musicology #361


Ideology&Philosophy #2

(Billie Holiday – Getting Some Fun Out Of Life)

Looks like we may be in for the long haul again on this theme ! although this is NOT going to be about the history of western Philosophy more like the history of Philosophy that has influenced themusicologist or definitions of concepts that I believe are critical to living in this mis-information age..so maybe it won’t turn into an epic. Either way the ‘musical diary’ will be left open for those who have eyes and ears to see and hear.

But before we get into round two I just want to let all the Cats know that ‘The Project’ is picking up momentum so I am, (and have been), very busy trying my best to walk on water, which is hard work but once you get used to it it’s like riding a bike..you get on, you fall off, you get back on again until one day you’re riding down the street pulling wheelies shouting “Look ma…no hands” !!

I’m not there yet but for me belief is more powerful than fear in the same way that love is more powerful than hate and as a ‘believer’ there is no way negativity will dominate the one life I have to live.

Today’s dialogue, (of course strictly speaking it’s a monologue but I hope that dialectic comes from it), says a few more words about Greek philosophy, (which was in fact the first step on themusicologist’s journey to knowledge of the self after reading a short book by Plato called ‘The Trials Of Socrates’) . The way I have interperated it Socrates was the first in the western world, (on record), to question everything which, at the time was quite monumental. Up until then people, (at least the majority), just accepted whatever the dogma was and placed little importance on evaluation. Socrates through Plato, (or the other way around), challenged almost everything that was said to him in an effort to question the meaning of words. When I first read this small book I found this to be in synchronicity with my own feelings on such matters and armed with the bare minimum of formal education was able to follow Plato without trying. This important discovery helped me to realise how important it was for me, (and in know way am I trying to convince anyone else), how critical Philosophy is in making sense of the world I find myself in so the following extract is a very brief introduction to some of the thoughts contained in such a valuable discipline. By the way I’m by no means a disciple of Plato or any of the Greeks but it was where the journey started.

The music is a cut from a female singer who for me is one of the most important interperators of the 20th Century…Billie Holiday, who also happens to be one of my earliest teachers on the subject of the expression of emotions. A 1937 slice originally recorded on Vocalion. Backed up on the session by the legendary Buck Clayton, Buster Bailey, Lester Young, Claude Thornhill, Freddie Green, Walter Page and Jo Jones almost all of whom featured heavily in creating the backbone of the great Count Basie Band. The Painist, (strangely), is uncredited but it could only be one of two, the majestic Teddy Wilson or the ‘Count’ himself.

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5 thoughts on “musicology #361

  1. just the right amount of explanation by someone
    who knows their onions goes a long way..and so nicely juxtaposed with the upbeat message delivered in fine style by the delicious voice of Billy Holliday and that fabulous band especially the trumpet solo!

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  2. I go along with the idea that justice is whatever the strongest want it to be ………however I think Plato liked ‘forms’ so do you them greeks had an idea of a perfect form of justice or did just some or none of them go down the metaphysical road ?

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    1. by metaphysics do you mean outside or beyond nature/natural forces?
      I agree with the ‘relatavist’ viewpoint on the subject of Justice..the word itself has no meaning outside of the person or system that imposes it. Plato through Socrates is an ardent criticiser of Relativism and begins one dialogue with Socrates asking the question;
      “Do you agree that it is ‘Just’ to obey the rulers?”
      (Prosimicus sp??) answers
      “Yes I agree with that”
      Socrates then goes on to build his whole position on the fact that Prosimicus agrees with him….Personally I don’t agree with him at all so to disagree with Plato’s first and fundamental platform on which to build his position suggests to me that me and Plato ain’t singing from the same Hymn sheet..Not that this means that I disagree with everything Plato says because I haven’t read it all but there’s no denying that he and I have opposing views on this issue.

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  3. by metaphysical I mean absolute truth …..in the sense that there are some people who maintain that for instance if a god/creator exists it follows that there must be a perfect form or truth to aspire to; so yes outside our natural world
    also like you I think Plato is a clever bloke and his ideas still have great relevance

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    1. I understand Metaphysics to mean ‘Beyond the Physical Realm’, (nature)
      Meta = Beyond/above
      Physics= Natural/Physical Laws.
      So God for example or anything spiritual for that matter is Metaphysical and as Kant states cannot be understood or described by ‘Reason’.
      Plato is clever but I don’t agree with many of his fundamental views. Especially not on Society, Politics and Ethics/Values

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