Part two in a six part series by Leonard Berstein. Part one is here. This lecture discusses musical syntax.
At the beginning of his first Norton Lecture, Leonard Bernstein explained the importance of “inter-disciplinary values -that the best way to ‘know’ a thing is in the context of another discipline.” In these six lectures, Bernstein communicated his ideas of the universality of musical language through wide-ranging analogies to linguistics, aesthetic philosophy, acoustics as well as music history. However, while many of his ideas are intellectually challenging, the great achievement of the lectures is that through their breadth they make complex musical concepts accessible to a general audience.
Leonard Bernstein was invited to become the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University in 1971. This one-year position had previously been held by such notable musical figures as Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Copland, and by poets such as e.e. cummings and W.H. Auden. The professorship required Bernstein to live on campus for one school year, counsel students and, most significantly, deliver of a series of six public lectures. Bernstein, a “Harvard man” himself, was pleased and honored to become a part of this distinguished tradition.
The Unanswered Question Part 2