A dog with two nobs

Finally, we made it to the Library to pick up the book I’d ordered weeks ago: GEB. I’m not complaining that the Library isn’t open on weekends – well actually I am. OK it’s great that unemployed people have access to the truly awesome wealth of knowledge of the Philadelphia Free Library but why rule out us wage slaves? But they do open until 8pm a couple of days a week and so a small amount of planning makes it less painful. And PHL really does have an enviable library system.

Anyway, my first dive into the book has already started firing neurons like an arsonist on fireworks night. It wouldn’t have mattered how many times I listened to Bach’s music, the true bloody genius of it would never have sunk in. At most I’d have been able to enjoy it, or not. But once the patterns are explained, it opens up a whole new world of experience. Until this evening I had no idea of what a Canon or a Fugue were in musical terms – now I’m aware of a entire universe of stuff I don’t know anything about; learning can really make you feel stupid.

Here’s a really simple example of the kinds of magical tricks Bach performed with his music, elegantly illustrated by some dude on teh Internets, taken from Bach’s Musical Offerings. Not only is this a very impressive example of extreme cunning in the musical arena, it also sounds beautiful, and he could come up with complexities like this on the fly! Here’s another, albeit more difficult to understand, example from Musical Offerings that illustrates his wilyness.

Yes, sorry to those of you who know this stuff already – but I’m afraid there’ll be more of this boring evangelising until I finish the bloody book.


Leave a Reply