10 Pages


Learning to be a musician always involves learning to repeat sounds, or more precisely, to repeat in a new sound some quality or complex of qualities heard in some previous sound. Paul Valery, in his typically nineteenth-century poet's admiration for music, marvelled at and envied musical instruments, whose like does not exist for poetry - each instrument a laboratory for producing at will carefully measured quantified doses of particular qualities. (Valery 1961). The musical instrument is a paradigm of such quantified, repeatable doses: Des Esseintes's mouth organ, and his "syntax of smells" (Huysmans 1959). Music, like empirical science, is grounded on the repeatable experience.