I have reblogged this pertinent post from Folk as Art because Sven’s ideas about musical form are very well expressed.
Aesthetics and Functionality
I like this line, “If I’m playing for dancing it is the danceability of the music which defines its value.” It sets off many questions in my mind about the value of art. The question of the relationship between functionality and the purpose of music seems to be so much more clear cut than in the world of the Visual Arts.
Florian Fischer clarifies that the formulae Form Follows Function, has been falsely understood and falsely spread, and this has been incorrectly blamed as a justifying slogan. In this way it has become an alibi in endless arguments on human-centred design and the dignified reconstruction of German society after World War II.
Florian Fischer takes issue with the notion that artistic consideration and functional
design would appear to be polar opposites, as would rational and emotional, technical and organic, feasible and intuitive.
Rather; the issue that seems to bubble through the functionality debate seems to be one of respondability. Most artistic problems, tasks and projects are able to be resolved through a process of intuition. The purpose of the project will suggest an approach and treatment style rather than have need for the artist to tell the project how it should be resolved. The work will develop from its own inner concept which must be listened to and understood.
In 1961, Frederick John Kiesler has captured the true spirit of the functionalist conception when he urges artists to become ready to be a part of Teilhard de Chardin’s rich and powerful pattern of life. Notice in the introduction to Global Citizens Creative Art Text I try to capture this notion of the patterning of life. (Kindle Location 449)
Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man shall have discovered fire. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
On reading the work of Florian Fischer, I would remark… It might be better not to get carried away by the slogan “Form Follows Function.” It seems that it was never intended to be a law of design as much as it was intended to reflect a truism about artistic development. It might be better thought of as a discussion about creative manifestation.
It is an invitation to observe how every creature, every thing, every event finds its formal expression within itself. Creatures, things and events create themselves independently, with or without the intervention of human beings. Seen in this light, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that is not “functionally designed.” Gestalt and function are, in this sense, synonyms. (Fischer 2008)
- Fischer,F. (2008) Origin and meaning of form follows function. Museum für Druckkunst, Leipzig.
- Murphy,J. (2013) Global Citizens Creative Arts Text. eTwist. Kindle Edition.
Function is a much harder concept to define than Art, for me. I am not very happy with the term, but I will do my best do clearify what I put into it. Carl Dahlhaus (1970) calls it Genre-music, which in a way perhaps is a better term, but I will stick with Function, since that is the term I have got used to.
Functional music is music that has an ‘outer’ purpose. It may be dancing, it may be a ceremony (like a wedding or a funeral), it may be as a means for friends to hang out together. All this also implies that functional music is music where everyone is somehow participating, there is no real division between performer/creator and audience, everyone is necessary and the one would not exist without the other. Hence functional music depends on (the approval of) the collevtive and doesn’t really…
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