Passing through the Screen: Pierre Boulez and Michel Foucault (1).Summary
In this paper I examine Foucault's little essay, "Pierre Boulez Noun 1. Pierre Boulez - French composer of serial music (born in 1925)
Boulez : Passing through the Screen", in which he looks back from the vantage point of the 1980s at Boulez's music of the 1950s and his contribution to the project of aesthetic modernism. Before making a fairly detailed reading of the paper, I examine Boulez's role in the twentieth-century serial tradition inaugurated by Arnold Schoenberg Noun 1. Arnold Schoenberg - United States composer and musical theorist (born in Austria) who developed atonal composition (1874-1951)
Arnold Schonberg, Schoenberg, Schonberg and Anton Webern Anton Webern (December 3, 1883 – September 15, 1945) was an Austrian composer and conductor. He was a member of the Second Viennese School. As a student and significant follower of Arnold Schoenberg, he became one of the best-known proponents of the twelve-tone technique; in . Foucault's reading of Boulez focuses initially on the composer's radical break with the past; I suggest that Foucault was in a certain sense talking about his own break with a philosophical tradition founded in experience and conventional meaning. Boulez's experiment in the scientific and formal, I continue, had much in common with the methodologies from the history of science that were to become central to Foucault's thinking. Departing briefly from Foucault's essay, I argue that Gilles Deleuze fully understood why Foucault considered the project of serial music an important model; in fact Deleuze's notion of an "atonal a·ton·al
Lacking a tonal center or key; characterized by atonality.
a·tonal·ly adv. logic" shows how the bodies of statements (enonce) in different epistemes have the same relationship to each other as do different manifestations of the series in a serial composition. Returning to Foucault's commentary on Boulez, I briefly examine important settings of Char char: see salmon.
Any of several freshwater food and game fishes (genus Salvelinus) of the salmon family, distinguished from the similar trout by light, rather than black, spots; by a boat-shaped, rather than flat, vomer (bone) on the roof of and Mallarme, showing how they share features of a Foucauldian analysis: conjunctions between words, image and music are never subordinated to conventional meaning but are "justified only by the new necessity they have established". Finally I look at Boulez as a conductor and interpreter who approaches the past in music with a belief that what he is doing in the present can change it; again the project seems Foucauldian. In conclusion I reflect that both Boulez and Foucault were similarly and at the same time creative and analytical in their work, able always to use thought in order to be able to think differently.
In hierdie referaat ondersoek ek Foucault se klein essay "Pierre Boulez: Passing through the Screen", waarin hy terugskouend uit 'n tagtigeroogpunt na Boulez se musiek van die vyftigerjare en sy bydrae tot die projek van estetiese modernisme kyk. Voordat ek 'n taamlik deeglike lesing van die essay doen, ondersoek ek Boulez se rol in die twintigste-eeuse seriele musiektradisie war deur Arnold Schoenberg en Anton Webern ingelui is. Foucault se lesing van Boulez fokus aanvanklik op die komponis se radikale wegbreking van die verlede; ek voer aan dat Foucault hier in 'n sekere sin verwys na sy eie wegbreking van 'n filosofiese tradisie wat gegrond was in ervaring en konvensionele betekenis. Voorts voer ek aan dat Boulez se eksperiment in die wetenskaplike en formele heelwat gemeen gehad het met die metodologiee uit die geskiedenis van die wetenskap, wat later die kern van Foucault se denkwyse sou vorm. Ek dwaal dwaal
S African a state of absent-mindedness; a daze [Afrikaans] kortliks af van Foucault se essay wanneer ek aanvoer dat Gilles Deleuze ten voile voile
A light, plain-weave, sheer fabric of cotton, rayon, silk, or wool used especially for making dresses and curtains.
[French, from Old French veile, veil, from Latin begryp het waarom Foucault die projek van seriele musiek as belangrike model beskou het; trouens, Deleuze se opvatting van 'n "atonale logika" toon aan hoe hoe, usually a flat blade, variously shaped, set in a long wooden handle and used primarily for weeding and for loosening the soil. It was the first distinctly agricultural implement. The earliest hoes were forked sticks. die groepe stellings (enonce) in verskillende episteme in dieselfde verhouding tot mekaar staan as verskillende manifestasies van die series in 'n seriele komposisie. Wanneer ek terugkeer na Foucault se kommentaar oor Boulez, ondersoek ek kortliks belangrike toonsettings van Char en Mallarme en toon ek aan hoe hulle sekere kenmerke van 'n Foucauldiaanse analise deel: verbindings tussen woorde, beeld en musiek word nooit ondergeskik gestel aan konvensionele betekenis nie maar word "slegs geregverdig deur die nuwe noodwendigheid wat hulle daargestel het". Vervolgens kyk ek na Boulez as dirigent en vertolker wat die verlede in die musiek benader in die mening dat wat hy in die hede doen die verlede kan verander; die projek lyk nogmaals Foucauldiaans. Ten slotte besin ek oor die feit dat sowel Boulez as Foucault ewe en terselfdertyd skeppend en analities was in hulle werk, wat hulle telkens in staat gestel het om denke aan te wend Wend
Any member of a group of Slavic tribes that by the 5th century AD had settled in the area between the Oder and Elbe rivers in what is now eastern Germany. They occupied the eastern borders of the domain of the Franks and other Germanic peoples. om anders te kon dink dink - /dink/ Said of a machine that has the bitty box nature; a machine too small to be worth bothering with - sometimes the system you're currently forced to work on. First heard from an MIT hacker working on a CP/M system with 64K, in reference to any 6502 system, then from fans .
In an interview with Paolo Caruso in 1967, Michel Foucault Michel Foucault (IPA pronunciation: [miˈʃɛl fuˈko]) (October 15, 1926 – June 25, 1984) was a French philosopher, historian and sociologist. remarked that becoming acquainted with the music of Pierre Boulez and Jean Barraque in Paris in the early 1950s had as much impact on him as his discovery of Nietzsche (Macey 1993: 53). This may seem to be an exaggeration: the influence of Nietzsche is everywhere present in Foucault and frequently talked about; neither Boulez nor music features in any obvious way in his oeuvre and, aside from the odd anecdotal reference, it is left to Gilles Deleuze to unpack See pack. what Foucault might perhaps have meant by this extraordinary statement. That said, the two occasional pieces (written in the early 1980s and thus long after the majority of his aesthetic writings) in which Foucault talks about Boulez and the project of the French avant-garde, speak of his deep admiration for a musician who was uncompromising in his search for the new. In the first, titled "The Imagination of the Nineteenth Century", Foucault discusses Boulez as an interpreter of Wagner's Ring cycle; in the second, "Pierre Boulez, Passing through the Screen", he examines what is generally considered the composer's most prolific and significant creative phase, in the decade-and-a-half following the Second World War. Foucault seems, in his reflections, to be reminded of his own career as a young intellectual, and to be suggesting that Boulez gave him the courage to make his own radical move away from the phenomenological philosophical tradition that prevailed in France at the time.
This paper is based on a reading of and elaboration on "Pierre Boulez: Passing through the Screen"; reference is also made to "The Imagination of the Nineteenth Century" so as to assimilate Boulez as conductor and interpreter to his position as avant-garde composer. It begins with a brief section documenting the relationship between Foucault and Boulez. It then sets out the context within which Boulez advanced the project of aesthetic modernism in music, as well as what was at stake in this project. Foucault's reading of Boulez's formalism Formalism
or Russian Formalism
Russian school of literary criticism that flourished from 1914 to 1928. Making use of the linguistic theories of Ferdinand de Saussure, Formalists were concerned with what technical devices make a literary text literary, apart (and formalism in general) is the subject of a subsequent section and reveals that Foucault is also reflecting on his own intellectual position in the 1950s and 1960s. This section is thus a commentary on the ways in which Foucault himself is inscribed in·scribe
tr.v. in·scribed, in·scrib·ing, in·scribes
a. To write, print, carve, or engrave (words or letters) on or in a surface.
b. To mark or engrave (a surface) with words or letters. in his thinking and writing about the composer. Deleuze's fascinating refraction refraction, in physics, deflection of a wave on passing obliquely from one transparent medium into a second medium in which its speed is different, as the passage of a light ray from air into glass. of Foucault's concept of the "statement" (enonce) back onto the Boulezian notion of a "polyphony polyphony (pəlĭf`ənē), music whose texture is formed by the interweaving of several melodic lines. The lines are independent but sound together harmonically. of polyphonies" is the subject of a subsequent discussion. Boulez's setting of avant-garde French texts, particularly the poems of Char and Mallarme, forms the next discursive node in the paper, and of course provokes discussion of the Mallarmean project not only in Boulezian but also in Foucauldian terms. A shorter section reflects on Boulez's career as an interpreter and conductor as a kind of Foucauldian archaeological enterprise. In conclusion it is asserted that the two figures represent comparable positions in relation to twentieth-century thought and practice.
2 Foucault and Boulez: 1951-1983
Foucault met Boulez (b. 1925) in Paris in 1951, where the latter (although only in his mid-twenties) was already recognised as the most important force in contemporary French music. Foucault never got to know Boulez well, but he continued to follow his progress with interest. It was also in the circle around Boulez, incidentally, that Foucault met the young composer Jean Barraque, with whom he engaged in a "passionately stormy affair" for two or three years during the later 1950s (Macey 1993: 31).
Further meetings between Boulez and Foucault may have taken place during the time of the "Croissant affair". In the autumn of 1977 both men signed a petition protesting the refusal of the French government to give political asylum political asylum n → asilo político
political asylum n → asile m politique
political asylum political n to Klaus Croissant Klaus Croissant (1931–2002) was a lawyer of the Red Army Faction, shown by the Rebmann prosecutor “to have organized his cabinet the operational reserve of West German terrorism”. , one of the principal defence lawyers in West Germany West Germany: see Germany. of members of the Rote rote 1
1. A memorizing process using routine or repetition, often without full attention or comprehension: learn by rote.
2. Mechanical routine. Armee Fraktion, better known as the "Baader-Meinhof Gang Baader-Meinhof Gang
or Red Army Faction
West German leftist terrorist group formed in 1968 and popularly named after two of its early leaders, Andreas Baader (1943–1977) and Ulrike Meinhof (1934–1976). ". Foucault was far more active in his public engagement with the event than Boulez, and was injured by riot police riot police n → policía antidisturbios
riot police n → forces fpl de police intervenant en cas d'émeute;
hundreds of riot police → forming part of a "symbolic human chain" outside the Sante Prison the night that Croissant was to be turned over to German custody. This was by no means the end of his involvement (Macey 1993: 392-396). Boulez and Foucault had also met on several occasions during the previous year, when Foucault proposed Boulez for election to the College de France, apparently much to the latter's surprise (p. 398). A few years later Boulez invited Foucault (and also Gilles Deleuze and Roland Barthes Roland Barthes (November 12, 1915 – March 25, 1980) (pronounced [ʀɔlɑ̃ baʀt]) was a French literary critic, literary and social theorist, philosopher, and semiologist. ) to take part in a public debate at the Institut de Recherche re·cher·ché
1. Uncommon; rare.
2. Exquisite; choice.
3. Overrefined; forced.
4. Pretentious; overblown. et Coordination Acoustique/ Musique (IRCAM IRCAM Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique ), of which he was founder and director. Foucault apparently said little, preferring to answer questions; however, he did note that the Parisian intelligentsia, his colleagues and students included, rarely took any interest in contemporary music, suggesting a puzzling "anomaly between their philosophical and musical tastes" (p. 399). In 1983, Boulez invited Foucault to revisit this conversation, and this version has been published. (2) Foucault also became an avid fan of Boulez's reading of Wagner's Ring cycle, made famous in the 1976 Bayreuth centenary production of Patrice Chereau and available on recording and video after the six-year cycle of the production.
3 Pierre Boulez and Aesthetic Modernism
Boulez has, throughout his long and in many ways surprising career, played an extremely significant role in French musical culture. From the late 1940s to the early 1960s, he was known primarily as a composer of avant-garde music. Although he continued to compose, he subsequently also engaged in an international career as a conductor, becoming the most influential post-War French performer of not only the twentieth-century, but later, perhaps surprisingly, also the nineteenth-century musical repertoire. Between 1976 and 1992 he conceptualised and directed the most sophisticated experiment in the institutionalisation This article or section needs sources or references that appear in reliable, third-party publications. Alone, primary sources and sources affiliated with the subject of this article are not sufficient for an accurate encyclopedia article. of the modernist musical project in the world, namely the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM). At the Institute, lavishly housed in the Georges Pompidou Centre Pompidou Centre
or Beaubourg Centre
French national cultural centre, on the rue Beaubourg in the Marais section of Paris. Its full name, the Georges Pompidou National Art and Cultural Centre, recognizes the president of the Republic under whose administration , contemporary musical composition and performance is put into contact with the most sophisticated technological means, cementing the relationship between art and science inaugurated by modernism. It is thus home not only to musicians but to teams of computer scientists and researchers along the full continuum of the sonic arts.
Boulez is, however, still remembered chiefly for his public and irrevocable break with the established language of Western music. He was determined to find a way of ordering the materials of sound that cut away from established procedure and conventional meaning, and he felt impelled im·pel
tr.v. im·pelled, im·pel·ling, im·pels
1. To urge to action through moral pressure; drive: I was impelled by events to take a stand.
2. To drive forward; propel. to resist the pressures of memory and history: "It is not enough to deface de·face
tr.v. de·faced, de·fac·ing, de·fac·es
1. To mar or spoil the appearance or surface of; disfigure.
2. To impair the usefulness, value, or influence of.
3. the Mona Lisa Mona Lisa
La Gioconda, da Vinci’s enchanting portrait. [Ital. Art: Wallechinsky, 190]
See : Beauty, Lasting
enigmatic smile beguiles and bewilders. [Ital. because that does not kill the Mona Lisa.... The more I grow the more I detach de·tach
1. To separate or unfasten; disconnect.
2. To remove from association or union with something. myself from other composers, not only from the distant past but also from the recent past and even from the present" (Boulez quoted by Peyser 1976: 20). (3) Reflecting on his early creative ventures, the composer later remarked: "[I]t was like Descartes's Cogito, ergo sum cogito, ergo sum
(Latin; “I think, therefore I am”)
Dictum coined in 1637 by René Descartes as a first step in demonstrating the attainability of certain knowledge. It is the only statement to survive the test of his methodic doubt. . I momentarily suppressed inheritance. I started off from the fact that I was thinking, and went on to see how one might construct a musical language from scratch" (Boulez quoted in Heyworth 1986: 13).
Although Boulez liked to present himself as standing alone, the sole instigator in·sti·gate
tr.v. in·sti·gat·ed, in·sti·gat·ing, in·sti·gates
1. To urge on; goad.
2. To stir up; foment.
[Latin of a completely new musical language, he did of course have precursors. The composers of the Second Viennese School--Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg Noun 1. Alban Berg - Austrian composer in Schoenberg's twelve-tone music system (1885-1935)
Berg and Anton Webern--inaugurated the modernist project The modernist project is a term for the artistic and cultural innovations by avant-garde artists, writers and religious thinkers beginning in the 19th century in Europe. See modernism. in music in the early decades of the century by dislodging the privileges of tonality tonality (tōnăl`ĭtē), in music, quality by which all tones of a composition are heard in relation to a central tone called the keynote or tonic. within the traditional Western chromatic scale chromatic scale, in music: see scale. . The tonal system, which has underpinned Western classical music since the late Renaissance, is based on a hierarchical seven-note scale through which relationships of tension and release can be expressed at the micro and the macro level, thus guaranteeing formal coherence. It was the dominance of these relationships and the way they had become the vehicle for content--the thematic, the representational, the sensuous and the expressive--against which Schoenberg rebelled.
After experimenting with a language intended to "emancipate e·man·ci·pate
tr.v. e·man·ci·pat·ed, e·man·ci·pat·ing, e·man·ci·pates
1. To free from bondage, oppression, or restraint; liberate.
2. the dissonance" and reinvest the established language with meaning, Schoenberg later devised an apparently arbitrary (in terms of the "natural" properties of pitch) and formalist for·mal·ism
1. Rigorous or excessive adherence to recognized forms, as in religion or art.
2. An instance of rigorous or excessive adherence to recognized forms.
3. way of ordering and equalising the intervallic content of a composition. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. his celebrated "Twelve-Tone Method", the twelve notes of the chromatic scale could be arranged in any order, provided each kept its original place in subsequent statements, so as to preserve its equality; in addition, this row could be stated in its original form, its inversion, its retrograde retrograde /ret·ro·grade/ (ret´ro-grad) going backward; retracing a former course; catabolic.
1. Moving or tending backward.
2. and its retrograde inversion Retrograde Inversion are a progressive rock/funk band from Haslemere, England. The band formed in 2003 as part of the Live and Direct Youth Scheme. The band's name is derived from the musical term Retrograde Inversion, meaning backwards and upside down. . (4)
The pitch content of these twelve-tone or "serial" pieces was thus constructed according to a variety of precompositionally determined mathematical permutations which theoretically ensured not only pitch equivalence but a change in overall architectural conception, from one of teleology teleology (tĕl'ēŏl`əjē, tē'lē–), in philosophy, term applied to any system attempting to explain a series of events in terms of ends, goals, or purposes. and dialectic to one of perpetual variation. To use Ernst Krenek's analogy, in serial music the surface becomes less like the narrative event of a thunderstorm thunderstorm, violent, local atmospheric disturbance accompanied by lightning, thunder, and heavy rain, often by strong gusts of wind, and sometimes by hail. and more like the contemplation of a part of the starry star·ry
adj. star·ri·er, star·ri·est
1. Marked or set with stars or starlike objects.
2. Shining or glittering like stars.
3. Shaped like a star.
4. Illuminated by stars; starlit. night sky. (5)
In fact, Schoenberg and Berg remained psychologically and structurally bound by the thinking of tonal music, despite their revolutionary treatment of pitch. (6) It was Anton Webern who moved truly into the serial realm, in which the event of the row (often reduced to its greatest abstraction and its least point of identity) becomes the generator of a network of relationships, displayed through elliptic el·lip·tic or el·lip·ti·cal
1. Of, relating to, or having the shape of an ellipse.
2. Containing or characterized by ellipsis.
a. and extraordinary dispensations across vividly distinctive instrumental and dynamic ranges. Thus, admittedly via an abstract assimilation of the forms of the pre-high-tonal polyphonists of the late Renaissance, Webern shows how the serial (diagonal) function poses radical structuring and morphological possibilities.
It was at this point, and inspired by Webern's tiny opus (his entire oeuvre is recorded on only four CDs), that the architects of high modernism High modernism is a particular instance of modernism, coined towards the end of modernism. "High modernism", like similar names designating intellectual and artistic eras such as "the high Middle Ages" or "the high Baroque", presumably is meant to specify the most characteristic, in the Second World War period (Stockhausen and Kagel in Germany, Boulez in France, Nono and Berio in Italy), expanded the serial idea. Such serial operations as Schoenberg, Berg and Webern had exercised on melody, harmony and polyphony (all dimensions of pitch) were now applied also to rhythm and the full range of secondary musical parameters (dynamics, attack, texture), and even groups of notes and sections, tempo, spatial relationships, noise and so on. The great works of the 1950s are empirical explorations of the serial idea, despite their "theoretical" character. Not unlike Foucault's interviews and forays into journalism, they are invariably in·var·i·a·ble
Not changing or subject to change; constant.
in·vari·a·bil launched by a lengthy and complex polemic po·lem·ic
1. A controversial argument, especially one refuting or attacking a specific opinion or doctrine.
2. A person engaged in or inclined to controversy, argument, or refutation.
adj. which becomes part of its documentation. (7) Boulez's quest in particular was for a logical necessity that, even allowing for music's privileged relation to the formal, (8) completely expunged content and subjectivity, history and experience. His complex world of sound and mathematical relationships ventured far beyond the perceptual logic of the enculturated ear into a space where precompositional decision-making--strategy--determined every level and dimension of the visual and sounding score.
In his famous series of lectures presented at Darmstadt (the post-World War-Two "home" of the musical avant-garde) between 1959 and 1961, (9) Boulez advocates Rougier's
construction of purely formal theories, which are both networks of relationships and tables of the deductions which have been made. Hence, a single form may apply to diverse material, to groups of differing objects, provided only that these objects respect the same relationships among themselves as those present among the undefined symbols of the theory. (Boulez 1971: 30)
Boulez asserts: "I feel that such a statement is fundamental to contemporary musical thought ..." (ibid.).
The result was a music that is very difficult to penetrate and generally quite alienating, as Foucault himself admits. Boulez was unperturbed by this opacity Refers to being "opaque," which means to prevent light from shining through. For example, in an image editing program, the opacity level for some function might range from completely transparent (0) to completely opaque (100). both of method and of musical surface; he was interested only in an audience that would take the trouble to understand, if not the actual operations structuring his music, at least his radical formalist intentions and, later, the relationship of necessity between sonic material and its structuring potential.
In fact, neither Boulez nor Stockhausen maintained as radical a multi-serial position for long, although formalist principles and operations continued to mark their future thinking and writing. Writing only a few years after his most stringently composed works, Boulez condemns music and methods of analysis that are "reflections of a void, timetables of trains which will never leave" (1971: 17). (10) The first book of Structures (1952), he told Celestin Deliege, was "what Barthes might call a reduction of style to the degree zero" (Deliege & Boulez 1976: 55). But even while acknowledging the need for some "intuitive" or "irrational" decision-making at a local level, Boulez still argued for a rigorous logic and even automatism automatism
Method of painting or drawing in which conscious control over the movement of the hand is suppressed so that the subconscious mind may take over. For some Abstract Expressionists, such as Jackson Pollock, the automatic process encompassed the entire process of in the design of the larger structures of music. He believed that it was vital that the composer impose on himself a situation where he could be influenced by history, memory, taste or anything that was available to him: "There is also the disadvantage ... of restricting the work to the limits of the composer's creative imagination--a paralysing restriction, for I feel that it is essential to preserve the potential of the unknown that a masterpiece contains" (Boulez 1971: 18).
4 "Deserted by Discourse": Introductory Remarks on "Boulez, Passing through the Screen"
What excited Foucault about Boulez's music of the 1950s was its utter refusal to compromise, its radical formalism and its inassimilability to discourse. In the introductory remarks on "Pierre Boulez: Passing through the Screen", he writes that it was by chance (presumably pre·sum·a·ble
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster. the result of his friendship with Barraque) that he was allowed a "glimpse into" the world of the musical avant-garde: "I had the strange feeling of witnessing something I was incapable of being contemporaneous with" (Foucault 1998: 241). While abstract painting was the topic of a great deal of discussion, he observes, and had been assimilated to "aesthetics, philosophy, reflection, taste--and politics, (11) ... music was deserted by discourses from the outside. ... Silence protected [it] ... preserving its insolence in·so·lence
1. The quality or condition of being insolent.
2. An instance of insolent behavior, treatment, or speech.
Noun 1. " (ibid.). Music, Foucault, seems to imply, could only make its disruptive move into a world ordered by a different and external set of operations and criteria while it remained in a kind of quarantine, left unexplained in any cultural sense.
Besides recognising the revelatory status and transformational power of Boulez's ultra-serial music, Foucault seems also to have envied its protected transgressiveness: "What was doubtless one of the great transformations of twentieth-century art remained out of reach for those forms of reflection, which had established their quarters all around us, places where we risked picking up our habits" (ibid.). Here he is clearly thinking about his own position as a young intellectual and philosopher, trained in a certain tradition with its particular "habits" and constraints. Looking back from the vantage point of the early 1980s and reflecting upon an extraordinary moment in the history of contemporary music, he is perhaps remembering the intensity of his own feeling of estrangement: "[T]hrough my having pieced together ... what was happening in Boulez's camp", he writes, "enabled me to feel like a stranger in the world of thought where I had been trained, to which I still belonged and which was still compelling for me and for many others" (ibid.).
It is indeed true that Foucault in the late 1950s and early 1960s had reached an impasse in his career. He felt imprisoned im·pris·on
tr.v. im·pris·oned, im·pris·on·ing, im·pris·ons
To put in or as if in prison; confine.
[Middle English emprisonen, from Old French emprisoner : en- by the nature of current philosophical discourse in Europe and most particularly in France; where his own future lay was not entirely clear to him. His intellectual life had been largely formed in the discursive spaces around conventional meaning, what he terms "the privileges of meaning, of the lived-through [du vecu], the sensuous [du charnel char·nel
A repository for the bones or bodies of the dead; a charnel house.
Resembling, suggesting, or suitable for receiving the dead. ], of foundational experience [de l'experience originaire], subjective contents or social significations" (Foucault  1998: 242). He was already rethinking, even if privately, his own position in relation to the philosophical canon and most particularly the phenomenology phenomenology, modern school of philosophy founded by Edmund Husserl. Its influence extended throughout Europe and was particularly important to the early development of existentialism. of his predecessors and mentors, Jean-Paul Sartre Noun 1. Jean-Paul Sartre - French writer and existentialist philosopher (1905-1980)
Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty Maurice Merleau-Ponty [mɔ'ʁis mɛʁlopɔ̃'ti (March 14, 1908 – May 4, 1961) was a French phenomenological philosopher, strongly influenced by Edmund Husserl. .
Foucault's radical break with a philosophy of consciousness is prefigured in an array of related aesthetic events, most of them constituted in the privileging of signifier sig·ni·fi·er
1. One that signifies.
2. Linguistics A linguistic unit or pattern, such as a succession of speech sounds, written symbols, or gestures, that conveys meaning; a linguistic sign. over signified, formal over experiential. They range, famously, from Picasso's proposal of cubism cubism, art movement, primarily in painting, originating in Paris c.1907. Cubist Theory
Cubism began as an intellectual revolt against the artistic expression of previous eras. (via Corbusier) and the Bauhaus artefacts to the works of Klee and, in music, Schoenberg, Webern and Boulez. One might argue that it is these migrations of models within our experience and thought that make Foucault's own work possible: the archaeology and episteme are ways of acknowledging them.
At much the same time that Foucault was discovering Boulez he was also uncovering the crucial distinction between a philosophy of consciousness and a philosophy of concept. He writes, in his essay "Life, Experience, Science" (a modified version of the introduction to the English translation of Canguilhem's The Normal and the Pathological (1985), of the important "dividing line Noun 1. dividing line - a conceptual separation or distinction; "there is a narrow line between sanity and insanity"
demarcation, contrast, line
differentiation, distinction - a discrimination between things as different and distinct; "it is necessary to ... that separates a philosophy of experience, of meaning, of the subject, and a philosophy of knowledge, of rationality, and of the concept" (Foucault 1998: 466). On one side he places Sartre and Merleau-Ponty; on the other, Jean Cavailles, Gaston Bachelard Gaston Bachelard (June 27, 1884 – October 16, 1962) was a French philosopher who rose to some of the most prestigious positions in the French academy. His most important work is on poetics and the philosophy of science. , Alexandre Koyre, and Georges Canguilhem Georges Canguilhem (Castelnaudary, June 4, 1904 – September 11, 1995 in Marly-le-Roi) was a French philosopher who specialized in epistemology and the philosophy of science (in particular, biology). . Methodologies from the history of science, and particularly those of Canguilhem, provided valuable models for him in his own field; Boulez's extreme engagement with the formal and scientific (as well as his total rupture with the romantic past) may have prompted Foucault's own exploration of a position which disengaged dis·en·gage
v. dis·en·gaged, dis·en·gag·ing, dis·en·gag·es
1. To release from something that holds fast, connects, or entangles. See Synonyms at extricate.
2. conventional meaning in order to foreground conceptual operations. Perhaps as radical a move as he intended making required that he, like Boulez, imagine himself in a position "deserted by discourses", a stranger in the midst Adv. 1. in the midst - the middle or central part or point; "in the midst of the forest"; "could he walk out in the midst of his piece?"
midmost of accepted practices and theories of culture.
5 The Formal: "A Locus for Thought"
The role of the formal in Foucault's work invites comment here, as do his various reflections on formalism in the twentieth century. He observes in his paper on Boulez that to believe "a culture ... more attached to its values than to its forms" is "to ignore the fact that people cling to Verb 1. cling to - hold firmly, usually with one's hands; "She clutched my arm when she got scared"
hold close, hold tight, clutch
hold, take hold - have or hold in one's hands or grip; "Hold this bowl for a moment, please"; "A crazy idea took hold of ways of seeing, saying, doing and thinking, more than to what is seen, to what is thought, said, or done" (1998: 242). In an interview with Gerard Raulet in 1983 he contended that formalism in contemporary linguistic and cultural practices had been "as important in its way as romanticism or even positivism positivism (pŏ`zĭtĭvĭzəm), philosophical doctrine that denies any validity to speculation or metaphysics. Sometimes associated with empiricism, positivism maintains that metaphysical questions are unanswerable and that the only was during the nineteenth century" (1998: 435--this is the Foucault Structuralism structuralism, theory that uses culturally interconnected signs to reconstruct systems of relationships rather than studying isolated, material things in themselves. This method found wide use from the early 20th cent. and Post-structuralism paper in Faubion--Raulet is not given as an author in the collection); a history of the formal would reveal it "as a power of transformation ... a force for innovation and a locus for thought" (1998): 242); it represented for him a crucial way of cutting away "the privileges of meaning" (ibid.).
Although Foucault subsequently became deeply ambivalent about the claims and practices of structuralism (a "minor episode" within the larger formalist project, in his view (1998: 435)), the formal as "a locus for thought" and transformational tool not only suggested to him ways of disengaging dis·en·gage
v. dis·en·gaged, dis·en·gag·ing, dis·en·gag·es
1. To release from something that holds fast, connects, or entangles. See Synonyms at extricate.
2. meaning but of exploring the unexpected intersections between the discourses and practices of Western culture. The formal was, for him, a way of reading history and experience differently; of shadowing and tracking culture, and interrogating its subject-based understanding of itself. It is the "forms of rationality" in a particular episteme that allow "subjects to speak the truth about themselves" (1998: 444); his overarching conceptual project is thus "an analysis of the relations between forms of reflexivity--a relation of self to self--and, hence, of relations between forms of reflexivity re·flex·ive
1. Directed back on itself.
a. Of, relating to, or being a verb having an identical subject and direct object, as dressed in the sentence She dressed herself. and the discourse of truth, forms of rationality and effects of knowledge (connaissance)" (ibid.). Foucault is not interested in contents per se, but in the structures that make these contents possible, much as Boulez is interested in the almost automatic procedures of serialism serialism
Use of an ordered set of pitches as the basis of a musical composition. The terms 12-tone music and serialism, though not entirely synonymous, are often used interchangeably. rather than their effects.
6 The Diagonal Dimension: Series and Statement (enonce)
The extent to which Foucault modelled his own radical break with the continuities of historicism his·tor·i·cism
1. A theory that events are determined or influenced by conditions and inherent processes beyond the control of humans.
2. A theory that stresses the significant influence of history as a criterion of value. on Boulez's break with tonality has perhaps only been taken sufficiently seriously by Gilles Deleuze, Foucault's friend, fellow philosopher and also admirer of Boulez and the IRCAM project. (He was a frequent visitor to IRCAM.) In his occasional comments on the matter, Foucault is explicit that the technique of serial music remains opaque to him; its value lies in its experiential proof of a state of discourse beyond the pretensions that its usual logical and sentential characterisations contain--an experience of a diagonal dimension that challenges the twentieth-century claim of logic or grammar to be the foundations of thought, experience and meaning. Thus Deleuze launches an explication ex·pli·cate
tr.v. ex·pli·cat·ed, ex·pli·cat·ing, ex·pli·cates
To make clear the meaning of; explain. See Synonyms at explain.
[Latin explic of Foucault's most important epistemological e·pis·te·mol·o·gy
The branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity.
[Greek epist work, The Archaeology of Knowledge, on the notion of an "atonal logic", invoking the concept of the series and its realisation of a "diagonal function" to help explain the enigmatic and crucial notion of the "statement" (enonce).
In his Darmstadt lectures, Boulez analyses the conditions of possibility, dimensions and formal relationships of the series, as rigorously as Foucault analyses the statement in The Archaeology of Knowledge. His aim is to solve questions of morphology, structure and large-scale form in the "new" musical work; in other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , he launches an analytical project as substantial as Foucault's own epistemology epistemology (ĭpĭs'təmŏl`əjē) [Gr.,=knowledge or science], the branch of philosophy that is directed toward theories of the sources, nature, and limits of knowledge. Since the 17th cent. . The series is a generator of a "polyphony of polyphonies" and "a diagonal function" (in oblique and unassimilable relation to the "exhaustive" functions of "vertical" harmony and "lateral" melody at the base of musical analysis from Rameau to Schenker), in Boulez's and now generally accepted theoretical terms. The world of the series escapes the so-called "laws of nature" (Boulez 1971: 31), which in fact "symbolise the routines resulting from experience" to set up what Boulez calls a "logically organised consciousness, which avoids slipping into the anecdotal" (p. 33) and operates primarily "in terms of relationships and functions" (p. 32).
Deleuze might well have referred to Boulez's Darmstadt lectures in implying the analogy between the Foucauldian statement and the concept of the Boulezian set. Just as the forms of a set in a serial composition can operate via "quasi-mathematical structures" in a diagonal "polyphony of polyphonies", so statements (shaping what is thinkable and conceivable) in different epistemes are "linked to a mobile diagonal line that allows us, within this space, to make a direct study of the same set at different levels, as well as to choose some sets on the same level while disregarding others (which in their turn might presuppose pre·sup·pose
tr.v. pre·sup·posed, pre·sup·pos·ing, pre·sup·pos·es
1. To believe or suppose in advance.
2. To require or involve necessarily as an antecedent condition. See Synonyms at presume. another diagonal line)" (Deleuze 1988: 3). While different epistemes may seem totally incommensurate in·com·men·su·rate
a. Not commensurate; disproportionate: a reward incommensurate with their efforts.
2. Incommensurable. , in other words, they are nevertheless made up of the same body of statements.
It is possible similarly to compare the notion of collateral space in The Archaeology of Knowledge with the precompositional dimension in serial composition (the ultimate guarantee that form expunges and replaces content):
The question of knowing whether the space defines the group, or, conversely, whether the group of statements defines the space, is immaterial. There is no homogeneous space that remains unlocalized: the two elements merge at the level of the rules of formation. (Deleuze 1988: 5) (12)
This apparent mapping of a serial/atonal logic onto Foucault's Archaeology could be extended even further. Suffice it to say that Deleuze fully understood the extraordinary impact and liberating force that the serial adventure had on Foucault; (13) most specifically that it had suggested to him the possibility of viewing and experiencing a discourse beyond its customary logical (deductive de·duc·tive
1. Of or based on deduction.
2. Involving or using deduction in reasoning.
de·duc , vertical) and its sequential (narrative) or horizontal dimensions; in breaking with these dimensions, it was possible to experience the (musical) statement in its "neutral material dispersion See dispersion. ". (14)
Deleuze concludes his discussion of the Foucauldian statement and its forms by quoting Boulez's comment on Webern and suggesting that it applies equally well to Foucault: "He created a new dimension, which we might call a diagonal dimension, a sort of distribution of points, graphs, groups or figures that no longer act simply as an abstract framework but actually exist in space" (Boulez quoted in Deleuze 1988: 22).
7 Formalism, Music and Text in the Boulezian Repertoire
For Foucault, Boulez's formalism represented not only the way to replace existing and overworked paradigms of thought, but a way to connect moments of disruption across time and across apparently different aesthetics. In "Passing through the Screen" he refers specifically to Boulez's settings of poems by Rene Char, Henri Michaux and Stephane Mallarme, works that Boulez restructures in his own terms and that are defined by formalist operations that could only have been conceived within the serial modality modality /mo·dal·i·ty/ (mo-dal´i-te)
1. a method of application of, or the employment of, any therapeutic agent, especially a physical agent.
Avant-garde French literature, the literature with which both Foucault and Boulez identified and about which Foucault frequently wrote, often represents or at least simulates a formalist position. Even in an earlier century and era, poets like Mallarme, Char, Michaux and even Baudelaire--whether symbolists, surrealists, expressionists and/or aesthetic modernists by definition--queried the status of language and its subordination to meaning. They were highly conscious of the power of the formal as a means of countering "habits" of experience; they disengaged meaning to engage pure literariness, freeing words and syllables, sounds and associations from the contents assigned to them by the past. Like the music of the 1950s serialists, the literary works of the French avant-garde are hermetic hermetic /her·met·ic/ (her-met´ik) impervious to air.
her·met·ic or her·met·i·cal
Completely sealed, especially against the escape or entry of air. , to be deciphered through internal codes and operations, to be opened not via received language and meaning but via new orderings and significances.
In his major text-centred works of the 1950s and 1960s Boulez identifies these writers; in fact, as Foucault puts it, he proceeds "in a straight line" to them, "without any detour or mediation", not because they share "a universalising aesthetic" or "an ideal kinship", but because he was drawn by "the necessity of a conjuncture con·junc·ture
1. A combination, as of events or circumstances: "the power that lies in the conjuncture of faith and fatherland" Conor Cruise O'Brien.
2. " (Foucault 1998: 242-243). Thus Boulez's method of approaching the works of Mallarme, Char, Michaux and later e.e. cummings shares features with a Foucauldian analysis: poem and music appear as contingent events that slam into each other, creating new ways of proceeding, event by event, particular to particular. Composer and poet come across each other in the dark of a permanent underground; dark because the assigned light of culture (defined by experience, meaning, content) is deliberately snuffed out to show up something brighter and more intense. ("It is not the ascent toward the highest place, it is not access to the most enveloping en·vel·op
tr.v. en·vel·oped, en·vel·op·ing, en·vel·ops
1. To enclose or encase completely with or as if with a covering: "Accompanying the darkness, a stillness envelops the city" viewpoint, that gives the most light. The bright light comes laterally, from the breaching of a compartment, the piercing of a wall, two intensities brought together, a distance crossed at one stroke" (ibid.).)
7.1 Boulez--Char: "In Art as in Thought, Encounters Are Justified Only by the New Necessity They Have Established"
In his explorations of the poetry of Rene Char (late 40s and 50s) and Stephane Mallarme (late 50s and early 60s), Boulez makes no attempt to "set" the texts in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, he places text and music in a relationship of commentary, elaboration and analysis in which each medium takes the other apart.
What attracted Boulez to Char was "the clipped violence of his style, the unequalled paroxysm paroxysm /par·ox·ysm/ (par´ok-sizm)
1. a sudden recurrence or intensification of symptoms.
2. a spasm or seizure.paroxys´mal
1. , the purity" (Boulez quoted by Griffiths 1995: 16); what he identified as Char's "power to sum up his world in an extremely concise form of expression, to exteriorise Verb 1. exteriorise - make external or objective, or give reality to; "language externalizes our thoughts"
objectify, exteriorize, externalise, externalize it and to fling it far away from him" (Deliege & Boulez 1976: 44). This eviscerated meaning placed second to literary device, Boulez believed, had enormous implications for the musical setting of texts, creating a space where "music does not distend di·stend
To swell out or expand or cause to swell out or expand from or as if from internal pressure. time but can be grafted onto it" (Deliege & Boulez 1976: 44).
In his masterwork mas·ter·work
See masterpiece. Le marteau sans maitre (The Hammer without a Master) (1954), Boulez treats the "abruptly obscure" (Griffiths 1995: 79) images of Char's "verbal archipelago" (Stacey 1987: 54) (15) as both "centre and absence" of the whole body of sound (Boulez 1991: 40); (16) "'centre' because everything in the music is derived from the words, and 'absence' because the process of musical composition has completely consumed them" (Griffiths 1995: 79). The result is "a whole web of relationships ... including, among others, the affective relationships, but also the entire mechanism of the poem, from its pure sound to its intelligible organisation" (Boulez  1991: 40). The dominating image of a civilisation marching to its doom "like a hammer without a master" is initially conjured wordlessly in a rapid passage of notes, whose eerie weightlessness weightlessness, the absence of any observable effects of gravitation. This condition is experienced by an observer when he and his immediate surroundings are allowed to move freely in the local gravitational field. is constituted not only in registration but in the choice of predominantly percussive per·cus·sive
Of, relating to, or characterized by percussion.
per·cussive·ly adv. and plucked ("non-Western") timbres; this flurry of pitches hurtles into an exaggerated pause, creating a trope trope
1. A figure of speech using words in nonliteral ways, such as a metaphor.
2. A word or phrase interpolated as an embellishment in the sung parts of certain medieval liturgies. that recurs in the movement and is hinted at in later related movements. Like subsequent sonic imprints it becomes "the seed of an elaborate musical form--a form in which purely instrumental movements would be necessary, and not merely as interludes" (Griffiths 1995: 79). Thus the three individual cycles, each of which is "irrigated" by one of Char's poems, interlock A device that prohibits an action from taking place. , interrupting each other and breaking up the overall musical continuity. The work as a whole represents Boulez's increasing fascination with the "notion of a discontinuous discontinuous /dis·con·tin·u·ous/ (dis?kon-tin´u-us)
1. interrupted; intermittent; marked by breaks.
2. discrete; separate.
3. lacking logical order or coherence. time achieved thanks to structures which will become entangled en·tan·gle
tr.v. en·tan·gled, en·tan·gling, en·tan·gles
1. To twist together or entwine into a confusing mass; snarl.
2. To complicate; confuse.
3. To involve in or as if in a tangle. " (ibid.).
Although Le marteau is a product of Boulez's decision to mediate automatism with moments of irrationality, it clearly inhabits a serial world, characterised by a formalist way of thinking and a refusal to see conjunctions between words, images and music as subordinated to conventional meanings. Words and sounds together create a new necessity; a new point of contact between discourses. Brought together in an act that sometimes imposes outside operations, they meet, take each other apart, coalesce co·a·lesce
intr.v. co·a·lesced, co·a·lesc·ing, co·a·lesc·es
1. To grow together; fuse.
2. To come together so as to form one whole; unite: . In retrospect their conjunction seems inevitable; yet they do not lose their individual sharpness for a "general meaning". Foucault observes: "In art as in thought, encounters are justified only by the new necessity they have established" (1998: 243). As in Foucault's own analyses of discourses, power and the subject, the experiment seems justified by the result.
7.2 Boulez--Mallarme--Foucault: Not "Monuments" but "Intensities"
What attracted me in Mallarme, at the stage I had reached at that time, was the extraordinary formal density of his poems. Not only is the content truly extraordinary--the poems possess a mythology that is very much their own-but never has the French language been taken so far in the matter of syntax. (Boulez in Deliege & Boulez 1976: 94)
The great task to which Mallarme dedicated himself, right up to his death, is the one that dominates us now; in its stammerings, it embraces all our current efforts to confine the fragmented being of language once more within a perhaps impossible unity. Mallarme's project--that of enclosing all possible discourse within the fragile density of the word, within that slim, material black line traced by ink on paper--is fundamentally a reply to the question imposed upon philosophy by Nietzsche.... To the Nietzschean question: "Who is speaking?", Mallarme replies ... by saying that what is speaking is, in its solitude, in its fragile vibration, in its nothingness, the word itself--not the meaning of the word, but its enigmatic and precarious being. (Foucault 1970: 306)
In his famous analysis of the Mallarmean project in The Order of Things, Foucault acknowledges Mallarme's crucial role in literary modernity. By rethinking language outside of meaning, grammar, sense and its habitual links to the world and to experience, Mallarme's poetry represents the birth of Literature beyond language and therefore the prospect of a return to language. ("Who speaks?"--"It is the word that speaks.") It is exactly this prospect of a return to (musical) language that motivated Boulez's formalist project and that attracted him to the Mallarmean endeavour in Literature nearly a century before. No less than four of Boulez's works, both texted and textless, engage with (or reveal similarities to) Mallarmean principles, starting with Livre li·vre
1. See Table at currency.
2. A money of account formerly used in France and originally worth a pound of silver. pour quatour (1948-1949), continuing with the Third Piano Sonata Noun 1. piano sonata - a sonata for piano
sonata - a musical composition of 3 or 4 movements of contrasting forms (1956-1957) and second book of Structures (1956-1961) and culminating in Pli selon pli Pli selon pli (Fold by fold) is a piece of classical music by the French composer Pierre Boulez. It is for solo soprano and orchestra, and is based on the poems of Stéphane Mallarmé. At over an hour, it is Boulez' longest work. : Portrait de Mallarme (written between 19571962). Celestin Delirge comments:
Other poets (Char, Michaux, cummings) have "coloured" his work; other authors (Joyce, Pound, Eliot, Artaud) have on occasions deeply influenced the content. But, at the very moment when these writers are present in Boulez's work via the text or through another occurrence that is highly significant on the immanent level of aesthetic results ..., it is still the Mallarmean principle that is the most active. (Deliege in Glock 1986: 101)
The Third Piano Sonata has close conceptual links with Mallarme's last poem to be published, Un coup de des (A Throw of the Dice), which represented the culmination of many of the writer's poetic theories (Stacey 1987: 78) and also his preoccupation (like other French Symbolists) with emulating the condition of music. In Un coup de des Mallarme creates a graphic (musical) score "in which the placing of the words on the paper and the size of the lettering indicate to the reader the dynamic level and pitch at which the words should be spoken (Stacey 1987: 78). Mallarme's project, to reclaim for literature certain aspects of music (the "musication" of language), is outlined in an extended preface to the poem:
If the "transpositions to the Book of the Symphony" can be worked at and achieved, it is undeniably not from basic sonorities on the brass, the strings, the woodwind, but from the intellectual word at its apex, that Music, with fullness and clarity, as the entirety of relationships existing in everything, must result. (quoted in Deliege in Glock 1986: 106) (17)
Boulez, in his turn, reclaims for music certain aspects of the word and its non-linear structures. In "Current Trends", written in 1954, the composer demands "for music the right to parentheses See parenthesis.
parentheses - See left parenthesis, right parenthesis. and italics ... a concept of discontinuous time made up of structures which interlock instead of remaining in airtight air·tight
1. Impermeable by air.
2. Having no weak points; sound: an airtight excuse.
1. compartments" (1991: 19); (18) in "Alea" (1957) he argues for the qualified use of chance in composition, allowing for "mobile elements capable of adapting to fixed structures" (1991: 33-34). In "Sonate, que me veux-tu?", an essay in which he acknowledges the extensive literary affiliations of the Third Piano Sonata, (19) he documents his response to Mallarme's notes on his projected Livre: "I found that all my ideas and the objectives I had set myself after Le coup de des were identical with those that Mallarme had pursued and formulated but never had time to explore to the full" (Boulez  1986: 147).
Mallarme's Livre is made of loose leaves which could be read successively or independently, and reassembled and reconstructed in any order. Again Foucault characterises this strategy memorably, writing of Mallarme that he "was constantly effacing himself from his own language, to the point of not wishing to figure in it except as an executant ex·ec·u·tant
One who performs or carries out, especially a skilled performer: The dancer is the choreographer's executant.
Noun 1. in a pure ceremony of the Book in which the discourse would compose itself" (1970: 306). Boulez's Third Piano Sonata emulates Mallarme's proposed Livre by opening the sequence of performance to the vicissitudes vicissitudes
changes in circumstance or fortune [Latin vicis change]
vicissitudes npl → vicisitudes fpl; peripecias fpl of an unbound unbound
said of electrolytes, e.g. iron and calcium, and other substances which are circulating in the bloodstream and are not bound to plasma proteins so that they are available immediately for metabolic processes. See also calcium, iron. dossier: (20)
[T]he essentially literary nature of [Boulez's] approach is revealed by the layouts of the two printed formants, Trope and Constellation-Miroir. The former is a ring-bound sheaf of four items to be played in various possible orders--a "Texte" which is the subject of a "Parenthese", "Commentaire" and "Glose", while Constellation-Miroir (... the retrograde of a notional Constellation) sprinkles fragments over several large pages, and so recalls the appearance of Mallarme's Un coup de des .... (Griffiths 1995: 106)
Like Mallarme, Boulez captures (musical) language, attempting to reach it and animate it in advance of its content, meaning and logical, sensible form; in Deleuzian terms, he plucks it diagonally away from its false embodiments in melody and harmony so as to allow it to scintillate for a moment in another condition, another mode of being, as the enonce. As a device for eliciting the statement, the Sonata No. 3 sets out the scheme of actions that we associate with language in advance of language itself: the fabric of the piece is formed from a collision of chance and rhetoric, determined by Boulez in such a way that whatever music occurs within the structural framework, it is unable to reassemble re·as·sem·ble
v. re·as·sem·bled, re·as·sem·bling, re·as·sem·bles
1. To bring or gather together again: reassembled the band for a reunion tour.
2. itself into the anecdotal, the expressive or the indicative.
Boulez's large work for soprano and orchestra, Pli selon pli, is a gigantic and complex tribute to (and portrait of) Mallarme, based on three existing pieces--Improvisations sur Mallarme--preceded and followed by two new movements. These outer edifices symbolise the birth and death of a poet (Mallarme and Verlaine respectively) "and stand too for the birth and death inherent in art: the birth of the creative impulse, and its death to the artist once it has been expressed" (Griffiths 1995: 109). All the poems with the exception of "Don du poeme" are sonnets and Boulez uses them as structural grids (as he does their syllabic syl·lab·ic
a. Of, relating to, or consisting of a syllable or syllables.
b. Pronounced with every syllable distinct.
2. symmetries) on which to hook his serialist procedure and mobile performance choices; "if we take into account the perfect, closed structure of the sonnet sonnet, poem of 14 lines, usually in iambic pentameter, restricted to a definite rhyme scheme. There are two prominent types: the Italian, or Petrarchan, sonnet, composed of an octave and a sestet (rhyming abbaabba cdecde as such", he writes, "we find that the musical form is already determined" (Boulez  1986:175).
Although more conventional in its actual setting of words than Le marteau sans maitre, the work once again approaches the notion of text as "centre and absence". The first movement uses only the first line of "Don du poeme" (one of Mallarme's first published poems), placing it right at the beginning of the work; the last movement sets only the last line of the poet's epitaph epitaph, strictly, an inscription on a tomb; by extension, a statement, usually in verse, commemorating the dead. The earliest such inscriptions are those found on Egyptian sarcophagi. for Verlaine, "Tombeau" (A Late Poem), placing it at the very end of the piece and hence the work as a whole. Of the three improvisations, (21) two are settings of complete poems. Boulez writes that "[t]he first and last pieces are ... entirely independent of the poem, which appears only in the form of quotation" ( 1986:174).
The title Pli selon pli comes from Mallarme's sonnet, "Rememoration d'amis beiges", although he does not set the poem itself. Boulez writes in his note to the Columbia recording of the work:
The title ... indicates the meaning and direction of the work. In the poem in question, the words "pli selon pli" are used by the poet to describe the way in which the mist, as it disperses, gradually reveals the architecture of the city of Bruges. In a similar manner, the development of the five pieces reveals, "fold upon fold" a portrait of Mallarme himself. (Boulez 1986: 176)
Pli selon pli thus emerges not only as an extrapolation (mathematics, algorithm) extrapolation - A mathematical procedure which estimates values of a function for certain desired inputs given values for known inputs.
If the desired input is outside the range of the known values this is called extrapolation, if it is inside then or transcription of the Third Piano Sonata but an exercise in setting the original Trois improvisations sur Mallarme in its own commentary: it is an "unfolding" through the adding of panels so as to exemplify the action of folding that Mallarme makes into the armature armature, in art: see sculpture.
That part of an electric rotating machine which includes the main current-carrying winding. of his poem and his "design" for the Livre. (22) Boulez uses this action to invent forms that can literally and metaphorically create variation by folding. As is the case with Le marteau sans maftre, text and music operate in a relationship of commentary and analysis to each other, a kind of "grafting" onto the literary form of the sonnet, "of a proliferation of music sprouting from an equally strict form". "[T]his enabled me", writes Boulez, "to transcribe To copy data from one medium to another; for example, from one source document to another, or from a source document to the computer. It often implies a change of format or codes. into musical terms forms that I had never thought of and which are derived from the literary forms he himself used" (Boulez quoted in Deliege & Boulez  1976: 94).
The result is perhaps best understood as a kind of Foucauldian archaeology in that it shows the common conditions of possibility used by Mallarme to generate words and by Boulez to generate notes; music and text endlessly but obliquely explicate each other. Boulez treats his chosen texts not as "monuments", but as "intensities", as Foucault observes, "points on the other side of the screen" through which he punches his own intensity.
When he focused closely on a given work, rediscovering its dynamic principle, on the basis of a decomposition that was as subtle as possible, [Boulez] was not trying to make a monument; he was attempting to traverse it, to "pass through" it, to undo it with an action such that the present itself might move as a result (Foucault  1998: 243).
Mallarme's project (embodying his critique, the relation of words to things) was utopian in its attempt to map the limits of language from within, excluding subjectivity and experience, and proposing rhetoric as a guiding form before content; it was a project that was not--and could not be--realised in an age in which language and thought remained inconceivable outside the register of signs, forms and history. Boulez reactivated this project almost a century later, proposing it in radically formalist musical terms: where Mallarme proposed the spatialisation of language, Boulez proposed the spatialisation of time sequence. Pli selon pli, and also the Third Piano Sonata perhaps thus capture some aspect of the condition of language of which Mallarme dreamed and which Foucault later predicted but could not characterise after the disappearance of man.
8 Passing (Punching) through a Screen
The metaphor "passing [or punching] through a screen" (borrowed from Jean Genet's play Les paravents) (Foucault 1998: 244) inhabits Boulez's Mallarmean settings vividly. However, Foucault doubtless intended it to operate across the broader sphere of Boulez's work not only in composition but in interpreting and conducting an orchestral repertoire that had also become stifled by overdetermined Overdetermined can refer to
(2) To test the condition or status of a terminal or computer system. the works of the past--Debussy, Ravel and later Wagner--and interpret them in relation to constructivist con·struc·tiv·ism
A movement in modern art originating in Moscow in 1920 and characterized by the use of industrial materials such as glass, sheet metal, and plastic to create nonrepresentational, often geometric objects. principles, elevating them to the modern.
Seeing works from the musical canon, as he did his chosen texts, not as monuments but as "points of intensity that were also objects 'to consider'" ( 1998: 244), points on the other side of the screen, he discovered in them glimmerings of his own project. In Debussy he found an ability "to reject any formal organization that pre-exists the work in hand" and an "elliptical el·lip·tic or el·lip·ti·cal
1. Of, relating to, or having the shape of an ellipse.
2. Containing or characterized by ellipsis.
a. pulverization pulverization
in dentistry, high-speed burs may be used to remove root fragments that cannot be extracted or are ankylosed. of the language" ( 1991: 215-216). Wagner in time yielded up to him a labyrinth of formalist relationships.
In his little essay on the 1976 Chereau/Boulez interpretation of Wagner's Ring cycle Foucault identifies Boulez as "the strictest and most creative heir of the Vienna School Vienna School refers to various schools of thought connected to Vienna, Austria.
v. en·trenched, en·trench·ing, en·trench·es
1. To provide with a trench, especially for the purpose of fortifying or defending.
2. extramusical meaning the essentially formalist function of the Wagnerian leitmotif leit·mo·tif also leit·mo·tiv
1. A melodic passage or phrase, especially in Wagnerian opera, associated with a specific character, situation, or element.
2. A dominant and recurring theme, as in a novel. , moulding it as " a flexible, ambiguous, proliferating structure, a developmental principle of a tonal world" (ibid.): Boulez, in his reading of Wagner, is able to bypass the web of accumulated meanings that have accrued to the epic Ring cycle and discover it once more in its syntactic density and complexity.
Boulez, like Foucault and Nietzsche, never assumed unities in culture or history, preferring to believe that each artwork introduced its own radically intrinsic order into the historical dimension--thus making an historical order that consists of these incommensurable in·com·men·su·ra·ble
a. Impossible to measure or compare.
b. Lacking a common quality on which to make a comparison.
a. dimensions. When he did confront the past in music, it was always with a belief that what he was doing in the present could change the past. The notion of "the fixed module" was, says Foucault in "Passing through the Screen", an illusion for Boulez; in his formalist operations, as a composer and an interpreter, he puts past and present "in perpetual motion Perpetual motion
The expression perpetual motion, or perpetuum mobile, arose historically in connection with the quest for a mechanism which, once set in motion, would continue to do useful work without an external source of energy or which would produce more relative to each other" ( 1998: 245), as he does poem and text. His intention is to disrupt the past in view of his own practice, and perpetually to interrogate it and bring it into the present. In the act of recreating Wagner's Ring, Foucault writes, "it was as if Boulez was retracing his own itinerary. And also the whole movement of a century of modern music ..." ( 1998: 237).
Again the model is strongly Foucauldian. Foucault's own project was to rewrite the past differently, then to come back to the present to interrogate it more deeply; "punching through the screen" of conventional meaning and experience, dispersed language and subjectivity, so as to be able to discover the forms of rationality that have produced present conditions of "labour, life and language".
9 Conclusion: "The Strength for Breaking the Rules with the Act That Brings Them into Play"--Boulez and Foucault
At the heart of Foucault's essay on Boulez is his admiration for the composer's radical formalism, his ability to annihilate an·ni·hi·late
v. an·ni·hi·lat·ed, an·ni·hi·lat·ing, an·ni·hi·lates
a. To destroy completely: The naval force was annihilated during the attack. the prevailing linguistic and experiential structures in music in a defiant yet utopian act of anarchism anarchism (ăn`ərkĭzəm) [Gr.,=having no government], theory that equality and justice are to be sought through the abolition of the state and the substitution of free agreements between individuals. . And yet, while Boulez remains deeply concerned with formal procedure, Foucault concludes, he does not insist that his is a method, a way of doing things, an explication. Boulez's work, like Foucault's own, is at the same time creative and analytical: "[W]hat he expected of thought was precisely that it always enable him to do something different from what he was doing" (1998: 244). "What is the role of thought, then, in what one does", Foucault asks, "if it is to be neither a mere savoir-faire nor pure theory?" His immediate and unequivocal answer: "Boulez shows what it is--to supply the strength for breaking the rules with the act that brings them into play" (ibid.).
The strength with which Foucault credits Boulez in his ability to work and make decisions between the defined positions of savoir and pure theory ( 1998: 244), is precisely the strength that enabled Foucault himself to see the inevitability of his own path in an account of the history of knowledge.
Austin, William 1966 Music in the Twentieth Century: From Debussy through Stravinsky. London: W.W. Norton.
Blanchot, Maurice Blanchot, Maurice (mōrēs` bläNshō`), 1907–2003, French novelist and literary critic. One of the first intellectuals in France to be interested in questions of language and meaning, he was an important influence on French 1987 Foucault as I Imagine Him. In: Foucault: Blanchot. New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : Zone, pp. 63-109.
Boulez, Pierre Boulez, Pierre (pyĕr blĕz`), 1925–, French composer and conductor. 1971 Boulez on Music Today, translated by Susan Bradshaw & Richard Rodney Bennett. London: Faber & Faber.
1986 Orientations: Collected Writings of Pierre Boulez, translated by Martin Cooper Martin Cooper (born December 26, 1926 in Chicago) is considered the father of the cell phone (as distinct from the car phone).  Cooper is the CEO and founder of ArrayComm, a company that works on researching smart antenna technology and improving wireless networks, , edited by Jean-Jacques Nattiez Jean-Jacques Nattiez (born December 30 1945, Amiens, France) is a musical semiologist or semiotician and professor of Musicology at the Université de Montréal. He studied semiology with Georges Mounin and Jean Molino and music semiology (doctoral) with Nicolas Ruwet. . London: Faber & Faber.
1991 Schoenberg Is Dead. Reprinted in Stocktakings of an Apprenticeship. Oxford: Clarendon, pp. 209-214.
1991 Stocktakings of an Apprenticeship, translated by Stephen Walsh Stephen Walsh (1859 – March 16 1929) was a Labour Party MP and a member of the Lloyd George Coalition Government as a Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of National Service in 1917 and then Parliamentary Secretary to the Local Government Board from 1917 to 1919. . Oxford: Clarendon.
Deliege, Celestin & Boulez, Pierre 1976 Pierre Boulez: Conversations with Celestin Deliege. London: Eulenburg.
Couzens Hoy Hoy, island, 13 mi (21 km) long and 6 mi (9.7 km) wide, off N Scotland, second largest of the Orkney Islands. It is located at the southwestern side of the Scapa Flow anchorage. , David (ed.) 1986 Foucault: A Critical Reader. London: Blackwell.
Deleuze, Gilles Deleuze, Gilles
(born Jan. 18, 1925, Paris, France—died Nov. 4, 1995, Paris) French antirationalist philosopher and literary critic. He began his study of philosophy at the Sorbonne in 1944 and was appointed to the faculty there in 1957; he later taught at the 1988 Foucault. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press.
Deleuze, Gilles & Guattari, Felix 1993 Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism & Schizophrenia, translated by Brian Massumi Brian Massumi is an academic, writer and social critic. He teaches in the Communication Department of the Université de Montréal. Massumi focuses on the philosophies of communication, electronic art, computer-aided design, architecture and the virtual. . Minneapolis & London: Minnesota University Press.
1994 Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism & Schizophrenia, translated by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem & Helen R. Lane. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press.
Faubion, James D. (ed.) 1998 Aesthetics, Method and Epistemology: Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984. Vol. 2, translated by A.M. Sheridan Smith Sheridan Smith (born 25 June 1981 in Epworth, North Lincolnshire) is an English actress.
She is perhaps best known for playing Janet Keogh (née Smith) in the BBC sitcom Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps. . London: Penguin.
Foucault, Michel Foucault, Michel, 1926–84, French philosopher and historian. He was professor at the Collège de France (1970–84). He is renowned for historical studies that reveal the sometimes morally disturbing power relations inherent in social practices.  1970 The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. London & New York: Tavistock.
 1972 The Archaeology of Knowledge, translated by A. M. Sheridan Smith. London & New York: Tavistock.
 1998a The Father's "No". In: Faubion (1998: 5-20).
 1998b Speaking and Seeing in Raymond Roussel Raymond Roussel (Paris, January 20, 1877 - Palermo, July 14, 1933) was a French poet, novelist, playwright, musician, chess enthusiast, neurasthenic, and drug addict. Through his novels, poems, and plays he exerted a profound influence on certain groups within 20th century French . In: Faubion (1998: 21-32).
 1998a The Thought of the Outside. In: Faubion (1998: 147-170).
 1998b The Order of Things. In: Faubion (1998: 261-268).
 1998a Nietzsche, Freud, Marx. In: Faubion (1998: 269-2780.
 1998b Nietzsche, Genealogy genealogy (jē'nēŏl`əjē, –ăl`–, jĕ–), the study of family lineage. Genealogies have existed since ancient times. , History. In: Faubion (1998:269-392).
 1998 What is an Author? In: Faubion (1998: 205-222).
 1998 The Imagination of the Nineteenth Century. In: Faubion (1998: 235240).
 1998 Pierre Boulez: Passing through the Screen. In: Faubion (1998: 241244).
 1998 Structuralism and Post-Structuralism. In: Faubion (1998: 433-458).
 1998 Life, Experience and Science. In: Faubion (1998: 456-478).
 1998 Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology: Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984. Vol. 2, translated by Robert Hurley et al., edited by James D. Faubion. London: Penguin.
Foucault, Michel & Boulez, Pierre 1985 Contemporary Music and the Public. Perspectives of New Music 24(1): 6-12.
Gane, Mike (ed.) 1986 Towards a Critique of Foucault. London & New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Glock, William (ed.) 1986 Pierre Boulez: A Symposium. London: Eulenburg.
Griffiths, Paul 1995 Modern Music and After: Directionss Since 1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Heyworth, Peter 1986 The First Fifty Years. In: Glock, William (ed.) Pierre Boulez: A Symposium. London: Eulenburg.
Levi-Strauss, Claude [196411969 The Raw and the Cooked, translated by John & Doreen Weightman. London: Jonathan Cape.
Macey, David 1993 The Lives of Michel Foucault. London: Random House.
Megill, Allan 1987 Prophets of Extremity: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida. Berkeley: University of California Press "UC Press" redirects here, but this is also an abbreviation for University of Chicago Press
University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. .
Nattiez, Jean-Jacques (ed.) 1994 The Boulez-Cage Correspondence, translated by R. Samuels. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (known colloquially as CUP) is a publisher given a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1534, and one of the two privileged presses (the other being Oxford University Press). .
Peyser, Joan 1976 Boulez: Conductor, Composer, Enigma. London: Cassell, pp. 3-39.
Rabinow, Paul (ed.) 1984 The Foucault Reader. London: Penguin.
Stacey, Peter F. 1987 Boulez and the Modern Concept. Aldershot: Scolar.
(1.) My thanks to Peter Delaporte for the many hours spent talking about aesthetic modernism and the respective projects of Boulez and Foucault. This paper could not have been written without his many insights and suggestions.
(2.) See Michel Foucault and Pierre Boulez, "La Musique La Musique is a private institution established in 1985 in Paarl, South Africa. External links
CNAC Canadian Network for Asthma Care
CNAC Cisco Network Admission Control
CNAC Car Now Acceptance Company
CNAC Center for Naval Analyses Corporation (Alexandria, VA) Magazine 15, May-June 1983, 1.10; in translation in Perspectives of New Music (see References).
(3.) Boulez's aggressive relation to history is further borne out by statements such as the following:
The strongest civilizations are those without memory--those capable of complete forgetfulness. They are strong enough to destroy because they know they can replace what is destroyed. Today our musical civilization is not strong; it shows clear signs of withering. (Boulez quoted by Peyser 1976: 19)
The more I grow the more I detach myself from other composers, not only from the distant past but also from the recent past and even from the present (ibid.).
I shall be the first composer in history not to have a biography (ibid.).
(4.) On announcing his invention, Arnold Schoenberg wrote triumphantly: "I have discovered something that will assure supremacy for German music for the next hundred years" (quoted by Austin 1966: 294-295).
(5.) Ernst Krenek Ernst Krenek (August 23 1900 – December 22 1991) was an Austrian-born composer of Czech ancestry; throughout his life he insisted that his name be written Krenek rather than Křenek, and that it should be pronounced as a German word. was a student of Schoenberg's in Germany and later America, and himself initially a serial composer and theorist.
(6.) Boulez's essay "Schoenberg is Dead", written after the composer's death in 1951, was received with outrage; however it is correct in its analysis of Schoenberg's method as being still tied to tonal habits and structures:
Moreover, the confusion between theme and series in Schoenberg's serial works is sufficiently expressive of his inability to envisage the world of sound brought into being by serialism. For him dodecaphony is nothing more than a rigorous means for controlling chromaticism; beyond its role as regulator, the serial phenomenon passed largely unnoticed by Schoenberg. What then was his main ambition once a chromatic synthesis--or safety net--had been established by serialism? To create works of the same nature as those of the old sound-world which he had only just abandoned, works in which the new technique would "prove itself". But how could the new technique be properly tested if one took now trouble to find specifically serial structures? And by structure I mean everything from the generating of the component materials right up to the global architecture of the work. In a word, Schoenberg never concerned himself with the logical connection between serial forms as such and derived structure. (Boulez 1991: 212)
(7.) The periodical, Die Reihe Die Reihe was an influential German-language music journal, edited by Herbert Eimert and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and published by Universal Edition (Vienna) between 1955 and 1962 (ISSN 0486-3267). , became the place where detailed analyses (olden old·en
Of, relating to, or belonging to time long past; old or ancient: olden days.
[Middle English : old, old; see old + -en, adj. by the composers themselves) of serial works and the concepts which underlay them were published.
(8.) The question of music's inherently anti-representational status and its use of the devices of representation in an illusionistie way have occupied theorists within and also outside the discipline over the centuries. Within the Western canon, it is particularly the system of tonality that is examined for its denotative de·no·ta·tive
1. Denoting or naming; designative.
2. Specific or direct: denotative and connotative meanings. value, and hence its ability to produce affect and be structured in epic forms. And it is precisely this exemplifying, denotative system functional harmony--that serialists wanted to cut away from. In his works of the 1950s, Boulez was trying to rid his music of (the illusion of) anecdote, narrative, epic form.
(9.) These lectures were published as Penser la musique aujourd'hui in 1963 and translated into English in 1971 under the title Boulez on Music Today.
(10.) Amplifying this image of sterility, he continues later in this first Darmstadt lecture:
When the serial principle was first applied to all the components of sound, we were thrown bodily, or rather headlong, into a cauldron of figures, recklessly mixing mathematics and elementary arithmetic.... Moreover, by dint of "preorganisation" and "precontrol" of the material, total absurdity was let loose; numerous distributions-tables necessitated almost as many correction-tables, and hence a ballistics of notes; to produce valid results, everything had to be rectified! In fact the basic "magic squares" were related to an ideal material ... without any thought of contingencies--donkey work--of any kind: rhythmic organisation disregarded realisable metric relationships, structures of timbres scorned the registers and dynamics of instruments, dynamic principles paid no heed to balance, groups of pitches were unrelated to harmonic considerations or to the limits of tessitura. Each system, carefully worked out in its own terms, could only cohabit with the others through a miraculous coincidence. The works of this period also show an extreme inflexibility in all their aspects; elements in the "magic squares" which the composer, with his magic wand, forgot at the birth of the work, react violently against the foreign and hostile order forced upon them; they get their own revenge: the work does not achieve a conclusively coherent organisation; it sounds bad and its aggressiveness is not always intentional. (Boulez 1971: 25)
(11.) Like his mentors Merleau-Ponty and Sartre, Foucault was much more comfortable talking about literature and painting, and more easily able to locate them in modernity. Perhaps because painting always retains the taint taint
an unpleasant odor and flavor in a human foodstuff of animal origin. Caused by the ingestion of the substance, commonly a plant such as Hexham scent, or while in storage, e.g. milk stored with pineapples, or as a result of animal metabolism, e.g. boar taint. of representation, it is more easily read through other discourses. The paintings of Braque, Picasso, Mondrian, Klee and others, for all their apparent rejection of the Western classical language of painting, are never abstract in the way that music is; even in the absence of instantly recognisable representations, twentieth-century modernist painting still has virtual pictorial spaces, virtual images and a vast history and laboratory of illusion that cannot ultimately be expunged. Music, on the other hand, in its inherently non-representational status and privileged relation to mathematical procedure, occupies a place closer to pure thought, if more elusive in its sensual realisation than the other arts.
Interestingly, if not surprisingly, Boulez looked to the modernist painters of the previous generation--Cezanne, Kandinsky, Mondrian and Klee--as inspiration for his own move into the unknown: "[H]istory had been liquidated DAMAGES, LIQUIDATED, contracts. When the parties to a contract stipulate for the payment of a certain sum, as a satisfaction fixed and agreed upon by them, for the not doing of certain things particularly mentioned in the agreement, the sum so fixed upon is called liquidated damages. (q.v. by them and one had to think of oneself" (Boulez quoted by Peyser 1976: 27). Kandinsky mirrored Schoenberg (or vice versa VICE VERSA. On the contrary; on opposite sides. ) in his quest for Verb 1. quest for - go in search of or hunt for; "pursue a hobby"
quest after, go after, pursue
look for, search, seek - try to locate or discover, or try to establish the existence of; "The police are searching for clues"; "They are searching for the the spiritual beyond the limits of traditional representation (Boulez 1986: 344). Cezanne's works recalled Alban Berg in their complexity and detail (Peyser 1976: 50). However, it was Paul Klee Noun 1. Paul Klee - Swiss painter influenced by Kandinsky (1879-1940)
Klee who was closest to Boulez's own project, and endlessly fascinating in his Webern-like concentration of gesture. Boulez's original intention was to give the title "At the Edge of Fertile Land" to the first (rigorously formal) book of his two-piano work Structures. He writes:
This painting is mainly constructed of horizontal lines with a few oblique ones, so that it is very restricted in its invention. The first Structure was quite consciously composed in an analogous way ... I wanted to use the potential of a given material to find out how far automatism, in musical relationships would go, with individual invention appearing only in some very simple forms of disposition--in the manner of densities, for example. (Deliege & Boulez 1976: 55 quoted in Griffiths 1995: 38)
If Boulez found the abstract painters inspirational, their work is nevertheless representative of a very different genre with different internal laws. More easily assimilated into discourse, as Foucault points out, twentieth-century art and music differ in another respect too. Whereas the former seems, if anything, to make its sheer craft, its construction, more available to the viewer, the operations of serialism take place below the surface and are usually inaudible. In his published conversation with Boulez (based on the IRCAM public debate), Foucault comments:
[P]ainting, since Cezanne, has tended to make itself transparent to the very act of painting [sic]: the act is made visible, insistent, definitively present in the picture, whether it be by the use of elementary signs, or by trace of its own dynamic. Contemporary music on the contrary offers to its hearing only the outer surfaces of its composition. (Foucault & Boulez 1985: 6)
(12.) It is possible also within this context to make an analogy between the "homogeneous space In mathematics, in particular in the theory of Lie groups, algebraic groups and topological groups, a homogeneous space for a group G is a manifold or topological space X on which G " of propositions and the "language" of tonality:
Propositions refer vertically to axioms on a higher level which in turn determine certain constant and intrinsic factors and define a homogeneous system. The establishment of such homogeneous systems is indeed one of the conditions of linguistics. (Deleuze 1988: 5)
In serial logic tonality is replaced as an organisational principle by precompositional activity and the homogeneous space in which harmony operates (and which gives it its identity) is replaced by a multiple polyphonic The ability to play back some number of musical notes simultaneously. For example, 16-voice polyphony means a total of 16 notes, or waveforms, can be played concurrently. web (in which identity is carried in the tiniest detail) where notions of vertical and horizontal give way to a multidimensional spatiality.
(13.) It is interesting to note that Deleuze himself was fascinated by the Boulezian notion of striated striated /stri·at·ed/ (stri´at-ed) having stripes or striae.
having streaks or striae, e.g. striate retinopathy.
see brush border. time and writes about it at length in A Thousand Plateaus. It is thus abundantly clear that he was well acquainted with the Darmstadt lectures and equipped to apply them to the Foucauldian project. He also recognised the particular nature of the Boulezian interpretative (archaeological/historical) project, again introducing the concept of the diagonal dimension:
When Boulez casts himself in the role of historian of music, he does so in order to show how a musician, in a very different manner in each case, invents a kind of diagonal running between the harmonic vertical and the melodic horizon. And in each case it is a different diagonal, a different technique, a creation. Moving along this transversal line, which is really a line of deterritorialization, there is a sound block that no longer has a point of origin since it is always and already in the middle of the line; and no longer has horizontal and vertical coordinates, since it is in "nonpulsed time": a deterritorialized rhythmic block that has abandoned points, coordinates, and measure, like a drunken boat that melds with the line or draws a plane of consistency. Speeds and slowness inject themselves into musical form, sometimes impelling it to proliferation, linear microproliferations, and sometimes to extinction, sonorous abolition, involution, or both at once.... (Deleuze 1993: 296)
(14.) See Introduction and Chapters 1-3 of The Archaeology of Knowledge (1972).
(15.) Char's notion of a "verbal archipelago" compares the images of a poem to the islands of an archipelago;
it is possible to go from one island to another in any sequence and, each time, to accumulate a different set of experiences. The reader is a traveler among images; he may take any route and any conclusion is valid. The idea of the archipelago can be applied to poems, as well as to images or individual words. (Stacey 1987: 54)
(16.) The notion of "centre and absence" occurs in various analytical comments that Boulez made on his works from the second half of the 1950s. He acknowledges the origins of the phrase in Michaux's poem, "Entre centre et absence" (Boulez  1991: 40).
(17.) Various other appropriations from music as sound and also visual event occur as part of the poem and its typographical ty·pog·ra·phy
n. pl. ty·pog·ra·phies
a. The art and technique of printing with movable type.
b. The composition of printed material from movable type.
2. layout, including the "chordal chord·al
Of or relating to a chorda or cord. " presentation of themes on the page; i.e., the reader can look at the ideas not only consecutively but simultaneously (Stacey 1987: 78).
(18.) [M]usic at the present time unquestioningly possesses a larger repertory of possibilities and a vocabulary that is once again capable of universal concepts and universal comprehension. No doubt there are many improvements still to be made and it will take time for the language to become flexible and generally acceptable. Even so, all the essential discoveries have been made; there is no longer any questioning of direction and there is even a certain margin of security in the field of terminology, stylistically speaking. There is, however, one major task ahead--the total rethinking of the notion of form. It is quite clear that with a vocabulary in which periodicity periodicity /pe·ri·o·dic·i·ty/ (per?e-ah-dis´i-te) recurrence at regular intervals of time.
1. and symmetry are of diminishing importance and a morphology that is in constant evolution, formal criteria based on repetition of material are no longer applicable, since they have lost their strength and their cohesive power. This is the task that is plainly becoming increasingly urgent--restoring the parity between the formal powers of music and its morphology and syntax. Fluidity of form must be integrated with fluidity of syntax (Boulez 1986: 144).
(19.) In addition to Mallarme, Boulez refers also to James Joyce and Franz Kafka Noun 1. Franz Kafka - Czech novelist who wrote in German about a nightmarish world of isolated and troubled individuals (1883-1924)
Kafka . Of Joyce he writes:
It is not only that the organization of the narrative has been revolutionized. The novel observes itself qua novel, as it were, reflects on itself and is aware that it is a novel--hence the logic and coherence of the writer's prodigious technique, perpetually on the alert and generating universes that themselves expand. In the same way, music, as I see it, is not exclusively concerned with "expression", but must also be aware of itself and become the object of its own reflection. For me this is one of the primary essentials of the language of poetry, and has been since Mallarme, with whom poetry became an object in itself, justified in the first place by poetic research, in the true sense. (Boulez 1986: 144)
Boulez's terming of the Third Piano Sonata and all works after that as "works in progress" also comes from Joyce, although various commentators consider this a strategy on Boulez's part to prevent public critique of his music; the work, even when published, is not yet complete. Jean-Jacques Nattiez, in his introduction to Orientations, a compilation of Boulez's essays, writes:
There are very clear references ... to the different problems at the root of these unfinished works, chiefly among them being the crisis in the language of music after total serialism had proved a dead end (1949-1952) and the lack of technical means for adapting the actual sound material (whether electro-acoustic or instrumental) to Boulez's demands as a composer. The diagnosis was clear as long ago as 1954: "Get rid of a number of prejudices about a Natural Order; rethink our ideas about acoustics in the light of recent experiments; face the problems arising from electro-acoustics and electronic techniques--that is what we now need to do" (Releves d'apprenti, p. 185). And that, in fact, was to be the programme of IRCAM, though not until exactly twenty years later. In the meantime Boulez became a conductor. (Nattiez in Boulez 1986: 15-16)
Boulez refers to Kafka less frequently than Joyce or Mallarme, but he does compare his own attempts to introduce discontinuity into the musical work via the notion of a "labyrinth" or "maze" with "Kafka's procedure in his short story 'The Burrow'" (Boulez  1986:145).
(20.) Nevertheless Deliege points out that "despite their parallelism An overlapping of processing, input/output (I/O) or both.
1. parallelism - parallel processing.
2. (parallel) parallelism - The maximum number of independent subtasks in a given task at a given point in its execution. E.g. the Mallarme phenomenon and the Boulez phenomenon are independent of each other" (in Glock 1986) when it comes to the question of the mobility of the text. This could only have been the case given that
Boulez found himself faced with a historical predicament where the message lacked an internal direction imposed by a gravitational centre connected with language, thus implying that the ways of linking the parts of the discourse were becoming optional and introduced from outside, whereas Mallarme deliberately and a priori wanted a mobility that was not directly justified by language itself but which, through typographical artifice and actions directed towards form and context, he had created ex nihilo. (Deliege in Glock 1986: 104)
(21.) These movements are improvisations "only for Boulez himself as composer and, in their fluidity of tempo, as conductor", according to Paul Griffiths (1995: 109). It might be more accurate to call them variants rather than improvisations.
(22.) Mallarme found the intellectual provenance for his concept of the fold in Leibniz. Boulez observes, in writing about Pli selon pli, that Mallarme in his notes for the Livre project, called "the process from book to album an 'unfolding' and the reverse process a 'folding up'" (Boulez 1986: 147). Deleuze, presumably following on Boulez and Mallarme, has written extensively on the notions of folding and unfolding.