“The Concept of Music: State of the Question”
Under the title “The Concept of Music: State of the Question” (July 2006), we first set out to discern with complete acuity between a musical practice lacking in concept that makes the alienating uses of music we alluded to above possible and a second that responds to a particular concept of music, a concept that underlies not only the work of great composers of the 20th century but also that of great performers.
It has been pointed out multiple times that great contemporary music is the result of sifting through all the known definitions of musical fact. And in fact, it seems that only through such sifting can the gem in which the authentic concept of music is revealed appear. This concept is one that would open music to the other arts and especially to the beings that have been blessed with it, that is, human beings, all human beings, and only human beings.
The conference will specifically address utterly elementary questions for which a precise answer has not yet been found (as indeed occurs in many other disciplines, from cosmology to mathematics).
We will attempt to avoid analysis that excessively emphasizes the subordinate role of music (no matter how noble this may be; for example, there are multiple anthropological and historiographical scholars who speculate on how music could have helped us adapt to natural conditioning at certain stages of our evolution).
Rather than teleology, that is, the causes of or end reasons for music, we will focus on its internal structure, the analysis of which leads to problems that have obsessed both theoreticians and composers: Music different from sound, but where exactly does that border lie? And also, is the link from sound to music essential or is it a contingent sensible element like it is for language (consider American Sign Language)? Until what point are classic musical elements (pitch, tempo, timbre, etc.) relativized or do they cease being operational when we abide by the basic concept of music? How is the combination of elements (that can be recorded by the senses) specific to music related to the combinations that make pictorial art, literature, or mathematics possible? Is language, with which music seems associated (or at least one type of music), an element independent from music or do the two share an inseparable origin? And of course, the central question: Does musical enjoyment contribute to that subjective judgment with which Kant characterizes all the types of perception we consider to be aesthetic?
With regard to all of these questions, asked a thousand times, the aim of the conference is to establish a state of the question
Tomás Marco – What Is a Musical Work?
Javier Darías – What Is Contemporary Music? State of the Question
Gotzon Arrizabalaga – On Song
Albert Castanet – La musique d’avant-garde et la démission du compositeur
Víctor Gómez Pin – Does Contemporary Technology Imply Subversion in the Very Concept of Music?
Mestres Quadreny – Musical Language and Chance
Pilar Jurado – The Voice of the Intangible: The Reencounter of the Creator–Performer
Agustín García Calvo – Numbers and Muses