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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

The Inner Nature of Music and the Experience of Tone
GA 283

Editors Note

In any translation, of course, decisions must be made concerning whether or how much of the mood of the original language need be sacrificed to provide a readable rendition of the ideas. In these lectures, particularly the four later lectures, the almost ethereal mood is very much enhanced by the flexibility of the German language, which permits qualities and essences to be spoken of as things, transforming adjectives into nouns: “das Musikalische,” literally, “the musical,” or “das Vokalische” and “das Konsonantische,” pertaining to the quality of vowels and consonants. Rarely in these lectures does Steiner harden these qualities into substances, into “music,” “vowels,” “consonants,” Unfortunately, the English language is not nearly so flexible in this respect; in translating, the choice must be made either to perform the hardening that Steiner avoided or to juggle a rather cumbersome series of phrases—“the musical element,” “the element of the vowel,” and so on. While graceful prose is more difficult with these phrases, the choice nevertheless has been made to use them in an attempt to preserve the quality of the original.