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This “comes not from their incomprehensibility,” which is a complaint one hears against them, “but from the fact that they are all too correctly understood.Their music gives form to that anxiety, that terror, that insight into the catastrophic situation which others merely evade by regressing” (547).This music makes us confront things we prefer to shrink from.
Schönberg also was recognized for being a teacher of composition (notably to Webern, Alban Berg, John Cage, etc.), a musical theorist, and an interesting painter.
(1) Explain, offer examples, and evaluate Adorno’s idea of the “regression of listening” wherein everything has become “commodity listening,” wherein music is “manipulated for reasons of marketability” (540). “As little as regressive listening is a symptom of progress in consciousness of freedom, it could suddenly turn around if art, in unity with the society, should ever leave the road of the always-identical” Theodor W.
(2) Explain, offer examples, and evaluate Adorno’s claim that commoditized culture so determines the objects of our fetishes and creates our “values,” that personal taste and feeling are no longer personal, no longer ours: “Music, with all the attributes of the ethereal and sublime which are so generously accorded it, serves in America today as an advertisement for commodities which one must acquire in order to be able to hear music” (541-2).
In the face of all of this, regressive music, Adorno explains, takes on a comic aspect.
The appearance of the seriousness barely covers the comic just beneath.