Monday, September 7, 2015

The explanation of inference

We are inference engines. That's the whole we and the individual 'I' in the we also. We do this inferring alone and we do it together under the influence of each other and of us all altogether. We are one body.

It takes both the good and the evil to infer truth. The best feedback I have had on the interpretation of the musical signs in the Old Testament has been negative: you don't know what you are talking about. I cannot commend you. Haik-Vantoura did not know much about the accents. Tradition does not interpret them her way.

Well : best-be- .)loved  it's a / good thing \ that she > didn't ^ know
be - v cause she < wouldn't have been \ able to / do her | work.

We are inference engines. The whole we, and the individual 'me' and 'thee'. And there is a Mysterious source of negative entropy that is in the input to our inferring. And we are also in that Source of negative entropy. Google 'source of negative entropy' for my source of this phrase. It is from the father of operations research, Stafford Beer, author of The Brain of the Firm.

Suzanne Haïk-Vantoura - who is she? What influenced her thinking? Certainly not the traditional explanations of the accents in the Hebrew Bible. No - the good in her influence was her father, and her teacher, Marcel Dupré. The evil was the exile she had to endure during the war years. The result of her work and thinking over several decades was the presentation of a coherent interpretation of the signs of the Hebrew text.

It is not the only possible solution, I am sure, but it is infinitely clearer than the traditional solutions to our ignorance on this subject. (See for instance this post on Proverbs 2.)

There is one sure and objective thing that she noted in her careful work. That there are signs below the text and signs above the text.

In Hebrew tradition, the books of the Bible are divided into two groups based on the systems of signs that are used. There are 21 books in the first group (36 if you count all the books separately) and 3 books in the second group (Psalms, Proverbs, and Job). Strictly speaking Job uses both sets of signs, the signs of Psalms and Proverbs in the speeches, the the signs of the 21 books in the Narrator's parts, chapters 1, 2, 42, and the single verse introductions to the speeches.

The Wiki article above explains quite well what she noticed, not being prejudiced by the traditional explanations: that there are 8 signs below the text in the 21 books and 7 in the three. [It is not true that she focused only on the 21 books (and I am not going to fix the article)].

That there are signs below and above the text is ignored by tradition. That is incomprehensible to me. How could you miss such a carefully constructed distinction in a corpus of 304,646 or so words in 929 chapters?

The important note to me is that she approached the text first as a musician. The signs then became for her, gradually over many years, transparent in meaning, because of the melodies that they implied.

Her work is by no means complete. She suggested many possible modes in the music but could not, because of time constraints, specify them all. And who knows what more there is to discover in the way these notes define the meaning of the text?

O beloved inference-engines with whom I work, O Body of Life,
How will we work together to explore the many aspects of this art-song that is the Bible?

See the music page for the links to all 929 chapters of the Hebrew Bible.