Indícios para uma ‘música menor’

«Stop! You’re making me tired! Experiment, don’t signify and interpret! Find your own places, territorialities, deterritorializations, regime, lines of flight! Semiotize yourself instead of rooting around in your prefab childhood and Western semiology».

– Deleuze, “A Thousand Plateaus”


«It isn’t a question of liberty as against submission, but only a question of a line of escape or, rather, of a simple way out, “right, left or in any direction,” as long as it is as little signifying as possible

– Deleuze, “Kafka…”


 «”Please turn out the light, I can only play in the dark. I straightened myself”.
We could well believe that these are two NEW forms:

– the straightened head is a form of content,
– and the musical sound is a form of expression.
Shall we represent all this by the following equations? (…)
But that’s not really right.»

– Deleuze, “Kafka…”


«We define the abstract machine as the aspect or moment at which nothing but functions and matters remain. A diagram has neither substance nor form, neither content nor expression.»

– Deleuze e Guattari, “Mille Plateaux”

Fui hoje assistir a uma palestra que levantou problemas interessantes, contudo, creio que a forma como buscou resolvê-los não faz jus ao seu tempo (pós-contemporaneidade).

Tentarei fazer uma crítica construtiva para que o meu amigo musicólogo possa explorar mais e melhor o tema. Sei que, normalmente, tudo isto escapa à audiência e, contanto que se faça uma boa apresentação (como foi o caso), toda a gente fica contente. Na academia, predomina a “pasmaceira”.

Primeira chamada de atenção: o divórcio entre a música e a representação gráfica não é achado da modernidade ou da contemporaneidade. Está já presente, por exemplo, num antigo “koan” do budismo zen: “Qual é o som da palma de uma mão?”. Este “koan” questiona a representação de senso comum, segundo a qual, apenas duas palmas batendo uma na outra produzem som.

Segunda chamada de atenção: quem quer que insista na divisão “nível semântico/nível sintáctico” para explicar seja o que for, está ainda prisioneiro de uma abordagem estruturalista clássica.

Um dos autores citados nada mais fez que renomear a famosa divisão do estruturalista Saussure: significado/significante.

É preciso ir até à crítica que Hjelmslev faz a Saussure, e até ao aproveitamento que os pós-estruturalistas fazem de Hjelmslev.

Deleuze retoma Hjelmslev em vários momentos da sua obra.

No “Anti-Édipo” (1972) refere a oposição de Hjelmslev a Saussure:

«We believe that, from all points of view and despite certain appearances, Louis Hjelmslev’s linguistics stands in profound opposition to the Saussurian and post-Saussurian undertaking. Because it abandons all privileged reference. Because it describes a pure field of algebraic immanence that no longer allows any surveillance on the part of a transcendent instance, even one that has withdrawn. Because within this field it sets in motion its flows of form and substance, content and expression. Because it substitutes the relationship of reciprocal precondition between expression and content for the relationship of subordination between signifier and signified. Because there no longer occurs a double articulation between two hierarchized levels of language, but between two convertible deterritorialized planes, constituted by the relation between the form of content and the form of expression. Because in this relation one reaches figures that are no longer effects of a signifier, but schizzes, points-signs, or flows-breaks that collapse the wall of the signifier, pass through, and continue on beyond. Because these signs have crossed a new threshold of deterritorialization. Because these figures have definitively lost the minimum conditions of identity that defined the elements of the signifier itself. Because in Hjelmslev’s linguistics the order of the elements is secondary in relation to the axiomatic of flows and figures. (…) Far from being an overdetermination of structuralism and of its fondness for the signifier, Hjelmslev’s linguistics implies the concerted destruction of the signifier, and constitutes a decoded theory of language about which one can also say—an ambiguous tribute—that it is the only linguistics adapted to the nature of both the capitalist and the schizophrenic flows: until now, the only modern—and not archaic—theory of language

No livro “Kafka – Para uma Literatura Menor” (1975), aplica o sistema hjelmsleviano à música, que surge na obra de Kafka enquanto ‘música menor’:

«”Please turn out the light, I can only play in the dark. (…) It is certainly not a systematized music, a musical form, that interests Kafka (in his letters and in his diary, one finds nothing more than insignificant anecdotes about a few musicians). It isn’t a composed and semiotically shaped music that interests Kafka, but rather a pure sonorous material. (…) What interests Kafka is a pure and intense sonorous material that is always connected to its own abolition—a deterritorialized musical sound, a cry that escapes signification, composition, song, words—a sonority that ruptures in order to break away from a chain that is still all too signifying. In sound, intensity alone matters, and such sound is generally monotone and always nonsignifying (…). As long as there is form, there is still reterritorialization, even in music. (…) In short, sound doesn’t show up here as a form of expression, but rather as an unformed material of expression, that will act on the other terms. On the one hand, it serves to express contents that will reveal themselves to be relatively less and less formalized (…). We aren’t even trying to interpret, to say that this means that.5 And we are looking least of all for a structure with formal oppositions and a fully constructed Signifier; one can always come up with binary oppositions (…). But that’s stupid as long as one doesn’t see where the system is coming from and going to, how it becomes, and what element is going to play the role of heterogeneity, a saturating body that makes the whole assembly flow away and that breaks the symbolic structure, no less than it breaks hermeneutic interpretation, the ordinary association of ideas, and the imaginary archetype. (…) We believe only in a Kafka that is neither imaginary nor symbolic. We believe only in one or more Kafka machines that are neither structure nor phantasm. We believe only in a Kafka experimentation that is without interpretation or significance and rests only on tests of experience (…). A Kafka-machine is thus constituted by contents and expressions that have been formalized to diverse degrees by unformed materials that enter into it, and leave by passing through all possible states. (…) Desire evidently passes through these positions and states or, rather, through all these lines. Desire is not form, but a procedure, a process. (…) Since articulated sound was a deterritorialized noise but one that will be reterritorialized in sense, it is now sound itself that will be deterritorialized irrevocably, absolutely. The sound or the word that traverses this new deterritorialization no longer belongs to a language of sense, even though it derives from it, nor is it an organized music or song, even though it might appear to be. (…) Everywhere, organized music is traversed by a line of abolition—just as a language of sense is traversed by a line of escape-in order to liberate a living and expressive material that speaks for itself and has no need of being put into a form.9 This language torn from sense, conquering sense, bringing about an active neutralization of sense, no longer finds its value in anything but an accenting of the word, an inflection: “I live only here or there in a small word in whose vowel. . . I lose my useless head for a moment. The first and last letters are the beginning and end of my fishlike emotion.”10 (…) Kafka, too, is a minor music, a different one, but always made up of deterritorialized sounds, a language that moves head over heels and away. These are the true minor authors. An escape for language, for music, for writing. What we call pop — pop music, pop philosophy, pop writing — Worterflucht. (…) The sound of maids is neither signifying nor musical; it is that sound born of silence, which Kafka looked for everywhere, where the utterance is already part of a collective assemblage, a collective complaint, without a subject of enunciation that hides itself or deforms. A pure, moving material of expression

Em “Mil Planaltos” (1980), desdobra o sistema de Hjelmslev para o ultrapassar em direcção a uma máquina abstracta:

«…the Danish Spinozist geologist, Hjelmslev, that dark prince descended from Hamlet who also made language his concern, precisely in order to analyze its “stratification.” Hjelmslev was able to weave a net out of the notions of matter, content and expression, form and substance. These were the strata, said Hjelmslev. Now this net had the advantage of breaking with the form-content duality, since there was a form of content no less than a form of expression. Hjelmslev’s enemies saw this merely as a way of rebaptizing the discredited notions of the signified and signifier, but something quite different was actually going on. (…) He used the term matter for the plane of consistency or Body without Organs, in other words, the unformed, unorganized, nonstratified, or destratified body and all its flows: subatomic and submolecular particles, pure intensities, prevital and prephysical free singularities. He used the term content for formed matters, which would now have to be considered from two points of view: substance, insofar as these matters are “chosen,” and form, insofar as they are chosen in a certain order (substance and form of content). He used the term expression for functional structures, which would also have to be considered from two points of view: the organization of their own specific form, and substances insofar as they form compounds (form and content of expression). (…) Through all of this, Hjelmslev’s warning should not be forgotten: “The terms expression plane and content plane . . . are chosen in conformity with established notions and are quite arbitrary. Their functional definition provides no justification for calling one, and not the other, of these entities expression, or one, and not the other, content. They are defined only by their mutual solidarity, and neither of them can be identified otherwise. They are defined only oppositively and relatively, as mutually opposed functives of one and the same function.”6 We must combine all the resources of real distinction, reciprocal presupposition, and general relativism. (…) Articulation, which is constitutive of a stratum, is always a double articulation (double pincer). What is articulated is a content and an expression. Whereas form and substance are not really distinct, content and expression are. Hjelmslev’s net is applicable to the strata: articulation of content and articulation of expression, with content and expression each possessing its own form and substance. Between them, between content and expression, there is neither a correspondence nor a cause-effect relation nor a signified-signifier relation: there is real distinction, reciprocal presupposition, and only isomorphy. (…) We define the abstract machine as the aspect or moment at which nothing but functions and matters remain. A diagram has neither substance nor form, neither content nor expression.40»

[Note:] «28. That is why we consider Hjelmslev, despite his own reservations and vacillations, to be the only linguist to have actually broken with the signifier and the signified. Many other linguists seem to make this break deliberately and without reservations, but retain the implicit presuppositions of the signifier».

[Note:] «40. Louis Hjelmslev proposed a very important conception of “matter” or “purport” (sens) as unformed, amorphous, or formless: Prolegomena to a Theory of Language, trans. Francis J. Whitfield (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), sec. 13, pp. 47-60, and Essais linguistiques (Paris: Minuit, 1971), pp. 58ff. (see also the preface by Francois Rastier, p. 9)».



Deleuze, “A Thousand Plateaus”:


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