by Mark Abraham

         Because we have always associated music with sound, claiming that there is such a thing as "silent music," that you do not hear, but see, would be unsettling at first. But we need to realize that besides music, rhythm is also at the core of poetry and dancing where words and steps are used respectively as elements to create rhythm. Time units separate all of these elements, and there is a forward rhythmic motion in time which gives us fluid rhythm. However, for silent or frozen music we need frozen or rigid rhythm. Being so accustomed to thinking that all artistic rhythms must be fluid and governed by time, it would be unsettling to think the opposite. A paradigm shift of this sort would, however, would hugely deepen our understanding of art and we would observe "silent music."

         For too long we have misunderstood art that renders the notion of silent music out of the ordinary. Let me explain. Briefly, since Aristotle penned the first book on art, Poetics, it has been debated at the highest levels what art is and how it relates to beauty and the debate continues to this day. Some cave paintings are over 20,000 years old. The oldest musical instrument ever found is a flute made of bone and is estimated to be over 32,000 years old (see pictures below). Leo Tolstoy in his book, What is Art, catalogued and critiqued the gist of the teachings of many great philosophers on art and dismissed each for a different reason. Then he uttered his own theory that was totally unacceptable. Admitted by the world of philosophy, we have yet to devise a definition for art that is acceptable to all. Thus, humans have enjoyed the arts for millennia in utter confusion.


Ice age artistry: Artists working up to 32,000 years ago created these animal images.


The picture on the right shows the oldest musical instrument in the world and the flutes on the left are 8,000 years old.

        So long as we do not know why these purposeful and intelligent beings, humans, are so intrigued by the frivolous subject of art we will not properly understand art. Exactly what portion of lifting one foot to put it down in the name of dancing, or making strange noises in the name of singing and all the rest of the arts so capture us?
        Identifying the attractive power in each brand of art that make them so irresistibly appealing to us alone, that unveils this mystery. And that requires our understanding of the mind...


© Copyrights 2012-13 Mark Abraham




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