Readings on Form and Content
June 30, 2014 2:19 PM   Subscribe

I am writing a piece about the melding of form and content within a certain musician's body of work. (I'd rather not give this artist's name.) I am looking for texts which deal with concepts of form and content in any genre. Denise Levertov's "Some Notes on Organic Form" is likely going to be my main reference, but I haven't been able to think of many other resources despite attempting to search the library databases on this. Can anyone think of other texts to check out?
posted by mermaidcafe to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe look into the work of Seth Kim-Cohen, particularly his book In the Blink of an Ear (intro here). (disclaimer: friend of mine)
posted by scody at 2:27 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's some neat short accessible stuff about Lewis Caroll. I felt like I read about this first in something Hofstadter wrote but this little blurb is also nice. I also like this bit about his poem Jabberwocky.
According to Chesterton and Green and others, the original purpose of "Jabberwocky" was to satirise both pretentious verse and ignorant literary critics. It was designed as verse showing how not to write verse, but eventually became the subject of pedestrian translation or explanation and incorporated into classroom learning
posted by jessamyn at 2:38 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I hope my memory is reliable as I tell you about something I last saw 30 years ago: a two-LP reissue from the 1970s, of the 1930s recordings of the Brahms piano concertos played by Artur Schnabel. It's a German release on Electrola/Dacapo (EMI). If memory serves, the German liner note is an essay entitled "Identity of Form and Content." Maybe a well-stocked university music library would have it. Didn't read the essay (my German is rudimentary at best) so have no idea of its usefulness.
posted by in278s at 5:27 PM on June 30, 2014

This is sort of local and weird but cortex wrote a thing on how to get images where the histogram (metadata about the image) could match the actual image. I always thought it was quite clever.
posted by jessamyn at 6:03 PM on June 30, 2014

Susan Sontag's On Style is all about exploring these concepts.
posted by mbrock at 9:49 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sorry not to be able to point out the exact text accurately, but I'm pretty sure that you can find something relevant in Edgar Varese's writings or interviews, I think he put some emphasis on the structure and actual form of his works stemming from the inner structure of their basic elements.
posted by nicolin at 1:34 AM on July 1, 2014

The relation between form and content is a major theme of Douglas Hofstadter's writing. Godel Escher Bach is well worth a read, and I would also recommend Le Ton Beau de Marot for this topic.
posted by crocomancer at 4:08 AM on July 1, 2014

Please read Victot Zuckercandl's: Sound and Symbol before writing anything about musical form.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:25 AM on July 1, 2014

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