Equivalence of Music and Dance

February 23, 2008 § Leave a comment

Music and Dance are are not only highly related to each other but profoundly the same art form. This understanding has leaped at me many times and from a variety of angles.

Music and Dance, the only two truly non-representational art forms, with their ideas projected through sound and movement over the landscape of time, both provide the shortest, most sincere and thus least distorted tunnel between the artist’s imagination and the listener’s imagination.

With all forms of art the work is an expression, affirmation and reinforcement of an aesthetic (a mixture of conscious decisions and subconscious inclinations) yet the object of art can be observed (or listened to) by one million other minds.

But dance and music are interpreted by a performer. Thus the artist creates not only for an audience but for the interpreter. Some works (for example in the Baroque period) were not even intended to be performed to an audience and the sole purpose was for the music to be studied and played. The number of performers of both art forms are less numerous than the member of the audience but also spend much more time with the art and may experience an intenser enlightenment from the work.

If I had to decide whether I have observed more joy accumulated throughout all the people in audiences and all performing the works (of either Dance or Music) it would not be clear whether the audience or performers in aggregate received more from the art.

The aesthetic variety across different works of music makes it more difficult to compare one type of music to another than to compare music and dance of the same aesthetic disposition. For each work of music and dance you can find a one-to-one correspondence between the two and, if this is studied and believed, it is itself is enough to define the two art forms as one.

Paying attention to all components of dance and music other than technique I consider dance and music to be not similar but equivalent to each other. Two list the remaining equivalent components is almost without end but includes notions within the creation of the art (composition or choreography) and the various steps in its conception (this can be itself be expanded into further equivalences of great number); the interpretation by the performer; subjects of performers working in ensemble and their communication and effect as whole; the requirement for technique in performance and how this clarifies communication of ideas; the neurological processes of the performer during execution of the work being very similar; tasks of technical training and performance preparation being much the same, only emphasizing different parts of the body; the act of performing and all associated topics (to take one, the individuality of the performer and observation of the audience upon both the performer and the art behind it); the subject of improvisation in which the performer combines techniques previously mastered and uses the imagination to join them together to produce a new choreography/composition; the mental processes involved with keeping track of the fixed-meter rhythm and ability to apply syncopation with conviction as necessary for the effective performance; and I could not end until these two art forms are described quite fully and it could become impossible to decide which of the two, music and dance, are being discussed – for they are the same.

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