Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Splintered Lyre

broken lyre

Montiglio writes of the Eumenides:

In keeping with their nature that entails verbal negation and dissonance, the Erinyes prove to be the enemies of exchange. First, these forces of destructive speech oppose clear and articulate language. Their strident voice imitates animal sounds, bellows and barks. Their song, insofar as it is incompatible with the lyre, denies all harmony between music and human locution, because the lyre is the instrument that meets the clarity of speech. This "lyreless" song raises its voice against Apollo's soothing muthoi: "Here is the song, a frenzy that ruins the mind, the hymn of the Erinyes, mind-binding, without lyre."

(Silence, pp. 42-43)

lyre Do we hear the vulnerability of the listener in this passage? Will the enemies of exchange had laid waste to silence, or does silence endure like it always does, like the empathy one feels for the person who hears the alyric of the Eumenides? Silence is not the splintered lyre but the lyre on the cusp of speech? The broken lyre? Are we not on the verge of weeping for the man who cradles the broken lyre in his arms, always there, on the verge?

Are the Eumenides, however, really the enemies of reciprocity? We are all tragic figures insofar as our ignorance cries out to be interpreted. It's such a small thing to be ignorant of, our involvement in listening, the gives and takes. Furious whispers escape the lyricist's fingers, as they are eternally on the verge of doing. A string that buzzes, a frenzied hymn. This what has become of music, is it completely alien to the lyrical, the lyricist's hands? They hold things of the lyre, memorize them, and forget. By whose hand were the lyre have been broken? If it's not possible to act then none of us is a tragic figure. This is obvious. And if we never know what it means to know by listening?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 12:24 AM.


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