The experience of art

Appreciating beauty

Music exists only in a passing of time, racing past us like the mid-nineenth-century trains Ruskin so hated. It is utterly non-fixed, and to focus on one moment is to destroy the whole. It is a forest that we have to pass through, not a single tree that we can contemplate or capture. But, if hearing and seeing beauty have different timetables they both require a sort of repetition in order to be fully appreciated: music needs to be heard many times, and the visual world needs multiple, if consecutive, seconds of looking. Only in such repetition perhaps can we grasp or hold onto beauty.

– Stephen Hough

S. Hough, Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More, London, Faber & Faber, 2019, p. 225.

By Greg

Australian composer and pianist