<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

*
*
Music and Genes

Dusk in Autumn suggests here and here that human groups with high spatial intelligence will tend to produce music that is harmonic rather than melodic:

" Last year I wrote up some suggestive evidence that in order for a group's musical style to emphasize harmony (or the "vertical" aspect of music), a necessary but not sufficient condition was a cognitive profile that either was lopsided toward Spatial rather than Verbal IQ or was balanced. "

The Chinese are generally understood to have a high spatial IQ relative to verbal IQ, as Dusk in Autumn himself notes, and yet, as this article indicates:

" All traditional Chinese music is melodic rather than harmonic. "

Dusk in Autumn apparently recognises that the Chinese case does not provide evidence for his theory.

Another way of looking at the problem is to note that melody includes a " ... succession [which contains] ... change of some kind and [is] perceived as a single entity ... to be called a melody. Most specifically this includes patterns of changing pitches and durations ... " and, as already noted, Chinese music is " ... melodic rather than harmonic. Chinese vocal music probably developed from sung poems and verses with music. "

It is not hard to imagine that a tonal language like Chinese would predipose towards a melodic style of music. In fact, an interesting piece of recent evidence suggests that a capacity to speak using tonal languages like Chinese may vary to some extent based on some brain development genes. I wonder if this genetic tendency towards tonal expression might explain the melodic rather than harmonic emphasis of Chinese music.

Julian

|
*
*
Why Traditional Catholicism? Ten good reasons

Acute observers will have noted that this blog is part of a blog ring for Traditional Catholics, although I post on lots of things and don't consider this to be a religion blog in any sense.

However, just to prove my Traditionalist (Latin Mass) credentials, here are my Top Ten Reasons why it is better to be a Traditional Catholic and attend a Latin Mass:

1. No icky, yukky "Kiss of Peace".

2. Sermons on religion.

3. Silent women.

4. No "inclusive language creep".

5. No altar girls.

6. No going up to receive communion as if it were a high school diploma.

7. A sacred text that goes back into the mists of time, not into the fog of the Sixties.

8. No "Sundays in Ordinary Time".

9. No dumb vestments.

10. No dumb hymns (or, if they are dumb, they are at least old and dumb).


Julian

|

Thursday, May 24, 2007

*
*
Blog uproar in America over immigration

Pat Buchanan's comment.

A quote:

" What is happening to us? An immigrant invasion of the United States from the Third World, as America's white majority is no longer even reproducing itself. Since Roe v. Wade, America has aborted 45 million of her children. And Asia, Africa and Latin America have sent 45 million of their children to inherit the estate the aborted American children never saw. God is not mocked. "

Or, to put it another way, "ideas have consequences".

Julian

|

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

*
*
Addition to blogroll

I have added Vox's blog, Vox Popoli to my blogroll. I have heartily enjoyed reading most of what he has written. He writes a lot about marriage in a way which reminds me of the approach to understanding male and female attraction from the point of view of evolutionary psychology, although I gather he is not an evolutionist. Nevertheless, the discussion of, for example, sexual conflict and attraction in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" in this book, Literary Darwinism, is a nice counterpart to Vox's writings.

I like "Literary Darwinism", but I think the author, Joseph Carroll, spends too much time establishing theory and background and not enough on applying evolutionary thinking to actual literary texts. Which is ironic because Carroll wants to move away from the sterility of most modern literary theory. It is not surprising that Carroll can find Darwinian themes in "Pride and Prejudice"; although I do wonder how well his theorising would succeed with Dostoevsky, for example.

Vox's theory, like Carroll's, leads to the view that life and literature follow big basic themes, such as that women are attracted to "alpha males". And that men seek pretty younger women and women seek older men with resources. (By the way, some people were a bit upset by my recent post on male attraction to pretty girls. A point they forget is that beauty is not just "skin deep" but is a sign of health, fertility and "good genes". I was not surprised to see a reference to a recent study that found that parents actually spend more time caring for their more attractive children.)

Julian

|

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

*
*
The French ...

... threaten to riot after Nicolas Teacosy defeats Segolene Royale-with-cheese.


Julian

|

Saturday, May 05, 2007

*
*
More on CS Lewis, Warnie Lewis, pretty girls and Catholics

I should correct the statement in my previous post that Warnie [Warren] Lewis, the brother of famous writer CS Lewis, himself gained a Double First at Oxford. I think that was CS Lewis only. Not to say that Warnie Lewis wasn't a clever man, but he basically trained to be a soldier, choosing the rather dull-sounding Royal Army Service Corps. I gather that he was involved in logistics and supply in the First World War, and did come close to death, by his own account, from enemy shelling.

It's Saturday morning. The ladies of the house are doing the laundry. Normally I would have taken my six year old son to his music class, and then to a much-needed haircut. But I am feeling a bit unwell and have given myself the morning off. I have nearly finished Warnie Lewis' diaries, which do contain some of the intimate domestic touches I had hoped for, but there are a lot of excisions, which always leave me wondering what I am missing.

Warnie never married. I don't think he was a homosexual, since he noticed women. He writes at one point that, unless sexually interested in them, he finds most women boring. So, a bachelor. At one point he refers to a girl as the most beautiful he ever saw. I can remember some very pretty girls, but I can't say one stands out above all others.

On the subject of pretty girls, why do so many highly eligible young men these days marry such dumpy, unattractive women? I can think of several young men, of pleasant appearance and good character, very well educated and with promising careers, who have married quite graceless girls. I don't get it. Admittedly, they are not the most exciting men, and perhaps they are lacking in confidence, but I don't think I had more to offer and I made damn sure that I married a cute girl.

It's a mystery.

I found Warnie Lewis' attitude to Catholics fascinating. I have given up expecting intellectual consistency from anyone, even from myself, but Warnie Lewis on Catholics was really strange. On the one hand he was a Protestant Ulsterman, and writes of "bograts" (Irish Catholics). On the other hand, he had Catholic friends like JRR Tolkien ("some of my best friends are Catholics"!). And he spent time at Catholic monasteries, and loved staying with the nuns at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Ireland to recuperate from the stresses of his later life, not the least of which was an Irish love of strong drink.

Julian

|

Thursday, May 03, 2007

*
*
Brothers and Friends

Despite what Amazon Books seem to think, "Brothers and Friends" is not by the famous CS Lewis, but by his brother Warren. Still, Warren was a great fan of his brother and his work, and this diary has long been mined for information and insight into his more famous brother. I have wanted to get a copy of Warren Lewis's diary for years, and I only recently secured a second-hand copy, none too cheaply.

What have I learned? One thing is that, as I had feared, the American editors have pruned the diary very thoroughly. This is typical of modern books - no depth. I partly wanted the diary as a period piece, as a picture of the life of a household of the intellectual middle class in mid-20th century England. But most of that mundane but intriguing detail has probably been "left on the cutting room floor". What else? I hadn't realised how clever Warren Lewis was himself. Not only did he write several books of French history, but he had obtained a Double First at Oxford, no mean achievement. One further small point is worth mentioning. Foppish English critic, AN Wilson, has taxed the Inklings (CS Lewis and his Oxford friends) with having believed that even Shakespeare was nothing compared with the brilliance of the Inklings, relying on a reference in Warren Lewis' diary. However it is clear in context that Warren Lewis just happened not to like Shakespeare - his personal view only. It was not some kind of official Inklings opinion. Another thing about AN Wilson. He describes Warren Lewis as "a clear case of arrested development". This is about a man, Major Warren Lewis, who fought in the First World War and volunteered for the Second. And the critic, AN Wilson, is nothing but a nebulous numpty.

Julian

|

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?