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Time in Music and Culture


Ludwik Bielawski

From Aristotle to Heidegger, philosophers distinguished two orders of time, before, after and past, present, future, presenting them in a wide range of interpretations. It was only around the turn of the 1970s that two theories of time which deliberately went beyond that tradition, enhancing our notional apparatus, were produced independently of one another. The nature philosopher Julius T. Fraser, founder of the interdisciplinary International Society for the Study of Time, distinguished temporal levels in the evolution of the Cosmos and the structure of the human mind: atemporality, prototemporality, eotemporality, biotemporality and nootemporality. The author of the book distinguishes two ‘dimensions’ in time: the dimension of the sequence of time (syntagmatic) and the dimension of the sizes of duration or frequency (systemic). On the systemic scale, the author distinguishes, in human ways of existing and acting, a visual zone, zone of the psychological present, zone of works and performances, zone of the natural and cultural environment, zone of individual and social life and zone of history, myth and tradition. In this book, the author provides a synthesis of these theories.

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9 Time and space


9.1 Le Corbusier’s modulor and music

Like time, human space is dependent on perception. It is subject to the general tendencies characteristic of our species and of life on Earth in general. Perhaps nothing has been measured so precisely as the spatiality of various phenomena. Yet it has been done in a manner that we normally encounter in science, using the most objective methods possible, independent of humans. In the human space, as it reveals itself to us and as it conditions our existence within it, the human factor is indispensable. If we as humanists are interested in space, it is mainly as the space of people and their environment. So most important for us is the human perspective of space in the broadest sense of the word.

As already mentioned, space has been studied using the most objective methods possible and a scale as independent of people as possible. That has usually been a normal arithmetic scale. In relation to human space, however, its use is limited and often no more than a starting point, an initial tool for recording the facts, the interpretation of which requires transferral to another scale, the scale of human perception. Everything suggests that the foundation for such a scale, in space as in time, may be a logarithmic scale. The most important role on the human scale is played not so much by isolated sizes as by the proportions or ratios occurring between them, and those proportions,...

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