Brunet starts with an exchange of letters between Schaeffer and herself; in the guise of biography, she intersperses her own comments with an assortment of excerpts from Schaeffer's treatises and biographic fiction; in the last hundred pages, Schaeffer lays his heart bare. Pierre Schaeffer par Sophie Brunet seems written by the authors for their innermost circle and themselves. All the same, the parallel Schaeffer draws between Reduced Listening and the Eucharist is unexpected and revealing.
A child communicates. It communes with itself, makes silence, awaits the arrival of something from itself or its Visitor, some neither ordinary nor excessive thing, which will foster the reciprocal feeling of the presence of the self to Him and of Him to the self. Bereft of words, before it is an intention, adoration is usually attention, a mobilization of consciousness.Table of Contents
A man concentrates (as heralds of other civilizations have taught him to). With no outside visitor, sacrament or perceptible sign, it is nonetheless a call on latent forces, the call of presence too and, for this to happen, the halt (let us hope), the possible if improbable halt of the usual turmoil, the background noise of the mind with its never-ending associations. I shall not mention recipes (they are unreliable), idle commentaries, likely misunderstandings...
Finally, an auditor listens to a sound (neither to a sound discourse that puts him asleep on his feet nor to a piece of music that makes him dream, dance, cry or laugh). We offer his listening this piece of sound that we repeat and to which he applies himself in the same way as he would stare at a light, a door knob or the horizon. He is receiving neither his God nor the flow of his body but a signal from the outside world, whose sound image [*] takes shape in his consciousness. In order to consider this signal, he must also pay attention and make silence, and to appropriate this signal, paradoxically, he must also rid himself of everything he had previously known about it, casting off senses, indices and even any suggestion concerning the signal. Re-listening to it now or in a few hours or in a few days, he will be learning more about it; he will be learning as much about the object that he is considering as about the faculties of the subject that he is, and who observes himself observing. In what, exactly, will this teaching consist? Is he doing music research? Is he figuring himself out? Is he going to split hairs, call himself a psychologist, a musicologist, a semiologist? In comparison with the intimate experience, with the true benefit, worthless specialisms... (Brunet and Schaeffer 1969: 211--12)
|Exchange of Letters: May 1969||
|Pierre Schaeffer by Sophie Brunet||
|Chapter II||The Heart Shared Out or the Three Simons||
|Chapter III||Object and Method||
|Chapter IV||Thou Shalt Live Alone||
|Reflections of Pierre Schaeffer||
|Chapter I||I Am Writing to You from a Distant Country||
|Chapter II||The Golden Age||
|Chapter III||Uninhabitable Spaces||
|Chapter IV||The Curved Space||
|Table of Contents||
|Pierre Schaeffer's Publications||
[*] The term "sound image" exactly corresponds to
Saussure's definition of the signifier.
back to Schaeffer index
Posted 13 September 2001.
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