MUSIC, MITH, STRUCTURE AND INTERPRETATION

For an applied psychomusicology: psychoanalysis versus musical neurophysiology.Mozart-Effect: humanity’s music therapy. The necessity of a deep understanding of the musical text: condition required to achieve a much more intense experience during the interpretative act. Required interdisciplinary strategies imposed by the complexity of the examined masterpieces. Musical interpretation – a process that is psycho-musically infinite ?

This study proposes to analytically browse some of the most representative masterpieces of the pianistic literature, constantly guiding the flux of the assumptions and arguments brought in relative demonstrations, towards the synthetic sphere of pragmatism, meaning of the interpretation, understood as a publicly musical execution (live, in concert).   Research starts from the necessity of a continuous enrichment with new epistemological, anthroposophical and psychological dimensions of the mental sound image that the interpreter musician possesses, refines and perfects in search of obtaining the highest degree of musical coherence of which he/she is able, during the preparation in the different phases of the study, during the entire professional life as well as, in consequence, within the practical execution(s) of the pianistic and/or instrumental work(s) in general. At it’s own turn, lived musical action finds new methodological correspondents, when it returns to analytical phase. In other words, the new methodological study proposed by the thesis that we support, consists in a continuous feedback: analysis – synthesis, in which the two terms of the equation contaminate each other in a fertile way, producing, in it’s last instance, an artistic vision whose vitality and spontaneity will always be justified by an internal logic that is more convincing, for it’s receptors, as the analist-executant-interpreter will be more convinced by it. The intensification degree of the receptor engagement will then be directly proportional with the identification of the interpreter, until we forget of ourselves, with the opera he/she plays. Taken to the extreme consequence, the constant appliance of this method in nuce, will maybe become an equivalent of Zen discipline applied to the musical tradition of our european occidental cultural code. The search of the universality-archetypal value, in a jungian sense of the term- is a paradigm that we will point out during the entire paper starting from the smallest lexical unit to the structure and logic of the dramatic and/or lyric development of the entire sound body, to each of the piano work examined. We will try to define both the matrix, thematic cells that generate syntactic musical structure which we will define A.M. – archetypal matrix, as well as their capacity to profoundly modify the emotional states of the participants to the musical ritual in it’s european version. With this perspective we will apply to narrative-dramatic musical structures the innate logic (or better said inherited) of the myth: the archetypal value (also in a jungian sense of the concept) of musical phonemes and morphemes consists in their capacity to generate and organize the structure of the whole work. Their process of transformation and organic growth in syntactic units chained in intermediate structures, presents dynamic nodes similar to narrative mechanisms of mythical type. They play the fundamental function of organizing musical structures: genuine, secret DNA program of musical story development,with protagonists(well-known characters) that correspond to the mythical ones-Prometheus, Odysseus, Eros-Thanatos, Oedipus-Sphinx, Orpheus, Craftsman Manole,and so on; also at a phonosymbolic level(at any dimension of the linguistic structure) we can talk about a sound destiny of themes that make the drawing, plan ,and progressive development of the entire structure through units that are specific to natural language: propositions, phrases, periods. On the level of action development, the logic of the chaining of the conflicts and solutions is an accomplishment of the sound DNA of the name of the mythical protagonist character (hero).

The demonstration of this last sentence is found at the section that deals with the relation between body and voice- orality (see.chapter.2.4). The whole narrative-musical web is ,in our conception, a complex network of redundancy of the symbolic number-the Dual,Third, Fourth reflecting themselves in the musical- psychological behavior as phantasmatic-mythological figures and so on. We will not transform this thesis in metaphysical music theory: it can only be one of the infinite interpretative possibilities (due to musical language polysemy), suggestive and stimulative, that might be defined as musical mythanalysis (in the spirit and not just ad literam of Culianu’s2 conception) but not the last or the only one that’s true. Also it is not in our intention to assign a literal-mythic specific program to none of the piano works taken into discussion: not even in the case of the schumanian Carnaval or mussorgskian Picture of an exhibitions – where the presence of titles might justify (from a formal point of view) the visible presence of an extramusical programmatism, imagined by the authors of these masterpieces. From our point of view in these cases profoundly related (as we will see in the respective analytical chapters) the titles of the miniature cyclical strings that we discuss, have a value that’s more metaphorical, posterior descriptive symbolical, of the implicit psychological character of musical structure and not aprioristic to the compositional act, that will become a sort of sound picture of the object to whom the title of the song refers to. Archetypal mythological narrativity through which we will try to define a possible musical dimension, does not demonstrate the existence of a literal-mythic program(just in the case of vocal-instrumental works inspired directly)and especially it does not use during analytical development a terminology and linguistic mentality or literary –tendency that is very en vogue, lately; such interpretations suggest (through induction) that narrative musical processes, including instrumental works, are a translation or a projection from natural language to specific musical language. We will try to demonstrate the contrary of this position ,by overturning order and term relation: in our opinion, musical narrativity is preceding the literary one, being at the origin of the psychic process that generates the myth.   In our vision the myth-music intertextuality is a starting point to continue our progress in-depth :this dive in the deep layers of collective unconscious, realized through the use of structural comparative analytical instruments, places us in the mysterious centre of the musical creative and re-creative act, poiesis-aistesis(in the etymological sense of hellenic language: creative capacity and sensibility)-we refer to the publicly musical execution, to the concert as an european cultural ritual. All archaic creationist myths represent, essentialy the search of correspondences between micro and macrocosmos, thus a search of the coherence of the universe expressed in words, therefore in any language. This process, anticipated by music, pre-existing to natural language, in the subconscious structure of the speech(or unconscious from Jung’s point of view) accompanies the history of european culture, from the simplest melodic matrix(archaic) of folk music to the most sophisticated textures of contemporary cultured music.

In his book Myth and music (Haga,ed.Mouton,1979) the famous finnish semiotician Eero Tarasti asks himself a series of fundamental questions to focalize the report between the two dimensions. What connection is there between myth and music ,in what way do these conjugate in occidental cultured musical art- as a speech in different operas and authors? How can a structure be mythical and musical in the same time? Can we define a mythical style related with a musical idiom and if there is ,what are the components of this style or what is the construction technique through which a composer can refer to a myth without indicating one in special? But, what if the finnish scholar starts to research this fascinating relation and points out the primate nature of the myth, searching it’s manifestations in the field of artistic music, we will try to demonstrate the pre-existence of music from the course of which and from it’s archetypal speech, mythical thinking is born, with all of it’s poetic mystery, temporal ambiguity and miraculous and psychological intuition.

Mythical reference mentality, is for us, not the one analyzed by Levi-Strauss, which E.Tarasti refers to in his study: we prefer the much more suggestive hierophany of the biggest historian and researcher of myth religions and myth phenomena, Mircea Eliade. We will proceed by extending this concept (hierophany) to musical relation and myth ,the latter, being the emanation of sacred that is seen as a representation of the Primordial World which was sang and musical before it was natural language and spoken narration.

Gaved the force (we could say archetypal) of suggestion and because it is also a musical process (paraphraze) we will mention the first sentence from the Evangel of Saint Joan:

“At the beginning there was the Word and the Word was at God; and God was the Word” paraphrasing it like this: “At the beginning there was Sound and Sound was at the Mother; and Sound was the Mother”3. We apply to this archetypal syllogism the parameters of psychoanalysis, to highlight the primate nature of the specified musical language over the natural one: the first memorized data of any human being, before he is born, in antenatal phase, are the sounds emitted by the mother, whose heart always beats, the language that is produced by the vocal cords, when she sings or talks- with all the frequency variations specific to the language, that are maternal, much more than they are paternal.

This maternal song represents the pure musical source of the whole individual psychic and the vocal basis of personality that will develop growing and evolving on the duration of it’s life.

All the psychophysical processes of the individual are not something else but variations on the themes of maternal musical background, and the influences of the environment-the conditioning of the cultural code and the consecutive educational variables will mold onto this vocal block, bearer of musical archetypes.

He contains the whole range of thinking and behavior that will manifest itself during the entire life, in the unpredictable shapes of individual subjective destiny. This model will be updated to the level of material organism (body) life, native embryo cell containing the entire development program and future evolution of the individual, in genetic code written in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). 2 Internal rhythm and ultracomplex polyphony that chants all the transformations from soma (body) corresponds to the progressive drawings contained in the maternal song, that, at it’s own turn supports and reflects in the development of the psychic(the main responsible factor)the material echoes that come from the transformations of the physical organism of the individual: seen as a whole, psychosomatic life of the human being is a musical dialogue between soul-psiche- and body-soma-. The Big-bang of the Universe birth is nothing else but the last scientific expression of many creationist myths, that, with language that is adequate to the myth, confess the sound origin of the world. If we refer to philosophy ,placing it between mythical-music and scientific thinking, we can concentrate our hermeneutic effort in the famous phrase ontogeny repeats phylogeny: quod erat demonstrandum . Our analytical and interpretive act (see relative semantic conclusions, with concrete effect in the preparation and realization of the action of the musical execution) has as foundation-Grund- on epistemological position that values not the Reason but the reasons not an alleged general unitary Science but the located science , specifically, that come from different logics and have different development ways and times. Direct derivate of this gnosiological inclination is a tirelessly pragmatic curiosity employed in the search of new integrative knowledge, of new inter and transdisciplinary synthesis, a fertile research that targets nature, phenomenology and origin of musical philosophy.

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3 Bible, the Evangel of Saint Joan, Foundation King Carol. Bucharest year 1938, p. 1192

Approached from the perspective of the interpretative musicians,.it could raise the interest, given it’s value of novelty and interest from pure theoreticians.

It could be useful through ex-centricity- understood as provocative de-centralization of new reflections -to recipients(listening recipients) that want the intensification of their participation to the musical act and (but not only) through deepening of extramusical data, like the psychological and anthropological references that we make use of in our reasoning.

In the approach of each opera, we will try to define:

  • the type of archetype expressed by the sound matrices that generate theme-characters, the mythical and narrative mechanisms and actions , in the context and the level of depth at which they can be applied to the analyzed musical opera,
  • the presence and position of the respective myth in the psychic sphere of the author ,but also of those who share the same cultural conditioning ,(cultural common code)to point out
  • psychological consequences of the mythical presence in the creative act ,and afterwards in the re-creative one.(musical interpretation),
  • necessity of the interpretative musician for a deep and constant research of the myth-genetic process triggered by the author and addressed to the public, through him(of the practical musician);once the myth-semantic load of the piano opera will be discovered (but ,latently, of any musical work)that he’s supposed to sing , and
  • some of the transformations of the piano gesture, as a result of the employment of the most profound areas of collective and subjective unconscious at somatic level , caused and/or amplified through the possible application(in required personalized versions) by the grand piano reference interpreters(see compared analysis of relative executions to each of the analyzed works)of a similar pathway or at least similar to the one described in the current paper.

In order to emphasize the decisive role of the presence of universals (archetypal matrix and their development in narrative musical-mythical structures) at different levels of musical behavior (composition, interpretation, and listening)-we chose, for the analytical demonstration of the thesis, a group of piano operas that can be defined as archetypal, if we take into consideration the intensity of the reaction of adhesion of the public to them considered as :

  1. a heterogeneous community, from the point of view of the cultural reference values, not just the european one, where their archetypal source is the same, but, what is most surprising, the extra-european one, at planetary level and
  2. a timeless community, considering their perpetuate novelty, so the constant fascination exercised over many generations(potentially infinite) of recipients; the masterpieces analyzed morphologically and contemplated analytically (from the point of view of the interpreter) in this study, they were conceived by their creators in a period of time that stretches for more than a century: from Beethoven’s opera 57-Appassionata-dated 1805, passing through opera 9 Carnival and op. 16 Kreisleriana by Schumann, op. 35 and op. 58 Sonata by Chopin, Sonata in si minor by Liszt, Pictures from an exhibition by Mussorgsky, until opera 24 Sonata in Re by Enescu, finished in 1935; despite their venerable age(between 80 and 200 years), for those that sing them, listen and/or analyze them, these titanic works of piano music, demonstrate novelty, a dramatic intensity and an expressive topicality that doesn’t allow us to appoint them just to chronological time, measurable and dying, of historic data in which they appeared ,but also suggest us other dimensions, that belong rather to psychology and anthropology.

We think of the infinite dimension of time, of eternity.

Referring itself to the absolute peaks of the whole European musical literature(not just the one dedicated to piano), this analytical-interpretative step starts from the generating matrices(archetypal, Ur sound symbols), passing through intermediate dimensions-phrase/Satz, themes-characters/ ideas/big periods and sections, in order to point out the coherent value of the whole,(indispensable to any interpretative version available on philosophical, aesthetic and ethical level), that can lead (also) to conclusions that have valences of theoretical validity and general philosophy. Thus we’ll add to the three minimal semiotic4 dimensions: grammar /semantics/ pragmatic phonosymbolism , that can be integrated in grammar’s field of action, belonging to the symbol generating vocabulary (V0s.) of melodic, rhythmic and harmonic nature-determinative dimension(in the analytical version described before) of the:

-primary symbolical vocabularies (matrices-figures analogous to mythological elements)

-symbolical musical syntax (as narrative development)

-reference semantic areas (of the untold myths ,in their embryonic stage)

– pragmatic orientations (consecutio demonstrationis)- the restoration in sounds of the native plan of psychological tensions-relaxations equivalent to the semantic level(maximums and minimums of semantic tensions).

We’ll cover all of these analytical semiotic steps always having in mind the final objective of this analytical-interpretative study, meaning the pragmatic dimension – the restoration in sound of the global musical image-for whom every analytical step strives for it’s clarification.

To reach our goal, we’ll make appeal to areas of study that can connect with music – psychology, neurophysiology, anthropology, linguistics, philosophy, mythology and we’ll integrate the data of the analysis of the historical musical interpretations compared to those belonging to theoretical musicological analysis, to the point that they are compatible to our point of view.

In the end of each compared analysis, we’ll indicate our interpretative vision justifying through punctual arguments mainly the differences(but not only..) that separate us from other versions, either if they are established as ideal models, either if they enjoy (or not) big popularity; in the age of profound aesthetic decadence (the triumphant kitsch is a visible symptom of the moral crisis) in which we live in, it is less and less likely that an interpretative version, even if we speak of elite, cultured music to know a diffusion(commercial success) directly proportional with it’s real artistical and musical value: here it is then, the reason why we cannot put the sign of equality between popularity and excellence. The truly famous interpretative versions, that can capture the imagination of the listener, without violently imposing itself, but just subliminally, as a following model, are not spectacular enough to produce the immediate superficial pleasure according to the standards of today’s market: finding them becomes a collectors problem.

4.D.Ciocan: A semiotic theory of musical interpretation Bucharesi, Publisher. National Universityof Music, 2005, page.78

Applied psychomusicology: psychoanalysis vs. musical neurophysiology. Our object of study is the projection of the soul (Psiche) in sounds: here it is why we cannot neglect the problem of intimate reactions and relations, internal to the individual, at psychological and physiological level involved in the musical act; it’s orientation towards the anthroposophical-psychological sphere finds it’s main justification in the final nature and object of professional doctoral research: we can consider it as prologomena to an applied theory, so, a possible tool in the service of interpreters, either as a conceptual moment ,either along the realization of the Global Musical Image(from now on named GMI).

These statements reflect the clear concentration of our research over the intermediate term (Ip.-piano interpreter) of the triad that can define the musical process seen in his fundamental functions: C.(creative genesis-composer)—Ip.(re-creation of the work at a phenomenological sound level – musical interpretation – piano artist) —- R. (reception – listener/final recipient-receiving public):
C                                                                                                                                                 Ip.             R.

To the possible relative objection to the lack of homogeneity (in fact, the lack of numerical, quantitative correspondences: C.- individual, I.- restricted crowd of individuals, R- a potentially infinite crowd of individuals) between the categories of this triangle of musical processes – we can only answer that it is an apparent truth: we’ll consider individual(C) as an array of person-characters inherited from the whole chain of ancestral-generations , DNA reactivated in a single individual, exclusively on a psychic level, aiming towards the collective unconscious and it’s molecular bricks: archetypal matrices, in fact, the constants that harmonize all the variables of this triangular equation (C. – Ip. – R.).        .

Given the amplitude(and even inflation)of studies dedicated to the perception of sound at anatomical and physiological level, we’ll focus our attention over the existent dichotomy between the psychoanalytical orientation(and also the behavioral and cognitive one) and the more recent neurophysiological orientation applied to the musical phenomenon; if psychoanalysis, and then cognitivism tried to study the software (the mental program) isolating it from the physiological reactions of the body, the new neurophysiology started to study the hardware (nervous cells ) isolating it ,at it’s own turn, from the psychic reactions, or just making small connections between the spiritual dimension(psiche) and the material one(soma).

The reality of our life demonstrates that between the two dimensions there is a continuous feedback, a constant change of information, an obvious mutual influence, a symbiotic unity that only disease can tear apart, death can destroy it, and music can reconstruct it, either in the symbolic dimension of the myth(Orpheus), either in the practical one of healing through music therapy, either in dominating and reducing the pathological suffering through the practice of the art of sounds.

We will try, then, to integrate the information that comes from the two fields of study – in search of their ring of conjunction, by analyzing data and statistics regarding music therapy and the precise revealing(much better defined today than in the past) of the areas and the type of neurocerebral activity: analysis that is realized with the help of statistical data obtained in sector experiments that use the instruments of the most advanced computerized technologies during the administration of musical songs(very popular, so well-known and memorized, so updatable)to a group(more or less homogeneous from the point of view of cultural code) of patients.

We will confront the results with the findings from the jungian psychoanalysis sector, of cognitivist research or post-freudian, represented here by researcher Mate Blanco. He treated the subconscious(collective unconscious) as infinite parts and analyzed psychotic, autistic and schizophrenic pathologies, that allow the relative clear highlight of archetypes; these emerge to the surface – releasing devastating energies through the pathological act equivalent to the opening of Pandora’s box – in a measure that is much superior to the healthy ones – at which the equilibrium and harmony(relative) of the psychic, hides in a labyrinth of symbols almost impossible to decipher(given it’s enormous complexity) the archetypal principals that regulate from the deep(controlling and manipulating reactions, tendencies and decisions) our entire psychic life5.

Mozart – Effect: applying the techniques and strategies of music therapy to healthy and ill subjects.

As it clearly stands out from recent statistics from many north american Universities, a conclusion has been made: that exposing to Mozart’s music stimulates to the highest degree – in comparison with any other author, type or age- the whole cortex(see Cambpell, bibliography.p.224).

As a therapeutic type action, similar to the one produced by hearing the musical fragments(of variable dimensions from extremely different types and authors)memorized in intensely subjective and emotional situations by examined individuals, and that exercise by recalling affective positive memorized states, a sublimated projection of a positive experience from the past, in the present of the experimental moment: in other words, the proustian effect of madelainette, meaning the symbolic and partial update of a happy temporal fragment from the listeners past.

Music therapy schools name it sonic rebirthing. Most recent statistics, more and more numerous, formalized in mathematical language, confirm in an empiric way the statements from above.

If , from a scientific point of view the essential details are missing – like the ones that refer to the biochemical variations (the identification of involved neuropeptides, of the proteins involved in the specific musical activity of the neuroreceptors, and so on)at the level of C. N.S (central nervous system) while being exposed to music – from a psychoanalytical point of view , we believe that the jungian principles of archetypes can be applied, that are stimulated through the employment of the most ancestral symbolical shapes of manifestation that belong to them, the sonorous ones, implicitly gestural and prelinguistic: here it is, then, an argument that is articulate enough, and able to justify the orientation towards psychology of the given research.

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5 cfr. I. Matte Blanco L’inconscio come insiemi infiniti, Einaudi, Torino, 1981

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