Chapter

The Ghost in the Machine

Lawrence Kramer

in Why Classical Music Still Matters

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780520250826
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933644 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520250826.003.0005
The Ghost in the Machine

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This chapter shows the absurdity of conceiving the mind and the body as utterly separate entities. The design of piano is richly suggestive of this. The piano is the instrument for the expression of feeling, sensibility, mood, the inner life, but it is also a large machine. The expressive side of the instrument is warm, vital, and imbued with spirit. The mechanic side is impersonal, automaton-like, as remote from spirit as the advance of modernity often seemed to be. Like the person, the grand piano houses an interior that one may peer at but not see. It is both a mystery of spirit and a technical puzzle. The frame on which the strings are stretched is called the harp. It connotes the instrument of inspired, age-old song, the vibrating tones of which are produced in close proximity to the body of the player who sings while playing. But the devices that make the sound are called the hammers, connoting technology, industry, machinery, and force the whole apparatus of modern enterprise.

Keywords: piano; spirit; instrument; apparatus; machine

Chapter.  11193 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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