Transformation processes in musical and aesthetic consciousness as a reflection of social being
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №10 - 2018
Author: Muzhchil Marina, Candidate of pedagogical sciences, S. Amanzholov East Kazakhstan State University, Kazakhstan
Music is one of the most important and inalienable aspects of human
existence. The interest in the phenomenon of music, on the one hand
encompassing the entire boundlessness of the world, and on the other expressing
the innermost movements of the human soul, has not been extinguished in culture
throughout its entire history. A key issue in understanding the essence of
music is the question of its relationship with the human world. In the history
of culture there developed two options for understanding this problem.
The first of them is connected with the understanding of music and
the human world as independent phenomena, between which there is a purely
external connection, if there is any. Within the framework of this
comprehension model, it can be recognized that the real life inevitably leaves
its mark on the “body” of music, just as music, in its turn, affects the human
world, ennobling, refining, decorating, etc. it. Radically-minded researchers
argue that there is nothing in common between music and reality. However, in
either case, the essence remains the same - music and the human world are
thought of as two autonomous entities with their own laws, which can interact
with each other.
According to another model, the connection between music and reality
is deep and essential. All aspects and forms of musical and aesthetic
existence, all the transformations that it undergoes in its development are
determined by the social being of a man. The emerging social ties bring to life
certain image systems, genres, forms, styles, peculiarities of the musical language,
various ways of music functioning in society. It is on this model, deeply
rooted in world philosophical thought that the author of the proposed work
The purpose of this article is to identify the differences in the
realization of a person’s musical and creative ability in various social
contexts, where there exists initially integral activity and where alienation
The origin of the music creation is also the origins of the
development of a man. The peculiarity of the emerging, evolving human
communities is the fact that music does not exist in them as a separate sphere;
there is no separation between music and life. The ability of the "musical
ear" is directly interwoven into the context of all human existence. Music
is an indispensable attribute of the most important spheres of the social life
of an ancient person – of religious and magical practices and labor process.
Music in the context of magical practice is a way of establishing
communication with the invisible, other world. In the myths of many nations
there is a story about the discovery of the similarity of sounds of various
objects with the voices of people who have become their inhabitants. Spirits
turn out to be great music lovers, and in order to appease them and enlist their
support, the ancient people played musical instruments to them at crucial
moments in their life. Undesired spirits, on the contrary, were driven away
with the help of sounds that were unpleasant to them.
The most important for music function of establishing and regulating
communication with the world is also realized in religious cults - the word
religion itself comes from Latin religo (binding, twisting). Music
became the voice of higher reality, the voice of harmony, goodness and love. At
the same time, it was also the voice of the man himself, the man who was
striving to go beyond his own limits, toward self-improvement.
The most important source of music is the labor process, the rhythm
and consistency of which is ensured with the help of music. However, music is
not just the way to facilitate labor actions and operations, but the form of
human aging, overcoming, curbing the animal principle. The seemingly excessive
need for the beautiful, aesthetic, spiritualized, in relation to the labor
process, providing physical survival for the ancient man is not excessive, but
expressing his deepest aspirations. The scientists note that in almost any
object created by the hands of a primitive man, there is a certain degree of
artistic attitude to reality. In antiquity, the implementation of the labor
process took place not as a process of utilization, use of the beautiful, but
rather as the opposite, primary process of humanizing the benefit, making it inseparable
from the nascent aesthetic principle.
The most important source of music is the human daily life. The need
to express their states, to communicate with the world and their fellow
tribesmen with the help of musical sounds, is something ancient people
experienced throughout their life, in any situation whether everyday, routine
or festive. Speaking of contemporary traditional societies in Asia, Africa and
America, A. Alpatova writes that sound and music in its most diverse manifestations
have become for their representatives an integral part of life, a necessity and
need as air, water, food, physical and spiritual activity [1, p. 27].
The process of musical creativity in antiquity is characterized by
spontaneity, improvisation, and involvement in a specific life situation.
Musical sounds interest an ancient person not simply because of their
pleasantness to the ear, but because of the meanings expressed by them that are
relevant here and now. The meanings born in the process of joint life
creativity and expressed with the help of sounds are accessible and understandable
to each individual, as well as the ability of their musical reproduction by
each member of this community has not been lost.
The ultimate goal of music making is not the creation of a musical
work intended for consumption by third parties, as it happens in later epochs,
but a change of the individual himself, harmonization of his mental forces,
bringing them into balance with the surrounding world.
Thus, the existence of music in the early stages of human society
development exposes its essential specificity, which acts as the creation of
one of the most important essential human forces, as the formation of human
auditory ability in the process of jointly carried out life activities, as a
way of learning the world, establishing communication with it, its humanizing
and spiritualization. The peculiarities of the existence of music in the early
stages make it possible to agree with N. Ayupov, who expresses the idea of the
ontological nature of music “as one of the origins of a person’s life” [2, p.
118], and with P. Gnedich, who believed that the feeling of harmony spoke in a
primitive man “before all other feelings and knowledge” [3, p. 10]. In this
regard, Democritus, believing that “music is the youngest of the arts”, and
explaining this by the fact that it was not need that spawned it, but it was
born “from the luxury that had already developed” [4, p. 137] is hardly right.
In this regards, the statement by A. Ladygina, which says that the
aesthetic attitude “is not necessary for the existence of an individual person
and in this sense is useless for him, but necessary for the existence and
development of society and in this sense is extremely useful” looks very
dubious [5, p. 24]. This statement clearly demonstrates the utilitarian
approach to music, as well as shows the later-born conception of it as a
phenomenon of extra-human existence. In this regard, music as a phenomenon that
characterizes one of the generic properties of a person, ensuring the fullness
of its manifestation, is rendered beyond the realm of human life, that is, it
is interpreted as an expression and manifestation of the forces standing above
a person. The life of a real, concrete person turns out to be significantly
deprived, but this is not considered as a negative moment, but, on the
contrary, is fixed as the norm.
The stratification of society that occurs in the process of human
history development, associated with the consolidation of the functions of
goal-setting and execution for different groups of individuals, has the effect
of splitting the human world into a set of isolated realities - into the world
of performing, reproductive existence, the world of sensually, directly given
necessity, associated with the maintenance of physical , and the spiritual
world of human freedom, creative self-determination, which is beyond the limits
of everyday life and elevates over it.
Previously, a holistic, poeticized life is divided into private
definitions that in their real existence may well not intersect - life and
poetry, benefit and beauty, prose of ordinary existence and the festive world
of beautiful dreams, designed to fill the beauty that goes from real human
relationships based on mutually beneficial exchanges and mutual use.
These processes are reflected in the constitution of the social
institution of art, which concentrates in itself the beauty, alienated from
real human existence. They manifest themselves with particular force in the
epoch of New Time, associated with the emergence and formation of capitalist
relations, which are an intensification of the processes of division of
It is at this time that music is separated into an independent,
self-sufficient sphere, which is reflected in the emergence of a concert form
of music playing, which is a meeting with music in a special, localized space
and time of the concert hall, listening to music not as a form of communication
with another person, but for music as a certain sound organization. There is a
division into creators, composers and the public, consumers deprived of their
own inner artistic potencies and receiving them from the outside - from the
author of a musical work.
The phenomenon of a musical work as an autonomous, closed artistic
organism, as a special musical construction, the creation of which is not
directly caused by the life situation of people’s communication and is
performed outside of its borders, is also a product of the New Age. Among other
signs of separation of music from the real life and its elevation above it we
can mention the cultivation of the opera genre originating in the New Age in
the bell canto manner, which differs from the singing typical for household
music-making and requires a special skill; the prohibition to bring to the
scene as heroes of the so-called serious opera of ordinary people and
contemporaries, the main characters of which should be only mythological
characters, kings, and generals; the situation of the listener’s confusion in
front of the world of music that was incomprehensible to the uninitiated, which
can now be reached only with the help of a conductor - a musical critic, etc.
The features of the estranged aesthetic consciousness are very
precisely defined by Yu. Davydov, who writes that “inclusion in the aesthetic
sphere acts as a complete shutdown from social reality, and such shutdown from
social reality acts as the main condition of an act of aesthetic experience”
[6, p. 19].
The phenomenon of splitting the world into non-contiguous realities,
the world of everyday human affairs, interests, relationships with other people
and the world of works of art, the world of beautiful things, alien and
indifferent to these interests, affairs and relationships, but strangely
becoming more real and significant for a man, was a surprise in the 19th
century, discovered and analyzed by A. Chekhov, L. Tolstoy, R. Wagner.
A. Chekhov in his story “Two Scandals” is ironic about this
perverted situation, telling the story of a conductor who quickly forgets about
his cruelty towards a close woman; but the brilliant performance of the vocal
part of which she had spoiled becomes for him the most regrettable memory.
After all, his whole life is a service to the holy art. “He is on his guard,
and without him, who would prevent emitting into the air of these disgusting
halftones, which continually upset and kill harmony? He protects this harmony
and is ready for its sake to hang the whole world and hang himself”.
However, for our time, this situation has become quite familiar and
the modern philosopher does not resent, is not ironica or outraged about its
immorality and unnaturalness, but indifferently claims: “Life is one thing;
poetry is another, as people now they think, or at least feel ... The poet
begins where an ordinary person ends. The fate of one man is to go the “human”
way; the mission of the other is to create the non-existent” [7, p. 247].
The fundamental break of the aesthetic with any human manifestations
is put forward as a major requirement for a new art, for whose representatives’
music is nothing but sounds and their connections: constellations, order,
interdependence, that is, structure (K. Stockhausen). This results in the
replacement in the avant-garde art of the beautiful with the artificial
constructions, alien to the ear, which are the expression of “triumph over the
human” [7, p. 242].
The gap between the aesthetic and the moral is first presented in
declarations about “art for the sake of art”, about the freedom of the world of
beauty from real human relations and from the orientation of the artist’s
activities towards another person. However, the moral immorality is replaced by
an openly immoral position. As F. Dostoevsky once wrote - “the aesthetic idea
in humanity became darkened”. A flow of images of violence, cruelty and lust
has poured into art. The world of the beautiful began to turn into the world of
the ugly; meaningful aesthetic reality - into a meaningless, chaotic, absurd
A vivid image of a modern artist, obsessed with the idea of
creativity, but at the same time contemptuous and cold, disgusted with
everything that is included in the sphere of sensuality, is presented in the T.
Mann’s novel “Doctor Faustus”. The summit work of the novel’s main character,
the composer Adrian Lever-kühn, is “Apocalipsis cum figuris” with
his creepy choirs telling “about the blackening of the sun, about the bleeding
moon, about ships tipping among a landfill of screaming people”. This terrible,
satanic music, with scornful, triumphant hellish laughter and rejoicing gehenna
is the triumph of evil, acquiring cosmic proportions.
It is thought that the horrendous catastrophe of the “secondary
savagery” of a man, turning him into a spiritual mutant in real musical
practice is most clearly reflected in D. Shostakovich's symphonies with their
themes - “werewolves”, where the world of humanity and creation suddenly turns
into a cruel, malicious, aggressive beginning, into snarling, teeth clanking
The loss of support in another person, the loss of the
content-moral, spiritual connections with the world, the integrity of the world
relations underlie the hypertrophy of the entertainment function of music.
Entertaining products focused on the lower levels of a human being become a
factor contributing to chopping off the meaningful connections of a person with
the world, cultivating a thoughtless, animal relation to it.
Music, acting as an instrument for the destruction of the personal,
creative beginning in a man, the substantial foundations of human existence
itself, turns into a threat to his physical condition. A. Yusfin cited the
research data, during which it became clear that the destructive impact of
music “is comparable to the similar effects of alcoholism and technology
(victims of all accidents from road accidents to professional) and exceeds (!)
the role of smoking, adverse working conditions, unfavorable heredity and
influence of natural and climatic conditions” [8, p. 11].
Moreover, art can be consciously used as a means of destruction. N.
Markova writes that with the help of music, the mass media introduce feelings
and ideas characteristic of the drug culture into the minds of young people [9,
p. 8]. The spread of murderous music and murderous art brings “the destruction
of the institution of socialization of children and adolescents, the
destruction of cultural continuity and the growth of crime; blocking of the
natural sexual reflex, the spread of homosexuality, the increase in child prostitution
and pornography; mental injuries, leading further to frequent change of sexual
partners, drug use, increased suicides, AIDS epidemics, etc. [9, p. 11].
In this context, placing hopes on art and aesthetics as a whole as
on a source of human creativity, as on the world of eternal and unshakable
values, capable of correcting any flaws in social or individual development,
seems at least naive. However, this position is very common. It is represented
in the works of Y. Borev, A. Gulyga, M. Kagan and many others. The basis of
such views is the identification of aesthetic reflection with the alienated
form of its existence - the art. External characteristics of the art - beauty,
harmony, integrity, are equated to its essence. Moreover, these characteristics
are seen as absolute, forever inherent in art.
The harmony and integrity of artistic images is an expression of a
holistic human attitude to the world, the integrity and harmony of the world
order. The art is not a guarantor of preservation and a means of correcting the
world, but a peculiar symptom, giving an opportunity to judge the real state of
affairs, the predominance of harmonious or disharmonious tendencies in human
life. It is this ideological position that underlies the aspirations of the
ancient Chinese sages to judge the state of affairs in society by the collected
Thus, on the basis of consideration of various options for the
implementation of musical and aesthetic activity, we can draw the following
conclusion. It is impossible to identify the essence of the musical and
aesthetic with the art of music. The aesthetic is a way of human world relations
from the standpoint of the beautiful, the ugly, the comic, the tragic, the sublime,
the base, etc., its current, living state. The art is an independently
existing world, a sphere that correlates with the sphere of human life as an
external, different, and sometimes alien beginning. This means that the
aesthetic, including musical reflection cannot be viewed without highlighting
these two options for its existence. If we don’t consider these two options,
but talk about aesthetic reflection in general, then in this case the
consideration will be formal and abstract.
These mentioned opposite points determine different goals for
musical education, which necessarily lead to radically different results. If
the basis of the programs of musical and aesthetic education is the
understanding of music as an expression of the meanings of human existence,
then the purpose of musical activity is the formation of a man, the space of
the Person, mastering the human world and creating it.
If music is understood as an art form with its own laws, then the
purpose of aesthetic education is to study these laws, develop the ability to
operate with musical means, combine sounds in a certain order, understand
styles, manners, directions, perfect the technique of performing music, etc.
At the same time, the question of the formation of an individual, the formation
of his life position, the actual human qualities may not stand at all, as
sounding ridiculous and inappropriate, or be present as a “standard” section of
the program, as a formal tribute to one or another ideological requirement.
Sharp, but essentially very true ideas about such a process of
aesthetic development, torn from the goals and meanings of human existence
itself, are expressed by L. Tolstoy: “Hundreds of thousands of people from the
early age devote all their lives to learning to twist their legs very quickly
(dancers) , others (musicians) to learn very quickly to touch the keys or
strings, third (painters) to be able to paint and depict everything they see,
the fourth to transform any phrase and find rhymes to any word. Such people are
often very kind, intelligent, capable of any useful work, run wild in these
exceptional, stupefying occupations and become dull to all the serious
phenomena of life, one-sided and quite satisfied with themselves specialists
who can only twist their legs, tongue or fingers” [10, p. 42].
In the context of alienation, which permeates into all the pores of
modern society, the latter of the two above-mentioned program options, which
reflects and fixes this orientation to the reproduction of real forms of human
connections with the world and its kind, is more natural and obvious. The
former version of the program, which is always the result of in-depth,
essential analysis, acts as an overcoming of these circumstances. Such programs
are focused not just on the solution of any particular issues, their appearance
is connected with the need to solve global, fundamental problems of human existence.
They are aimed at the removal of alienation, and therefore, the formation of
the personality with their own human attitude to the world, at the break of the
deadlocks of abstract, real existence into the space of the actual cultural
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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №10 - 2018