Editor’s Note – 1st issue
Peimot presents a window into the world of music and musicological research in the context of Israel’s contemporary cultural discourse. The periodical’s contributors are associated with the world of musicology: researchers and graduate students, composers, and performers. The articles are intended for a broad readership: for musicians, musicologists, and music lovers, for people from the world of literature, art, and cinema, and for scholars of culture and society.
Each one of the issues will focus on one theme, or two interrelated themes, in a way that will enable a broad array of thought and interpretation that illuminate the theme from different directions. In the first issue, there are six articles which discuss different kinds of movement from music to the threshold of other cultural spheres.
The articles are dedicated to a discussion of rhythm, a foundational component of music—both on the surface level and in the deepest layer of compositions—that gives musical pieces both an abstract and a tangible quality.
Pianist Michal Tal, in her article “Pedagogy in the Mirror of Time/ Pedagogy on the Axis of Time,” discusses rhythm in the context of educational work in music: “music is like an allegory for a life that moves on the axis of time.” Tal finds in pedagogical situations and in the musical learning process a unique space that features a “present consciousness” and the existence of “present time,” which is revealed in the reciprocity between the student and the teacher of an instrument.
Shoshana Zeevi, a Phd in Hebrew literature and a graduate student in musicology, writes about the rhythms of Yaakov Shabtai’s novel Zikhron Devarim (English title: Past Continuous). Her article clarifies how the twists and turns of time in the novel are organized in a long grammatical sentence whose components create a simultaneous relation between the events of the book, even though these events take place at different points in time. The long sentence begins at one point in time— in the present that is recounted—but does not bring this point to its close in the present, moving it instead to other points in time, in the past and in the future. What makes Zikhron Devarim unique is the rhythmical beat that simultaneously accompanies the flow of events and the the souls of its characters.
Musicologist and theorist Naftali Wagner writes in his article about the grand infinitude and the minute infinitude that can be found in Beethoven’s Sonata op.111. There are two kinds of music in the piece: the macrocosmic and the microcosmic. The first is symphonic in nature, sailing outward, toward the infinite stretches of the universe; the second—the variation—sails inward, toward the infinitely divided whole. Wagner quotes novelist Milan Kundera, who states that “a symphony is a musical epic,” and could thus be compared to a journey through the infinity of the outside world. In contrast to the symphony, the variation leads to endless internal diversity.
Beethoven discovered in the variations a different space and a different direction of movement. He moves away from the microcosmic theme; and in the final variation in the Sonata op.111, the theme is as similar to itself as a flower is to its image under a magnifying glass. Kundera uses this image in order to understand the internal depths of his characters in their struggle for aesthetic perfection, but the project gets out of hand — when things are infinite, any attempt to reach their end is destined to fail.
The composer Tzipi Fleischer writes about “Nathan Zach and the world of Rock” Two creators, poet and a singer-composer, have set new aesthetic standards in Israeli culture : Nathan Zach through his encounter with the images and free rhythms of imagist poetry, and Matti Caspi through his use of original musical idioms, which have added a distinct character to popular Israeli music since the 70s. Nathan Zach created a new poetic language that was supposedly close to the rhythm of daily life, and Matti Caspi created rhythmical patterns that disrupted the accepted rhythmical formulas of Israeli Rock.
In “The Understanding of Movement in Music,” Moti Adler, a PhD student in musicology, sheds light on the representations of bodily movement from a cognitive angle and seeks to create a connection between the representation of movement and the aesthetic aspect in musical composition. According to Adler, one can find in music both emotional and movement-physiological meanings; the body reacts in a motoric manner and gives meaning to the sequences of sound and to the aesthetics hidden in every musical piece.
Yonatan Bar-Yoshafat, a PhD student in musicology, raises in his article “The Canon at the Shopping Mall: Defending Criticism from its Critics” questions regarding music’s place in consumer culture, the individual’s ability to express his freedom in our technological age, and the belief that education does indeed carry a humanistic message. Bar-Yoshafat examines both traditionalist worldviews that present clear aesthetic positions and relativistic worldviews that are common in the postmodern age.