Come and sit next to me, Hergest, says the Owner, whilst I play the Piano.
I cannot, I say, you are like a Crying Radiator. The Moral Dog does not wish to be cooked and soaked. Goodness knows what would happen to his Parts, but Poaching seems a Distinct Possibility.
Very Well, says the Owner, but please Sit Quietly. I thought I would start with You’ll never Walk Alone, as it seems to Capture the Spirit of the Moment. Please Observe Silently.
The Music is Very Stirring. There is Something About the way it Rises and Swells. I find myself Caught up in it, Carried like a Surfer on a Wave, Borne Aloft to Greater things, to Hope, to Perseverance, the Belief in the Power of Humanity to Sustain, to the Sense that One Day Life will be Normal Again and People will Greet One Another in the Street as they Once Did…
Hergest, says the Owner.
What, I say.
Please do not Sing Along, says the Owner.
I was Moved by Emotion to Contribute to the Spirit of the Performance, I say. I thought it could Only Add to the Effect.
It does Add to the Effect, sys the Owner, but it is not the Effect I was Hoping For. It moved the Mood of the Piece from Inspiring to Despairing. One might go so far to say it was No Longer Music.
But it came from the Soul, I say. I was Moved, I say. It Burst from me, I say, so it Must have been Music, I say.
The Alien in Alien also Burst from its Victim, says the Owner, but it was not Music.
It Could have been, I say, to another Alien. I do not see why the Judgement as to what Music is should exclude the Spontaneous Contribution of the Moral Dog.
And Squeaky Cat, says the Owner,
He felt compelled to Harmonise, I say. Besides, I say, who Gets to Say what Music should Sound like?
Well, says the Owner, many Philosophers see Music as requiring elements such as melody, harmony, and rhythm, although not all are needed and some philosophers say none are needed. For example, Yoko Ono’s Toilet Piece, which involves the sound of a flushing toilet, is sometimes considered Music. This is Avant Garde. And of course, 4′33″ is a three-movement composition by American experimental composer John Cage for any instrument or combination of instruments, in which the score instructs the performers not to play their instrument during the entire duration of the piece.
I had Melody, Harmony and Rhythm, I say. I am Positively Classical compared to Yoko, and a Musical Feast compared to Mr Cage’s rather Nihilistic Approach. That is the sort of music Nietszche would like. And Probably Wittgenstein, who never seems to like Anything.
The Moral Dog is right, says the Owner, and I tend to feel that to be Commonly Experienced as Music we do require at least one of Melody, Harmony and Rhythm. However the Melody, Harmony and Rhythm of the Moral Dog, in this Instance, did not bear any Musical Relationship at all to the Piano Part. And when Squeaky Cat joins in he is Unable to refrain from Doing the Descant. The Overall Effect was not Music.
That seems to be Your Fault, I say. You were the Accompanist.
The Owner rolls her eyes. Random combinations of Melody, Harmony and Rhythm are not sufficient for music, she says. Many believe that music must enrich or intensify experience with some kind of Pattern, even if it is a Pattern of no Pattern. Some believe Sound must be produced through Human Agency to be Music.
That is Doggist, I say. And Squeakist, by the way.
It is, rather, says the Owner, and I do not entirely Hold with it, since Birdsong seems to me to be Music, as does the Sound of the Wind. At least, they are Subjectively Music. Defining what is Objectively Music is More Difficult, but I do believe many would Agree with Me.
I clear my Throat Pointedly.
I agree that there is almost certainly Universal Recognition that the Moral Dog’s rendering of I will Fix You is Subjectively a Musical Masterpiece, says the Owner.
Can we do that Next? I ask.
Possibly, says the Owner, but today I am Hot and Viral and Everything is making me Cry, even the Nail Brush, so I wish to play You’ll Never Walk Alone. You’ll Never Walk Alone is Written for a Mezzo Soprano. If the Moral Dog wishes to Perform it Properly we will have to Reconsider the Matter of the Removal of the Parts.
Squeaky Cat and I confer.
Very Well, I say. You may play ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone,’ and we will listen. What is it for, anyway?
It is for Solidarity, says the Owner. It is from a Musical called Carousel. It is Sung to give Strength after a Great Tragedy. It says We are All In It Together. Forever. It is the Way I am Feeling today. Hot and Cross like Yesterday, but with an Added sense of Solidarity from the Good Things People are Doing and the Kind Messages They Sing.
That is Very Moving, I say. As you Play it, could I at Least Howl?
No, says the Owner.
I knew she would say that. She has put it online, but you cannot hear me. Squeaky Cat and I will be doing our Own Version tomorrow.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.