The only time I have ever been a consistent coffee-drinker was during high school, when a daily cup sustained me through hours spent hunched over my desk struggling through math homework. (Perhaps the resulting associations form part of the reason I have not been a coffee-drinker since.) Unlike my humanities studies, math never came easily for me; it was my homeschooling mother’s commitment to academic rigor rather than any personal motivation that ensured its prominent place in my curriculum each year until I graduated.
One of the organizing factors in all of music is the melody. If music is sound organized in time (or rather the taking of dominion over sound and time), then melody is one way to help interpret or understand a piece of music. In her book The Anatomy of Melody: Exploring the Single Line of Song, Alice Parker states an apology for melody in her forward:
I contend that as the Enlightenment progressed, education moved farther away from teaching the Liberal Arts (Trivium and Quadrivium). This change in emphasis skewed perspectives, ideologies, theology, culture, and the arts into new directions and trajectories that continue to inform how society thinks. In addition, the change in aesthetics from the medieval period to a modern sensibility reflects broader changes in how we view the cosmos and what we think about divine order.
Chiaroscuro is a term from art that means “light-dark”—a technique of using strong tonal contrasts to represent forms in painting. Think about Rembrandt’s works and his use of distinctive areas of darkness and radiant light. The light appears all the brighter because of its juxtaposition with darkness.
In a previous post on the foundations of music appreciation, I began to consider the idea that music goes beyond our sense of preference and actually is indicative of the created order. This implies several significant points that should be listed and/or repeated:
With the resurgence of classical education, the disciplines of the trivium are commonly mentioned and discussed in articles, conferences, school literature, and curriculum. Less common, however, is discussion of the quadrivium and how it applies to education. Unfortunately, it has lagged behind despite the fact that together these seven disciplines make up the seven liberal arts that were intended to cultivate liberated or free people.