Early Greek Philosophy & Other Essays Collected Works, Volume Two

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 27

the big drum by good music, which, however,
must nevertheless have no purely musical, but only a stimulating
effect! And now comes the great Philistine public nodding its thousand
heads and enjoys this "dramatic music" which is ever ashamed of itself,
enjoys it to the very last morsel, without perceiving anything of its
shame and embarrassment. Rather the public feels its skin agreeably
tickled, for indeed homage is being rendered in all forms and ways to
the public! To the pleasure-hunting, dull-eyed sensualist, who needs
excitement, to the conceited "educated person" who has accustomed
himself to good drama and good music as to good food, without after all
making much out of it, to the forgetful and absent-minded egoist, who
must be led back to the work of art with force and with signal-horns
because selfish plans continually pass through his mind aiming at
gain or pleasure. Woe-begone dramatic musicians! "Draw near and view
your Patrons' faces! The half are coarse, the half are cold." "Why
should you rack, poor foolish Bards, for ends like these the gracious
Muses?"[2] And that the muses are tormented, even tortured and flayed,
these veracious miserable ones do not themselves deny!

We had assumed a passionate drama, carrying away the spectator, which
even without music would be sure of its effect. I fear that that in
it which is "poetry" and _not_ action proper will stand in relation
to true poetry as dramatic music to music in general: it will be
remembrance-and emotional-poetry. Poetry will serve as a means, in
order to recall in a conventional fashion feelings and passions,
the expression of which has been found by real poets and has become
celebrated, yea, normal with them. Further, this poetry will be
expected in dangerous moments to assist the proper "action,"--whether
a criminalistic horror-story or an exhibition of witchery mad with
shifting the scenes,--and to spread a covering veil over the crudeness
of the action itself. Shamefully conscious, that the poetry is only
masquerade which cannot bear the light of day, such a "dramatic"
rime-jingle clamours now for "dramatic" music, as on the other hand
again the poetaster of such dramas is met after one-fourth of the
way by the dramatic musician with his talent for the drum and the
signal-horn and his shyness of genuine music, trusting in itself and
self-sufficient. And now they see one another; and these Apollonian and
Dionysean caricatures, this _par nobile fratrum,_ embrace one another!


[1] A reference to Goethe's ballad, The Minstrel, st. 5:

"I sing as sings the bird, whose note The leafy bough is heard on. The
song that falters from my throat

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