to baroque or not to baroque, that is the question


In his book, How to Listen to Great Music: A Guide to Its History, Culture, and Heart, Robert Greenberg has a funny parody rationalizing putting music history into historical periods.

To periodize or not to periodize? That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outraged academes by periodizing (and thus to blaspheme through generalization) or to address large-scale stylistic trends without prevarication; ’tis a fardel to bear, and bear it we shall. For such utile aids are not to be scorned, but embraced lest even greater misunderstanding be our lot. O Baroque! O Classical! O Romantic! Though the thorns of despised love be your reward,, we will invoke you even as we curse you, for, like our knees, thou art poorly made, but we cannot walk without you.

from How to Listen to Great Music by Robert Greenberg p. 37 

I’m still reading Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father by Michael Signer. A fascinating section I was reading this morning describes Madison’s excellent critique of the Socratic method.

He says that the Socratic method is “captitious and insidious.” “Captious” didn’t come up in the OED. A little poking around on the web leads me to believe it means “Excessively ready to find fault.” Important to know it means that. Madison goes on that one should “not so much confute” an opponent’s argument as “show the superior advantage” and the “Honour and Justice of your own opinion.”

I am a reader of Plato and enjoy the Socratic dialogues but have never thought of how cruel Socrates is to his listeners, tricking them into bad arguments.

Madison’s ideas are much healthier in my opinion.

He was writing this as a student evolving his own method which I mentioned yesterday.

All Politicians Lie. Some Lie More Than Others. – The New York Times

I love the website Politifact. This is written by the editor of the website, Angie Drobnic Holan. I think the existence of websites like this are a small ray of hope in the current insane climate of US politics and public discussion.

Review: I’m With Her, Three Americana Virtuosos – The New York Times

I love the fact that reading this online I could click on a link and hear this group.

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