Nagy's "crystallization" model

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Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by Paul Derouda » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:02 am

A continuation from the ταρ thread. Joel said:
As far as ideological opposition between Nagy and West, I've never read an article by Nagy that I didn't find impressive. Perhaps West deserves the regard that he holds on this forum, but what I've read of him so far (mostly his books on music, and a few articles on Homer) hasn't demonstrated genius to me yet. But by all means, I would love to be corrected if someone would like to link me to his best stuff. It's hard work publishing the vast quantities that West does, and I can certainly understand why the quality might vary.
I haven't read Nagy a lot, but as far as I've followed his ideas on genesis of the Homeric epics, he doesn't impress me at all. I'll quote bits from Barry Powell's review of his book Poetry as Performance, Homer and Beyond (to be found in its entirety at http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1997/97.03.21.html). I'm not exactly a fan of Powell (he has a strange theory that alphabetic writing was invented for the express purpose of recording Homer, for one), but in this review I think he really nails it. My main difference with him in this review is that I think, following West, that "Homer" wrote and was not dictated; but that's irrelevant for evaluating Nagy's views here.

There's a reply by Nagy, which I can't locate, and a reply to that reply by Powell (http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1997/97.04.24.html)
The poems of Homer (if he existed) were not taken down by dictation, but somehow were "crystallized" over a long period, especially during the sixth century BC in Athens. In this way, through "crystallization," there came into being the text we have today. Those are the big issues, as I see them, and it is here I wish to register my complaint.

Chapter I, "The Homeric Nightingale and the Poetics of Variation in the Art of a Troubadour," begins by quoting Odyssey 19. 518-523, where Penelope compares herself to a nightingale, the daughter of Pandareos, who killed her own child Itylos. A variant reading of unclear meaning, poludeukea for the vulgate poluekhea "with many resoundings" to describe the nightingale's voice, suggests to N. that we have found two "original" readings, each depending on the mutability of oral poetry and neither, therefore, more correct than the other. N. takes the obscure variation as paradigmatic of mouvance, a term he borrows from the criticism of French medieval poetry where similar variant readings appear. Implicit in N.'s long discussion is that written versions of Homer, and of other oral poets, reflect oral performance. Because we find variation in oral song, and because we find variation in the textual tradition, therefore the textual tradition reflects the variation so common in oral song and not the errors of copyists or the like. Does N. therefore think that the Iliad and the Odyssey were sung by Homer, not taken down in writing, then sung by a successor nearly verbatim (except for such minor variations as poludeukea/poluekhea), still not written down, then sung by someone else, with still more mouvance and a shifting of lines here and there, new particles creep in, then in the sixth century BC sort of written down, and then in the fifth century BC really written down, but still mouvance going on, until the Alexandrians at last established our text? Yes, N. does believe this. But the Iliad and the Odyssey that we possess are not oral poems; they are texts based on oral performance, which is not the same thing. The monumental labor and expense required to record the Iliad and Odyssey ensure for most Homerists that the poems were recorded a single time, that there was an original text. What is the problem with such an assumption? We do need to explain the small variations found in Homeric manuscripts, as we must explain those found in any text, ancient and modern. Still, from the moment that the Homeric poems were written down, they existed as texts and were subject to the vicissitudes of any text created in any fashion. Here is a cardinal element of the Parry-Lord thesis: oral poetry composed in performance is always something new, and there is no fixed text; but a written text is a fixed text. A written text is no longer oral poetry, nor subject to the rules that govern the generation of oral poetry, although it began as such.
Chapter 5, "Multiform Epic and Aristarchus' Quest for the Real Homer," sets down what N. calls the Five Ages of Homer, a summing up of the various stages of textual fixation according to his model of the evolution of the Homeric poems. First was a fluid period, roughly 2000-800 BC; second, a "pan-Hellenic" period, still no written text, down to the middle of the sixth century; third, "potential texts in the form of transcripts," from mid-sixth to fourth centuries; fourth, a standardizing period with "texts in the sense of transcripts or even scripts" under the supervision of Demetrius of Phalerum from 317-307; finally, a rigid period "with texts as scripture," from middle of the second century BC on, beginning with Aristarchus' work around 150 BC: "In brief, then, this scheme of five periods in Homeric transmission brings into play primarily the dimension of performance, in particular the traditions of the rhapsoidoi, and, secondarily, the dimension of text as a derivative of performance, where each successive period reflects a progressively narrower concept of textuality, from transcript to script to 'scripture.'" (p. 113) The whole process N. describes as "crystallization," a word used in his earlier publications.

Here, then, is the heart of N's thesis, and of his dilemma. For a written text is not the product of a chemical reaction (and what is a "potential" text? What is the picture exactly?). In archaic Greece texts seem to have come into being in three ways. Scribes took down verses from oral poets by dictation. Why does N. not accept A. B. Lord's theory of the dictated text? N. never explains why. Aristocrats, who learned how to decipher texts that began as oral poetry, discovered how to create, in writing, new forms of poetry, lyric and choral song (how do you train a chorus without a written text?); Sappho and Euripides composed for reperformance from a written prompt in just this way. Finally, texts which originated in either way, through dictation taken from oral poets or created originally in writing, were copied when one man read aloud from a written text and another wrote down what he heard, or he copied the manuscript by eye (we're not very clear about this). Texts may be a derivative of performance, as N. puts it, when an oral poet dictates to a scribe (which N. denies happened), but when a rhapsode or actor delivers orally a memorized text, performance is derivative of text. The model seems so persuasive that I do not see why N. is determined to overthrow it. We have people dictating texts, creating texts in writing, and copying texts. "Crystallization" is an unfortunate metaphor and I cannot see why N. wants it.
Part of my problem with Nagy is that his writing style is opaque, and simply don't have the patience to go on reading him until I can understand what he's exactly trying to say. So for that reason I haven't read him a lot. What I've read concerns Homer, and at least there I must say that although his theories seem very nice at an abstract level, when you try to imagine what they mean concretely, you're at a loss – like, for example, the crystallization theory (discussed above): what is the exact relationship between manuscripts and performance that is proposed? Like who wrote what and why? Not clear.
Last edited by Paul Derouda on Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by Scribo » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:40 am

Well, briefly put (since I think we've thrashed this out before?), I agree.

I think Nagy makes some interesting comments here and there and provides some good readings (read his stuff on Theognis for example?) but the problem with his model is...well, lack of evidence. Both small scale in what has been pointed out before (i.e we really need to get rid of this dichotomy between oral and written texts, it's nowhere near so simple) and in larger terms, there's no real good parallel anywhere else in world history. Given just how much we know about things like the creation and transmission of texts (thanks to Philology) or oral poetry and cultures (Anthropology) and even cultural memory (Psychology) this model is basically untenable.

I like in essence what he's trying to do with textual variants too but the problem is not every variant is a valid one, once we're dealing with texts the usual problems of textual transmission apply. Even within oral poetry one finds mistakes.

Anyway, anything else and I'll spoiler what I'm actually trying to write without having fully flushed it out (tangentially connected but seemingly more and more relevant). I would say it's worth looking at the work of, say, Ruth Finnegan on oral poetry btw and follow the citations there.

On a funnier note the books on Homer (questions) is hardly his worse prose. Try and read "Pindar's Homer". I've read that book, a few times, wowza. Nagy is pretty up there in terms of scholars with weird prose, though perhaps not as bad a Henderson. Henderson, great ideas....writing? ...not so much.
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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by Paul Derouda » Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:01 pm

Scribo wrote:I like in essence what he's trying to do with textual variants too but the problem is not every variant is a valid one, once we're dealing with texts the usual problems of textual transmission apply.
If you mean that there are rhapsodic interpolations and rhapsodic variants in the text, I agree. Who knows if some of them went back to Homer himself? But Nagy's model is like the uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics, it makes your head hurt when you think about what it means in practice. (But quantum mechanics is based on evidence.)

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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by Ahab » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:32 pm

For those interested, the response by Nagy can be found here:
http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1997/97.04.18.html


And Powell’s response to Nagy’s response:
http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1997/97.04.24.html

Am pretty much in agreement with what Paul and Scribo have written in this thread.
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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by jeidsath » Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:51 pm

Well, I'm certainly not going to write a brief for Nagy on a thread that doesn't even quote him.

However, do have some respect for complexity. Take Shakespeare, a single author writing during the time of the printing press. Beyond the simple problems of transmission, there are plays that draw from "performance" texts, or even actor's copies or transcriptions. For some plays, we have multiple versions, all of which were likely performed during the author's lifetime, with some lines contributed by actors. There are multiple incompatible "good readings." Take a look at the multiple reconstructions of Hamlet -- his most favorite play.

Easy problems, compared to Homer. Let us pray that these barbarian gods of Scribo's -- Anthropologus, Philologus, and Psychologus -- defend us mightily.
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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by Paul Derouda » Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:57 pm

Now that Ahab found Nagy's reply, I can quote a bit from there. Maybe it's just me, but although Nagy represents Powell as strawpuppetting him, I'm myself unable to understand his "crystallization" theory in any other way. What does "progressive movement from fluidity to rigidity in an on-going historical process of recomposition-in-performance" mean in practice, in terms of who wrote the manuscripts and why? I don't have the actual book at hand to quote from there, I'm sorry about that. I've read this part of Nagy's theory several times from several sources, and the only way I can mentally represent what I believe he is trying to say is exactly as Powell is strawpuppetting him. Maybe it's just me, but I don't understand.
(8) P[owell].: "Does N. therefore think that the Iliad and the Odyssey were sung by Homer, not taken down in writing, then sung by a successor nearly verbatim (except for such minor variations as poludeukea/poluEkhea), still not written down, then sung by someone else, with still more mouvance and a shifting of lines here and there, new particles creep in, then in the sixth century BC sort of written down, and then in the fifth century BC really written down, but still mouvance going on, until the Alexandrians at last established our text? Yes, N. does believe this."

N[agy]: No, I do not believe what P. says I believe. Here, as elsewhere, P. misreads my arguments and then declares his misreadings to be facts. I invite the readers of BMCR to compare P.'s breathless paraphrase of my book with the book itself. His wording "sung by Homer" and "nearly verbatim," marking what he thinks are successive stages extending from one individual singer to the next, reveals to me that he has missed the essence of what I formulated in PP 109-112 concerning a progressive movement from fluidity to rigidity in an ongoing historical process of recomposition-in-performance (see also HQ chapters 2-3, especially 111-112).
The Shakespeare parallel is interesting. In a similar discussion, Qimmik has brought up Proust. The problem with Homer is that even if something like this happens (I believe it does), it's at a very small scale. There's simply no evidence for the extent of fluidity Nagy is claiming. The variability of the manuscripts, even the earliest papyri, is ridiculously small. Individual words might be different, at most a couple of lines, and there are interpolations that rarely exceed a couple of lines. None of them alter the substance of the stories in any way. What I do agree about is that some of the scribes might have been rhapsodes themselves, and probably knew the texts very well anyway, so in producing new copies they might (for example) not have felt the necessity to keep their eyes on the original all the time, and might replaced a word or a line or two with with something else, either inadvertedly or on purpose for some artistic motive of their own. But they were still reproducing (or modifying) an already existing text. There was one original Iliad and one original Odyssey, and I simply don't understand how Nagy can deny that. I simply don't understand what a "fluid text" is. Of course there were also performance variants, probably "Homer" (and his followers?) had performed his stories in many different versions, but they did not survive, because they were performances, not written texts.

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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by jeidsath » Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:10 pm

There was one original Iliad and one original Odyssey, and I simply don't understand how Nagy can deny that.
Who was it written for? Certainly not the literate reading public. Nor was it written to be read aloud -- it couldn't have competed with other oral entertainment in that format -- we know Homer was performed from memory during its early history. Perhaps it was written for performers, as a performance crib? Was it collated from other crib sheets? How deep did the history of the other cribs go, and how deep did the oral performance history go? Do we have the evidence to say? Were there major recensions in the history of the document? (We know a great deal about some of them.) Did other recensions happen that we have only hints of? When was the catalogue of the ships added?

And, if we put blinders on ourselves to all those questions, in the interest of simplifying the problem, why the massive grab bag of dialectical and chronological variation?

Look at Genesis, another composition document where we have a similarly solid manuscript tradition. The scholarship certainly suggests that it was assembled from various pieces (some of which may have had oral tradition periods). The least interesting question about Genesis is the name of this final priestly redactor. The more interesting questions all surround what the constituent parts may once have looked like.

And like Genesis, with Homer you have the choice between being a "warts and all" reader, interested it respecting it for what it is, or being someone who tries to make it what you want it to be. One, I think, is more reverent towards the text.

EDIT:

Even better, look at the one document from antiquity where we do have serious compositional evidence of variants (and again, the manuscript tradition sheds zero light): The synoptic Gospels. Imagine the sort of discussion we would be having about the Gospel of Luke in a world where neither of his two sources survived.
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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by Paul Derouda » Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:40 pm

OK, let me clarify one thing: with one Iliad and one Odyssey, I meant specifically one written text each. As oral poems, they can go way back and probably do. But oral poems don't leave a trace in written records.
jeidsath wrote:Who was it written for? Certainly not the literate reading public. Nor was it written to be read aloud -- it couldn't have competed with other oral entertainment in that format -- we know Homer was performed from memory during its early history. Perhaps it was written for performers, as a performance crib? Was it collated from other crib sheets? How deep did the history of the other cribs go, and how deep did the oral performance history go? Do we have the evidence to say? Were there major recensions in the history of the document? (We know a great deal about some of them.) Did other recensions happen that we have only hints of? When was the catalogue of the ships added?
Whether the texts were originally rehearsal aids is a good question. I don't have an answer. Or perhaps Homer, or his rich patron, or both, decided that he was such a good poet that his poetry should be recorded in writing, and in long play this time. When you go to a concert and you like it, you might buy the record. When Bill Gates visits a nice castle in France and he likes it, he might buy it and transfer it to the States. So maybe there wasn't any particular reason, it was done because someone wanted to do it. What matters is that it was done. There's actually no certain evidence that the epics were even performed in their entirety, from α to ω, before the Panathenaic festival in the 6th century. I think West has pointed out that the Mass in B minor was never performed in its entirety in Bach's lifetime.

As for the catalogue of ships, I'm not sure if it was added. But now you're starting to sound more like the old analysts and less like Nagy. :)
jeidsath wrote:And, if we put blinders on ourselves to all those questions, in the interest of simplifying the problem, why the massive grab bag of dialectical and chronological variation?
I don't think anyone denies that the language of oral poetry was very old at the time the epics were written down. And the dialectical variation allows for different metrical shapes. (But the old analysts rejected some passages because of perceived linguistic abnormality)
jeidsath wrote:Look at Genesis, another composition document where we have a similarly solid manuscript tradition. The scholarship certainly suggests that it was assembled from various pieces (some of which may have had oral tradition periods). The least interesting question about Genesis is the name of this final priestly redactor. The more interesting questions all surround what the constituent parts may once have looked like.
I don't know much about the Genesis, but as far as I know, there's much more credibility for saying that it was assembled bits and pieces from earlier texts. There's just so much more coherence in the Homeric epics, they just don't look like they're assembled from here and there. You can't remove anything from either epic without disturbing the whole (except book 10 in the Iliad, the Doloneia). (Here again you're sounding a bit like the good old analysts...)
jeidsath wrote:And like Genesis, with Homer you have the choice between being a "warts and all" reader, interested it respecting it for what it is, or being someone who tries to make it what you want it to be. One, I think, is more reverent towards the text.
Why would I want it to be anything? I don't think this, or any other text, is divine, just something I want to understand. It's just a hobby for me (albeit one I take much too seriously ;) ), I come to this hobby as an outsider and I've formed my views by reading during the last eight or so years anything I've found interesting on the subject. West is the author I've found to be the most convincing and informative of all of those I've read, and since I've joined Textkit I've found out that I'm not the only one. The book I seriously recommend you to read on this subject is West's Making of the Iliad (which is probably better than the Odyssey book. But I'd hesitate to name any single book as his best, he written far too many good ones.).
jeidsath wrote:EDIT:

Even better, look at the one document from antiquity where we do have serious compositional evidence of variants (and again, the manuscript tradition sheds zero light): The synoptic Gospels. Imagine the sort of discussion we would be having about the Gospel of Luke in a world where neither of his two sources survived.
But we do have the evidence the Gospels. We can't go on assuming evidence for the Homeric epics we don't have.

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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by jeidsath » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:09 pm

I think West has pointed out that the Mass in B minor was never performed in its entirety in Bach's lifetime.
Bach! I didn't think of bringing him up. Another wonderful example of performance manuscripts. The manuscript tradition there is extremely interesting, as his works were divided among his (many) children, and that is how nearly everything that we have came down to us. I'm not sure what survived from his employers. Records storage facilities seem to get destroyed by fire far too often to be random chance in European cities.

Almost everything that we have of Bach is the original autograph -- but nearly everything that he wrote is heavily plagiarized from other pieces (that he also wrote). He operated a workshop, mostly staffed by his family, for producing the pieces and getting them copied out for the various performers. Because of the plagiarism, imaginative reconstructions are sometimes attempted for the missing pieces.

This self-plagiarism is quite interesting for the Homeric angle, where the same thing seems to happen. Also, like Homer, Bach was composing incredibly long pieces. Contra-West, the unperformed pieces were by far the rarity, as Bach worked for a living, and wrote everything for pay or in the hope of a position. Still, even something like the St. Matthew's Passion was very much a pastiche of various pieces that were reworked to fit together, rather than custom written for the piece itself.

And of course, Bach was not writing for "publication." He (and his workshop) were writing the music so that musicians could memorize the pieces (which Bach conducted).
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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by mwh » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:21 am

OK Joel so you’re not impressed by Morpurgo Davies and you’re not impressed by Martin West, but you are impressed by Greg Nagy. I’m not about to argue. You’ll find a good number of people in the US who are with you on the third of these judgments (I’m one of them myself, in a highly qualified way), few anywhere who are with you on the first two. Of course that doesn’t prove them misjudgments, but it might give you pause. It’s not as if scholars haven’t wrestled with the issues, and they “respect complexity” (and evidence) at least as much as Nagy does.

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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by Markos » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:49 am

Perhaps the Homeric poems were produced not by crystallization, but by another process called crystallization.

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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by jeidsath » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:50 am

@mwh -- And don't forget my open forum thread attacking the Linear B decipherment. (I've since read Levin, and the whole subject looks even stinkier to me now than it did then.)

But what can I do but read more Greek? I may still hold to all of my same wrong views, but at least I'll have the sound of Homer in my ears when I do. Right now it's some cross of Fagles, Pope, and Chapman.
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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by mwh » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:52 pm

@jeidsath re Linear B. I found your thread (viewtopic.php?f=6&t=62673). The Young and Levin pieces you link to date from the mid-1960’s, when there were still a few holdouts against the 50's decipherment. They didn’t last long. Most importantly, there’s now much more material than then, and it’s all been confirmatory. The phonetic leeway built into the script that so shocks you (the quote you gave in your post is from Denys Page, but he himself accepted the decipherment) does indeed cause difficulties, and many decipherments are still in question, particularly when it comes to equations with names of important historical/mythological figures. There’s still fuzziness around one or two of the edges. But the fundamental thesis that the language is Greek, which came as such a shock in the 1950’s and quite revolutionized ideas about early Greek history, is beyond doubt. I’m no expert myself, but if the decipherment were open to challenge, you can be sure that Horrocks or someone else would have challenged it. No surprise that there are some surprises in the linguistic development, nothing to prompt a paradigm shift. You will make a permanent name for yourself in classical studies if you show the decipherment to be wrong, but I reckon you’d be wasting your time to try. I don’t understand why you persist in scepticism after Scribo’s posts. Just sometimes the scholarly community gets things right.

There’s a handy book by J.T. Hooker, Reading the Past, with chapters on various ancient writing systems by the top experts in the respective fields (the one on Linear B by Chadwick). 1990, so not wholly up to date, but I found it a very useful book.

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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by mwh » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:05 am

I don’t want to get drawn into this discussion, but here in capsule form is what I think of the earlier phases of Nagy's “crystallization model,” which posits a progressively formative process of performative recomposition and panhellenic diffusion by rhapsodes from the mid-8th cent. till eventual quasi-textualization in the mid-6th. As I see it, it’s vulnerable to two main objections, independently fatal: (1) it requires rhapsodic transmission uncontrolled by written texts to have been relatively static over the course of two centuries, and (2) it requires increasing breadth of diffusion as the poems gained panhellenic circulation to correlate with increasing strictness of adherence to a normative and unified version. Each of these postulates is inherently implausible and runs counter to the comparative evidence of orally transmitted poems. So far as I’m aware these objections have not been addressed by Nagy except by reassertion and self-quotation.

Oh and Greg Nagy is a friend of mine. Amicus Plato, ....

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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by jeidsath » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:53 pm

(1) it requires rhapsodic transmission uncontrolled by written texts to have been relatively static over the course of two centuries, and (2) it requires increasing breadth of diffusion as the poems gained panhellenic circulation to correlate with increasing strictness of adherence to a normative and unified version.
I’m not writing a brief for Nagy’s theories even if I am impressed at his style. But —

1) “Relatively static” could be nailed down more. I don’t disagree with West that a creative act happened when the poem was first put into its present form. But I do disagree with him that it’s in any way interesting to spin stories about how the poet collated his different notes, when the diversity of the text and the presence of a larger myth/tradition context begs us to talk about sources instead of notes.

2) Pan-Hellenism would have meant something very different during the Dorian invasion (if it ever really occurred). We’ll know much more in a few years. The sequencing study in the Doric thread, that Scribo mistakes for an SNP Y-chromosome study with great rhetorical flourish, is in fact a far far bigger deal than that. As soon as people can pull a few Greek bones together dating from 1200-800 B.C. (that haven’t been handled too much), we are going to know some things about any population movements that did or not happen during that time period. If I were in the field, I would be cold-calling museums and anthropology departments right now to see what bits of skeletons they have lying around in drawers, too incomplete to ever be put on display.
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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by ariphron » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:48 am

jeidsath wrote:Bach! ... The manuscript tradition there is extremely interesting, as his works were divided among his (many) children, and that is how nearly everything that we have came down to us. I'm not sure what survived from his employers. Records storage facilities seem to get destroyed by fire far too often to be random chance in European cities.
The manuscript tradition is quite straightforward. The considerable majority of extant Bach works are from the two shares of the inheritance that C.P.E. Bach had custody of.
Almost everything that we have of Bach is the original autograph -- but nearly everything that he wrote is heavily plagiarized from other pieces (that he also wrote). He operated a workshop, mostly staffed by his family, for producing the pieces and getting them copied out for the various performers. Because of the plagiarism, imaginative reconstructions are sometimes attempted for the missing pieces.

...

And of course, Bach was not writing for "publication." He (and his workshop) were writing the music so that musicians could memorize the pieces (which Bach conducted).
I'm sure you mean "sightread", not "memorize". There's no way an ensemble would be able to memorize a weekly new cantata in the time available. Bach conducted from the violin -- you shouldn't visualize a modern conductor; he served as concertmaster of what we would now call a chamber orchestra. Also, your use of the word "plagiarize" is very strange. It's as if you imagined the act of composition to be creation of music out of whole cloth, and reuse of musical materials as borrowing of costumes registered to another production in the company. That's not it at all. When Bach wrote his scores, he was acting as a composer. Musicians improvising create music; composers compile preexisting elements to create written sets of parts that can be used as the starting point for specific performances.

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Re: Nagy's "crystallization" model

Post by jeidsath » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:36 am

Is this thread about the Nagy's model or about me? To answer quickly--
The manuscript tradition is quite straightforward. The considerable majority of extant Bach works are from the two shares of the inheritance that C.P.E. Bach had custody of.
Is that so? Look into the history of our different manuscript lines for St. Matthew's Passion. Or look at the Goldberg Variations, published in Clavierbüchlein, but with Bach's personal copy discovered in 1974, including his own corrections.

--That's just to name Bach's most famous pieces. And yes, this is all quite straightforward compared to the Iliad!
I'm sure you mean "sightread", not "memorize"...
Something in between. I should have said "learn the pieces." But I will except the correction.
Also, your use of the word "plagiarize" is very strange. It's as if you imagined...
I imagined nothing of the sort, nor was I the one who invented the use of the word self-plagiarism to describe Bach's practice of re-adaptation of his own music.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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