Music and meaning

Ghadi asked:

Music — pure music — is abstract, in this case is it an abstract stimulation of another abstract?

Although music has meaning, it seems harder to catch than the meaning of a word, the language in general, so what is the difference between music and language? both transfer something, but the level of clarity differs!

That the transference is from an abstract to an abstract and here the issue relies, in determining the meaning, how does it happen?

If this considered as an issue in the first place…

All of a sudden, the idea came to my mind and now I really want to know about it.

Answer by Hubertus Fremerey

What do you call meaning?

I don’t think that music has meaning. If you get struck by the sight of a wonderful flower or a tree or a human or a cloud — do they have meaning?

Those views strike you as something exceptional. You may fall in love — as with a wonderful melody. But they are not messages. They do not “mean” something. They resonate with you.

Not everything that resonates with you is a message. Call it an encounter, maybe a confrontation.

You are confronted with works of art and music — and with persons and animals.
Persons and animals are special in that they have a consciousness as you do.
They reflect your awareness. Plants and landscapes do not.

But this does not imply that persons and animals have meaning. It may be but it need not be.

We humans tend to GIVE meaning to all sorts of objects, including music, but this is our gift reflected, not something in the music itself.

We often tend to read something as a message which is only our own projection and reflection. We think a music or a landscape is “speaking to us” — but it isn’t. It is an encounter.

The real problem seems to be that most of our daily surroundings go unnoticed. Only very few elements stand out as encounters.

This is what haunted Heidegger and phenomenology. What does it mean to be outstanding? What does it mean to become aware? — Perhaps have a look into phenomenology.

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