Eight Ways to Listen to Beethoven Options

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More options Jan 18, 10:32 am
I. As for music – where did we first hear it, who sang or hummed to
us, and against what part of her body were we held? - Prometheus
Rising (revised edition), pg. 48.
II. We are not talking about mere increase in linear IQ – third-
circuit semantic cleverness. We are talking of also the kinds of
right-brain intelligence that Nicholl acquired from Jungian
neurogenetic research and Gurdjieff’s meta-programming techniques. We
are talking of say, Beethoven’s intelligence, which so disturbed
Lenin, who could not bear to listen to the Appassionata (Sonata 23)
because it made him “want to weep and pat people on the head, and we
mustn’t pat them on the head, we must hit them on the head, hit them
hard, and make them obey.” More of Beethoven’s intelligence is
needed, desperately, to create a signal that the current Lenins cannot
ignore, that will make them weep, and stop hitting heads. – Ibid, pg.
III. The left-handed, on the contrary, specialize in right-brain
functions, which are holistic, supra-verbal, “intuitive,” musical and
“mystical.” Leonardo, Beethoven and Nietzsche, for instance, were all
left-handed. Traditionally, left-handed people have been the subject
of both dread and awe – regarded as weird, shamanic, and probably in
special communication with “God” or “the Devil.” – Ibid, pg. 98 – 99.
IV. “To me, the Hammerklavier sounds like an unsuccessful
attempt at Tantric sex. And the Seventh and Eighth Symphonies sound
like monumentally successful attempts.” - Frank Dashwood in
Schrödinger’s Cat Trilogy, pg. 426.
V. Beethoven, we remember, was left-handed. Since the left
hand is neurologically linked to the polymorphous right brain, one
might say he was genetically inclined to right brain activities, that
is, to sensing coherent wholes, to plunging into neurosomatic bliss
almost “at will,” and to sensory-sensual raptness and rapture.
Everybody “knows” that the Sixth Symphony is “pantheistic,” but
whether Beethoven was an ideological pantheist or not, that way of
responding to nature is normal and natural right-brain Circuit V
functioning. That is, anybody on the Fifth Circuit will “talk like a
pantheist” whether or not he has developed a “philosophy” about
pantheism. The miracle of Beethoven is not that he felt the universe
that way – a few thousand fifth-circuit types throughout history have
also felt and sensed nature that way – but that he mastered the third-
circuit art of music with such skill that he could communicate such
experiences, which is precisely what the ordinary “mystic” cannot
do. - Prometheus Rising, pg. 183.
This progression, from primate emotion to post-hominid tranquility,
from “man” to “super man,” is the Next Step that mystics forever talk
of; you can hear it in most of Beethoven’s later, major
compositions. – Ibid, pg. 188.
VI. Beethoven, to cite him one more time, said, “Anybody who
understands my music will never be unhappy again.” That is because
his music is the song of the Sixth Circuit, of Gaia, the Life Spirit,
becoming conscious of Herself, of Her powers, of Her own capacities
for infinite progress. - Ibid, pg. 204.
VII. Mind and its contents are functionally identical: My wife
only exists, for me, in my mind. Not being a solipsist, I recognize
the converse: I only exist, for her, in her mind. Lest the reader
exclaim, like Byron of Wordsworth, “I wish he would explain his
explanation!”, let us try it this way: If I am so fortunate as to be
listening to the Hammerklavier sonata, the only correct answer, if you
ask me suddenly, “Who are you?” would be to hum the Hammerklavier,.
For, with music of that quality, one is hypnotized into rapt
attention: there is no division between “me” and “my experience.” -
Ibid, pg. 219.
VIII. Mystics stammer, gibber and rave incoherently in trying to
discuss this. Beethoven says it for them, without words, in the
fourth movement of the Ninth Symphony. The words of Schiller’s “Ode
to Joy,” which Beethoven set to this virtually superhuman music, are a
linear third-circuit map conveying only a skeleton key to the multi-
level meanings of the 8-circuit “language” of the melodic construction
itself, which spans all consciousness from primitive bio-survival to
meta-physiological cosmic fusion. – Ibid, pg. 269

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More options Jan 18, 2:52 pm
On Jan 18, 10:32 am, Psmith wrote:

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More options Jan 21, 12:55 pm
On Jan 18, 10:32 am, Psmith wrote:

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Great compilation! Thanks.
Mind if I add another? This jumped out at me when I first read it and
has since become one of my favorite RAW moments.
From Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy: The Homing Pigeons. Two pages after IV
from the list above. pg. 428
The music hammered and surged along, carrying her through pain and
frustration and loneliness to land, again and again, at things beyond
such simple feelings, things that she sometimes felt were
extraterrestrial or non-Euclidean or somehow beyond normal human
perception. There are some kinds of knowledge, Ludwig had once
claimed, that can only be expressed in music, not in any other art,
not in science or philosophy. This was the most arcane of such
knowledge, Ludwig's most intimate secret, and maybe you weren't
entitled to understand it until you had been to the strange dark
places of the psyche out of which he had created it.

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More options Jan 22, 11:52 am
Great addition. In 2010 I began a listening project, listening to
each of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas 11 times. This led me to the
compilation I posted on Bob's birthday. I've made it up to the eighth

Cleveland Okie
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More options Jan 23, 12:51 pm
On Jan 22, 2:52 pm, Psmith wrote:
> Great addition. In 2010 I began a listening project, listening to
> each of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas 11 times. This led me to the
> compilation I posted on Bob's birthday. I've made it up to the eighth
> sonata.

OK, I'll bite! Why 11 times? Which pianist are you relying upon? Are
you listening to them in order, i.e., 1, 2, 3, etc.?

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More options Jan 23, 2:48 pm
Well, I've found myself thinking about music and media. Before
recorded music, people tended to dance to live music or listen to live
music, but with the coming of recording we tend to have music on in
the background and not give it our full attention. I know I like to
have music playing most of the time, but I rarely give it my full
attention. In 2009 we had a reading group at MLA reading Rafi Zabor's
The Bear Comes Home. We read four pages a day, and I tended to listen
to some jazz after reading my daily pages, closing my eyes and giving
it sombunall of my attention. This led me to devote a little time to
listening to music with my eyes closed, and I found the best results
with Beethoven, surprise, surprise. Well, Joyce uses 11:32 a bunch in
Finnegans Wake, and it occured to me I could listen to the 32
Beethoven piano sonatas 11 times each and observe that experience.
I own the Schnabel and Kempff complete sets of Beethoven piano
sonatas. Plus I have Rosen and Solomon playing the late sonatas and a
few other recordings. Yes, I started with #1 and I plan to end with

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More options Jan 24, 9:17 am
I haven't listened to all of Beethoven's sonatas. That is something
I'll have to do.
Interesting note on background music. I've thought about this also.
You are probably familiar with Erik Satie and his concept of
"furniture music", which was background music played by live
performers. I used to DJ at clubs and bars for many years and
eventually began to lose interest and become frustrated with the
pressure to play music that people could dance to... nonstop... for
hours. I started to search out places that had no dancefloor, where
people were just there to socialize, where the DJ and music wasn't the
focal point, where people could tune in and out when they wanted, but
it was a person selecting the music in response to the atmosphere of
the place, not a jukebox. Ultimately this was my DJ "retirement". I
came across the Satie concept of furniture music and felt some kind of
connection. And it helped validate my desire to play better music the
I'll digress with a somewhat unrelated Satie quote (sorry I don't have
the source at this moment):
I eat only white foods: eggs, sugar, grated bones, the fat of dead
animals; veal, salt, coconut, chicken cooked in white water; fruit
mold, rice, turnips; camphorated sausage, dough, cheese (white),
cotton salad, and certain fish (skinless).

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More options Jan 24, 2:48 pm
On Jan 24, 9:17 am, jerf wrote:

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Satie is one of my favorite personalities in music history. There are
very many proto-surrealistic quotes from his to choose from.
The IDEA that there are ought to be music that acts as "audible
wallpaper" was, I believe, Satie's. And it now has quite a long
pedigree, from Brian Eno and his popular accomplices, to "elevator
music" or "doctor's office music."
While I have seen very strong, almost vitriolic arguments against this
notion of the USE of music, I say: calm down. It's not like they're
subtracting from your Beethoven or Wagner.
And aye: I think there seem sub-liminal effects of certain USES of
music, but I cannot trot out a taxonomy at this point. The problems
seem inherent in the definitions of "subliminal" as it stands.
However, it seems a safe bet to assert that not all of the effects wd
be ones we wd consider "sublime."
Or, for BS: sublemonal.
I asked RAW if he ever listened to music while he wrote, and he said
he sometimes had the "light classical" station on his Sirius stations
on his TV, but Beethoven and a few others were too involving/
demanding, and he couldn't write with them on; they demanded his
There was a pretty good book on "elevator music" that came out about
10 yrs ago that I read. If anyone's interested, I cd look it up.
"We have statisticians who systematize the static - how about
ecstatisticians who systematize the ecstatic?"

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More options Jan 24, 6:59 pm
Creating Simplicity: How Music Fools The Ear (new neuro- about music):

From alt.fan.rawilson

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