Poetic Thinking in Music
One medium I find conspicuously absent from the syllabus is music (alas, we don’t have time to do everything). Even though music isn’t enmeshed in systematic forms of reasoning quite as directly as most of the art we’re discussing, it does have canonical structures (such as the sonata form, or a chorus with verses) and ‘allowed moves’ (staying within a key signature). I’ve been wondering, therefore, whether there are any clear instances of poetic thinking in music—and if so, what sets them apart.
One possible example might be free jazz, in which musicians improvise without fixed meter and/or harmonic structure; this stye can be seen, for instance, in Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come:
Another might be indeterminate music, wherein the composer leaves some elements of the piece up to chance and/or up to the performers. An example of this style is the below score by Earle Brown, which can be “played in any sequence, either side up, at any tempo(i)” while even the meaning of its markings are left ambiguous.
Is the renunciation of traditional musical structures sufficient to qualify these types of pieces to be instances of ‘poetic thinking’? I’m not sure. Perhaps there’s another musical movement or style that would better fit the bill. Or maybe the notion of ‘poetic thinking’ doesn’t map to music as cleanly as I’m suggesting.
More generally, though, what other forms of art might we look for poetic thinking within? Perhaps architecture (some of Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s buildings come to mind), or sculpture (no idea), or even gardening?