Nicolai Hartmann and his philosophy of music

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Nicolai

Hartmann

and his

philosophy

of

music

By Robert Carroll

In an essay entitled O m musik och mening,

STM

1976/2 (pp. 5-18), Ingmar

Bengtsson writes, "Intresset för vissa grundläggande musikfilosofiska och musik-

estetiska frågor, inte minst sådana avseende 'mening', 'innehåll', 'förståelse', har alldeles påtagligt blossat upp på nytt-och på nya sätt-just under 1970-talet." Discussing the understanding of music in the light of ontology, semiology, and hermeneutics, Bengtsson refers to a number of thinkers, continental and other. One of these is the German philosopher Nicolai Hartmann (1882-1950), whose analysis of the "Seinsweise und Struktur des ästhetischen Gegenstandes" and theory of strata are mentioned (Bengtsson pp. 12,

16). It is my intention

to follow up with a fuller presentation of Hartmann and his philosophy of music for Scandi- navian readers.

Hartmann came from Riga and was first a student of medicine and classical philology. He later pursued philosophical studies at Marburg, then a center of Neo-Kantianism under the leadership of Hermann Cohen and Paul Natorp. He was also active in Cologne, Berlin, and Göttingen. Hartmann was a prolific writer in almost all areas of philosophy and his production reveals scholarly penetration of an astounding scope and breadth. His sentences, often short and pithy, are a

model of clarity and logic, contrasting sharply with the long-winded and unwieldy writing of much German philosophy, past and present. Also typical of Hartmann is an unusually keen sense for the organization and systematizing of his material.

Hartmann broke away from the Neo-Kantian school and forged his way in the direction of a new critical ontology. A certain influence from the phenomenolo- gists can be discerned, especially Edmund Husserl and

Max

Scheler. Hartmann did not have too much in common with the "philosophy of existence" as it was represented e.g. in the thought of Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger. He rejected the idea that anxiety and death are privileged sources of philosophical insight.' Hartmann was not given to mysticism but wrote in a matter-of-fact sort of way, conceiving his ontology to be a universal science. His oeuvre has an encyclopedic character-in the tradition of Aristotle and Hegel.

1 "Das metaphysische Gaukelspiel der Angst, gesteigert durch die Unmoral zuchtloser Selbst-

quälerei, ist die unversiegbare Quelle endloser Irrung. Es berührt wunderlich, wenn man sieht, dass ernsthafte Denker in der Durchbildung philosophischer Theorien diesem Gaukelspiel ver- fallen und die Angst zum Ansatz der Selbstbesinnung auf das Echte und Eigentliche des Menschen machen

...

So Martin Heidegger in seiner bekannten Analyse der Angst; und zwar mit aus- drücklicher Bevorzugung der Todesangst. Er folgt darin dem unseligsten und raffiniertesten aller Selbstquäler, den die Geschichte kennt, Sören Kierkegaard." (Zur Grundlegung der Ontologis, p.

197.) S e e also Hartmann's criticism of Heidegger's "Seinsfrage" in the same book-the chapter entitled "Ein heutiger Versuch. Fehler im Ansatz" (pp. 43-46).

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Hartmann believed that the world could be investigated and understood as a system, but was just as convinced that the days of speculative metaphysical system- building were over. In the foreword to his book

Der

Aufbau der reden Welt (1940) he writes, ”Ich höre immer wieder den Vorwurf, ich hatte der Philosophie das Recht, auf ein ’System’ hinzuarbeiten, abgesprochen, täte dabei aber selbst nichts anderes als ein philosophisches System zu bauen.” (P. VI.) He answers his critics, however: ”Da ist doch den Herren Kritikern ein mir kaum begreifliches Missverständnis untergelaufen. Sie haben das System der Welt mit dem System der Philosophie, das Suchen nach ersterem mit dem fabulierenden Gedankenspiel des letzteren verwechselt. Niemals habe ich bestritten, dass die Welt, in der wir leben, ein System ist, und dass die philosophische Erkenntnis dieser Welt auf Er- kenntnis ihres Systems hinauslaufen muss. Bestritten habe ich stets nur, dass solche Erkenntnis von einem vorentworfenen Systemplane ausgehen dürfe-gleich als wüssten wir schon vor aller Untersuchung, wie das Weltsystem beschaffen ist-, um dann hinterher die Phänomene hineinzuzwängen, soweit das geht, und abzu- weisen, soweit es nicht geht. Dieses haben die spekulativen Systeme der Metaphysik von den Anfangen der Philosophie bis auf unsere Zeit getan. Darum hat sich keines von ihnen halten können. Systeme dieser Art sind es, die m. E. in der Tat heute ausgespielt haben.” (P. VIII.)

Hartmann’s conception of knowledge2 is probably pretty much the same as that of the ordinary man. There is a basic separation (gegenseitige Urgeschieden- heit) between the knower (subject) and the known (object), which is called ”trans- cendence’’. Knowledge consists in a ”siezing” (erfassen) of an object. Being-in- itself becomes an object when it is ”objiziert” or exposed to a subject The subject reaches out, siezes, and gathers in information about the object. What is brought back is, of course, not the object itself but an image (Bild) of the object

Hartmann’s theory of culture is given its most extensive treatment in Das Problem des geistigen Seins (1933). A n examination of the structure of the world reveals the following strata: matter and physical processes, the realm of the or- ganic, the human soul, and spirit (Geist). This last realm of being can be under- stood to include, besides knowledge and the laws of logic, ”die Sphäre des Wollens und Handelns, der Wertung, des Rechts, des Ethos, der Religion, der Kunst” (p. 14). Each stratum has its own principles or categories and the being of each stra- tum can be comprehended only from the standpoint of its own categories: ”Das Reich der Kategorien ist nicht monistisch angelegt; Erklärung der ganzen Welt

aus einem Prinzip oder Prinzipiengruppe ist ein Ding der Unmöglichkeit. Wo und wie immer sie versucht wird, da fuhrt sie zur Vergewaltigung kategorialer Eigenart (P. 15). Futhermore, in the structure of the world, the higher strata are borne (getragen) by the lower strata. In this sense, the higher strata do not have independent being, but only ”aufruhendes Sein”-i.e. they ”rest upon” the lower strata. ”Man kann dieses Aufruhen als durchgängige Abhängigkeit des Höheren vom Niederen verstehen: ohne materielle Natur kein Leben, ohne

Grundzüge einer Metaphysik der Erkenntnis (1921). See also Das Problem des geistigen

2

Seins, Chapter 10, ”Die Objektivität” (pp. 99-106).

Leben kein Bewusstsein, ohne Bewusstsein keine geistige Welt.”

(P.

15.) Although the lower categories are the stronger and the higher are dependent on them,

the higher are nonetheless autonomous: ”Die besondere Gestaltung und Eigenart der höheren [strata} hat Über ihr {the lower) unbegrenzten Spielraum. Das Organische ist zwar getragen vom Materiellen, aber sein Formenreichtum und das Wunder der Lebendigkeit stammen nicht aus ihm her, sondern treten als ein Novum hinzu. Ebenso ist das Seelische über dem Organischen, das Geistigen über dem Seelischen ein Novum. Dieses Novum, das mit jeder Schicht neu ein- setzt, ist nichts anderes als die Selbständigkeit oder ’Freiheit’ der höheren Kate- gorien über den niederen.” (P. 15.)

There are three forms of spirit (types of cultural being): ”der personale Geist”, i. e. the person as a cultural human being who works his way up from a state of vital instincts and tension (Spannung) to the realm of consciousness and freedom, who achieves a ”Distanz zur Sache” and orients himself objectively in the world; ”der objektive Geist”, which includes the realms of language, science, law, morals, life-style, religion, art, and technology-in other words a ”Weltanschauung”; and ”der objektivierte Geist” (objectified spirit)-created works of art and thought which are passed on to each succeeding generation. These have being and meaning ”for” a human being who can understand them and they bear witness of the ”Zeit- geist” of former epochs. Moreover, there is a struggle between the living and objectified spirits (Ringen des lebenden Geistes mit dem objektivierten) which we recognize as that eternal ”Auseinandersetzung” of the new with the old, the revo- lutionary against the conservative. In this way the living spirit can free himself from the ”Fessel des Geistes” (fetters of the spirit), i. e. reject what is not genuine in a ”Weltanschauung” but preserve what is valuable in tradition. Thus, art can be a kind of ”Selbstbefreiung” from that which burdens and oppresses.

The primary source for Hartmann’s philosophy of music is his Ästhetik (1953), although he does touch briefly upon music in Das Problem des geistigen Seins. The former work, which was published posthumously and edited by his wife, Frida, appears in only about one-third of the final draft. This book not only includes ontological investigations of the arts in general but also deals with the structure of the aesthetic act and object. I will present here some results of the investigations concerning the aesthetic act and object and extract from the book the more im- portant thoughts on the art of music.

The philosophical attitude of the aesthetician differs from the visionary attitude of the creative artist and from that of a person experiencing a work of art. ”Ästhe- tik ist eine Art Erkenntnis, und zwar mit der echten Tendenz, Wissenschaft zu werden.” (Ästhetik, p. 1.) The object of this knowledge is just that artistic ex- perience and visionary attitude, and also the beautiful. It is a mistake to assume

that the aesthetical ”view” (Anschauung) is a comprehension (Erfassen) in the same way that the comprehension of knowledge is. This theory was held by Alex- ander Baumgarten (with his ”cognitio”) and Schopenhauer. Nevertheless there is an element of ”Erkennen” in the aesthetical ”Schau” or ”viewing” and that is the sensual perception which is the basis of the act. But other act-elements are more characteristic of this ”Schau”, namely evaluation (Bewertung), being attrac-

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ted (Hingezogensein), being gripped (Festgehaltensein), surrendering (Hingege- benheit), enjoyment (Genuss), and being enraptured (Entrücktsein). ”Auch die Anschauung selbst bekommt hier einen anderen Charakter als im theoretischen Felde. Sie eben ist weit entfernt, bloss sinnliches Hinschauen zu sein. Und die höheren Stufen der Schau sind kein bloss hinnehmendes Auffassen mehr, sondern zeigen eine Seite produktiven Erschaffens, wie sie das Erkenntnisverhaltnis weder kennt noch kennen darf.”

(P.

4.)

The beautiful is always related to a ”viewing” subject, whose special act-attirude is presupposed. Thus, the investigation can proceed in two directions: analyses can be made of the aesthetic object and of the aesthetic act. Another division makes four possible directions: regarding the aesthetic object, investigations can be made of the structure and way of being (Seinsweise) and also the aesthetical value- character (Wertcharakter); regarding the aesthetic act, the perceiving (empfang- enden) act of the viewer and the productive act of the creative artist can be ana- lyzed. This last act poses almost insurmountable difficulties for investigation: ”Nichts ist dunkler und geheimnisvoller als das Tun des schaffenden Künstlers. Auch die eigenen Aussagen des Genialen über sein Tun bringen in das Wesen der Sache nur wenig Licht. Meist beweisen sie nur, dass auch er von dem Wunder,

das in ihm und durch ihn vollbracht wird, nicht mehr weiss ais die anderen.” (P. 8.) The act-element of pleasure has been discussed by Plotinus, and Kant in his analysis of beauty has two expressions for this: ”Lust” (pleasure) and ”Wohl- gefallen’’ (satisfaction). Furthermore, what Kant called ”Geschmacksurteil” ( judg- ment of taste) was nothing else than the expression of satisfaction. According to Hartmann, however, the most important element in this act-structure is the ”Schau”: ”Die Lust oder der Genuss und

das

darin verborgene Werturteil haben schon mehr den Charakter der Reaktion auf den im Schauen empfangenen Ein- druck, sie sind beantwortende Akt-momente und darum im ganzen Aktgefüge nicht das Erste.”

(P.

16.)

Hartmann distinguishes two types of ”viewing” in the aesthetic act. The first, ”Schau erster Ordnung”, is simply the sensual perception of the art-work. The second ”viewing”, ”Schau zweiter Ordnung”, is imaginative and creative, and

sees what the senses cannot directly perceive, e.g. the atmosphere in a landscape, emotion or passion in the human soul, conflict in a drama. I would add the pas- toral atmosphere in an opera of Rameau, the Christmas mood in a ”pastorale” of Corelli or Locatelli and the ”Awakening of pleasant feelings upon arriving in the country” in Beethoven’s sixth symphony. These two types of viewing are always together and complement each other: ”es handelt sich im ästhetisch auf- nehmenden Akt um die Hintereinanderschaltung von zweierlei Anschauung; und erst das Zusammenwirken beider macht das Eigentümliche der künstlerisch schauenden Haltung aua” (P. 18.)

In Kritik der Urteilskraft Kant characterizes this relationship as a ”Spiel der Gemütskräfte”, the ”powers” involved being the imagination (Einbildungskraft) and understanding (Verstand). However, according to Hartmann one of the two is obviously sensual (sinnlich). But ”Einbildungskraft” would be an adequate expression for ’’Schau zweiter Ordnung”. Therefore Kant has gone too high in the

hierarchy of powers with ”Verstand”. Hartmann agrees, however, with Kant in that ”...das Geschmacksurteil ist nur der gedankliche Ausdruck dessen, was die Lust unmittelbar fühlbar macht” (p.

19).

Hartmann distinguishes between representing (darstellende) and non-represen- ting (nichtdarstellende) arts. In the former type of art something is represented, there is a theme. Sculpture, painting, poetry, and drama are of this first type. In the non-representing type, including architecture and music, there is nothing represented but there is a play with form (Spielen mit der Form) in a particular material. The material is heavy mass in architecture and the tone in music. There are, of course, mixed forms, e. g. songs with a text and the special case of program music. Architecture serves practical ends which in themselves have nothing to do with beauty. Music, however, is the freest of all the arts in that it (absolute music) is free from both a non-aesthetic theme and an end: ”In der reinen Musik gelangt das Prinzip des ’Spieles’ zur vollen Selbständigkeit. Musik ist ein Spiel in Tönen, Tonfolgen, Harmonien, Klangfarben-in einer Materie also, die sich im weitesten Masse den ausserästhetischen Zwecken entzieht.” (P. 115.) A very high degree of productivity or ”invention” is reached in music where the musical ”theme” is freely created, a pure product of musical fantasy.

In his analysis of the aesthetic object Hartmann distinguishes a foreground (Vordergrund) and a background (Hintergrund). Beauty is the appearance (Er- scheinen) of the imaginary (irreal) background in (or through) the real fore- ground. The unreal background then has being only ”for” us: ”Denn nur

der

Vordergrund, das materielle, sinnliche Gebilde, ist real, der erscheinende Hinter- grund, der geistige Gehalt, ist irreal. Jener besteht mitsamt seiner Formung an sich, dieser dagegen nur ’fur’ einen empfangsbereiten lebenden Geist, der dabei das Seinige einsetzt und im Erfassen reproduktiv wird.”

(P.

89.)

Clearly, the fore- ground corresponds to the ”Schau erster Ordnung” and the background to the ”Schau zweiter Ordnung”.

The foreground in a musical work is the succession and relationships (Zusam- menhang) of the tones. However, ”mit der Realität dieser ’Realschicht’ darf man es freilich nicht buchstäblicher nehmen als bei der Materie der Dichtung, dem Wort, das auch ja Klanggebilde ist. Klänge sind nicht im strengen Sinne real, weil sie als solche nur für den Hörenden bestehen. Aber davon kann hier ab- gesehen werden. Denn das Wesentliche an der ’Realschicht’ eines Tonwerkes ist und bleibt die sinnliche Gegebenheit, das Dasein für die Wahrnehmung; und diese ist im vollen Sinne des Wortes erfüllt.”

(P.

116.)

A piece of music-a composition, a movement-is more than what is heard sensually. Over and above this, there is a synthesis achieved by consciousness, namely that which is ”musically” heard. The purely acoustical hearing cannot accomplish this. What is heard musically forms a greater whole, the no longer sensually perceived background. What is heard acoustically is only a very small portion of a piece lasting as long as the acoustical retention, which is only a few seconds. And the music continues with ever new material taking the place of the tones just heard: ”Folglich ist er {the movement) in keinem Augenblick seines zeitlich ausgedehnten Erklingens als ein Ganzes beisammen. Der Satz braucht

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Zeit, er zieht an unserem Ohr vorüber, er hat seine Dauer; in jedem Augenblick ist dem Hörenden nur ein Bruchstück präsent. Und dennoch wird er dem Hörer nicht auseinandergerissen, sondern wird als Zusammenhang, als Ganzes erfasst.”

(P. 117.) In musical listening the movement as a whole is heard as a ”Beisam- mensein”, not simultaneously, of course, but as a ”Zusammengehöriges”, an “Einheit”. The unity of a musical work has the character of a synthesis; the Latin word ”compositio” is, after all, a translation of ”synthesisss. It is a synthesis that the listener himself must achieve, and in doing so he is creatively active.

The listener must be continually bearing in mind what has been heard and anticipating what is to come. Often the outcome or resolution of the musical suspense is other than what has been anticipated. This phenomenon can also be observed in the novel and drama.

In some unsuccessful musical works the unity is lacking: ”Es gibt einen Typus von Kompositionen, in dem die Einzelheiten sich dem Hörer nicht recht zusam- menschliessen wollen, sondern auseinanderfallen. Die Einzelheiten können auch da noch in ihrer Wirkung gefällig sein, können fesseln, anregen, zur Antizipation reizen; sie können sogar auf ein Ganzes verweisen. Aber wenn dieses Ganze dann schliesslich doch ausbleibt, wenn kein Aufbau erscheinend sich herausentwickelt, empfinden wir das Stück doch als uneinheitlich, flach, nichtssagend. Es ist dann keine innere Verbundenheit spürbar, es fehlt die Einheit der inneren Gestalt.” (Pp. 120-121.) Such works are failures in genuine composition. And this has nothing to do with the opposition between serious and ”lighter” music: ”Auch die ober- flächliche Musik, wenn sie wohlgelungen ist-und das will sagen, wenn sie schön ist-entbehrt der Einheit nicht, und darum auch nicht des erscheinenden Hinter- grundes.”

(P.

121.)

Like the drama, music needs a second art (Kunst zweiter Ordnung), which makes it possible for the composed and written music to be heard. In fact, this second art is required even more for music than for the drama. Anyone can ”read” a play and with a little imagination can ”see” it. To read a piece of music is an entirely different matter, requiring special skill and a good deal of practice. The musical layman is more apt to be able to play a piece than to ”read” it.

The realization of a piece of music is thus dependent upon the musician: ”Die- ser hat freie Hand in der Ausgestaltung zahlloser Einzelheiten der unwägbarsten Art, die sich im Notenblatt nicht schreiben lassen, an denen aber doch wesentlich die Gestaltung des Ganzen hängt. Er rückt zum Mitkomponisten auf und ist insofern nicht bloss ’reproduzierender Künstler’, sondern durchaus produktiv schaf- fender-nicht weniger als der Schauspieler im Schauspiel.”

(P.

123.)

The composer needs a performing artist who can understand and interpret his composition. The musician receives from the composer the notation of a musical work only generally sketched which he completes.

But

this means that a piece of music is different for each rendition. Every artist

has

his personal conception and thus the identity of a musical work is split up into the qualitative differences of interpretation. The musician gives full concreteness to a musical composition, but only for a fleeting moment: ”Die Kunst des ausführenden Musikers bleibt dem Wesen nach Augenblickskunst.” (P. 12

3.)

Of special importance in the analysis of the aesthetic object are what Hartmann calls ”Schichten” or strata. A phenomenological analysis reveals strata in the different art-forms and Chapter

14 is devoted to ”Schichten des Musikwerkes”.

There are “outer” and ”inner” background-strata (Hintergrundsschichten) in the musical work The outer background-strata are degrees (Stufen) of musical unity: ”Da ist z. B. das bekannte Viertaktgesetz, das für solche Einheiten sorgt. An seine Stelle kann natürlich auch ein anderes treten: immer aber wird es sich um kleinere geschlossene Ganzheiten handeln, die als solche musikalisch aufgenom- men und wie Bausteine verwandt werden.”

(P.

198.) These basic phrases or periods are near being within retention and have the effect of sensually heard

unity, although they are, strictly speaking, beyond retention. ”Die zeitlich aus- einandergezogene Ganzheit beginnt in ihnen sich zusammenzuschliessen.” (P. 198.) Then there is the recurrence of the motive together with its development. This is the principle of the variation. From this principle comes the form ”theme with variations” which can also be incorporated in the sonata form. The outer background-strata include: 1) basic phrases or periods, 2) theme and variations (in the wide sense), 3) musical movements (Satze), and 4) the unity of the movements in a large work.

The transition to the inner strata of the musical work is without doubt a leap (Sprung). In the outer strata we are still dealing with musical form and the ”Spiel der Töne und Harmonien”, and are not yet in the realm of emotions and moods (Stimmungen). But with the inner strata there is a transition to another kind: ”Dieses ist ein höchst Subjektives, ganz dem Seelenleben Zugehörendes, jenes {the outer strata} ist das Objektivste, das man sich denken kann, ist rein konstruk- tiver Aufbau, analysierbar, gegenständlich.

Das

mit den Innenschichten Auftre- tende, das Seelische, wird niemals ganz gegenständlich, verharrt in seiner Sub- jectivität, ist schwer greifbar, meist kaum benennbar, wenigstens nicht adäquat, ist überhaupt nur im hingegebenen Hören da und ausserhalb seiner selbst schwer vorstellbar.” (Pp. 199-200.) ”Das Seelische” is only there in the musical ex- perience. Thus musical listening can be characterized as ”Erleben”. ”Ist dieses Erleben vorbei, die Musik verklungen, so bemüht man sich vergebens, das Er- lebte wieder in die Gegenwärtigkeit hineinzuzwingen.”

(P.

200.)

No wonder, says Hartmann, that the strict music theory rejected all considera- tion of emotional content as sentimentality (a famous proponent of this type of theory was Hanslick). According to this type of musical theory, music is a strict architectonic structure and has its own laws (Eigengezetze), which are purely structural. Thus music ”kommt also g a m ohne Gefühle aus”. And the structural, including timbre, transitions, modulations, etc., is enough in itself to let a whole world arise, purely in tone. Those who defend this theory point to an architectu- rally strict form of composition, namely the fugue, to show that the autonomy of counterpoint is proof of the superfluity of all ”interpreted in” emotions. However, according to Hartmann, the master of counterpoint, J. S. Bach, is proof of precisely the opposite. Take, for example, the first four pieces from the Art of the fugue, the ricercar from A musical offering, or any fugue from The well-tempered clavier: ’’man wird, sobald man die Technik des angemessenen Hörens einmal erfasst hat,

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ausser der Freude am Aufbau stets noch etwas ganz anderes darin finden: die im hingegebenen Hören selbst sich vollziehende Erhebung, und zwar echte, seelische Erhebung, die wir als ein Enthobensein in eine andere Welt, eine solche der Reinheit und Grösse, empfinden.”

(P.

200.)

We experience this ”seelische Erhebung” in an objective form-as belonging to the music; as having being in the music-and yet as a thrilling in our inmost

being. All designations for this are much too general: “Wir sagen etwa: ’das Feierliche’ oder ’das Erhabene’, die ’dunkle Tiefe’, das ’Strahlende’, das ’Hin- reisende’, das ’Aufgeregte’, oder das ’Abgeklärte’

. .

.

Aber man sieht leicht, das sind alles nur Bilder, und zwar schwache Bilder. Denn es handelt sich hier nicht um blasse Anklänge, sondern um mächtige, wahrhaft die Seelen ergreifende Ge- walt der Musik-eine Gewalt, die mitreisst und die Seele des Hörenden erfüllt, und dennoch im Tonwerk ihm gegenständlich gegenüber bleibt und die ästhetische Distanz wahrt.” (Pp. 200-201.) All such characterizations are only feeble de- scriptions of the mystery of the musical work of art. Indeed, the inner strata are of primary importance. Here the sounds let the innermost and unutterable life of the soul appear.

Moreover, music is genuine revelation (Offenbarung)-a revelation which can be expressed in no other language: ”sie ist Verkundigung und zwar durch Er- weckung der Seele des Hörenden-zum Mitgehen, Mitschwingen, zu innerster Lebendigkeit; Anteilgabe am ungreifbaren Empfinden.” (P. 201.)

All works of art require of the viewer an inner act of accomplishment (Mit- vollziehen). Painting and sculpture require that the viewer ”see” as the artist sees;

poetry requires that the hearer or reader imagine as the poet imagines. In music, however, the main thing is the ”Erfasstsein” and ”Mitgerissensein”: ”subjectiv ge- sehen, kann man es so schildern, dass das eigene Seelenleben von der Bewegung des Tonwerkes ganz aufgenommen und in seinen Bewegungsmodus hineingezogen wird

...

die Musik dringt gleichsam in den Hörer ein und wird im Hören die seine.” (Pp. 201-202.) Music has an unusual power of uniting people-as exemplified in the well-known ”phenomenon of the concert hall”. Here the au- dience as a whole can experience the music, with all individuality dissolved.

This

phenomenon is observable especially at concerts of truly great artists. ”Wohl haben alle Künste etwas von dieser verschmelzenden Macht: sie stellen die Seelen um, richten sie aus, stimmen sie gleich. Aber keine hat es in dem Masse wie die

Musik.”

(P.

201.)

The ego of the listener is dissolved in the music-and yet the music remains objective. Here lies an antinomy. And how can the inner strata, in which we feel ourselves enraptured, at the same time remain an object of our observation?

There are two ways of enjoying music. In the one the listener is simply over- whelmed in the movement of the music. This is what Nietzsche called the ’‘Zer- fliessen in Tristan-Stimmung”. Such a listener misses the structural fine points. He makes it easy for himself. In the other way the listener gives attention to the structure of the musical work and masters the complicated whole. Only the latter type of listening can be called strictly aesthetical enjoyment: ”Nur sie dringt wirklich ein-durchläuft die ganze Reihe der Schichten und würdigt die Kompo-

sition.” The first type, however, skips over the structural outer strata, ”wühlt sich von vornherein in die billigeren Gefühlstöne ein und endet im Selbstgenuss der eigenen Gefühle, des angeregten Seelenzustandes”.

(P.

202.) Thus the aesthetical relationship is invalidated or very seriously disturbed. Hartmann calls Iisteners who have this musical ”pseudo attitude” ”Schwelger” (gluttons). On the other hand, ”Die ästhetisch richtige Einstellung.

. .

greift nicht, verleitet durch be- stimmte ’Effekte’, vor, sondern geht Schritt für Schritt mit dem Komponisten, lässt im inneren Hören den Aufbau des Werkes entstehen und erst an diesem erscheint ihr das

Seelische...”

(P.

203).

The antinomy is resolved in this way: the inner strata move the listener and let him be one with the music in enjoyment; the outer strata are objects of observation and direct the listener toward an observing attitude.

Hartmann discusses the important and difficult question of how sounds and sound-sequences let the inner strata appear-or in other words, how music ex- presses what is innermost and unutterable in the soul. Tones and sounds arc indeed something different from human emotions.

Upon closer scrutiny, however, the world of sounds on the one hand and the world of the emotions on the other are not found to be so heterogeneous as they seem at first glance. Both are immaterial (unräumlich, undinglich); both are in flux, transition, and movement. Both develop in stimulation and calming down; tension and resolution. If there is any medium which can express emotional being, it should be of the same kind: it ought not to produce in its formations things or bodies; it should not be a thing-but ”Vollzug”. It must be flowing and in move- ment over time, and must be able ro delineate the dynamics of emotional processes. ”Dazu ist in einzigartiger Weise die Welt der Klänge und Klangfolgen

befähigt:

in ihr ist alles Bewegung, alles Erregung und Beschwichtigung, ein Wogen und Schwellen, Abschwellen und zartes Verklingen, leises Raunen und Flüstern oder dunkles Grollen; wildes Brausen, Stürmen, Entfliehen und Jagen, sowie Bändigung der entfesselten Gewalten in der musikalischen Form.”

(P.

204.)

The arts of the optical sense do not possess these dynamics in the degree that music does, because they are dependent on the seeing of things. Moreover, ”Zwei- tens gibt es in den tonischen Elementen der Musik einen affektiven Gehalt, der weit stärker ist als der in den Elementen des optischen Sinnes” (p. 204). There is an emotional element in perception, which is usually repressed in the practical, everyday life, but which comes to the fore in the aesthetical attitude. And this

emotional element is more prominent in the sense of hearing than in sight. ”Dafür spricht schon das reich differenzierte Gepräge der menschlichen Stimme, der wir, ohne es uns klar bewusst zu machen, mit grosser Feinheit charakterliche Züge der sprechenden Person oder auch ihren augenblicklichen Gemütszustand ’an- hören’-und zwar relativ unabhängig vom Inhalt der Rede.” (P. 204.) Music intensifies these emotional elements by means of timbre, melody, and harmony.

I will quote in full Hartmann’s enumeration and explanation of the inner strata (p. 205):

1) diejenige des unmittelbaren Mitschwingens des Hörenden. Sie beginnt schon im Wiegen der Tanzmusik, ist aber wohl aller Musik eigen. Ihre Wirkung

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ist die eines Ansprechens und Mitführens, das sich bis zum Hinreissen stei- gern kann.

2) die Schicht, in welcher der Hörenden bei tieferem Eindringen in die Kom- position von diezer zu innerst ergriffen wird. Sie ist nicht aller Musik eigen, sondern nur Werken von einer gewissen Grösse und Tiefe. Diese Schicht wühlt die Seele auf, ist offenbarend und verkündigend, holt aus der dunklen Ich-Tiefe des Hörenden Verborgenes herauf. In den Bahnen dieser Schicht bewegt sich fast die ganze ernste Musik. Sie ist ausserordentlich differenziert und hoch individualisiert.

3) die Schicht der letzten Dinge, man kann auch sagen, die metaphysische, in der Art, wie Schopenhauer ein Erscheinen des Weltwillens meinte, es braucht nicht das zu sein, wohl aber wird es stets den Charakter einer Fühlung mit dunkel geahnten, schicksalhaften Mächten haben. Diese Schicht ist nur selten wirklich aufweisbar.

The third and last inner stratum of the musical work, despite its rareness, is easy to discern, and is prominent in religious music. Here it is not dogmatic reve- lation but that of the human soul and has the character of the metaphysical. Moreover, even secular music, says Hartmann, manifests the same phenomenon of the third inner stratum: symphonies, quartets, sonatas, baroque concertos, and specifically Bach’s preludes and fugues.

It should be noted also that Hartmann considers greatness (Grösse) to apply even to miniature pieces (äusserlich kleinen Werken); by greatness is here meant ”innere Grösse” (one thinks e. g. of François Couperin).

Also, according to Hartmann, the greater and richer the tonal structure, the more the emotional element (Seelisches) can make its appearance. They are in error who think they can skip over the structural in a tonal work; who are content to experience only a ”leichtes Mitschwingen”. There are, of course, com- posers who ”leichtansprechende Stücke schaffen, welche keinen grösseren An- spruch an das musikalische Verstehen stellen” (p. 207). Such music attracts many people who seek relaxation and amusement. Although this type of music has its justification, one looks in vain for any greater emotional content.

Hartmann turns next to the problem of program music. He understands this concept in the wide sense-including the art song, song for chorus, and opera. There is something special about music in that it is able-as a ”second art”-to serve a ”first”, namely poetry. ”Second art” here means dependent; in many cases interpreting, serving, illustrating. The relationship of music to poetry is quite different from that of the art of theater to the latter: ”Die Musik bringt nicht den Inhalt zur ’Darstellung’, sie stellt auch gar nicht dar-darin kann sie es der Dichtung nicht gleich tun-, sondern leiht nur ihr Vermögen, reine Ge- fühlstöne ’erklingen’ zu lassen, weil die Dichtkunst als blosse Wortkunst das nicht kann.”

(P.

207.)

But the main question is: how can music take up and present such a special content as human life, which by no means comprises only emotions, but even persons, happenings, destinies, conflicts, etc.? We can appreciate and consider

valid a musical program knowing the title beforehand. But it would not be expected that we could tell about the program of a piece which we heard not knowing the title. We would probably just guess at related programs-reIated in the sense of having the same emotional tone (Gefühlston), which is quite general.

Thus

music cannot really present the content of a program but can only say what is sayable in tone. This ”Gefühlston”, however, can be more adequately expressed by music than by poetry. Thus the possibility of the lied. In the text of the art song, i. e. lyric poetry, the main thing is the mood and emotions. Music can grasp and express these, and there is a great deal of freedom in the choice of musical motives. When Loewe and Schubert each compose a lied to the text of Goethe, they choose different musical themes which each underline a different aspect of the poem.

Hartmann thinks there is a questionable principle inherent in dramatic music, in opera. Here where so many elements come together, there is a danger to the unity of poetry and music. On the stage the dramatic element is of primary im- portance. But music has the tendency to draw the happening which it accom- panies into the lyrical, and this is hardly compatible with action and dramatic dialogue. Hartmann discusses problems of the older Italian opera, the opera reform

of the eighteenth century, and the Wagnerian leitmotif technique. The problem is always a conflict between the dramatic and the musical. Are there cases where the text in diction and rhythm really meets the demands of the music? Hartmann believes so; in Hugo Wolf and Brahms, for example-but this is not the rule.

Hartmann includes a section on the performing artist, his role and ideal. For the right musical effect two conditions must be met: the artist must technically master his instrument (including the voice) and he must be congenial with the com- poser. There are, accordingly, two types of performing artists: ”auf der einen Seite steht im Extrem der geschulte Musiker, der die technische Beherrschung hat, aber das Innere schuldig bleibt, weil er die Tiefe nicht hat, es selbst zu empfinden; meist ist es so, dass er in seinen Darbietungen schon daraufhin die Auswahl trifft: Konzertstücke, mit denen er glänzen kann. Auf der anderen Seite steht im Extrem der Dilettant, der die Musikalität hat, tieferen seelischen Gehalt herauszuhören, aber nicht die Technik beherrscht, ihn erklingen zu lassen.”

(P.

210.) Only in rare cases, Hartmann believes, is technique matched with musical maturity.

I will conclude this exposition with a few words about Hartmann’s genera of the beautiful. The most important of these are: the sublime (das Erhabene), the gracious (das Anmutige), and the comical (das Komische). The sublime is mani- fested in: the great (das Grosse, Grossartige), the serious (das Ernste), the solemn (das Feierliche), the profound (das Tiefsinnige), the monumental and the tragic, etc. I would consider this aesthetic quality to be expressed in a great deal of the music of the Barque era, but even in Mozart’s Magic flute-act two, scene one, ”The march of the priests” and ”O Isis und Osiris”. Here the aspect of the solemn is prominent. Indeed, this quality is present in music from all periods.

Related to ”das Anmutige” are the following qualities: the charming, attractive (das Reizende), the amiable (das Liebenswürdige), and the graceful and elegant

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(das Zierliche). It seems to me that much of Mozart’s music incorporates both ”das Erhabene” and ”das Anmutige”. The latter quality is also abundantly present in

Der Rosenkavalier.

In Hartmann’s opinion absolute music is not capable of the comical. However, ”Doch selbst von der reinen Musik muss man sagen, dass sie in gewissen Werken dem Komischen sehr nahe kommt: sie ist des Heiteren und Lustigen fähig, des- gleichen des Launigen, Kapriziösen, Leichtfüssigen und Sprunghaften, ja des Ausgelassenen und unbesorgt Leichtsinnigen. Ist es von dort nicht nur ein geringer Schritt zum Komischen?”

(P.

453.) But this should not lead us to think that music is really comical. These qualities are more nearly associated with the gracious, and thus we leave the realm of the comical.

Finally, a few words by way of commentary. One salient feature of Hartmann’s philosophical outlook becomes apparent to anyone who has penetrated his works- and that is that he is so overwhelmingly positive. There is little trace of scepticism or pessimism in his practical philosophy (ethics and aesthetics). Hartmann also recognizes absolute values and a value-hierarchy. One can not help but admire the boldness of his value-intuitions, but there is undeniably a risk of dogmatism. Any philosophy of musical evaluation which aspires to universality is bound, in this day and age, to face insurmountable difficulties. Historians of music are always evaluating-indeed, it would seem impossible to write a book on music history and not do so. But they evaluate music within the same tradition. It seems to us perfectly objective and convincing when a historian compares, say, a can-

tata by Telemann with one by Bach and finds the one by Bach to be greater; or compares a violin concerto by Spohr with one by Mendelssohn, finding the latter’s to be greater. All well and good. But enormous difficulties present them- selves as soon as an attempt is made to evaluate in comparison two truly great composers who are great in different ways. Take, for example, a comparison of Mozart with Beethoven. One is the supreme embodiment of the elegant, playful, dreamy, the profound; the other is the quintessence of the titanic, Faustian, Dionysian. This is, of course, an over-simplification, since Mozart

had

a darker, romantic side and Beethoven could be classical in his earlier works and meditative in the later. Nevertheless, each master has produced the utmost in musical creation within the aesthetic categories congenial to his spirit. And what passes for an absolute value-judgment here may be in reality more an expression of the affinity of the aesthetician’s psyche with one or other of the masters. Accordingly, there is wide divergence of opinion.

Yet there are those who dare to be categorical and whose assertions may be grounded in deeply penetrating value-intuitions. Despite these hazards, an onto- logy of music in the Western tradition may be possible, but in consideration of music after the turn of the twentieth century the investigation is complicated by an unprecedented diversity of musical types and styles, many of which are suppor- ted by their own theorerical systems. And reference is made here only to currents within the modern ”serious” or art music-music which follows in the wake of the Western tradition. It is just this diversity which makes comparative evaluation

so hard. Richard Strauss’s Vier letzte

Lieder

and Lars-Eirik Larsson’s Förklädd gud on the one hand, and Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Gesang der Jünglinge on the other, were composed only a few years apart.

Moreover, our musical culture today is permeated by various types of popular and folk music-music which is consumed by the vast majority of the population and much of which is genuine and ”serious”. And nowadays music from other than Western cultures has achieved great popularity. It should be mentioned in view of this, that Nicolai Hartmann confines

himself

exclusively to art in Western civilization without thinking it necessary to even

discuss or vindicate

that limitation. Furthermore, there is no discussion of theoretical systems of tonality or atonality-aspects which are certainly relevant in a philosophical investigation of music?

Our ”Weltanschauung” is characterized by a musical pluralism. Composers and musicians the world over are all working within their particular styles, traditions, and tone systems; they are expressing themselves and with their creations giving people art-experience, pleasure, and entertainment. And not the least im- portant in all this is the sheer joy in music-makmg, the ”spelgladje”. We just have to switch on the radio to hear an electronic piece by Ralph Lundsten, Swedish folk music, an Indian raga, or ABBA. And all these different traditions have their own norms which are applied in musical criticism. Today all types of music are reviewed regularly in the newspapers and a host of periodials has sprung up to meet the growing need for information about all varieties of music.

Nicolai Hartmann’s view seems to be that the spiritual world of art, and more specifically music, is a realm to which we can gain access, granted that we have the sensitivity; a realm which we can evaluate objectively in intuitions gained through emotional-transcendent acts. The fact that every experienced listener has

the conviction that his taste has become more mature and objective seems to

corroborate this view.

This

view of objective evaluation entails that it would thus be possible, in the event of disagreement of other investigators, that one investi- gator or some investigators could evaluate a musical work according to its true value; know the truth and be right. Whereas the disagreeing investigators would necessarily miss the mark and be wrong, since they lack the proper value-organ or value-feeling. Sometimes one hears talk of the ”Weltanschauung” ”going” in this or that direction, or that most authorities now recognize such and such com- posers etc.-the assumption here being that whatever most authorities agree on must be as close to what is right as is possible.

There is a general tendency in modern philosophy to attempt to establish aesthetics as a scientific discipline. Indeed, Husserl wanted to ground philosophy itself as a rigorous science (Philosophie als strenge Wissenschaft). And Hart- mann makes the same claim for aesthetics (Ӏsthetik ist eine Art Erkenntnis,

There is currently going on a discussion of tonality in the USA. Leonard Bernstein in The unanswered question (1976)-originally a series of lectures delivered at Harvard University in

1973-takes the following stand: ”On the one hand tonality and syntactic clarity; on the other, atonality and syntactic confusion.” Bernstein is criticized by Allan Keiler in an article in The

musical quarterly (April 1978) entitled, ”Bernstein’s The unanswered question and the problem

of musical competence” (p. 195).

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und zwar mit der echten Tendenz, Wissenschaft zu werden”). Hartmann’s theory of the cultural realm owes much to Hegel and to Wilhelm Dilthey, one of the pioneer philosophers who paved the way for a better understanding of the differ- ing methods of the natural sciences and the ”Geisteswissenschaften”. Dilthey’s concept of ”Verstehen” has proved very fruitful in the humanities. Yet it must be admitted that there is an element of risk in aesthetics, a type of risk not shared by the natural scientist who gathers information from the outside world. In aesthetics the phenomenologist describes what he experiences, what he ”views” in an inner world. He experiences aesthetic pleasure and satisfaction, can appre- ciate a well-structured work of art, discern emotional qualities and aesthetic cate- gories, and make value-judgments. The risk, it seems, lies in the discrepancy between the individual investigator’s inner world, i. e. subjectivity, and a postu- lated objective cultural realm, a ”geistige Welt”. In view of the familiar fact that the ”experts” can radically disagree in these matters, it cannot be precluded that the ”viewing” may be conditioned or ”colored”, as it were, by the psyche of the individual investigator.

According to Hartmann, there is a direct proportion between the complexity of the musical structure and the amount of emotional content: ”je grösser und reicher der tonischen Aufbau, um so mehr Seelisches kann in ihm {the inner stratum) zur Erscheinung kommen”. (Ästhetik, p. 206.) This might be interpreted in favor of the type of music represented by the Netherlanders, Johann Sebastian Bach, and the late Beethoven, etc.-canons, fugues, and complex polyphony. However, that which can be achieved by an economy of means should not be underestimated. There are some lovely passages in Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, where the atmospheric effect and emotional content are attained more by brilliant orchestration and beautiful melodies than by intricate counterpoint. Other examples of pregnant expression through an economy of means are: François Couperin’s harpsichord works, Schubert’s lieder, and Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte.

Much has happened in music since Hartmann’s time. Some of the latest in- strumental and electronic music seems to elude the genera of the sublime and gracious, instead giving an expression in sound of our modern era, of the Electronic Age. The new music is sometimes very cool and cerebral, eking out with extreme virtuosity all the possible ways of sounding the instruments, or showering us with cascades of synthesized sound. Here there is no more ”Mitschwingen” as

in the older music. And Hartmann’s opinion that music is incapable of the comi- cal is questionable. Certain overtures of Rossini are genuinely comical.

Ästhetik deals with many more problems than those mentioned here. The

book

is full of phenomenological descriptions and intuitions, and the style, although abstract and scientific, radiates the humanistic warmth of a mature philosopher steeped in the ”Geisteswissenschaft” tradition. And the concentration is on the ”phenomena”. Ästhetik is therefore highly recommended for anyone wishing to partake of the wisdom and art-experience of this German genius.

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