Gertrude Stein said it best: “a rose is a rose is a rose.” Now Drop the beat. The primordial chant has come full-circle in the age of electronic circuitry; as if modeling the constant cycling of voltage itself, music has steadily embraced (more and more) the drone pattern &, for intensive purposes, the “chant.” And what is seemingly hinted at early on in the reading is the notion that, while YES Brahms & Co. were utilizing a sort of “intertextuality” in their “literal repetition of what ha[d] been heard before,” we have reached an age where this idea has been exploded even further.
Where they were composing, riffing off of things they had heard before, there were no recording technologies; thus, our version is predicated on such technologies, allowing us to literally create “intertextual” works; sampling, remixing, hiphop to a large degree, lives in an age where the repetition (as a device) can only happen through an almost ’copy&paste’ praxis; what the Baroque & classical composers were doing was merely prophesizing the 20th & 21st century aesthetics. This isn’t a bold claim by any means.
This is maybe an offshoot of the “organism” model, in so much as a biological approach jives with concepts like intertextuality (which is in line with something like, say, evolution, or whatever …. that is to say, a genetic kind of repetition that occurs and mutates slightly over time, in an effort to remain contemporary). This is probably as good a time as any to make the claim that: Bach would probably hate Suicide.
All in all repetition is a funny thing to talk about in music, as it only functions when we agree on what is repetition (& what is music, for that matter); the notion that Cone thinks there’s no real redundancy in music is cute, if not quaint. In other words, it sounds very meta & very academic (I guess), but really, it’s just kinda whack. I understand, perhaps, what he’s trying to extract out of a quotable quote like that; I think the author handles this claim quite well (Obviously, as he introduces it only to break it apart). I’ll end this with one more bold claim; Kant doesn’t know shit about shit. Neither does Socrates. If you gave Kant (or Socrates, for that matter) any number of John Cage pieces (4’33” for example, or any of his “sonatas”, or whatever), they’d probably be like, well — Kant would scratch his head and go: ‘ist das ein Witz?’ Socrates, however, would be so beside himself that he probably wouldn’t say anything at all. And while I think it’s productive to discuss the grammars and syntaxes of musicality; only dorks and academics do this & this is mostly because they don’t actually make cool music themselves.