It was actually a concert the other day that inspired this thread and I hope that musicologists and psychologists might take it forward.
There may be more than one type of music that is categorisable but a particular definition may be something in the nature of being a metaphor for thought, an echo of mind processes.
It's in that regard that this question is rather relevant on an organ forum and within the context that organ music is used.
Music is not all about rhythm, pitch and dynamics. There's something more than rhythm to the nature of time, and the eternal . . . Phrasing is all about collections of notes in whatever rhythms grouped into longer periods of time.
Not only was Pythagoras responsible for recognising musical intervals that a few thousand years later still form the basis of musical scale but, as reconstituted by Aristotle in his Metaphysics, he identified ten dualities, a table of opposites from which the phenonomal world could be derived:
- Limited - Unlimited
- Odd - Even
- One - Many
- Right - Left
- Male - Female
- Rest - Motion
- Straight - Curved
- Light - Dark
- Good - Bad
- Square - Oblong
To music, rest - motion is what struck me about the concert the other evening. A piano recital by a veteran performer, perhaps without complete fluidity in his fingers at times, but in which concepts of rest and motion came through conveying significant motion.
Turmoil resolving into calm
Travelling from one place to another - picaresque
Travelling and finding home
As we travel by wheels nowadays we forget, other than with railway tracks which are themselves getting silenced, the rhythm of travelling.
As the concert was in unequal temperament, travelling and home also took the form of moving "chromatically" (not merely by semitone but by colour) through keys, keys which beat, which add to motion, and resolving into chords that are still, keys that lock - chords that are solid on the ground, keys that find the "lock" of the certainty of "home".http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kLuwsz1VYk
Another example of these concepts is the Mahler 3rd Symphony, 3rd movement, where the phrases have the form, timing and interweaving nature of thoughts in the brain.
The short and long thought timescales in these pieces of music allow the brain to run in parallel and can lead to "daydreaming" or a trance-like state.
Can we develop these ideas further in any useful direction?