The Sustained Note; the Rest; Discords
If, in the forthcoming lectures, we are to become
acquainted with a few things in further detail, today we have to put
the question: If music essentially is the flow of Melos, and
if it is Melos in particular which should be expressed in the
gestures of eurythmy, what then is the musical element as such, the
music shown in eurythmy, meant to express?
Here we meet with two
extremes. On the one hand it may be said that the melodic element is
tending more and more towards what is thematic, towards the expression
of something which is not in itself musical. I have often mentioned
that, especially in recent times through a Wagnerian influence, as well
as other influences, music on the one hand has become expression, expression
of something that is not music. On the other hand, especially in the
beginning of the age of Wagner, we also find pure, absolute music (the
musical element as such, simply the weaving of musical sounds) —
of which it was said (not without a certain justification) that it made
music into a tonal arabesque, a progression of notes without content.
Naturally these are both
extreme cases. To put forward the idea that music embodies nothing and
is merely a tonal arabesque  is nonsense, utter nonsense. But such
nonsense may very easily arise when there is no real understanding of
where the essential musical element lies. It cannot lie in the notes
themselves, as I have repeatedly emphasized. The person engaged in tone
eurythmy has constantly to bear in mind the necessity for expressing
in the movements, in the actual gestures themselves, that which lies
between the notes, regarding the notes as merely giving him the occasion
for the movement.
It may help you to carry
out these gestures I have already indicated, with inner correctness,
and the right inner feeling, if we make a certain basic provision. And
the provision should consist that you, as eurythmists, regard the actual
note, and in a certain sense the chord too, as that which pushes you
into movement, causes you to move, and gives the impetus (Ruck: ‘jolt’)
towards movement. You must continue the impetus between two notes and
again regard the next note as the impetus which is given to you. In
this way the movement will not express the note, and will not emphasize
the note, but will express in the fullest possible way everything that
lies between the notes and what comes to the fore, for instance, in
the intervals. This is of great importance.
Now, why is there such
a strong urge in our modern age to deviate from the purely musical realm?
Something quite beautiful may sometimes result from this deviation from
what is purely musical, but why is the urge to deviate from it so strong?
It is because the contemporary person has gradually acquired an attitude
of mind in which he is no longer able to dream, no longer able to meditate.
He has nothing within to set him into movement, and wants to be set
into movement from outside. But this being-set-into-movement from outside
can never produce a musical mood. In order that modern civilization
could furnish proof of its unmusical nature, it has laid hold of a drastic
means to do so. It is really as though, in its concealed depths of soul,
modern civilization wanted to provide the clearest proof that it is
unmusical. And the proof is given in that it has produced the film.
The film is the clearest proof that those who like it are unmusical.
For the whole basis of films is that they only permit those things to
be active in the soul which do not arise out of the inner life of the
soul, but which are stimulated from outside [See Appendix 6].
It must be admitted that
a lot of modern music-making  tends to lay special stress upon
that which is stimulated from outside. Attempts are made to imitate
what is external — not by means of the pure melodic element, but rather
by employing some subject matter as far remote from the melodic element
There is a very simple
way, once more a kind of meditation (I recently spoke to you about the
TAO meditation, which may be helpful to eurythmists in the way I have
already explained), whereby you may gradually accustom yourself to seek
for that which is musical even in what lies outside the musical sphere.
It consists in comparing a sequence of vowels, such as: Lieb ist
viel or Eden geht grell. There need be no meaning. Compare these
for instance with: Gab man Manna or Ob Olaf warm war.
And now repeat such sentences
one after the other:
Lieb ist viel ... Eden geht grell ... :
does not resonate
Gab man Manna ... Ob Olaf warm war ... : musical
You will most certainly
feel that the second examples are musical, whereas the first exist as
if they would not resound. Just try to repeat these sentences one after
the other: Lieb ist viel. Gab man Manna. Eden geht grell. Ob Olaf
warm war. You will easily recognize that the vowels ah
and o lie within the musical sphere, whereas the vowels
ee and a depart from it. This is an important matter for eurythmists
to observe, for eurythmy must, of course, represent a wholeness. When
in tone eurythmy you wish to express something very inward, the movements
may be led over into ah or o, or likewise into oo.
But the gestures of tone eurythmy may not readily be led over into e
or a. Thus the sounds ah, o, oo may be employed in
pieces of music for eurythmy in order to emphasize the mood, but a
and ee should only be used when it is definitely intended to
pass, at some point or other, out of the musical realm. This is important.
These things are of such
a nature that we have to acquire a consciousness of them above all.
It is interesting, for example, when we follow the German language through
several centuries, to observe that it has gradually dropped many ah,
o, and oo sounds, and has taken on many ee and
a sounds. In other words, the German language has become progressively
more unmusical in the course of centuries. (I am speaking now of the
vowels, not of the intervals.)
It is really important
to bear this in mind in tone eurythmy, and indeed in other eurythmy
too. For the knowledge that the German language has a marked tendency
towards a distorted phonetic imagination may be quite valuable. With
the western Germanic languages this is even more the case. But all this
rightly leads us to put the question: ‘What does music really express?’
This question cannot easily be answered by anyone who is unable to dream.
For, you see, in very truth the poet, the artist, must basically be
able to dream, to dream consciously — that is to say, to meditate.
Either he must hold dream- pictures in recollection, or be able to find
dream-pictures of the realities of the spiritual world.
But what does this mean?
It means leaving behind everything that makes sense in the sensory world.
Take a dream (I have often spoken of these matters). Take a dream: if
we are to get at its nature, we must not look at it as an interpreter
of dreams does. For the interpreter of dreams takes the dream's content.
Anyone who really understands the nature of dreams does not take the
dream's content, but considers whether the dream rises up in fear and
calms down, whether the dream stirs up an inner uneasiness which is
intensified to anxiety, ending perhaps in this anxiety, or whether there
is a state of tension which is afterwards resolved. This is really the
decisive thing in a dream. And in the description of spiritual processes
this becomes even more necessary.
It is, of course, exceedingly
difficult today to speak to humanity about the things which spiritual
science has to impart. For instance, when I described the progression
of world-evolution (Saturn, Sun, Moon and so on), people thought the
very things important that were unimportant to me. It is certainly correct
that the processes on Saturn were as I described them. But that is not
the essential point. The essential point is the inner movement which
is described. And I have always been most delighted when somebody said
that he would like to compose in music what has been described in the
evolution of Saturn, Sun and Moon. Of course, he would have to leave
out some of it, leave out the colour element, as I described, the warmth
phenomena, even the smells on Saturn (for apart from the ‘smelling-harmonium’
 we have no musical instrument functioning to smells, do we!). Even
so, particularly Saturn evolution is such that its essence could be
expressed quite well in music and could be composed. 
When anyone dreams, and
(setting aside its content) takes the tension and relaxation, the culmination
of the picture sequence, or the culmination of bliss when flying, and
so on; if he takes all this movement and says: ‘I am quite indifferent
to the meaning of the dream; for me it all depends on how its movements
take place’ — then the dream already is a piece of music, then you cannot
write it down except in musical notation. Once you feel that the dream
can only be written down in musical notation, then you are just beginning
to understand the dream, I mean really to understand it by looking at
From this you will see
that the musical element has content: not the thematic content, which
is taken from the sensory world, but a content which appears everywhere
when something is expressed in terms of the senses, but in such a manner
that everything sensory can be left aside, revealing the essence of
the matter. You have to treat the musical element precisely in this
way. And the eurythmist has above all things to bear this strongly in
mind. And he will bear it strongly in mind when he pays more attention
than is usual in listening, when he pays attention to the sustained
notes and the rests.
For the eurythmist, the
sustained note (the pedal-point) and the rest are of special importance.
And it is a serious question whether a pedal- point or anything that
recalls in some way the sustained note (this really is of great importance)
is being adequately treated. It will be adequately treated if, every
time he or she comes to a held note, or to something which either is
a pedal-point in germ, or might become such, the eurythmist carries
out the eurythmy in the greatest possible calmness, emphasizing standing
calmly, in other words not proceeding further in space as long as the
sustained note is heard.
On the other hand, it
is important for the eurythmist to penetrate inwardly into the musical
significance of everything connected to the rest. And so it will be
good to take an example. Here (see musical example) you have the opportunity
of moving up after the descending mood, with a corresponding rest which
even contains a bar line, something which may seem a contradiction,
from the point of view of the eurythmist.
(Fig. 11 From Mozart's Piano Sonata in F major (K.332), III, bars
I mention this because
after what I just said it must appear contradictory to the eurythmist.
I previously said that the bar line signifies a holding-on, doing the
movement in yourself; that the transition from one motif to another
signifies moving in space, if possible with a swinging movement — naturally
suited to the notes in question. As a eurythmist you may say: ‘Now here
I really do not know what to do. I am supposed to move forwards and
yet at the same time remain standing.’ That is in fact just what you
should do! You should move forwards two steps and remain standing between
them. You should accomplish this when you want to express anything similar
to this example, taken from Mozart's Piano Sonata in F major, where
you can have a longer rest during which the bar line occurs — then you
should move with a swing from one note to the other, but calmly stand
still in yourself in the middle of this swinging movement, in the rest.
Here you will see how you radically indicate, precisely through eurythmy,
that the musical element lies between the notes, for in such a case
it is the rest which you specially emphasize through eurythmy. It is
this that is so very important.
And now consider I said
on the one hand that when a note is sustained, you should try as far
as possible to stand still, remaining within yourself. Now, the pedal-point,
the sustained note, frequently lies in a second voice and of course
it may be aesthetically expressed when the two parts are taken (as they
always have to be) by two people, each moving a different form. In this
way a very beautiful interplay (Variation) may result between
the two people. When the one proceeds in the movement, the other remains
standing with the sustained note. The movements are carried out so that
the person remaining standing moves a shorter curve, during which time
the person moving onwards in the form makes a fuller curve — and they
re-encounter each other. In this way the whole thing is brought into
a satisfactory movement, which on the one hand may be shown between
the swinging over, between the interval (which may go as far as the
rest), and on the other hand in the pedal-point or the sustained note
It is in this way that
the actual quality of tone eurythmy has gradually to develop. Only when
you feel things in this way will you be able to bring out the actual
quality of tone eurythmy.
This shows you at the
same time that music of several parts will essentially be expressed
by a number of people moving a number of forms. The forms must be carried
out in such a way that they really correspond to each other, just as
the different voices correspond in the music itself.
When you further develop
the feeling of which I have spoken (the realization that the musical
element lies in the tension, relaxation, in the rising and falling of
the movement), you will indeed have something which the music expresses.
For music does not express that which creates the meaning of words,
but it expresses the spiritual element itself living in the movement
of musical sound. It is consequently specially important for eurythmists
to pay great heed to what the movement expresses quite inwardly in the
greatest sense, that is discord and concord. Now, you know, a composer
will never make use of a discord unintentionally, and indeed music without
discords is not really music, because it is without inner movement.
Composers and musicians in general make use of discords. Concords are
actually there in order to calm the discords, to bring the discord to
some sort of completion.
In the experience of discords
and concords something makes its appearance which approaches the mysteries
of the world closer than we can put into words. Let us suppose that
we hear a discordant phrase which resolves into a concord. Let us observe
what the eurythmist does. He or she of course can bear in mind all that
I have indicated, and shall possibly still indicate, with regard to
forms. He or she will go on to a concord and may use as form the various
intervals that I have indicated. But the transition from a discord to
a concord, or vice versa, should be brought out in the presentation.
It should be that the eurythmist, while moving on in a discord, at the
moment of going over from a discord to a concord, must insert an abrupt
movement (Ruck) into the movement itself.
Something very significant
is expressed in this way. By this means we express the fact that here,
with the transition from discord to concord, or vice versa, something
is brought about which the human being places outside of himself. What
I have drawn above could also be drawn like this:
Observe how I erase a
small part. That is where you go back. You will feel that a small part
has been erased. It is a passing over into the spiritual. When you erase
a piece of your path you annul all musical sound [that is present] in
the movement, and you indicate: ‘Something is present that is no longer
possible to express in the sensory realm. Here I [the eurythmist] can
only suggest the bounds to you [the onlooker]; your imagination must
take you further.’
You see, it is only when
we come so far in doing such things that we reach the point where the
arts should be. Philistines may think, when they see something of this
kind (see Fig. 15, drawing on the left), that it is a face. It is not
a face; it is a line. A face is as follows: I must manage in such a
way that no actual line is drawn, but a line, as it is, is allowed to
arise out of the light and shade (see drawing on the right). Anyone
who draws these lines, from the very moment he begins to draw, is no
painter, indeed no artist at all. Only someone who allows the lines
to arise either out of the colour, or out of the chiaroscuro [light
and shade], is an artist.
You can draw in a philistine
fashion, like this:
This represents the boundary
between sea and sky. But in reality it does not exist! It is absolutely
non-existent. The sky exists: blue. The sea exists: green. The boundary
between them both comes about because they touch each other (see Fig.
If you want to paint a
house, surrounded as it is by air, leave room for your colours within
the area which the air leaves free. The house will come about. That's
what art has to work for! In this matter one can indeed sometimes reach
a fine state of despair. 
You see, such despair
is very difficult for someone of today to understand. Now, many and
various are the types of people who apply for teaching posts at the
Waldorf School [Stuttgart], amongst them, teachers of drawing. They
have certainly learned something (namely drawing) that is quite useless
at the Waldorf School. They say: ‘I can draw.’ Indeed there is no such
thing as drawing! It is damaging when children are taught to draw, for
there really is no such thing as drawing.
When you reach the point
of understanding this erasing of your line in eurythmy, you will also
have reached the point when this understanding of the musical element
in doing eurythmy really leads into the artistic realm. Thus whenever
transitions occur, try (once again without being pedantic) to develop
a movement which goes back over itself so that the onlooker is obliged
to go back, so that he says to himself: ‘He or she was already further
and is now going back.’ He will notice all this unconsciously, but he
will at that moment be urged out of the sensory realm, to enter into
the spiritual realm where everything to do with the senses is erased.
In this way you will discover
the possibility of looking for the essential nature of eurythmic movement
in the rest, (Pause: ‘rest’, ‘pause’), even bringing more and more into
the rest. Let us once more consider our example (see Fig. 11). Here
you have a transition which, in its note values, already presents a
marked feeling of going-out-of-yourself, of going with your inner being
out of your skin. With the interval of the fifth there is still the
feeling of being just at the boundary of the skin.
The fifth is the human
being. Going further, we actually pass over into what lies beyond the
human realm, but in this case, because we are dealing with music, into
the spiritual realm. If you achieve this emphasis of the rest by means
of specially pronounced movement, and yet introduce into this movement
a momentary calmness (as I have indicated), you will express the whole
meaning of this ascending passage in a really satisfactory eurythmical
When you are practising,
try to find examples of musical phrases containing long rests and very
pronounced leaps in pitch, and then try to make the movement as characteristic
as possible. This will result in a eurythmy perfectly adapted to the
expression of instrumental music; I might say, a singing eurythmy. This
will also affect your eurythmy as a whole. For by this means you will
feel the very marked contrast which lies between the vowels and the
consonants for eurythmic expression. Even if it is true that ee and
a actually tend towards a distortion of phonetic imagination, they are
nevertheless vowels, and remain within the sphere of music, whereas
the consonants are merely noises and lead away from the musical realm.
I have also said that
the consonants are really the apology for using the vowel sounds for
something in the outer world. This will closely concern you, for in
speech eurythmy it will cause you to introduce as much of the vowel
element as possible into the consonants. This means, in other words,
that you should try in eurythmy to make the consonants as short and
the vowels as long as possible.
Now this is not what I
wanted to impress on you (for this will arise from your feelings) that
there must be a certain parallel between declamation and recitation,
and eurythmy. What I do want you especially to take to heart is that
for speech eurythmy, too, it is most important to bear in mind that
it is also the task of the speaker not only to say something when he
speaks, but at times to say something even more essential when he doesn't
speak. I do not mean by this those dashes of which recent poets are
so enamoured, presumably because they have so much spiritual matter
to communicate that they are compelled to express it in continual dashes!
I expect you are acquainted with an ironical poem by Morgenstern, consisting
only of dashes.  It does not contain a single sound, not a single
word — simply dashes. I do not mean these dashes, then, but rather the
fact that, in order to bring out certain effects in a poem, it is absolutely
necessary, just as necessary in declamation as in eurythmy, to understand
how to make proper pauses.
Think of the hexameter,
with its caesura, where a pause has to be made, and you will realize
that something is actually said by means of the pause. Sometimes the
pauses need only be short, but it is important that they should also
be given their place in declamation and recitation. Imagine the phrase:
Was hör ich draussen vor dem Tor was auf der Brücke schallen?
recited without any pause — appalling!
Was hör' ich draussen vor dem Tor —
Was auf der Brücke schallen?
is correct. Now as eurythmists, when you are concerned
with the expression of a rest, and in speech eurythmy too, the effect
will be eminently correct and aesthetically good as well as intrinsically
justified, if you cultivate the goingback-into-yourself (going back
in the form) which you have been able to learn from tone eurythmy. So
that at times even in the short pauses of speech eurythmy, this retracing,
this erasing the form, should by all means be seen.
In conclusion I only want
to add something which will serve to complete what was left out in the
preceding lectures. It is this: You know that the keynote is best expressed
by the position, or also by means of the step: position, step (as I
explained in connection with the triad). Now imagine that you have to
form the interval of the second. The second in music is something which
actually does not quite express the musical element, but in which the
musical element makes a beginning. It stands at the gateway of the musical
realm. The second is a musical question. Thus it is necessary (and you
will feel the necessity) when forming a second, which follows any keynote,
that you as second (whilst the second follows from another note) strive
to turn the palms of the hands upwards. Any sort of movement you like
can be produced while trying to arrive with the palms of the hands turned
upwards, when ascending from one note to the next, or just a movement
upwards, straightening the palm of the hand. Of course you must see
to it that the hand does not appear in this position beforehand. The
important thing is always to acquire a view of the whole. Through this,
it [the second] manifests itself
Now, on the basis of what
I have said, we have still to arrange the next two sessions.
1. Phonetic spelling,
see p. xiv. (Translator's note.)