Music

From Anthroposophy

Page to be developed

Aspects

  • evolving consciousness and the spectrum of elements and ethers
    • experience of the seventh (Atlantean epoch) –> fifth (Postatlantean epoch) -> third (recent in Postatlantean epoch)-> full octave single note
  • composers: Mozart, Bach, Wagner, Brucker
  • Christ in music (1924-08-22-GA243)

Illustrations

Lecture coverage and references

Overview

The main volume is: GA283 - The Inner Nature of Music and the Experience of Tone

Source extracts

1906-12-03-GA283

1906-11-12-GA283

1906-11-26-GA283

1922-12-02-GA283

1923-03-07-GA283

1923-03-08-GA283

1923-03-16-GA283

1923-05-20-GA276

1923-05-23

1924-08-22-GA243

synopsis

The revelation of the Divine through Art. Art preserves a dim memory of the spiritual world. The plastic Arts are now assuming more and more a musical form. The Art of the near future will be music. The coming of the living Christ will have to be portrayed through music. In Parsifal the “wooing” of the Christ Impulse into the phenomenal world was expressed through symbols only (e.g. the Dove and the Communion). Wagner failed to portray the essence of the Christ Impulse in the Cosmos and the Earth. Music is able to portray the Christ Impulse in tones that are inwardly permeated with soul and spirit. If music is inspired by Spiritual Science it will find means to achieve this. The Mystery of the Incarnation of Christ can be evoked in music. Bruckner was unable to achieve this because of his limitations.

quote A

[Wagner failed – Christ Impulse in music <-> major third & fifth]

The urge to give a musical expression of the Christ Impulse already existed. It was anticipated in Richard Wagner and was ultimately responsible for the creation of Parsifal. But in Parsifal the introduction of the Christ Impulse into the phenomenal world where it seeks to give expression to the purest Christian spirit, has been given a mere symbolic indication, such as the appearance of the Dove and so on. The Communion has also been portrayed symbolically. The music of Parsifal fails to portray the real significance of the Christ Impulse in the Cosmos and the Earth.

[Christ Impulse in Music]

Music is able to portray this Christ Impulse musically, in tones that are inwardly permeated with spirit. If music allows itself to be inspired by Spiritual Science, it will find ways of expressing the Christ Impulse, for it will reveal purely artistically and intuitively how the Christ Impulse in the Cosmos and the Earth can be awakened symphonically in tones.

To this end we only need to be able to deepen our experience of the sphere of the major third by an inner enrichment of musical experience that penetrates into the hidden depths of feeling.

  • If we experience the sphere of the major third as something wholly enclosed within the inner being of man
  • and if we then feel the sphere of the major fifth to have the characteristic of “enveloping,” so that, as we grow into the configuration of the fifth, we reach the boundary of the human and the cosmic, where the cosmic resounds into the sphere of the human and the human, consumed with longing, yearns to rush forth into the Cosmos,
  • then, in the mystery enacted between the spheres of the major third and major fifth, we can experience musically something of the inner being of man that reaches out into the Cosmos.

And

  • if we then succeed in setting free the dissonances of the seventh to echo cosmic life, where the dissonances express man's sentient experiences in the Cosmos as he journeys towards the various spiritual realms;
  • and if we succeed in allowing the dissonances of the seventh to die away, so that through their dying fall they acquire a certain definition, then in their dying strains they are ultimately resolved in something which, to the musical ear, resembles a musical firmament.

...

  • If, then, having already given a subtle indication of the experience of the ‘minor’ with the ‘major,’
  • if, in the dying strains of the dissonances of the seventh, in this spontaneous re-creation of the dissonances into a totality,
    • we find here a means of passing in an intensely minor mood
      • from the dissonances of the seventh, from the near consonance of these diminishing dissonances
      • to the sphere of the fifth in a minor mood,
    • and from that point blend the sphere of the fifth with that of the minor third,
  • then we shall have evoked in this way the musical experience of the Incarnation, and what is more, of the Incarnation of the Christ.

In feeling our way outwards into the sphere of the seventh, which to cosmic feeling is only apparently dissonant and that we fashion into a ‘firmament,’ in that it is seemingly supported by the octave, if we have grasped this with our feelings and retrace our steps in the manner already indicated and find how, in the embryonic form of the consonances of the minor third, there is a possibility of giving a musical representation of the Incarnation, then, when we retrace our steps to the major third in this sphere, the “Hallelujah” of the Christ can ring out from this musical configuration as pure music.

Then, within the configuration of the tones man will be able to conjure forth an immediate realization of the super-sensible and express it musically.

The Christ Impulse can be found in music.

[Bruckner also failed]

And the dissolution of the symphonic into near dissonance, as in Beethoven, can be redeemed by a return to the dominion of the cosmic in music. Bruckner attempted this within the narrow limits of a traditional framework. But his posthumous Symphony shows that he could not escape these limitations. On one hand we admire its greatness, but on the other hand we find a hesitant approach to the true elements of music, and a failure to achieve a full realization of these elements which can only be experienced in the way I have described, i.e. when we have made strides in the realm of pure music and discover therein the essence, the fundamental spirit which can conjure forth a world through tones.

Without doubt the musical development I have described will one day be achieved through anthroposophical inspiration if mankind does not sink into decadence; and ultimately — and this will depend entirely upon mankind — the true nature of the Christ Impulse will be revealed externally.

I wish to draw your attention to this because you will then realize that Anthroposophy seeks to permeate all aspects of life. This can be accomplished if man, for his part, finds the true path to anthroposophical experience and investigation. It will even come to pass that one day the realm of music shall echo the teachings of Anthroposophy and the Christian enigma shall be solved through music.

Discussion

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Hermann Beckh
    • Das geistige Wesen der Tonarten. Versuch einer neuen Betrachtung musikalischer Probleme im Lichte der Geisteswissenschaft (The Spiritual Character of Musical Keys: an attempt at a new view of musical problems in the context of the humanities) (1923)
    • Die Sprache der Tonart in der Musik von Bach bis Bruckner, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des Wagnerschen Musikdramas (The Language of the Art of Keys in Music from Bach to Bruckner, with special consideration of Wagnerian musical drama) (1937)
    • The Essence of Tonality: An attempt to view musical subjects in the light of spiritual science
    • The language of tonality in the music of Bach to Bruckner
  • Sigismund von Gleich: 'Über die Wirkung der Tonarten in der Musik' (About the Effect of Tonalities in Music)
  • Heiner Ruland:
    • 'Die Neugeburt der Musik aus dem Wesen des Menschen. Künstlerische und therapeutische Aufgaben einer erneuerten Musikkultur' (1987)
    • Expanding Tonal Awareness: A Musical Exploration of the Evolution of Consciousness Guided by the Monochord (1992)
  • Hermann Pfrogner
    • Die Zwölfordnung der Töne (1953)
    • Musik. Geschichte ihrer Deutung (1954)
    • Lebendige Tonwelt. Zum Phänomen Musik (1987, 2010)
    • Die sieben Lebensprozesse. Eine musiktherapeutische Anregung (1978)
    • Die drei Lebensaspekte in der Musik (1989)
  • Friedrich Oberkogler (1918-2000)
    • Tierkreis und Planetenkräfte in der Musik, Schaffhausen 1988)
    • books about various composers (Brucker, Wagner, Beethoven, Bach, Schubert)
  • Dr. Armin J. Husemann
    • The harmony of the human body: musical principles in human physiology (1994)
    • Human hearing and the reality of music (2013)
  • Graham H. Jackson: 'The Spiritual Basis of Musical Harmony' (2006)
  • Wilhelm Dörfler (1899-1980): 'Das Lebensgefüge der Musik. Eine Gesamterkenntnis ihrer Wirkungskräfte'
  • Norbert Visser:
    • Das Tongeheimnis der materie : über Form und Materialität beim Musikinstrumentenbau : der Choroi-Impuls (1984)
    • Het mysterie van de toon in mens, ruimte en materie (1997)
  • Maria Renold (1917-2003): 'Intervals, Scales, Tones And the Concert Pitch c = 128 Hz' (2015)
  • Danaë Killian-O’Callaghan: 'Unveiling the melodic interval. A phenomenology of the musical element in human consciousness'
  • John Stuart Reid: 'The Curious Concert Pitch Conflict'
  • Joscelyn Godwin: 'Musical Alchemy: the Work of Composer and Listener'

Music therapy

  • Bernard Lievegoed: 'Beat, Rhythm and Melody: The Therapeutic Use of Musical Elements' (2014 in EN, medical doctorate in NL 1939)
  • Hermann Pfrogner: 'Die sieben Lebensprozesse. Eine musiktherapeutische Anregung' (1978)