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Tuesday, April 18, 2006 

Musical Ethics
Topic:Art & Culture

The following quote is helpful, I think, because it reminds us that there is aesthetic guidelines and standards, and not just whether or not someone likes something. Secondly, it helps to establish that art, and here music, has a certain effect, and I think Jones is suggesting perhaps even an ethical effect. We must indeed be careful as we listen, watch, imbibe, and for reasons we may not yet understand. Humanity has long used and employed fire without understanding its carbonating process, nor what heat combustion obtains under. Similarly, we have had art for a long time without necessarily understanding how it works on the human psyche. Unfortuantely, unlike fire, we have yet to understand how to be burned by art.
"To modulate the notes unceasingly from one key to another, as Wagner’s chromaticism did, was tantamount to blunting the emotional focus; to lead them away never to return to the dominant note gave the feeling of tumultuous and unsatisfied passion, a passion that never got resolved. From a human perspective, there was generally only one emotion that demand this sort of extension ad infinitum, and that was the sexual. The music that was the fullest expression of this modulation of emotion from key to key for hours on end with no resolution in sight had a lot in common with pornography. It was musical pornography and was having a sort of enervating, deranging, and debilitating effect on the audiences that heard it . . . The emotions were strained in one direction, and, before they could be resolved into the initial key, they headed off in the direction of another key to be strained again."

[E. Michael Jones, Dionysos Rising (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1994), p. 43]

(HT: Pastor Doug Wilson)



Transplanted from the artic blight of Minnesota to the sunny paradise of SoCal, I am attending school and learning to say "dude." I like to think of myself as equal parts surf rash, Batman, heavy metal, Levinas, poetic license, and reformational. Other than creating blund blogs, I enjoy reading, sporting, and socializing with serious and funny people.
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