Reason & Pleasure : An Interesting Braid

Why, and how does music bring us pleasure?

I understood one day that human beings love music for very different reasons.  Melodies, the energy of dance, or the voice of a singer, nostalgia of an era or personal moment, to feel part of a community, for solos or the virtuosity of an instrumentalist, for a “sound”, or a production work.  Some people stay stuck their entire life on the Beatles, or Yes, or a single singer – Callas and everything around her. Why not?

Today I wonder, and I turn down the dial, or one of the cursors on musical pleasure.

1 – At the beginning of this dial you’ll find pure simple pleasure. You listen to Brahms‘ German Requiem and you feel bliss: “That is beautiful” bravo, and good for you.

2 – In the middle of the dial, reason and culture begin to become important.  You know where Brahms is in the historical timeline of classical music (say, between Mozart and Ravel), and you know a little of what’s happening in the music (here’s a soprano, there, woodwinds are playing a fascinating part with the horns…).

3 – At the end side of the dial, there is the connoisseur listener.  He is knowledgeable in the other works of Brahms, reads the sheet music, and understands what forces are in play (articulations of the different movements of the Requiem, what is said in the texts, how the instruments work together, etc…).

One could say this dial moves “from pleasure to reason,” but it’s not that simple. Why? Because the specialist, who is plunged into analysis and reason, is feeling pleasure as much as the amateurs.

More: I think that his pleasure is multiplied tenfold.

Tool: What is this strange way to mix reason and pleasure? Can we apply this to other territories (seduction, poetry, warfare ?), and how would this look?

What is this pleasure? Who knows the mechanisms of its birth?

How do we weave the braid made from different forces?

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5 thoughts on “Reason & Pleasure : An Interesting Braid

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