Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Pulsative Function

In response to Lyotard I had asked "Does one have a sense of rhythm about thoughts one is not prepared to think? What sort of phenomenon would this be?" Could it be a phenomenon of the unconscious? Lacan speaks of the pulsative function of the unconcsious, "the need to disappear that seems to be in some sense inherent in it" (The Four Funamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, p. 43). Does a sense of rhythm touch on that? If so, are certain forms of musical praxis more attuned to the pulsative function than others, or is this attunement more generally an aspect of having a sense of rhythm? I wouldn't know for sure, but I can comfortably speak of the blues.

Playing the blues doesn't feel like sublimation. It feels like exposure. It's as raw as sobbing, crying, shouting or laughter. But it does come and go. There are moments where the form comes to the fore, and moments when you play on riffs or licks. The form is most prominent in the turnaround, which has the effect of wiping the slate clean. The player's time, his or her sense of rhythm, is constantly on display. What is the relation between this display and blues feeling?

If you will allow that a sense of rhythm touches on the pulsative function of the unconscious, what then does the musician do with this? Is it a question of mastery, or rather of allowing oneself to be open to the unconscious? Is it more simply a mode of bodily praxis that lends itself to the ruptures of the unconscious?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 10:31 AM.


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