Young and Matured Henry Cowell with his music note.
 
<  2 |  3 |  4 |  5 |  6 |  7 |  8 |  9 |  10 |  11 |  Pg 12  | 13  | 14  | 15  | 16  | 17  | 18  | 19  | 20  | 21  | 22  >
 
Jump to page :
Enter a search word:

Henry Cowell: Mind over Music

success-at least in the centuries before the one-time tape and computerized language analysis ) Gardner's uneasiness about this curious phenomenon leads him to let slip what is clearly a wrong word: "In my own view, there are clearly musical [recte mathematical] if not -high math' elements in music; these should not be minimized. (Agreed But should we not use words more exactly and speak of arithmetic in these situations rather than of mathematics? Tones twelve do not mathematics make, nor sine bars a Cage!)

Gardner holds that logical-mathematical intelligence "does not have its origins in the auditory-aural sphere. Instead, this form of thought can be traced to a confron- tation with the world of objects. ... The ability to group together objects serves as a public manifestation of the child's . . . recognition of a class or set. Can the reader guess what American composer of the last 350 years has delighted more than just about any other in grouping his pieces in sets? Set of Two (players) or Set of Two (movements) or Set of Two (both). Yet most of Cowell's grouping and regroup- ing does not even involve "set" in the title. The piano piece first called Maestoso later appears in four other guises either as or in Marked Passages and once in Sm- fonietta. The Tides of Manaunaun, probably Cowell's best-known work, in one period appears as a single piano piece; but at other times it is a part of three dif- ferent sets with a total of six different titles involving over a dozen other composi- tions. Organizing this catalog has been especially complicated because of the com- poser's penchant for forming and reforming his pieces in different sets.

Yet this passion for sets and regrouping is trivial as a manifestation of an arithmetical frame of mind compared with Cowell's treatment of the piano. His 165-plusways of obtaining sounds from it, and the compulsion for enumeration of them, betray a fascination with arithmetic somewhat more advanced than the "fundamentals and simple fractions" mentioned by Terman. A more daring and unusual move in this field was Cowell's experiment with "rhythm-harmony" music, with durations pegged to the overtone series.

(4) Spatial Intelligence. This mental sphere might appear to be far removed from musical or linguistic intelligence. It apparently belongs to the right hemisphere ot the brain whereas music and language-claims Gardner-belong to the left. Chess is one activity that represents spatial intelligence in a pure form, and playing chess as the masters play it seems far removed from musical composition. Yet consider Cowell's description (quoted above) of the several stages he put his mind through before he achieved the capacity to compose almost at will. Does not the chess tyro go through very much the same process in training his mind to function on the master level? In both; memory is the first factor: not memory of a specific past so much
<  2 |  3 |  4 |  5 |  6 |  7 |  8 |  9 |  10 |  11 |  Pg 12  | 13  | 14  | 15  | 16  | 17  | 18  | 19  | 20  | 21  | 22  >
 
Jump to page :
Enter a search word:

Henry Cowell: Mind over Music