Vincent Meelberg | Gewelddadige geluiden: de agressie van muzikale narrativiteit


“Variation 10” (1996), a free improvisation by the British saxophonist Evan Parker, is an act of aggression. More precisely, as I will argue in this essay, the music tells a story about the violence this piece induces on both the listener and the performer. Moreover, according to the French philosopher Alain Badiou, artworks such as “Variation 10” need to act violently on the situation in which this object is placed. The truth of an artwork is determined by its violence. I will discuss these different forms of musical violence, and suggest that, as opposed to literature, music is able to let the observer feel what it really means for an artwork to be violent. Both literature and music can tell about violence, but music can at the same time actually be violent.

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