By Peter Kivy
Peter Kivy provides a serious exam of the 2 rival methods of knowing instrumental track. He argues opposed to 'literary' interpretation when it comes to representational or narrative content material, and defends musical formalism. He additionally discusses interpretations of a number of works within the canon.
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Additional info for Antithetical arts : on the ancient quarrel between literature and music
It is obvious from even a cursory perusal of the literature that critics and theoreticians of these times felt a deep need to talk about the newly emerging instrumental idiom. What one cannot discuss one cannot understand, or explain to another. To put it more grandiosely, words give us power over things. But where to ﬁnd the words? Is it too bizarre to suggest that the ﬁrst model for absolute music talk was the practice, already in place, of putting words to already existing music? Casti’s and Salieri’s joke, in other words, became the critics’ and theoreticians’ stock-in-trade.
For what we quite naturally think of as ‘‘the ﬁne arts,’’ were only just beginning to be thought of as such in the eighteenth century. ’’ In the eighteenth century, when music was talked about at all by philosophers and other ‘‘theorists’’ of the arts, it was almost always vocal music that was being talked about, even when that was not explicitly stated. And there wasn’t any real problem with vocal music’s membership in the family of the ﬁne arts. For one thing, it had a poetic text, and there was never any doubt that poetry was a ﬁne art: indeed it was the paradigm case.
Gregory ( The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1974), 114. 36 part i: the founding of formalism which is what Kant was talking about in the Anthropology, has both form and ideational content, the content being given by the text which music sets. So whereas vocal music is a ﬁne art, having both form and ideational content, absolute music is ‘‘in part’’ a ﬁne art since it has form, but in part not a ﬁne art since it lacks ideational content. This is, however, just a rough account of what Kant is claiming.