Re: reading a book

From: Kate Distin (
Date: Tue 26 Apr 2005 - 07:44:31 GMT

  • Next message: Kate Distin: "Re: reading a book"

    Bill Spight wrote:
    > Dear Kate,
    >> It appears that there are two elements to swing. First, there's a set
    >> of information about it, which can be conveyed representationally in
    >> the same way as any other information (that's what the trumpet-player
    >> did; and that's what you must have been doing in your messages
    >> because before I read them I had no real idea what sort of music
    >> people meant by "swing"). It may not be possible to convey this
    >> information in any simple, follow points 1-10 and you'll know
    >> everything you need to know, sort of way, but it is nonetheless
    >> possible to tell people some information about swing. So in that
    >> sense there is a representational element here.
    > Well, what the trumpet player said was a hint. While that triplet
    > pattern is associated with swing, there are plenty of other swinging
    > patterns (if you will), and, even more importantly, I could have played
    > that pattern without swing. The performance as a whole might not have
    > flopped, but I would have. Anyway, a hint is not a representation.

    What the trumpet player said may not have fed directly into how you then behaved, but he did nonetheless impart *some* information to you. His words represented some information. What you did with that information might not have been what he intended but that doesn't mean it wasn't a representation in the first place.

    Hint: stressing the first note of each bar will make your waltz sound more "waltz-like".

    In what sense is that not a representation?

    >> Secondly, there's an experiential element. This element you can't
    >> get by talking *about* it. You have to *do* it. The talking can
    >> help tell you how to do it, but until you actually give it a go you
    >> won't get the feel of this style of music.
    >> Now this second element is no different from what goes on when we
    >> learn any new skill. You can listen to people talking about driving
    >> skills for as long as you like, but not learn how to drive without
    >> getting in a car. You can read all the books you like about
    >> child-rearing, but nobody can learn how to be a parent without
    >> raising an actual child. You can have A grades in Scripture and
    >> Theology but not understand what it means to be a Christian until
    >> you've experienced a relationship with God.
    > I don't think we're talking about skill so much as sensibility. During
    > the Swing Era there were millions of hipsters who knew what swing was,
    > even if they could not play music, even if they could not describe it,
    > and there were millions of squares who did not know what it was, even if
    > they had heard it on the radio or in person many times.

    Right - you can "get" swing by hearing it rather than playing it. But you cannot "get" it without doing either. So there is still an experiential element even if it's an auditory rather than a motor experience.


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