chapter  7
7 Pages

Reprise in musical tuition: hints on the helical nature of development COMMENTARY BY DAVID CARRÉ

Such difference is based in the first of the four axiomatic features of development proposed by Valsiner (2006a): “The irreversible nature of development based on the irreversibility of time” (p. 177). The latter idea, inspired by the works of Bergson (1907/1911), establishes that, for living systems, development cannot be reversed because it happens in a stream of time that is irreversible by nature. Looking back to the case of an apprentice reprising a certain musical piece, the idea of irreversible time does not mean that, after mastering a particular piece, the apprentice cannot lose touch with it-even forgetting how to perform it. In this sense, the development of the specific dexterity required for performing such piece could certainly be reversed. Such oblivion, however, does not imply that the apprentice can go back and revert his/her organismic development back to the state it had before being able to perform the piece. Even if the apprentice learns, then forgets, and finally re-learns how to perform the piece, the latter moment of development could not be equated to the first moment of learning. Both in phenomenological and developmental terms, such re-learning is learning anew. Therefore, previous experiences, and so previous stages of development, cannot be taken out of the present time. Just as in a helix, it is possible to go through similar positions many times; but when time is considered, those positions could be similar but never identical. Hence development, happening over irreversible time, is not reversible either.