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Eurythmy as Visible Singing
GA 278

VIII. Pitch (ethos and pathos), Note Values, Dynamics, Changes of Tempo

27 February 1924

Today, I will try to pass on some things which will bring our studies of tone eurythmy to a provisional conclusion, so that a stimulation for the advance of the substance of tone eurythmy will have been given. The first step in this direction will be to digest those things I have given. Then, a little later on, it will be necessary to hold a further series of lectures, either on tone eurythmy or speech eurythmy, [50] for it is quite clear that a living stream of development has to be maintained. I have frequently said that eurythmy is only just beginning (perhaps only an attempted beginning), and it must be developed further.

From yesterday's study, which dealt more with the bodily aspect of the human being, and with the way in which the body is brought into activity in the movements of eurythmy, I should like to pass over today to the aspect of soul, and make clear to you how the life of the soul is brought to expression in every single movement or gesture. Your attitude to eurythmy must always be such as to prevent any form of pedantry. You will realize more and more that many things can be expressed either in one way or another, and that in art it is a question of taste. And with several things you will have to consult your own feelings: ‘What special means must I employ to bring this or that to expression?’

Let us consider an effectual means of expressing that most essential element of music, the phrase in Melos. Let us consider the progression of the phrase (since it really is the phrase which truly carries music into being), and direct our attention to that which gives the phrase its actual content, and makes it a true means of expressing the musical element: pitch. Further, we must distinguish note values and dynamics. The three elements of pitch, note values and dynamics really give us the inner content of the musical phrase. The more external aspect will be considered later.

Now everything musical, in so far as it is wrought out of the inner nature of the human being, comes from feeling, from the realm of feeling. And it is true to say that nothing is musical which is not in some way rooted in human feeling. Similarly, when music streams over into eurythmic movement, everything which is brought to life in this movement must also be rooted in feeling. When we studied the anatomical, physiological aspect of the matter yesterday, we saw that in its more physical, bodily aspect, movement springs from feeling. The scale is the human being, but actually the human being as he encloses his chest, or in so far as his chest is able to be revealed outwards via the collar-bone. The chest is connected with feeling, and carries within it the central organ of feeling, the heart. And the physical characteristic we touched upon yesterday simply points to the fact that in music we have to do with feeling.

If I may put it in this way, feeling can be coloured either more towards the head- or more towards the limb-organization. Should feeling tend in the direction of the head, it is expressed so to speak in the roundabout way of the intellect. Now I must beg you not to misunderstand this, and think that it is my intention to intellectualize the musical element. I have no such intention! It is a fact, however, that precisely in the element of pitch, something is manifest which causes feeling to tend in the direction of the intellect, only it does not reach the intellect, but remains in the realm of feeling. And so a musician need not in the least be interested when the intellectual physicist comes along and speaks of the frequency and the pattern of sound-waves. The musician can justifiably answer: ‘This may be all very well, and so on, but it has nothing to do with me. I am not interested in this.’ An intellectual conception of music leads away from the sphere of music. It may be left to the physicist. [51] That element of music which tends towards the intellect is also felt. Pitch, in all its differing manifestations, is an experience of feeling. And it is just because music inclines away from the intellect that the head has so little to do in tone eurythmy. Indeed in speech eurythmy, too, the head should play practically no part, though naturally it should humanly accompany the movements carried out by the speech eurythmist.

Of course, in a humorous poem it would not be good for a eurythmist to make a face as if he had drunk a pint or so of vinegar! This would obviously be out of place. Generally speaking, the whole mental attitude should be suited to the content of the words. But if anyone attempted to do eurythmy with the face (and some people miss mime or a special play of the facial features) we could well answer that this would be equivalent in real speech eurythmy to someone accompanying his speaking with grimaces.

In tone eurythmy, exactly the same as in speech eurythmy, the head need not remain inactive. But just where it is a concern of manifesting the intellectual tendency of the musical element, that is pitch, the activity of the head should be restrained as much as possible. Otherwise interpretation, or the element of seeking meaning, enters into the musical element, and this is its ruination. This introduces thinking into art, and the moment you begin to think, artistic activity ceases. I am not saying that art may not present thoughts, but thoughts must be there already in finished form, they cannot just be made up on the spot. A majestic, elevated thought may, for instance, be contrasted with lesser thoughts, or an idea may frequently recur in a train of thought, just as a musical motif may recur, for then the musical element is effective in the . train of thought. This is certainly possible. But you must not be thinking! [52] The same even applies to poetry. When a poet begins thinking he ceases to be a poet. Certainly he may embody thought in artistic form — but that is a very different matter.

Now as we have already seen, pitch (which lives in the musical phrase) initially finds expression in movements made in the upward-downward direction. The expression of pitch is up, down. Why should the movements be upwards and downwards? What lives in pitch?

You see, in the case of ascending pitch we feel a rising up into the spiritual element, in the musical element a rising up into the spiritual, rising with the ascending pitch. This is exceedingly significant. What really happens here is that the astral body and ego ascend. The human being is freed from his physical and etheric bodies. If he were to do this in an inartistic or even an anti-artistic manner, then he would faint. If he were to go out of his physical body without sufficient preparation, he would faint. The experience of musical sound (so long as it remains an experience of musical sound, of Melos) permits us to pass out of the physical body. Then we instantly come back into it. In ascending pitch there is a continuous rising out of the physical body, an identification of the human being with the spiritual element. In tone eurythmy every ascending movement basically signifies ethos. Ethos of the human being is a uniting of the soul with the spiritual weaving and essence. Ascending pitch: ethos.

When, alternatively, pitch descends, and we are consequently obliged to follow, to make the movements lower in space (making each movement lower than the one preceding), we sink more deeply into the physical body with the astral body and ego. We are united more with the physical element. Descending pitch signifies a closer connection than normal with the physical element. This is pathos. Ascending pitch: ethos. Descending pitch: pathos.

If you observe the unfolding of a piece of music with sound musical feeling, you will see that this is always the case. You will always experience ethos, that is to say, a uniting with the spiritual element, when the pitch carries you upwards. You will always feel something of the nature of pathos present in the music when the pitch causes you to descend. This can find expression in change of posture, and may indeed be specially clearly expressed by the movements of tone eurythmy.

Note values: note values are the feeling element as such. The faculty of feeling tends neither in the direction of the intellect nor in the direction of the will, but lives in its own element in note values. From what I have said about the way in which rests, for instance, or the pedal- point may be expressed in eurythmy, you will already have realized that feeling is active in note values. For it is indeed a fact that feeling is active to the greatest extent in note values. You need only recall in a feeling-way what you experience concerning a semibreve (whole-note), let us say, or a minim, crotchet or quaver (half-note, quarter-note or eighth-note). The shorter the length of the notes, the more your soul becomes inwardly filled, inwardly more formed and shaped. A vivid means of musical expression is made possible to a high degree by the contradistinction between notes which are short and those of longer duration. Long, slow notes denote a certain indifferent emptiness of soul (to put things baldly), an indifferent emptiness of soul. And in this fullness in the soul or this emptiness in the soul, the second factor, the actual feeling element, is active. The feeling concerning long notes may be likened (there is a real resemblance here) to that of waiting for something which still does not want to come. pn the other hand, when someone continually seeks to stimulate us to activity, this is akin to the feeling- experience underlying short notes.

The head may be brought to our assistance when it is a question of experiencing note values; indeed, a certain use of the head in eurythmy now becomes necessary. But the question is: How may this be done?

You see, in pitch, the soul is purely concerned with itself. Consequently in pitch, the soul rises up to God or sinks down to the Devil, [53] living to the extreme completely within its own essence.

In note values a certain enjoyment and participation in the world outside, a contact with the world, exists. A relationship of the human being with the outer world is expressed in note values. For this reason an aesthetic and pleasing impression will be created when, in the case of short notes (beginning perhaps with minims, or half-notes, [54] and working up in ever-increased activity) you look in the direction of what you are doing with your arm, fingers or hand, looking at your own eurythmy, carefully following your own movements with your eyes.

When, alternatively, you have long semibreves (whole-notes), do not look towards but rather away from your movement, either straight in front of you or in some other direction. You will see that although this does not fully express the feeling involved here (this must be expressed through sustaining the note or through moving on), it will be accompanied in the right manner. There can be no doubt about the fact that in note values we have to do with feeling. That is why the head may be brought to our aid. The head is not used here as a little interpreter; it simply expresses its participation in the feelings, and that looks quite pleasing.

The third element is dynamics. In the phrase, dynamics, the realm of feeling (which is always the source of the musical element), are coloured towards the element of will. The will as such does not come into play in the musical element, for the musical element always remains in the sphere of feeling. But just as in pitch, where feeling tends to be coloured towards the intellectual element, so in dynamics, feeling tends to be coloured towards the will. Here it is somewhat different than with the head. In the head, that which is manifested in the arms as movement is brought to rest. The jaws can only move a little; they are at rest. Indeed the head is entirely at rest. On the other hand, the legs and feet do retain a certain similarity to the arms and hands, so the movements of the arms and hands might possibly be accompanied with parallel movements of the feet when expressing a certain emphasis, or a certain dynamic marking. If this were not so, there would be no dancing. Eurythmy should not become dancing, but there may be times when a tendency towards dancing may be a justifiable means of expression (when the dynamics demand that feeling be coloured through the element of will). In musical dynamics, the human being's relationship with the world is even more relevant. Only pitch remains entirely inward. Note values bring the human being into a certain connection with the outer world. Dynamics make this complete, for forte gains its strength from the will, whereas in piano the will-impulse is lacking. Here, then, the movements of hand and arm can be reinforced by corresponding leg movements. These movements, of course, have to be graceful in the highest sense of the word; they should not be awkward, but have to be similar in style to what the arms and hands do. You will feel then what the legs have to do.

Dynamics may be substantially supported if you are aware of the fact that increased dynamics find is expressed by pointing the fingers, and a weakening of the sound makes the fingers rounded, so you can achieve something very expressive. Just think how much expression can be brought into the phrase which is already very expressive from a musical point of view. Think, in the first place, how we are able to express the phrase by emphasizing varied pitch in the way we have learned. This may be accompanied by bringing out note values by a use of the head, looking either towards or away. The dynamics of the phrase may be lit up by a pointing or rounding of the fingers. This gives you the possibility of becoming a very expressive being within the phrase. You will be able to express much when you observe this variety in the phrase, in the continuation of the phrase, and so on.

There is another way of accompaniment which can increase your means of expression. You see, with certain very high notes (notes which ascend two octaves or more above middle C) [55] you may follow the movements with your eyes. Try, however, not to conjure up an active gesture of looking (looking gives an impression of note lengths), but let your eyes be swept up with the movement. And so when you would especially like to express very high notes, you will follow the movement with your eyes, too. You will try, though, not to produce the gesture of looking, but of being swept up with your eyes. Produce the gesture of being swept up with your eyes, as if they [56] would do this movement — and they should be swept up with the movement! In such a case the eyes do not look, but turn in the direction of the movement. Here we have still another means of expressing the things that are present in the phrase.

These things are initially bound up with the inner essence of the phrase, with the actual life of the phrase. And if you concern yourselves further with the phrase you will actually find, fundamentally, when you use these things; that you will be able to follow transforming and developing phrases.

I should just like to add the following. It is, of course, necessary that everything we have studied in these lectures (which have aimed at deepening eurythmy) should be developed with particular inner activity.

Let us now take the development of a phrase as it progresses through various musical sentences. Here we are able to differentiate whether it is developed in the form of repetition — so that the development signifies a certain intensification, a confirmation of the original phrase. In such a case, if other aspects do not indicate the contrary, much can be expressed by the treatment of the form.

Let us suppose that you have to carry out some form such as this (a) in a certain piece of music. Quite apart from what you express by means

Figure 23

Fig. 23

of your body, this form has to be carried out. If you follow your musical feelings you will be able to add, according to the progression of the phrase, certain steps backwards and forwards, still following the direction of the form (b)

Figure 24

Fig. 24

Figure 25

Fig. 25

If, however, the progression of the phrase is such that a second phrase follows the previous one similar to that between question and answer, it would be good if the progression of the form were treated in this way (c) — with a more complicated development introduced into the form.

Another means of expressing either a sequence or an answering phrase, the repetitive sequence or the contrast of phrases, is this. At specific points in the progression of a phrase, where the progression of the phrase is specially felt (where, let us say, a new metamorphosis of the phrase commences), the direction of the form can be directed towards the right (b). If another phrase is brought into conjunction with the first, at the point where this second phrase begins, make a turn towards the left.

Such things make the movements exceedingly expressive. And further, if you make the movements of this latter type stronger in a four-bar phrase, let's say, and bring out the eight-bar phrase (which has four main accents) by clearly showing the alternating direction of left-right, then you will succeed in expressing in eurythmy this plastically-formed development in the progression of the phrase.

When you come to apply the things we have been discussing, you will invariably reach a point where, in some way or other, the essential nature of the musical element is revealed in its onward progression. Here you actually pass out of the inner experience inherent in the soul of Melos (as I'd like to put it) and you approach instead the life of Melos. We can certainly differentiate between the soul and the life of Melos. And the element which is less bound up with the soul and more with the life of Melos is tempo, especially tempo changes. The human being, by living in time, has to live either at a quicker or slower pace. This is something which exerts a certain influence on his or her life from outside. A person certainly does not become someone else if circumstances compel him or her to do something in a shorter time than usual. It is not a question of becoming cleverer, or more stupid, but simply of becoming quicker. It is, then, the external element of time which causes increase of tempo

Now it is a fact that in the musical element nearly everything depends upon changes, just as in movement generally everything depends upon changes. For this reason, change of tempo must be given special consideration in eurythmy. Let us suppose that we have an increase in tempo. An increase in tempo may not be shown simply by increased speed of movement, as this may be applied for pitch, for note values, and so on, but the body must make an abrupt movement (Ruck) towards the right. When you change to a retarded tempo, the body must be drawn (Zug) towards the left. Here you have a means of expressing change of tempo in such a way that the external element in it is given its adequate place in the moulding of the phrase.

You will say: ‘What a terrible amount there is to do!’ But bring imagination to your aid and think how beautiful it will be when you carry out all this detail, how articulated and expressive a piece of music will become when interpreted in this way. A tempo remaining either quick or slow may be particularly well expressed when, with a quick tempo, the head is turned forwards to the right, and, with a slow tempo, backwards to the left. Naturally this cannot be intellectually proved, but, as with everything in art, has to be felt and experienced.

You will, then, have to do many different things simultaneously, and by means of this simultaneous attention to one thing and another, it will be possible for you in the whole management of your body to go beyond yourself and enter into the movement in such a way that you will succeed in giving a perfectly adequate revelation of the musical element.

Now, in doing all these things just feel how far we remove ourselves especially in tone eurythmy from anything of the nature of mime. Mime can have no place in tone eurythmy, and anything in the nature of dance is only permissible at most as a faint undercurrent. It is only with deep bass notes that the eurythmist may be tempted to add dance-like movements to colour his eurythmy. In this way eurythmy will really be kept in a sphere which justifies the name of ‘visible singing’. Eurythmy is not dancing, not mime, but visible singing — a visible singing by means of which everything sounding in one way or another in instrumental music may be expressed. The feeling must never arise that we are dealing with anything other than visible singing. Here we come across something very instructive. With the means given here you will have no difficulty expressing anything that is purely musical. Certain difficulties will only appear when you have a musical phrase which you cannot bring to a conclusion. I am not going to rail against what is called ‘continuous melody’, but you will invariably experience difficulty when you try to express this in eurythmy. As we saw yesterday, genuine cadences can be expressed in eurythmy. But what always wants to move on (and not to come to a close) will hold great difficulty in store for you when you try to find a means of expression for it. I will suggest, then, that you accompany the passage where a melody fades away, which just meanders on (as is frequently the case with Wagner's ‘continuous melodic phrases’) [57] with some sort of movement, but this, when you pursue it eurythmically, will in fact appear extraordinary, will appear forced. In eurythmy it will appear laboured and artificial. It cannot be otherwise.

It may well be said that by its very nature, eurythmy will oblige people to return more and more to the pure musical element. When you come to apply all the means of expression of which I have been speaking, it will be necessary to engage your feeling for phrasing in music to the utmost. If you do not divide the separate phrases correctly, and are not clearly aware of how the notes should be grouped together, and then try to apply what I have discussed for a rest or a sustained note, it will appear ugly. Wrong phrasing, or a note falsely grouped and included wrongly in a phrase or allowed to remain isolated, will instantly be apparent. The very moment you phrase wrongly, the movement will become uncouth and clumsy. This is why it is of primary importance, when practising tone eurythmy, first to come to terms with the larger matters. As soon, then, as you have determined upon the phrasing and made up your mind about the progression of the music, the next step will be to discuss the phrasing with your pianist. [58] This simply belongs to the matter. When you are practising it will be necessary first Co experiment and find your way into the experience of the music. Only then will you realize what the effect of this or that kind of movement will be. You will be filled with inner warmth or inner cold. This is what the inner life is. A eurythmist may often be able to feel how notes are grouped even better than the person sitting at the instrument. It is really necessary to come to an understanding with the musician so that the phrasing may be correspondingly carried out. Of course, people do generally phrase correctly, but in eurythmy it will be frequently noticeable that an accepted phrasing must be altered, owing to the very nature of eurythmy. You will discover that several matters need correction.

Now, these are the things I wanted to give you in this course of lectures. In the first place it should be a stimulus to deepen tone eurythmy, and eurythmy in general. If in the near future it is shown that, through this, much in eurythmy (in tone eurythmy in particular) achieves a greater degree of perfection, and if it may be seen that speech eurythmy too receives fresh life through what has been said, we will hold another course. In this way we shall be able to develop ever further what today is still only a beginning. But if, instead of the eight lectures, I had given fourteen, I would have been concerned that the subject matter be properly assimilated. Then let us stay with what we have now received as a stimulus.

Herr Stuten: [59] Dear Herr Doctor, I know that I speak for everyone when I express our heartfelt thanks to you at the close of these lectures. Once again you have cast light on so many questions which we all carried within us, and given us much stimulus, that we see a great but completely unconstrained work before us. It is a great joy especially today to be allowed to express our thanks.

Dr Steiner. Thank you very much. I have intentionally not asked for questions because I think the material needs to be worked through and in the course of time there will be many opportunities where the one or other question can be dealt with. Very little comes when questions are asked after the first hearing, and everything becomes hurried and mixed up.