The center is abandoned, the action is moved to the periphery, a hole appears across the extremes
Adorno and Deleuze together?

It´s usual to read about the differences between Deleuze and Adorno: for Adorno, reality is necessarily dialectical and irresolvable contradictions, while Deleuze denies the notion of a correct rendering of objective reality and introduces the notion of univicity of being , no dialectical but rather an absolute leap of perception.
But is it possible to find a common denominator for both philosophers?. First of all, they both invoke the kind of art which resists or defies representation. But going further I will try to show how to apply in the late Beethoven the Deleuze and Guattari´s ideas about music and to connect them with Adorno´s ideas about the late Beethoven.


Adorno talks about impropriety and unsuitability: what appears in the late period isn´t simply what appears to be. Adorno means appearance of the non appearance: either because its curious inauthenticity or because excessive simplicity, the themes and melodies no longer appear as themselves but as signs of something else. They are cut, disturbed, they are only sketches, possiblities. Understanding themes as subjectivities, in the late period the themes are disturbed, they are in inmanent distant respect themselves.
Beethoven becomes fragile
Tonality is withheld and at the same time broken.
Alienation and schizofrenia.

The deterritorialization of the refrain (Ritournello) happens for the first time not in Schumann but in the late Beethoven
To relate with the the concept of Inadequacy in Deleuze (chapter 8 of Logic of sense), about the floating signifier in Levi-Strauss. Deleuze describes this Antinomia: having two series which are related to each other in continuos imbalance or distance, that implies continuos readjustments.
This continuos imbalance or distance is represented by the idea of Asymptote.

DISAGGREGATION of the central principle. Disintegration, dissociation and dissolution of the form. The classical burst into fragments, says Adorno. Actually Beckett used also the same image of something that burst out to refer to Beethoven´s Ghost trio:
a hitherto unkown art of dissonances, a weavering, a hiatus, a punctuation of dehiscence,a stress given by what opens, slips away and disappears, a gap that punctuates nothing but the silence of a final ending“

What does burst mean? Dehiscence, premature open of a wound or a plant to release its contents.

The voices are wrapped around each other.
Harmony becomes a forgotten convention because it produces the ilussion of unity.

Deleuze and Guattari in Thousand Plateaus, Postulates of Linguistics, in opposition to the arborescent type, Beethoven prepares the disaggregation of the central principle, replacing the centers forms of continuous development with a form that constantly dissolves and transform itself. When development suburdinates form and spans the whole, variation begins to free itself and becomes identified with creation. (...)

Beethoven introducing variations without center in music approach the idea of rhizome that Pierre Boulez will bring into the limits, making audible nonsonorous forces through placing all sound components in continuous variation.

1819-23 Diabelli Variations op. 120

Instead by Form, the matter is organized by forces, intensities, the center is disseminated in a net or weave of forces.

op 132. 2nd mov. Allegro by alban berg quartet


Against decoration and ornamentation, the late period is excessive simplicity, bare. There is not anymore question and answer, is just one single thing but displaced from itself. It´s not anymore important to exhaust fully the themes. This is what Adorno calles Principle of condensation, forms are rarely consumed, it´s enough to mention/enunciate to exhaust.


Beethoven turns out the hollow space of the sonata form, concave becomes convex.
Adorno also talks about interruptions, hiatus, silences, ruptures, pure tension between the extremes. The technique, instead harmonic transitions, is to JUMP. There are no mediations, only, like in Hegel, through extremes. Music has holes.

Deleuze in Critical and Clinical describes Beethoven´s Ghost trio: there is a kind of central erosion that first arises as a threat among the bass parts and is expressed in the trill of wavering of the piano, as if one key were about to be abandoned for another, or for nothing, hollowing out the surface, plunging into a ghostly dimension where dissonances would appear only to punctuate the silence.

On the other hand, the floating signifier needs emptiness to emerge.

If now we visit Deleuze and Guattari about Holey space in Treatise on Nomadology:The war machine, we are tempted to think that Beethoven was a smith, inventing a holey space within the striated space of the sonata form. Beethoven produces the emergency of the rhizome in the striated space of the classicism.


Beethoven wasn´t atonal but polarizes the tonality. Dissociation into two extremes: monody and poliphony, with the exception of the fuges.

Deleuze Guattari: Refrain: Not to supress tonality but to turn it loose.


Adorno means pure tension across extremes, when unity is just an illusion and the whole a self deception.

Deluze about Proust will demand to have the right to incompliteness and to patches: the fragmentation means to exclude the logic unity and organic totality, there is no previous unity but they are an EFFECT, they come afterwards, a posteriori: but the unity appears as a fragment (paintbrush) inside the sistem. Transversality is what makes that allows each part to keep its difference and at the same time to be connected and to communicate.

- Adorno: the late period speaks about the language of the archaic, of children of savages and God. Deleuze: only children artists and schizofrenics can inhabitate the inadequacy because there are displaced towards themselves

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