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Peter Hübner
Founder of the
Micro Music Laboratories




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Peter Hübner

Music as a Harmonic
Medical Data Carrier

An information-theory approach
to the Digital Pharmaceutics

The musicologist
Peter Hübner at the
‘9th International
Montreux Congress
on Stress’

Lead­ing sci­en­tific ex­perts met at this con­gress to ex­change thoughts, ex­peri­ences and knowl­edge about de­vel­op­ments in the field of stress re­search and stress man­age­ment. The fol­low­ing con­tains ex­cerpts from the dis­cus­sions – com­piled by the pub­lish­ers for this spe­cial pub­li­ca­tion.
Ques­tion: Herr Huebner, you are a clas­si­cal com­poser; how does this craft bene­fit you in the draw­ing up of the har­monic in­for­ma­tion in your Mi­cro Mu­sic La­bo­ra­to­ries?

Peter Hübner: Very much. The har­monic in­ves­ti­ga­tions in the mi­cro­cosm of mu­sic lead us right into the cen­ter of the craft of our great­est clas­si­cal sound crea­tors. As I have al­ready ex­plained else­where, we can view our mu­si­cal his­tory – i.e. that of Europe, es­pe­cially of Ger­many and still more par­ticu­larly of Thur­in­gia – as a proc­ess of cog­ni­tion in terms of the laws of har­mony of the mi­cro­cosm of mu­sic. In do­ing so we must not take too nar­row a view of the his­tori­cal as­pect since, up un­til Bach, this har­monic cog­ni­tion proc­ess saw its great­est pro­gres­sion, whilst af­ter Bach it al­ready went into de­cline again.

Ques­tion: Does this de­cline ex­plain the ‘sal­va­tion­ist’ leap into ato­nal­ity?

Peter Hübner: With­out a doubt! It be­came more and more ap­par­ent to com­pos­ers that they had lost the spon­ta­ne­ous in­ter­nal ac­cess to har­mony and, for atonal mu­sic, one does not need such ac­cess.

Bach’s mu­sic, and in­deed the mu­sic of his time, dem­on­strates the high­est de­gree of cog­ni­tion in terms of the laws of har­mony of the mi­cro­cosm of mu­sic in our Euro­pean mu­sic tra­di­tion, since these sound crea­tors de­vel­oped the high­est ar­tis­tic craft in work­ing at one with these natu­ral laws of har­mony.

In say­ing this, I do not wish to imply that this ar­tis­tic craft is fin­ished and can­not be fur­ther de­vel­oped, rather that, his­tori­cally, this was the time when the great­est in­sight into the laws of har­mony of the mi­cro­cosm of mu­sic can be proven, and that this in­sight has since been in gen­eral de­cline right up to mod­ern times.

Ques­tion: Can you ex­plain that in more de­tail?

Peter Hübner: Let us take, for ex­ample, po­lyph­ony, the counter point, the art of the fugue. In Bach’s time, deal­ing with these com­po­si­tional ele­ments was, for him and his col­leagues, still some­thing com­pletely natu­ral. It was clear, too, that these com­po­si­tional meth­ods only made sense with har­monic mu­sic, and also that it was only here that they could be viewed as ar­tis­tic craft. Af­ter Bach, how­ever, the ar­tis­tic craft of po­lyph­ony lost its pre-emi­nence in mu­sic and sim­ple ho­moph­ony be­came more and more wide­spread: the melody with added ac­com­pa­ni­ment came to the fore.

“Both in clas­si­cal and also in mod­ern medi­cine, the dis­rup­tion of the natu­ral har­monic or­der of our bod­ily func­tions has been ac­cepted as one of the prin­ci­ple causes of ill­ness.

In par­ticu­lar, mod­ern chrono- medi­cine has, with nu­mer­ous stud­ies, been able to sub­stan­ti­ate this con­nec­tion.

Par­ticu­larly in the pre­sent cli­mate of grow­ing prob­lems in medi­cal care, sci­en­tifi­cally based har­monic mu­sic medi­cine is there­fore gain­ing greater and greater sig­nifi­cance.”

Peter Hübner
Gen­er­ally, Bach’s suc­ces­sors only dis­play this art of the fugue in high spots of their great­est clas­si­cal works. As such, some of them who to this day enjoy great ac­claim as op­er­atic com­pos­ers had dif­fi­cul­ties with the sim­ple fugue.
The mi­cro­cosm of mu­sic rec­og­nizes no ho­moph­ony what­so­ever – in the same way that the mi­cro­cosm of mu­sic does not, in a struc­tural sense, rec­og­nize the phe­nome­non of dic­ta­tor­ship. But in ho­moph­ony we find that syn­the­tic, un­natu­ral sys­tem of dic­ta­tor­ship – where the melody plays the role of the dic­ta­tor, and the voices of the ac­com­pa­ny­ing in­stru­ments as­sume the roles of lack­eys.

The fugue – as a spe­cial area of po­lyph­ony – does not know this syn­the­tic un­natu­ral sys­tem of melody with added ac­com­pa­ni­ment.
In­stead it is here that the melody en­gages in a mul­ti­fac­eted re­la­tion­ship with it­self and, in do­ing so, as­sumes the role of its own ac­com­pa­ni­ment.

In so­cial terms, this kind of struc­ture is known to­day as ‘de­moc­racy’. In the sim­ple fugue the melody en­gages in a mul­ti­fac­eted re­la­tion­ship with it­self – simi­lar to the natu­ral re­la­tion­ship be­tween re­lated fam­ily mem­bers. In the case of the dou­ble fugue it is a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the natu­ral re­la­tion­ship be­tween the fam­ily mem­bers of two fami­lies. Ac­cord­ingly, with a triple fugue it rep­re­sents the natu­ral re­la­tion­ship be­tween mem­bers of three fami­lies, etc., etc.

His­tori­cally the art of the fugue had its limits, mainly due to the limi­ta­tions of the tech­ni­cal per­form­ance skills of the in­di­vid­ual in­ter­preter – in the case of Johann Sebastian Bach, for ex­ample, in that he only pos­sessed two hands and two feet with which to pre­sent a multi-voice fugue on the or­gan. In prac­tice then, he was him­self tech­ni­cally un­able to exceed 4 poly­phonic voices. In the case of the or­ches­tra, the pos­si­bili­ties were in­deed greater, but nev­er­the­less quite lim­ited.

His­tori­cally, the growth of the au­thori­tar­ian lead or­ches­tra has brought about a de­cline in the ar­tis­tic craft of po­lyph­ony. Con­se­quently, un­der the dic­ta­tor­ship of star con­duc­tors, the ques­tion of us­ing an ‘or­ches­tral ap­pa­ra­tus’ of this kind for the lib­er­ated high art of the fugue, of the po­lyph­ony, of the coun­ter­point arises less and less often, and ul­ti­mately not at all, be­cause po­lyph­ony de­pends es­sen­tially on the ar­tis­tic free­dom and in­de­pend­ence of each in­di­vid­ual mu­si­cian – also in the face of a con­duc­tor who is him­self striv­ing for ar­tis­tic domi­nance.

It has thus come about that the mod­ern mam­moth or­ches­tra, with its re­stricted free­dom, is barely ac­quainted with the ar­tis­tic mu­si­cal craft of po­lyph­ony. And if to­day a per­son wishes to gain mean­ing­ful in­sight into the coun­ter­point and into the art of the fugue, then he is best ad­vised to look back to Bach’s works for the or­gan.

With kind permission of AAR EDITION INTERNATIONAL