

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  4. #3
    Roland Paingaud
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    this is something only MR can answer
    Sorry sir, who is "MR" ?

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    Senior Member Tikoo Tuba's Avatar
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    Your poem is a melody . The heart has its reasons , which reason does not know
    However it may be presented musically it will be the featured element .
    Last edited by Tikoo Tuba; Aug-31-2020 at 03:26.

  6. #5
    Roland Paingaud
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tikoo Tuba View Post
    Your poem is a melody . The heart has its reasons , which reason does not know
    However it may be presented musically it will be the featured element .
    I use "melody" in a broad sense.

    When you hear the beginning of a melody you know, even after years of absence, you recognize it immediately ; not the name, or the origin, but the very musical sequence before the whole sequence is played.

    No musical theory explains that. If there is a melody in a symphony you like, you recall the melody, you don't recall any passage of the symphony.

    It's like a face once it has entered your memory ; if you see the face after years of absence, you immediately stop on it ; you might be first unable to recall who is it, but you know that you know it.

    It is as if something in the heart, in the sensibility, had once found its path and, from here, as soon as you hear the first notes the path reopens.

    You don't use actively your memory, or your reason, your logic ; something inside you needs to open the path, and once done by the first hearing, at the occasion of the beginning of the melody, the path shines.

    (the poem is from Blaise Pascal 1623 1662, French mathematician : " Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît pas " )



    Please correct my approximate English

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    Senior Member JAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Paingaud View Post
    Sorry sir, who is "MR" ?
    Don't worry. It's a joke . . . mostly.

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    Senior Member Tikoo Tuba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Paingaud View Post
    I use "melody" in a broad sense.
    I read the definition of melody in the dictionary . There were 3 items of reference . One relates to the recognition of a human voice quality , of human nature , and this has been with us 'forever' . Wild birdsong can be felt as such , just as people sing together . Another describes the intention of the composer to feature an aspect of harmonic structure . It is intended to be identifiable . Perhaps it is respectful of first nature . Then , it also declares the lyric poem itself as melody . The poem you have shared - just in reading it , I see it melodious .

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Paingaud View Post
    I use "melody" in a broad sense.

    When you hear the beginning of a melody you know, even after years of absence, you recognize it immediately ; not the name, or the origin, but the very musical sequence before the whole sequence is played.

    No musical theory explains that. If there is a melody in a symphony you like, you recall the melody, you don't recall any passage of the symphony.
    Explaining that phenomenon is not in the purview of music theory. The appropriate field is the psychology of music. Nevertheless, the explanation is easy. The grammar and syntax of musical melody overlaps with that of human speech and writing. One remembers a poignant and well constructed melody upon hearing the beginning for the same reason and in the same way one remembers a well-turned phrase. Upon hearing the first few words of the Pascal you've quoted, I'm sure you immediately remember the rest, no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Paingaud View Post
    It's like a face once it has entered your memory ; if you see the face after years of absence, you immediately stop on it ; you might be first unable to recall who is it, but you know that you know it.
    This example has little to do with the other. The human brain has an enormous amount of neural hardware devoted to facial recognition and the interpretation of facial expressions because it has and has always had survival value for the individual and the species.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Paingaud View Post
    Please correct my approximate English
    Your English, based on this post, seems to be excellent.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    — Basil Valentine

  11. #9
    Roland Paingaud
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    @EdwardBast


    What a first-hand scientific rationalization !
    Thank you, sir.



    Please correct my approximate English

  12. #10
    Roland Paingaud
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tikoo Tuba View Post
    I read the definition of melody in the dictionary . There were 3 items of reference . One relates to the recognition of a human voice quality , of human nature , and this has been with us 'forever' . Wild birdsong can be felt as such , just as people sing together . Another describes the intention of the composer to feature an aspect of harmonic structure . It is intended to be identifiable . Perhaps it is respectful of first nature . Then , it also declares the lyric poem itself as melody . The poem you have shared - just in reading it , I see it melodious .

    Thank you for your attentive mind, without ready-made thinking.


    You can't say " There is a melody because … humans like what is melodious " , that is but tautology.

    At the first measure of the Four Seasons, Vivaldi, you recognize the piece.
    But at the first measure of the 5th of Beethoven (Fate Symphony) , you recognize the piece too, while the first measure is not melodious at all in the sense you mean.
    I use melody in the broad sense of what becomes involuntarily memory as an indivisible sequence, belonging or not to a larger totality.

    Therefore in the two cases, something in the sensibility, or whatever you call it, makes a clear difference between the melody on one hand, and the rest of the symphony on the other hand that you don't spontaneously recall.

    This extraordinary phenomenon has nothing to do with linguistic faculties of the brain, which handle with discontinuous unities ( words, sentences, … ) ; the melody is the melody because precisely it creates its own new unity in the sensibility ; it's a holistic phenomenon, not a discursive one as language.

    To explain melody by poetry is the mistake not to do, because poetry is the very transforming of the language into melody.
    The words constructing the meaning construct at the same time a music which incarnates this meaning.
    Hence the poetry does not explain what is melody in the sensibility, it uses it !

    The most similar phenomenon is the sensibility to the face ; the Darwinism-freak show lecture what is sensibility to faces in the evolution, but Darwinism-freak show lectures on any topic, merely replace face by anything, and it works.
    The sensibility to face is not a result of the active association of unities, like language, it is a passive indivisible affective statement, like selection of music as melody by the sensibility.


    Please correct my approximate English

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Paingaud View Post
    @EdwardBast

    What a first-hand scientific rationalization !
    Thank you, sir.
    It's clear that when you began this thread you were not really seeking an explanation for the phenomenon you described. You merely tried to put it beyond rational discussion and explanation, to mystify it, to claim that no one can explain it. There are at least two fatal problems with this strategy. First, when you claim that no one can explain a phenomenon, it invites the question: How is it that you know the capabilities of everyone else on the planet and, especially, every music theorist and music psychologist living or dead, and are certain that their qualifications and knowledge of the topic are less than or at best equal to your own? Do you not see the absurdity of that position? Alas, it's likely everyone else does, and they will simply conclude that you, the only person you are qualified to speak for, are incapable of explaining it. The second problem is that the epistemological basis of both music theory and music psychology is systematic, rational, and in the latter case, based on experimental method. So it seems you have posted in the wrong forum. I'd suggest that the Religious Music forum might be a more appropriate venue.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Sep-02-2020 at 14:40.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    — Basil Valentine

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Paingaud View Post

    To explain melody by poetry is the mistake not to do, because poetry is the very transforming of the language into melody.
    The words constructing the meaning construct at the same time a music which incarnates this meaning.
    Hence the poetry does not explain what is melody in the sensibility, it uses it !
    No, comparing it to poetry is exactly the right thing to do. The periodic structures in Classical Era music derive directly from the structure and rhythm of poetic verses and stanzas. Those structures come from folk song and popular strophic songs in opera and lieder. Denes Bartha theorized that the essential pattern underlying Classical Era melody is quaternary stanza structure, comprising two periods derived from a four line stanza. Our comprehension of melody is a welcome byproduct of our verbal capacities. The art of melody developed over centuries in continuous relation to poetry. Once again, it's simply high-powered neural hardware that conferred an enormous evolutionary advantage, that devoted to speech in this case, being applied to another sphere of human activity. Melodic recognition only seems mystical if one forgets the far more impressive "miracle" of language and speech recognition.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Sep-02-2020 at 15:17.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    — Basil Valentine

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    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    A primitive superstition and relic usually found among those who fail to grasp the finer points of serial compositional techniques

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  18. #14
    Senior Member JAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    No, comparing it to poetry is exactly the right thing to do. The periodic structures in Classical Era music derive directly from the structure and rhythm of poetic verses and stanzas. Those structures come from folk song and popular strophic songs in opera and lieder. Denes Bartha theorized that the essential pattern underlying Classical Era melody is quaternary stanza structure, comprising two periods derived from a four line stanza. Our comprehension of melody is a welcome byproduct of our verbal capacities. The art of melody developed over centuries in continuous relation to poetry. Once again, it's simply high-powered neural hardware that conferred an enormous evolutionary advantage, that devoted to speech in this case, being applied to another sphere of human activity. Melodic recognition only seems mystical if one forgets the far more impressive "miracle" of language and speech recognition.
    Interesting idea. I might note that it is widely thought that early poetry, such as Beowulf, was actually sung, perhaps in a chant-like way. It has been speculated that poetry evolved as a way of improving the memory for the oral traditions, and song evolved from poetry.

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAS View Post
    Interesting idea. I might note that it is widely thought that early poetry, such as Beowulf, was actually sung, perhaps in a chant-like way. It has been speculated that poetry evolved as a way of improving the memory for the oral traditions, and song evolved from poetry.
    This argument was made by Albert B. Lord in his groundbreaking book, The Singer of Tales. (One of my professors used Lord's book and argument as a basis for studying oral traditions in Gregorian Chant, which is the reason I'm familiar with this field.) On one level Lord's book is a field study of Yugoslav folk singers who, in the 20thc, were performing oral tradition epic poetry melodically and with minimal accompaniment. He then pointed out how Ancient literature, particularly Homer's epics, had very similar patterns of formulaic units and patterns of repetition, suggesting that Homer's epics might have been performed (or derived from earlier oral performances performed) in the same way. (It's been a long time, hence my simplistic summary.)

    The mnemonic power of music has long been noted of course, children's alphabet tunes being the most obvious example. It provides a rhythmic framework and phrase structure which makes it obvious when an item is missing. And pitch provides another data point for the child to use in holding onto information.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Sep-02-2020 at 20:22.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    — Basil Valentine

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