Category Archives: Aesthetics

Darling, They’re Playing Our Tune (DTPOT)

— Play it once, Sam. For old times’ sake … Play it, Sam. Play As Time Goes By.

There is a good chance that the tune will have started sounding in your head as soon as you read this line. Maybe Ingrid Bergman’s shiny eyes too will come to mind, her face reflecting memories playing through her (Ilsa’s) mind. Memories shared with her former lover Rick. “Their tune”.
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Monumentale ergernis

No English version.

Neudeflat © Lodewijk Muns 2018De flat zag er verwaarloosd uit. De benedenverdieping was leeg, de verdiepingen daarboven schijnbaar ook, afdekplaten ontbraken in de gevel.

Hoera, dacht ik, eindelijk wijsheid: de Neudeflat is ontruimd voor de sloop.

Het tegendeel blijkt waar. Het is er niet aan te zien, maar het gedrocht uit 1962, een steen des aanstoots voor generaties Utrechters, is vorig jaar gerenoveerd en staat sinds eind 2016 op de gemeentelijke monumentenlijst. Waarmee de waanzin voor wijsheid wordt behoed.
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Filosofie van de kokermast (Help, de palen rukken op!)

(English version)Zoetermeer wintracks

En toen waren er ineens een heleboel: gladde grijze palen. Ontwiekte windmolenmasten die paarsgewijs de plaats innemen van de traditionele, uit honderden delen samengelaste eiffeltorentjes.

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Musical Thoughts

On Josef Hofmann playing Chopin’s Concerto No. 2

It is not uncommon to speak of musical “ideas”. It has become very common, in fact, since a number German music writers in the early eighteenth century started speaking of musikalische Gedanken.

A musical idea is more or less what musicians and music analysts call a “theme”. One might think of a theme as a purely musical idea, a sound pattern. But Gedanke is more like thought, and “thought” suggest a thought process — typically, about something — rather than just sound patterns or shapes. Musical “thoughts” are what’s implied in musical “sentences”.  Continue reading

Ringtones and the Limits of Music

Having finally acquired a smartphone, I had to choose a ringtone. A trivial problem; but one that blew my thoughts into more philosophical directions.

Many people choose for this purpose some favourite piece of music. I find this hard to understand. Of all the music I know and enjoy, I can’t think of any piece I would want to cut down to a few seconds, degrade to a mere signal, to be controlled by any odd caller. Hey, pick up the phone!

For a ringtone is nothing but a signal; it’s not music. At least, I tended to think that there should be a basic difference between one thing and the other.
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Pulp Fiction, Politics, and a Whiff of Rachmaninoff

I should have heard that name long ago. It has frequently come up in headlines about the surge of the political right in the US; occasionally, in the European context.

Donald Trump’s Role Model Is an Ayn Rand Character — Ayn Rand-Acolyte Donald Trump Stacks His Cabinet with Fellow ObjectivistsTrump Administration Embraces Ayn Rand’s Disdain for the MassesTrump’s Favorite IntellectualThe New Age of Ayn Rand: How She Won over Trump and Silicon Valley

Ayn Rand, a Russian-American novelist and philosopher, and a powerful influence, apparently, on neoliberal and libertarian mindsets. Her 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged  has sold nearly 9 million copies, according to the Ayn Rand Institute that takes an aggressive part in its promotion. Pulp fiction with spurious philosophical pretense, according to the vast majority of critics. For a coterie of cultish followers, however, “the greatest novel ever written”. I quote Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Companion (2007, p. 5), a publication that deceptively resembles a scholarly volume — until one starts reading.

Atlas Shrugged. I have repaired my ignorance and worked my way, hopping, skipping and jumping, through its 1200 pages.
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