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The New Faustian Music: Its Mechanistic, Organic, Contextual, and Formist Aspects

David B. Richardson
The Journal of Mind and Behavior
Vol. 3, No. 3/4, Special Issue (Summer 1982/Autumn 1982), pp. 427-442
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43852947
Page Count: 16
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The New Faustian Music: Its Mechanistic, Organic, Contextual, and Formist Aspects
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Abstract

Spengler's Decline of the West (1922) assumes that the Faustian Culture (Western Civilization) had exhausted its cultural possibilities by the end of the eighteenth century, but Spengler did not realize that, within the old Faustian European Society, a new world-view had emerged in 1800 in music and the other arts and sciences. The old Western Culture dated back to the tenth century A.D., but in 1800 its world-view had been metamorphosed and revitalized by Graeco-Roman learning, Near-Eastern, Indian, and Chinese influences. The new music reveals the invigoration, reflects the changes. A powerful analytical tool to examine the composers' role in the development of the new Faustian era, and particularly during the twentieth century, is available in Pepper's four metaphysical world hypotheses: Mechanism, Organicism, Contextualism, and Formism. The mechanical element is profoundly European and finds expression in polyphony and counterpoint. The organic element reveals the impact of Chinese philosophy and the covert influence of Indian ideas. Contextualism is the strongest of the four and derives from the powerful Magian (Near Eastern) presence of Christianity, 900-1800 A.D., and also from the Chinese writings which are even more contextualist than organic. Graeco-Roman literature has given the Faustian Civilization, and its new music, a powerful sense of classical form: formism.

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