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to the

Musekal PhiloSophy

page


 

"Philosophy In a New Key"

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This webpage is meant to give the Gypsy Scholar's listeners a conceptual-visual aid--to "see what I mean"--for better understanding his central program meme of Musekal Philosophy (and it's literary conceits), which technically means that the philosophical essay, in the form of the "Orphic Essay-with-Soundtrack," aspires to the condition of music--the condition of music translated into words. And so the "words" from "books" are mixed and remixed with "pictures" (images) and "songs," in order to give listeners a program of "delight"--in that musical palace the Gypsy Scholar calls TOWER OF SONG In general, this webpage provides a kind of conceptual map-theory for guiding listeners to find the musical key to unlock the meaning of the TOWER OF SONG program. It is hoped, therefore, that this webpage will give a conceptual understanding of the Gypsy Scholar's "Musekal Philosophy," as it manifests in what he calls "scholarship as performance art." Thus, the Gypsy Scholar--as DJ Orfeo--can say: "I'm a Rocker in the life of the mind and the world of ideas." (Click the link below for "The Re-Vision Radio Manifesto & Visionary Recital" to "see what I mean" by the Orphic Essay-with-Soundtrack.) 

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For  the "Re-Vision Radio Manifesto & Visionary Recital," click image

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"El Maestro-Orpheus"

Orpheus is philosophy personified.
–Francis Bacon

Let us bring to bear the persuasive powers of sweet-tongued Rhetoric and . . . let us have as well Music, 
the maid-servant of my house, 
to sing us melodies of varying mood.  –Boethius (Consolation of Philosophy)

Music is our myth of the inner life--
a young, vital, and meaningful myth...
–S. K. Langer (Philosophy in a New Key)

Three-cord rock merging 
with the power of the word.
–Patti Smith

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The Bards of the Tower of Song

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The Gypsy Scholar takes you back—way, way back—to the origins of Musekal Philosophy

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Note: The Gypsy Scholar found this fantastic connection between philosophy and music after the fact; that is, the quotes from Plato's dialogues were discovered after the GS began his radio program, when he went looking for validation for his intuition concerning the relationship between philosophy and song, which was the basis for the "Orphic Essay-with-Soundtrack" (for "Argument & Song"). Therefore, for the GS, the last quote from Socrates (i.e., "all of this" and "dialectic") translates as "all of the argument (of the musical essay) is simply a prelude (a "lead-in" in radio jargon) to the song itself, the song that the musical essay performs." This being the case, it raises the question of the relationship between the essay and the song: Does the song exist for the sake of the essay (as one would assume were it not for radio), or does the musical essay exist for the sake of the song? I mean, after all the performances of the "Orphic Essay-with-Soundtrack" the GS has done, is it not appropriate to ask his listeners: "Don't we know (by now) that the essay is really a prelude to the vital thing--the song itself?

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Orpheus & the Power of Music

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ORPHEUS. “And they produce a host of books written by Musaeus and Orpheus, who were children of the Moon and the Muses.” —Plato, Republic II

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The Greek version of the archaic shaman is the daimon Orpheus, whose voice and lyre provides the “song-way” or “songlines” (oima), through his “magical activity” of “incantation” (epoidos), to both the “Music of the Spheres” and the "inner music of the soul." (This "soul-music" has its counterpart in the music from afar, the heavenly music of the spheres.)  

For Plato (Laws), just as the planets are hung upon the axial Spindle of Necessity, human beings are strung upon a necklace of the gods. Plato speaks of the “thread of song and dance” upon which we are strung, like possessed Maenads. This divine inner thread is identified with rhythm and melody, not the logos. Plato (Phaedo) has Socrates declare that philosophical arguments are a form of “enchantment,” even having Socrates himself become identified as an “enchanter.” Plato (Phaedrus) also invents a myth in which the cicadas are described as descendants of an earlier race of men who, were so charmed, enchanted, enraptured, enthralled, fascinated, mesmerized, bewitched (epadein), by song, when introduced into their midst by the Muses, that they forgot to eat and thus staved to death singing. 

Therefore, the purpose of the Orphic Essay-with-Soundtrack can be understood as following Orpheus’(shamanic) incantatory "song-way" or "songlines" (of the planet) in order to reconnect with the primordial ”thread of song and dance" (in the "Daring Night") and hear the both the Pythagorean "Music of the Spheres" and the Orphic "inner music of the soul." The Orphic Essay-with-Soundtrack attempts to connect up with this magical Orphic music, this "soul-music"—even if it’s in danger of making listeners so “enchanted”that they forget all else and sing themselves to ego-death! 

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Marsilio Ficino was known as "The Second Orpheus." This Italian Renaissance humanist scholar was also a Neo-Platonist philosopher and archetypal music therapist. As a “doctor of soul,” he healed melancholy through music (mostly artists, poets, and scholars whose temperament was particularly susceptible to the “black bile”). Because, for Ficino, the spirit of man corresponds to the spirit of the world and can receive from it a great deal through the rays of the planets, he recommended that while you could use animals, plants, food, scents, and talismans to attract the spiritual influence of a particular planet music is best.

For Ficino, sounds, especially the sounds of music, render "the real nature of things,” which is "the effectiveness of motion." Motion here, is above all in the psychic sense of e-motion. Thus music expresses the "real nature of things," because it expresses the emotions; affects feelings that are linked to, or projected upon, them. 

"… if vapors exhaling from a merely vegetable life are greatly beneficial to your life, how much more beneficial do you think will be songs which are made of air to a spirit wholly aerial …." —Ficino, Three Books on Life 

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Socrates: “... wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder.” (Plato, Theaetetus)

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Why Muse-ekal Philosophy? The Muses: Music & Philosophy

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Euterpre, Muse of Lyric Poetry/Music

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The name of muses and the term music derive etymologically from the same Greek word—mosthai = mousa (muses) and mousike (music)—and would seem to be derived from the muses "making philosophical inquiries." The word music literally means "art of the muses" (mousa = mousike; music). Because the Platonic conception of philosophia means "loving," "inquiry," and "searching," which originates from the singing muses, the Gypsy Scholar rejects  the later, formal separation of Philosophy from Music—i.e., from love (eros), inquiry, and questing. Thus the Gypsy Scholar re-visions Western Philosophy ("love of wisdom") as a musical Quest-Romance, where not only is Philosophy the “highest form of music" (Socrates) but, conversely, music is the highest form of Philosophy. This re-visioning of Philosophy into "Musekal Philosophy" entails the playing out, through the Orphic Essay-with-Soundtrack, of the complex dialectical relationship between Argument (logos) & Song (mythos).

 

Plato writes that the Muses have “the gift of speculative knowledge” and are “of one mind,” desiring to “express themselves in song.” Plato also suggests that the Muses and music in general are named from mosthai, which means "searching, inquiry, and philosophy" (i.e., "to strive after," "to long for," or "to desire eagerly"), and partake of similar meanings as does philosophia (i.e.; "loving," "inquiry," "searching"). These Platonic conceptions within philosophia ("love of wisdom") go back to Hesiod’s (mythopoeic) primary account of the Muses, which again expresses their unifying nature.

 

All of this suggests that we question the later, formal separation of philosophy from music, love, and questing. Furthermore, for Plato, the third form of mania (divine madness), a gift from the Dionysus, is the "poetic madness" of the Muses. This gives evidence that Plato’s philosophy is akin to poetry, for the Muses inspired the words that the poets breathed, such as the primary figure of the poietes (inspired bard) and then the rhapsode (inspired reciter). It has been suggested that both these figures were wedded by Plato to his ideal of the philosohos 

(philosopher-lover), and that it is Orpheus, son of the Muse Calliope, who serves as Plato’s model for the new kind of poet-philosopher. That philosophy (a form of “play”) in Plato’s view is more of an art is suggested by the fact that it is the Muses who are represented over the entrance to his Academy and their important feast days were singled out for inclusion in the Academic year.

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Allegorical Personifications of Music & Poetry

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"Allegory of Music" (Franck)

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"Allegory of Music and Poetry" (Conca)

"Personification of Music" (Natoire)

"Allegory of Music" (de La Hyre)

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"Lyric Poetry" (Walker)

"Art of Music" (Trevisani)

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The GS's Process of Musekal Philosophy

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books + music = "Musekal Philosophy"

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"Joni" (Laniois)

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