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Title: The rhythmic idea and the musical representation of time
Author: Rodrigues, Indioney Carneiro
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 7073
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Taking its starting point from the often repeated idea that music and time are related, and that understanding time, in its multiple possibilities, depends on perceiving it rhythmically, this thesis proposes a new compositional concept, the rhythmic idea, which elaborates musically the ways time becomes rhythm. This concept is developed mainly from H. Bergson's and G. Deleuze's philosophies of time, both of post-Kantian transcendental empiricist extraction, and elaborates the conception of musical idea informed by A. Schoenberg's and K. Stockhausen's theories on the matter. In it, the qualifier rhythmic does not necessarily denote pulse regularity nor a recursive ordering of different impulses, but their heterogeneity and complexity. All the same, idea does not denote identity but dynamism and multiplicity. It is thus understood that the notion of rhythmic idea indicates duration, in the perspective of Bergson's durée réelle, a dynamic temporal flux that is manifold in the experience of a musical piece, so that the piece's temporal evolution becomes in itself a mode of being. Additionally, now following Deleuze (and also Bachelard on this specific matter) it is understood that the particular, unique cognitive experience of a musical piece's temporal complexity and heterogeneity also becomes a mode of knowing. Thus musical composition is a twofold process: it is a privileged means for the expression and interpretation of fluxes of temporal complexity forms, which always operate on the temporal orientation of both being and knowing simultaneously. This orientation is rhythmic in both senses, as dynamism, and as complexity, that is, as continuity and articulation. From this, emerges the notion that composing - which in the perspective here presented includes both the expression and the interpretation of the very compositional process by means of a musical piece - is accomplished according to determinate rhythmic ideas that rhythmicalize functionally a given musical idea, as being and as knowing. On this basis, it is argued that the functional rhythmicalization of the musical idea comprises at least three qualitatively distinct but mutually influencing compositional domains, of which this dissertation discusses chiefly the first: (1) the domain of musical times, composed by the rhythmical interpenetration of absolute fundamental temporal orientations, bound to the past or to the future; allowing for a future development of further two domains: (2) that of musical temporalities, composed by the rhythmical interpenetration of fluid, regular and irregular psychological impulses, informed by distinct types of memory and imagination; and (3) that of musical temporalizations, composed by the rhythmical interpenetration of systemic (time-qualifying) and metrical (time-ordering) operations. Rhythmicalization may imply either the creation of original rhythmic ideas or the arrangement of conventional ones. In this, it reflects the degree of social assimilation and, therefore, the degree of historical and cultural installation of rhythmic ideas. Furthermore, as the temporal complexity of a given musical idea cannot be abstracted from the experience of its own flux and because this twofold experience is at last necessarily related to the quality or 'reach' of one's experience of the dynamism and complexity of the world - both as perception and intellect -, it is suggested that the rhythmic constitution of the musical idea stands not only as a fundamental and necessary representational factor of music as Art but, more to the point, it stands essentially as a means of representing the foundations of our experience of time itself.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral