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August 2009

In 1887 Friedrich Nietzsche, the philosopher and amateur musician, sends a copy of his composition Hymnus to the conductor Hermann Levi accompanied by the following statement: “Perhaps there never was a philosopher who was in reality a musician to the degree that I am one. This does not mean that I could naturally be a completely failed musician.” Nietzsche’s comment is striking: How can a philosopher claim to be a musician? Why should this be relevant? And furthermore, how can we reconcile the view that someone claims to be a musician while admitting at the same time that this could well imply that he be “a completely failed musician”?

As often in the case of Nietzsche, we must beware of a superficial impression. Nietzsche was indeed a musician in the traditional sense. He was a competent pianist who could perform the piano reductions of operas from the Ring Cycle for Wagner, the master and his mistress, Cosima von Buelow, during visits to their home in Tribschen near Lucerne. In that respect Nietzsche surpassed Wagner, who claimed himself to have played the piano like “a rat plays the flute.” On occasion and when the master had retired, Nietzsche would improvise with ease on the piano for the mistress perhaps to disperse shyness and to dispel the awkward directness of conversation. Nietzsche was certainly an able pianist. He was also an enthusiastic, if self-taught composer. Music was central to his life. According to his own testimony he wrote music for “hygienic” and “dietary” reasons. Even when his complete mental and physical breakdown dictated long hours in darkness and silence, Nietzsche was- by some accounts- still able to play the piano. Reports suggest that he remembered fluently the first movement of a Beethoven Piano Sonata while no longer able to articulate thoughts and words coherently.

Nietzsche tried his hand at composition as a teenager. His musical works are published (Janz, Nietzsche. Der Musikalische Nachlass, Basel: Bärenreiter, 1976) and even recorded by curious and eminent performers (links to recordings of Nietzsche’s music). The musical and artistic quality of these compositions, however, already divided Nietzsche’s contemporaries. The distinguished conductor von Bülow, first husband of Wagner’ mistress and wife Cosima, assessed Nietzsche’s Manfred Meditations to have been the “most extreme in fantastic extravagance” and “the most unproductive and anti –musical” creation he had seen for a long time. He asked why a “high and enlightened spirit” like Nietzsche had plunged himself into such “piano cramps”? A Swiss violinist and conductor at the Zürich Opera House, Friedrich Hegar, articulated a more balanced view. Reviewing Nietzsche’s work he conceded that “naturally, the execution of musical idea is lacking in architectonic underpinnings so that the composition seems more like an evocative improvisation than a structured composition.”

It seems perhaps that Nietzsche was a failed musician in the technical and professional sense. While his general musicality and pianistic skills were competent he had never learnt the craft of structuring a formal composition or of orchestrating any of his works. His musical imagination appears now derivative and his music making may have been characterised by naivety and an absence of sophistication. The most important point, however, is that unlike the philosopher the musician Nietzsche remained a mere possibility because of such an absence of structured qualification. No matter how hard we try, we will not hear in Nietzsche’s compositions a reflection of his philosophy. This has a bifurcated reason: While Nietzsche’s philosophical capacity flourished, his musical ability remained undeveloped and his musical potential remained unexplored. This is precisely why Nietzsche may have referred to himself as a “failed musician”. However, what is left of the musician who fails in the technical or artistic sense? And furthermore: why did Nietzsche himself claim that despite his failure he was as a philosopher in reality nevertheless a musician?

In order to answer these questions we will need to consider the relevance of music to philosophy. In Nietzsche’s case, these two pursuits are closely related. As a fourteen year-old Nietzsche identified the transcending capacity of music: “God has given us music so that firstly we are lead towards higher things. Music combines all characteristics in it. It can elevate, it can tease, it can cheer us up, yes, it can even break the most brazen temperament with its tender and yearning sounds. However, its main aim is to direct our thinking towards higher things, to elevate and even deeply disturb us…” The capacity of music to challenge us and to lead our thinking towards a transcendence relates it naturally to philosophy.

For Nietzsche philosophy is a realm of riddles and of challenges addressing itself to those “with ears to hear”. In its comprehensive demands for a radical understanding of life, the thinking of philosophy ultimately encounters conceptual boundaries where the vessel of language flounders. The philosopher cannot restrict himself to propositional analysis and conceptual truth alone. He must be able to conceive and address the unsayable. At this point, music and philosophy are brought to a close encounter. Nietzsche indicates this encounter when he writes in the Yes-and-Amen Song in the third part of his Zarathustra: “Are not all words made for the heavy? Do not all words lie to the light one! Sing! Do not speak any longer!”

Philosophy and music emanate from the same source, wrestle with similar ambivalences and endeavour to articulate congruent fundamental truths. While both engage their subject matter within their particular technical, artistic and spiritual excellence, their limitations throw each upon the other: the limitations of music are exposed in her failure to find enduring form. The limitations of philosophy are encountered in the transpositions of transient thoughts into thinking. The philosopher must live with the limitations of philosophy just as the musician must live with the limitations of music. Nietzsche is not only a failed musician- he is also a failed philosopher, because failure is essential to the radical pursuit of philosophy. However, as a musician the philosopher achieves recompense for this failure and may complete the essentially incomplete. The musician too is able to achieve a completion: As a philosopher he can transcend the appearance of relentless transience and may indirectly save truth in the vortex of semblance and sound.

Music creates temporal form while unfolding in time. This qualifies music as an art of- and in time. Our experience of music is ambivalent: music is particular yet universal, transitory in experience yet lasting in reflection. Our experience of time is similarly ambivalent: time is always present within our everyday concern yet it withdraws from our direct attention. Time is experienced with intensity, yet it recedes ephemerally from our consciousness. We experience time through music and we equally loose track of time in music. Time and music seem equally strange to understand.

When we directly confront time, we experience what St. Augustine identified in his Confessions: “For what is time? Who can readily and briefly explain this? Who can even in thought comprehend it, so as to utter a word about it? But what in discourse do we mention more familiarly and knowingly than time? And we understand, when we speak of it; We understand also when we hear it spoken of by another. What then is time? If no one asks me, I know. If I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not; yet I say boldly that I know that, if nothing passed away, time past were not; and if nothing were coming a time to come were not; and if nothing were, time present were not” (Confessions, XI, 17).

Augustine identifies our fundamental perplexity when facing time itself. We become confused when we approach time directly. However, we understand time in its connection with Being. Time and being are essentially and strangely linked: without being in its various instantiations we have no conception of time. Without time, it seems we are unable to identify being. Hence Augustine’s affirmation that if something passes, is present or comes into being, time as past, present and future exists as well.

The philosopher of the enlightenment, Immanuel Kant identifies time as an inner sense, as the form of intuition, which itself cannot become the direct topic of our conscious attention or understanding. We perceive and conceive things only in so far as they are in time. However, this formal conception of time as a horizon of our consciousness and cognition, it seems, is not sufficient to explain the experience of temporality in music. In music we are faced with two distinct and seemingly incompatible manifestations of time: the time created by the music itself and the time in which the music unfolds. Susanne Langer has identified this as the difference between virtual time and clock time. Virtual time is the time of our experience with its intensity, flow and connectedness within consciousness. Clock time on the other hand is time as measured by the dimensions of past, present and future. Clock-time is a spatial projection, an externalisation of the experience of the flow of our consciousness. Clock-time is an objectified form of time. It does not represent out experience of temporality.

What then is the authentic experience of time? Bergson makes a well known distinction about time and its ontological roots when he distinguishes pure duration (durée) from spatialised duration. Our original and immediate experience of time is pure duration. This is the time of our experiential consciousness. Pure duration preserves the original interconnection of being and becoming. It preserves the entirety of experience in the moment of temporal unfolding. Pure duration (durée) presents us with a fundamentally musical experience of time. It is characterised by an absence of objective distinction, by an absence of measurement and by the absence of a spatial projection of temporal experience in a past, present and future point. Pure duration or durée is the experience of a flow which is not conscious of its own organisation, yet nevertheless connected in its unfolding. It is according to Bergson, the “form which the succession of our conscious states assumes when our ego lets itself live, when it refrains from separating its present state from its former states.” (Time and Free Will, chapter 2)

Time as we ordinarily describe and measure it, however, is conceived within a homogeneous succession of states. The homogeneity of temporal succession is based on a projection of time into spatial dimensions. The pure duration experienced in our consciousness originally as time is really a mere qualitative phenomenon. The conception of time as a succession of homogeneous states with its essentially spatial representation transforms time into a measurable quantity. A spatial conception allows the ordinary conception of time to measure time according to a movement of an object in space – the movement of a pendulum for example- and within the categories of past, present and future.

In music, an objective measurement of time and the conception of a determinable past, present and future diminish in relevance. Nevertheless, temporal form constitutes and structures music. This structure gives music objectifiable and even measurable characteristics and enables us to distinguish it from mere noise. But how does this temporal form structure the musical subject matter? It does not impose a temporal form from the outside but it rather creates a flow through immanent connections. Music constitutes an organic form of temporality. This is evident from the fact that at the point of listening, the listener does not always hold fast to her everyday determination of time. Music appears to create its own peculiar temporal form that is appropriate to the unfolding of its material and that is reflective of - and even congruent with its own intensity. Music constitutes its own temporal world within the unfolding of its material. The listener will loose herself in the temporality of listening and participates in the purely qualitative flow of intensity. To be sure, it may happen, that the ordinary consciousness of temporal awareness governs the listening attention in a background form. This attention may become transformed to a point where the musical experience absorbs it entirely or it may assert itself as a context of the musical experience. Composers may deliberately guide – or misguide- our ordinary temporal consciousness. Be that as it may, music affirms itself and its temporality and imposes temporal form on the listener. The phenomena of rhythm and meter show how musical intensity and temporality are related and how the listener becomes directly governed by temporal form.

Rhythm and meter are no purely cognitive or objective principles. They are fundamental principles of conscious life and fundamental to the constitution of being and becoming. Without the distinguishing powers of rhythm and meter and their capacity to divide the energies and intensities of our physical and psychic potencies, being would not have any distinguishing characteristics and it would remain inaccessible to our conscious experience- a senseless chaos. Rhythm, meter and the musical temporality of duration unify our existence and consciousness with its ontological foundations. Musical temporality thus appears to be at the core of human existence enabling the human consciousness to constitute meaning and to relate to being as formed and becoming as formable.

Rhythm connects music, being and consciousness. Because music is an art of- and in time, conscious perception is possible. Ordinarily we believe that such perception precedes music. In this understanding music is simply one of many aural phenomena made up of sound or sounds. However, this is not so. Music is the original sounding phenomenon. Sound is perceived because it is temporally formed. At this point, sound becomes music. Without rhythm, we would not hear sound just as we would not recognise any letters without knowing that such letters are organised into words.

The contact and conflict between Nietzsche and Wagner remains a most fascinating topic in the history of philosophical conversations. It continues to show us the fundamental tension which sustains music itself, a tension that extends beyond the clash of the thinker with the musician.

Nietzsche and Wagner met initially in 1868 in Leipzig. Although not a natural Wagnerian, Nietzsche, at the time an admirer of the music of Schumann, is drawn to Wagner on account of their mutual interest in the philosophy of Schopenhauer. Nietzsche and Wagner were both well acquainted with Schopenhauer’s World as Will and Representation and its references to the metaphysical centrality of music. Schopenhauer argues that music is the closest, albeit analogical reflection of the fundamental essence of Being which he calls “will”. Based on their creative imagination and intuition Nietzsche and Wagner are both attracted to Schopenhauer's identification of "will" and to the elevated view that music sublimates individuation and difference and overcomes the alienation of essentially individuated, fragmented beings. For Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Wagner music expresses, reflects and – on an aesthetic level- reconstitutes the primordial unity of Being. This unity is, however, threatened by conscious reflection. In his Birth of Tragedy and at the peak of his admiration for Wagner and Schopenhauer Nietzsche articulates this essence of music and argues that a decline of genuinely musical attributes is caused by critical spirit: The “spirit of Socratism”, the light of conscious reflection searching for justification, for reason or proof, expels the spirit of music and undermines musical essence. For the early Nietzsche, Wagner’s all-encompassing work of art (his Gesamtkunstwerk) aims to overcome this destruction reconstituting a unity of art not seen since the classical Greek tragedy. Wagner is seen to be reviving the essential characteristics of Greek tragedy and to be restoring music to its rightful place and character which is rooted in the Dionysian.

From 1869 Nietzsche, then a professor for philology in Basel, visits Wagner and his future wife Cosima von Bülow regularly in their residence in Tribschen near Lucerne. Wagner recognises in the young professor a kindred spirit. The composer hopes that Nietzsche’s thinking can provide a conceptual underpinning and public advocacy for his creative direction which may be acceptable to the intellectual establishment of the time. Wagner is looking for allies and even servants to his ambitious cultural project of placing his musical drama at the centre of German cultural life. The hope to find in Nietzsche a professorial servant becomes disappointed, however, when Nietzsche pursues radical philosophical depth and clarity which requires the articulation of a critical stance that includes Wagner and his work. With increasing philosophical radicalism and rigour Nietzsche realises that the understanding of a phenomenon cannot remain content with the articulation of an unambiguous view and with the pledge of uncritical, personal loyalty. His philosophical reflection asserts its freedom and autonomy. It must explore all dimensions and directions of thinking to bring to light the dynamic properties of the phenomena, of the subject matter at hand. This attitude includes a “rejection” and inversion of values. The phenomenon of life is at the centre of Nietzsche’s philosophical interest. Life - Nietzsche will argue- is only understood and affirmed if the fundamental contradictions that constitute it become clearly visible.

Nietzsche’s turn against Wagner is a necessary step dictated by his understanding of philosophy. In this sense Nietzsche will state that “attack is for me a proof of sympathy, in certain cases of gratitude.” (Nietzsche contra Wagner). Wagner and his wife Cosima, trapped in an everyday consciousness, will fail to understand this approach. To be sure, Nietzsche’s rhetorical flamboyance of referring to Wagner as a “magician”, an “actor”, a “decadent” and an “illness” is initially puzzling and must strike Wagner as offensive, since Nietzsche does not abandon his fundamental view that music properly understood and practiced must reflect an all-encompassing essence of life. But Nietzsche knows that in his duty to truth the philosopher must preserve a complex phenomenon in its complexity. There are aspects that contradict Nietzsche’s original enthusiasm for Wagner and there are aspects that contradict the very possibility of music and Wagner’s “all-encompassing work of art” becoming a metaphysical symbol. Indicators of these contradictions are Wagner’s involvement with semblance, his exaggerated sense of self and his need for “propaganda”, his unambiguous affirmation of death and his self-absorbed search for redemption, his emphasis on pity and – most of all- his invocation of an otherworld providing the human being with escape and redemption from the suffering of life.

Nietzsche insists increasingly on a comprehensive and radical approach in understanding the phenomenon of music philosophically. This view includes the need to explore how music – and Wagner- in reality promote untruth. On an existential level, Wagner was appropriating music for his own personal need of redemption. According to Nietzsche, he bends his knee in front of the cross and attempts to escape from life itself into a metaphysical “otherworld”. Yet, such an otherworld is a philosophical untruth, an unphilosophical fiction that denies life and leads to a diminished existence.

While remaining under the spell of Wagner’s music, a spell emanating from a “pact between beauty and illness”, Nietzsche rejects Wagner’s artistic directions on philosophical grounds. This rejection follows a re-evaluation of the place of the aesthetic. Nietzsche implies the demand that the musician – like the philosopher- must remain truthful and must remain committed to truth. This is difficult for the musician as music is an art of appearance and thus by essence rooted in untruth. But nevertheless, music and art must not become means to an end – not even to a metaphysical end. Wagner – so Nietzsche- precisely used music: in the first instance as a vehicle for dramatic illustration and secondly as a path to articulate and overcome his own personal suffering. Nietzsche’s point is that if music becomes a vehicle of life-denying personal therapy it looses its authenticity and integrity. The artist who uses music in this sense, shows his weakness and creative decay for it is primarily the role of the artist – as it is the role of the philosopher – to affirm life.

Two points thus seem to underpin Nietzsche’s aggressive attack on Wagner: Firstly, the demand that the existence of the musician must be truthful. This implies that the musician cannot use music for non-musical intentions. Music is essentially self-referential. It does not refer to metaphysical concepts. It may embody – or symbolise ontological forces. But it does not represent metaphysical dilemmas or solutions and it does not provide a vehicle for metaphysical escape. A musician who uses music for other purposes than making musical phenomena audible has abandoned his art and has become corrupt and untruthful. Secondly, the philosophical demand that music (like philosophy) must contribute to an affirmation of life. This is only genuine if life is affirmed in its entirety, including in its exposure to suffering, decay and death. Artistry which shrinks back from such comprehensive affirmation is for Nietzsche suspect as is a philosophy that fails to pursue radically an affirmation of life including its essentially and authentically abysmal contradictions.

Kierkegaard’s reflections on Don Giovanni (found in his book “Either/Or”) must concern us musicians: They identify music as the art of the “immediately, sensuously-erotic” and suggest that music is authentically devoid of reflective attributes. Transient temporality is affirmed as a fundamental determination of music. The pursuit of sensuality, an incessant desire for conquest and change and an absence of reflection and conscience all characterise Don Giovanni. This makes Don Giovanni for Kierkegaard essentially musical.

When confronted with this phenomenon an ordinary, bourgeois consciousness naturally thinks of moral disapproval. However, a moral judgment is strictly speaking not applicable here. Don Giovanni simply fulfills the conditions of an existence that is absolutely committed to continuous transience. The absence of a temporal consciousness excludes the moral perspective. An ethical state of existence only emerges where we find endurance and a conscious conception of presence, a temporal horizon. Only a consciousness of endurance and presence confronts us with responsibility. Don Giovanni’s transient being, his restless immersion in becoming, dissolves such a context and accordingly severs his attachment to responsibility. He remains unaccountable since he lives absolutely in the here-and-now.

An absolute commitment to transience and intoxication excludes Don Giovanni also from any form of communal justice. To be sure, a metaphysical form of justice catches up with Don Giovanni in the end. But this amounts to an affirmation of being versus becoming: The cold stone statue of the Commendatore becomes the hero’s undoing. Don Giovanni is presented with the consequence of his incessant becoming, with his own nemesis. But Don Giovanni is never brought to worldly justice or to moral account. He simply comes undone as his existence leads to an inevitable conclusion inherent in the original denial of being. The absolute affirmation of becoming (with its implicit denial of being) collides with a transcendent truth of being. The point is that an hermetic, absolute isolation of the aesthetic perspective cannot be maintained. It will meet - and fail in the challenge of enduring being.

For us musicians this seems to contain an important message: If Kierkegaard is right in identifying the aesthetic state of being as essentially musical, an absolute affirmation of music as a mode of aesthetic existence, of a relentless becoming, of incessant change and turbulent chaos, will loose its bearings. Musicians who deny being and relentlessly affirm becoming come undone. This occurs notwithstanding the fact that the essential nature of music is becoming and change or – in Nietzsche’s characterisation - the “Dionysian”. However, is music absolutely “aesthetic” or (with Kierkegaard) an expression of the immediately, sensuously-erotic? It does not seem so since music is also and perhaps foremost a spiritual art. A conception of music as a spiritual art commits us to conscious listening. Conscious listening is always reflective, however. It creates, discovers and commits to meaning within a flow of otherwise ever-changing impressions. In fact, the very possibility of musical perception requires the presence of consciousness. Reflection and consciousness enable the listener to recognise the signal as a musical symbol, to distinguish noise from music. At this point of recognition, however, the aesthetic perspective is transcended and forms of presence, of permanence and of endurance are introduced. Identities are established and with them the requirements of responsibility. It seems that this is the point of Don Giovanni as an opera. It is not the point of Don Giovanni as the character, though, who is a nihilistic phenomenon: a denier of the truth of being.

Musicians must take care not to confuse character and play: While grounded in becoming and in the sensuously-erotic, music is also sustained by being and mediated, reflective consciousness. In fact music forms a bridge between the aesthetic and the ethical state of being. This makes it highly significant. It makes it also subject to the tensions emanating powerfully from both force-fields at all times.

An uncivilised power asserts itself in music and resonates through our musical culture. This chaotic, abysmal will-to-power at the source of musical creativity challenges culture and civilisation. This is not to be lamented as it is in fact possibly authentic to the phenomenon of music itself.

Denials of civilisation in music emerge already in classical antiquity. According to mythology, aesthetic or ethical differences in music escalated into often violent conflicts. Among the many examples of violence and brutality, Apollo challenged the satyr Marsyas to a musical contest in which the God played the lyre and Marsyas the Aulos – a reed instrument renowned for its sensuous qualities. The muses, who judged the contest, are reputed to have declared Apollo the winner. Apollo in response flayed the luckless Marsyas- a brutal punishment for musical differences and failings.

Apollo’s punishment affirms the rule of the stringed instruments, which were understood to support clarity and reason. They are placed in direct conflict with the “polyharmonic” instruments which were understood to have had imitative and intoxicating qualities. Plato uses this difference to condemn the imitative attributes of music altogether and to famously insist on codifying civilised forms of music and musical practice. Legislating music is an attempt to secure civilisation in a promotion of rational understanding and good governance. According to Greek thinking, stringed instruments, such as lyre and khitara, supposedly support the clear elocution of speech. Their presence in music is conducive to an articulation of truth in speech. Greek mythology informs us that the goddess Athena rejected wind instruments when she discovered that their playing distorted facial features and the speech organs. This is a symbolic cue for Greek thinking: the sound of wind instruments supposedly imitates an unrestrained sensuality and expresses a reckless imagination. Civilisation, however, demands sobriety- sophrosyne– and the unrestrained sensual powers of music present a challenge to this.

The sensuous and instinctive dimension of music remains troubling for the classical consciousness. Orpheus, the son of the muse Kalliope, was renowned for music making of such beauty that his playing supposedly moved plants, animals and even stones. However, his pragmatic achievements appear less compelling. After gaining access to the underworld Orpheus fails to retrieve his wife Eurydice from the realm of the shadows for lack of agreement to conditions- he turned around to look at her against the explicit prohibition to do so. Orpheus looses his wife forever and subsequently becomes a victim of hatred and rage: The God Dionysos, the God of intoxication and rapture (musical qualities in themselves) perceived a betrayal in Orpheus’ admiration for Apollo and is reputed to have stirred the maenads against him. These raving, female followers of Dionysos, intoxicated and orgiastically transported, dismembered Orpheus’ body. According to mythology Orpheus’ head, still singing, floated to the island of Lesbos.

Punishments for transgressing aesthetic boundaries, ethical responsibilities or the mysterious boundaries of music are consistently severe: The singer Linos, a son of Apollo and Urania, and reputedly the first to have received the gift of singing, met a violent end through Heracles, his pupil whom he dared criticise during a music lesson. Thamyris, the son of the nymph Agriope, reputedly sang- and played the lyre so beautifully that he claimed to have surpassed even the muses themselves. These, however, did not appreciate the competition, but exterminated his possibility of artistic realisation: they blinded him and took from him the gift of singing and playing.

The uncivilised conflicts surrounding music are an outcome of a struggle for the truth of- and in music. Music is an art of semblance, of conviction and persuasion. It emerges from the intuition and instinct of the human psyche. It is shaped by the powers of human imagination and intelligence. Its emergence and its formation are naturally in tension. Nature aims for utterance. Civilisation makes the demand that such utterance is formed and constitutes meaning. One may take issue with this, as Nietzsche does, and point to the fact that in music formation inevitably leads towards a destruction of essence. The essence of music, the Dionysian element of intoxication, is also the instinctive elimination of individuality. Form, however, affirms an Apollonian definition of individuation. Form introduces clarity, identity, recognition, reflection, objectivity and endurance into music. The characteristics of form contradict the primordial power of music which is essentially transitory, communal and sublating of identity, intuitive and ephemeral. The attributes of form also characterise civilisation. Their denial puts civilisation on notice.

While we may affirm the Dionysian essence of music, we also know that without form, music cannot exist. To be sure, amorphous sound may be a varying stimulant. It does have an effect on our experience and it can function as a pacifier, as a tranquilizer or as an ecstatic drug, However, music ultimately challenges our listening consciousness and directs it towards a search for meaning. This search identifies it as a phenomenon of civilisation. Listening searches for structural and formal attributes in music. Accordingly, listening to music has a reflective dimension- we may not choose to engage with this dimension, but it is nevertheless present and – despite Kierkegaard- an authentic aspect of music itself. Listening is not merely what we hear in the here-and-now. It includes a horizon of what we have heard- it includes our history of attention. And it includes expectations, projections and anticipations. In fact, music – and the artistic engagement with music in particular- rely on a horizon of recollections and expectations to engage the listeners’ imagination.

Without the appeal to a reflective, conscious perception, music as we know it would not have endured. The very existence of music as music implies the possibility of reflection. Because music is formed, it can endure as a realm of conscious experiences. Form is thus an essential aspect of music. Form makes music potentially significant. Formation is an achievement of civilisation and civilisation in turn is charged with the nuture of form. While the instinctive power of music challenges civilisation at its foundations, it is clear that without form and without civilisation music cannot last. It becomes ephemeral – a babbling noise.