Thursday, February 04, 2021
Mere Orthodoxy has a review up of Ted Gioia's Music: A Subversive History that contests his pejorative take on Pythagoras and Augustine
The review has a deliberately narrow focus, contesting Gioia's pejorative take on Pythagoras and the Pythagorean legacy in Western music by way of pointing out that Pythagorean cosmology was abandoned as far back as the sixteenth through seventeenth centuries and referencing Roger Scruton and Daniel Chua's work as evidence. The other focus of the review is on Gioia's even more pejorative take on Augustine's never-finished treatise De Musica.
I've been thinking of posting excerpts from De Musica here at Wenatchee The Hatchet for a while. I was telling some friends of mine who are hip hop fans that having read Augustine's unfinished treatise dealing with the rhythm and meter of poetry that if we wanted to try seeing how Augustine's actual writings might be relevant to contemporary music that Augustine's self-admittedly tedious and pedantic discourse on poetic rhythm and meter and pulse best corresponds to the concept of "flow" in hip hop.
We don't have to agree with everything Augustine wrote about music, or anything for that matter, but if we're going to do any kind of history or historiography on Augustine on the subject of music we need to accurately present what Augustine did and didn't say; that's something Ted Gioia completely failed to do in Music: A Subversive History.
The review, by the way, doesn't just make a case for why Gioia's book has problems by way of Pythagoras and Augustine, it also commends Kyle Gann's The Arithmetic of Listening, which debunked Gioia's myths and misrepresentations regarding the Pythagorean legacy in Western music and is a great read on the history of tuning systems ... and which was also published five weeks before Gioia's book. Gann's book is magnificent and you should go read it! I do enjoy reading Gioia but I enjoy reading Gioia even when I think he's completely wrong! But if you have to pick just one book between Gioia's and Gann's go for Gann's, especially if you want to learn anything at all accurate about the ancient Greeks and their debates about tuning. The Gann book really is wonderful.
Wednesday, February 03, 2021
Julie Roys: The Prosperous Lifestyle of America’s Anti-Prosperity Gospel Preacher [John MacArthur for those who don't already know the name]
Monday, February 01, 2021
from The Atlantic--"Superstar Cities Are in Trouble" reminded me of The Stranger's 2004 op-ed "The Urban Archipelago"
Pandemics unsurprisingly "shake things up" and just as unsurprisingly shake things up in ways that "change things". Whether the prediction that the superstar cities are likely to take a downward turn as remote workplace customs potentially become a new normal, or whether people in the post-pandemic world go back to work-at-work rather than-work-at-home is impossible to really guess. Still, given the vitriol of The Stranger editorial staff in 2004 it's hard not to think of their 2004 claims in light of articles such as Derek Thompson's, which is bluntly titled "Superstar Cities Are in Trouble".