Thursday, February 9, 2012

Understanding vs. Feeling

Here's Terry Teachout's Almanac quote for the day:

"The music started off at Bach's typical quick trot, a pace which, being uniform and neither fast nor slow, the pace of the mind rather than of the emotions, left Eustace respectful but unmoved. This was a case for understanding, not feeling, and he did not understand."

L.P. Hartley, Eustace and Hilda

Besides being a very apt description of how a lot of Bach strikes me, it's also a very good way of describing what I've called "theory mind", which if you have it means you experience music in a very different way than those that don't.

The phrase "pace of the mind" is particularly striking to me as I've been mulling a post on how both "pace" and "tone" have etymological roots in the verb "to stretch". The insight that pace (in both speed and flexibility) can apply to how we receive music as well as how we play it is terrific.

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