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Les termes en -isme et les mouvements musicaux

Jean-Louis Cupers
International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music
Vol. 2, No. 2 (Dec., 1971), pp. 231-242
DOI: 10.2307/836837
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/836837
Page Count: 12
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Les termes en -isme et les mouvements musicaux
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Abstract

Summary: Terms Ending in -Ism and Musical Movements. The article tries to show that the distaste shown towards terms ending in -ism that are used in music history, hypotheses used "a posteriori" to help illuminate existing works without any "a priori" idea of reduction, is largely due to a failure in recognizing the way we grasp things. A sound epistemology shows that what we know is reality, concrete things, but that we apprehend them in an abstract way. The current view concerning the succession of movements in music history is that one movement follows the other. This view is completely wrong as it fails to recognize the twofold meaning of the terms involved: historical and typological. A more flexible view holds that there are always three movements simultaneous with one another: besides an upward and a downward movement (that is, one which is growing and another which is disappearing) there is a third movement which is asserting its supremacy. One must also go beyond that view: the most comprehensive view was held by Bergson when he maintained that there was no basic difference between enduring in the same state and passing from one state to another. It is we who discern steps where there is a non-stop transition! This should not prevent us, however, from distinguishing an intermediate stage between "diachrony" and "synchrony" that will enable us to discover at each moment in an artist's works a coherent and stable system: it is up to the critic to discover afterwards whether or not what the artist has done has transcended what already existed. The best attitude is thus that which, taking as many elements into account as possible, stands at the same time somewhere in the middle.

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