Music and Song Additional Notes: Episode 11
There are several passages and concepts I would like to add to my Monday post, all of which pertain to the reading for this week.
The first relates to the concept of music as simply a function of mathematics, which is certainly an interesting notion, and based on my understanding, is a partially true statement, although not to the degree which Bloom implies. The line comes immediately after Goulding has referred to a song as a number, and Bloom agrees with him: “Numbers it is. All music when you come to think . . . Vibrations: chords those are . . . Musemathematics” (11.830-34, page 228). While music theory relies heavily on numbers for the intervals of chords and notes, Bloom fails to address the performance aspect of music.
Bloom presents a much more abstract take on music a few pages later on 231 when he thinks to himself: “Sea, wind, leaves, thunder, waters, cows lowing, the cattlemarket, cocks, hens don’t crow, snake hissss. There’s music everywhere. Ruttledge’s Door: ee creaking. No, that’s noise” (11.962-63). While it doesn’t quite function as an additional mental perspective to the previous passage, it does highlight Bloom’s willingness to consider and explore non-traditional definitions of everyday occurrences. This also leaves the reader (and the obsessionist) with the all important task of creating a boundary where music or song ends and noise begins.
As Kelly pointed out on Monday, this also gives everything (the elastic in Bloom’s hand) the possibility of becoming an instrument, a point which Bloom takes to the next level, viewing aspects of several different jobs similar to performances, if only on a very basic stage: “I suppose each kind of trade made its own, don’t you see? Hunter with a horn . . . Shepherd his pipe. Pwee little wee. Policeman a whistle” (11.1239-41, page 237-238).
Additionally, it’s possible to view the tuning fork which the blind stripling returns to pick up (P. 237-238) as a key, similar to the keys which both Bloom and Stephen lack, and also similar to the keys in the advertisement. The tuning fork resembles a key, and as Professor Simpson pointed out to me during a post-class discussion, it also helps the piano remain in key.