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The conditions of creation and the haecceity of music material
Philosophical-aesthetic convergences between Helmut Lachenmann and Gilles Deleuze

Paulo de Assis
janvier 2012

DOI : https://dx.doi.org/10.56698/filigrane.422



This article is an attempt to bring together, to produce an encounter between two thinkers who generated thoughts in an unnoticed neighbourhood – to realize an unconnected connection between Helmut Lachenmann and Gilles Deleuze. To do this, the origins and characteristics of Lachenmann's ‘aesthetic methodology’ are emphasized, entering then a dialogue between specific elements of such methodology and specific concepts of Gilles Deleuze – particularly those of ‘Haecceity’, ‘Erewhon’, ‘diagnostic function of art’, ‘capture of forces’, ‘body without organs’, ‘opinion’, ‘corporeity’, ‘fold’ and ‘latitude’. Through the discussion of philosophical and aesthetic convergences between a philosopher who wrote extensively on art, and a composer with strong philosophical interests, this article aims to contribute new understandings of art as philosophical practice. Moreover, it also claims that the radical ‘thingness’ of the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and of the music of Helmut Lachenmann allow for new modes of perception, sensation and thought.


Texte intégral   

“Empiricism is by no means a reaction against concepts, nor a simple appeal to lived experience. On the contrary it undertakes the most insane creation of concepts ever seen or heard. Empiricism is a mysticism of concepts, but precisely one which treats the concept as object of an encounter, as a here-and-now, or rather as an Erewhon from which emerge inexhaustibly ever new, different distributed ‘heres’ and ‘nows’”.
Gilles Deleuze, 19681

“Sound as something real and palpable, as a ‘natural phenomenon’ taking place here and now, evokes a mode of listening previously excluded from the musical medium, or at least neglected in reflections upon it, which treats sound as a phenomenon of nature”.
Helmut Lachenmann, 20042

Helmut Lachenmann and Gilles Deleuze: an unconnected connection

1Starting in 1966-1967 with a radio conference on typology of sounds (“Klangtypen der Neuen Musik”3) Helmut Lachenmann developed a complex set of concepts about art in general and music in particular that gave shape to an aesthetic methodology grounded on structural thinking4. Reflecting upon questions as “What is art?”, “What is composing?”, “What are the conditions of the music material?”, “What are the political implications of art?”, and “How does art relate to society?” Lachenmann was able to build a theoretical framework based on three “theses on composing”, four “conditions of the music material” and five “types of sound”. Such a framework is by no means intended to be a closed system of contemporary aesthetics, but a fundamental referential tool for the concrete practice of composing – defining Lachenmman’s own route, and giving insight into his musique concrète instrumentale, a music that ought to liberate the energetic potential of concrete (immanent) sound bodies and processes.

2Several aspects of Lachenmann’s theories point to a unique understanding of the conditions of creation, and to an idea of radical immanence of the music material that approaches relevant key concepts of Gilles Deleuze. Although references to Gilles Deleuze do not appear in Helmut Lachenmann’s writings (see Lachenmann 1996), and that Lachenmann’s name is not to be found in Deleuze’s books, it is my aim to enable an encounter between Deleuze’s extended ideas on “art”, “creation” and “haecceity of the material” and elements of Lachenmann’s aesthetic methodology.

3Therefore, this article is not a hermeneutic essay on Deleuze’s reflections on music, nor is it a mere exposition of Lachenmann’s theoretical framework: it is an attempt to bring together, to produce an encounter between two thinkers who generated thoughts in an unnoticed neighbourhood – to realize an unconnected connection. To do this, I first emphasize the origins of Lachenmann’s “aesthetic methodology”, entering then a dialogue between specific elements of such methodology and specific concepts of Gilles Deleuze. Through the discussion of philosophical and aesthetic convergences between a philosopher who wrote extensively on art, and a composer with strong philosophical interests, this article aims to contribute new understandings of art as philosophical practice. Moreover, and paraphrasing a famous sentence by Deleuze (“philosophy must escape philosophy through philosophy”) this encounter allows for a better understanding on how Lachenmann’s theories and concrete compositional practice enable music to escape music through music.

Helmut Lachenmann: toward an “aesthetic-structural methodology”

4During the second half of the 1960s, after studies with Luigi Nono in Venice (1958-1960) and with Karlheinz Stockhausen in Cologne (1963-1965), Helmut Lachenmann became increasingly aware of (a) the social implications and function of music, and of (b) the centrality of the processes of concrete “listening”. These focal points of thought led to a thorough and critical reflection on the conditions of the music material. Instead of looking for or embracing any existing critical theoryLachenmann thought for himself, although certainly taking some philosophies and aesthetic positions as reference points (such as those of Lukács, Marcuse, Benjamin and Adorno), but developing them into a personal construction founded in structural thinking:

“I personally do not believe that one can do without structural thinking. However, structural thinking and its techniques must constantly be put to the proof by confronting them with reality. They must lose themselves, find themselves and define themselves anew. Music only has meaning when it points beyond its own structure to other structures and relationships—that is, to realities and possibilities around us and within us”5.

5Crucially, Lachenmann was able to identify “tonal” categories in the experience and perception of music from the most extreme avant-garde composers of the post-second world war generation. In 1970 he noticed that:

„Der Bruch mit der Tonalität, sei es in den Werken der Wiener atonalen Schule, in den Werken der seriellen Epoche oder in jüngster Zeit, hat die tonalen Erfahrungskategorien und das daran gebundene ästhetische Bewusstsein als potentiellen Schlupfwinkel bürgerlichen Denkens nie wirklich außer Kraft setzen können“6.

6The avant-garde was suffering the consequences of the previous (tonal) use of music materials, and was not capable of liberating it from that use. The first task of the composer needed to be, therefore, a thorough, critical and uncompromising reflection on the basic materials of composition. With this in mind, “radical reflection” becomes the condition sine qua non for composing and for art making in general. In Lachenmann’s formula:

“Art [understood] as the result of a radical reflection on its own aesthetic means and categories of experience […] Art as product and witness of thought; as carrier of insecurity”7.

7For Lachenmann, art must be grounded on a clinical analysis of the material, an investigation that addresses both pre-existing layers (what he would call “tonality” and “aura”) in addition to two more self-oriented ones (“corporeity” and “structure”). The proximity to Deleuze’s “clinical function” of Art8 is a first sign of a more profound adjacency of thought. For Lachenmann purely constructive, additive ways of composing (“putting things together”) might generate coherent sound objects that, however, do not convey any “existential experience”; on the other hand, a compositional strategy based on “taking things apart”, on an emancipated (and Deleuzian) “becoming-minor” allow for the appearance of new connections and necessities:

“If the act of composing is meant to go beyond the tautological use of pre-existing expressive forms and—as a creative act—to recall that human potential which grants man the dignity of a cognizant being, able to act on the basis of this cognition, then composition is by no means a “putting together”, but rather a “taking apart” and more: a confrontation with the interconnections and necessities of the musical substance”9.

8With “substance”, it should be noted that Lachenmann doesn’t propose any kind of transcendence, or teleological purpose of the artwork. On the contrary: he is pointing to a radical immanence of the sonic events, an immanence that becomes more and more significant, as it increasingly breaks the sphere of the “magic”, of the collective “irresistible”, of all kinds of neutralisers of experience—in a word: of all that that is “major” in Deleuzian terms.

9Lachenmann’s further development of an extended reflection on the “magical” origins of the artwork and on the conditions of creativity (starting in 197910) culminated in the formula “Art is a form of magic broken in and with spirit”11, a formula that encapsulates and implies important conceptual elements related to the philosophies of Herbert Marcuse (“Beauty as the ‘denial of habits’”), Georg Lukács (“the ‘whole’ man”), Walter Benjamin (“aura”, “magic”) and Theodor W. Adorno (“material”, “broken magic”). Even if not a professional philosopher, Helmut Lachenamnn always had a compelling interest in philosophy, and his definitions, concepts and theoretical tools reveal deep philosophical knowledge and understanding of interconnections. To localize and to clarify Lachenmann’s references in detail would exceed the purposes of this article and my own capacity. However, and before entering a dialogue with the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, five genetic elements of Lachenmann’s approach must be clarified:

10a) Lachenmann’s use of the term “magic” seems to be genetically derived from Walter Benjamin’s definition as presented in The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, especially when Benjamin postulates that “In primeval times, because of the absolute weight placed on its cultic value, the work of art became primarily an instrument of magic that was only subsequently, one might say, acknowledged to be a work of art”12. Moreover, Theodor W. Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory (1970) and Georg Lukác’s fragmentary Aesthetics (1972), books that Lachenmann read thoroughly13, both develop and further differentiate this concept.
b) The concept of “broken magic” („gebrochene Zauber“) is indebted to Theodor W. Adorno, particularly his essay In Search of Wagner, in which Adorno writes: “Music, the most magical of all the arts, learns how to break the spell it casts over the characters”14.
c) As Lachenmann stated in 198715 the idea of “Beauty as the ‘denial of habit’”16 („Schönheit als Verweigerungvon Gewohnheit“) is inspired by Herbert Marcuse’s concept of “Verweigerung” (“denial”), extensively expressed in his books One-Dimensional Man: The Ideology of Industrial Society (1964) and The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics (1978).
d) The reflection on the aural charge of the material follows Adorno’s definition of “material”, in addition to Benjamin’s and Lukács’ concepts of “aura”.
e) Finally, Lachenmann’s foundational understanding of art as a place where the immanent potentiality of the general aesthetic means encounters the objective, concrete and palpable reality is rooted in Georg Lukác’s aesthetics—particularly in his concept of art as a message from the “whole man” („Der ganze Mensch“ / „Der Mensch ganz“)17.

11Reflecting upon the cultural and social conditions of the production of art, while keeping in mind its concrete practice, Helmut Lachenmann’s “aesthetic-structural methodology” constitutes a complex system of references, living from the tension between cultural environment and inner experience. Such a tension shouldn’t simply be perceived through listening, but (more importantly) it should be confronted and critically surmounted. On the one hand, one has to resist the numerous temptations of mass culture and, on the other hand, one must develop compositional tools, which – while referring to that culture – allow for a transformation of perception18. And it is this transformation of perception that is the fundamental goal of Lachenmann’s music. His philosophical thoughts and considerations work solely as clarifiers, as lighthouses signalling dangerous cliffs on the way to new havens. They also help to break through the mystified (and petrified) cultural landscape around us, opening the horizon of change and possibility of (cultural) liberation. In consonance with Herbert Marcuse, it seems that Lachenmann’s programme is one of subversion of the dominant consciousness, of ordinary experience. This is a programme that latently involves a political dimension, since it stimulates the “emergence of another reason, another sensibility, which defy the rationality and sensibility incorporated in the dominant social institutions”19. In the place of political pamphleteer activism or radical praxis (as Lachenmann saw in his teacher Luigi Nono), Lachenmann concentrates on the work of art as autonomous work—converging again with Marcuse in that “the political potential of art lies only in its own aesthetic dimension”20.

12Lachenmann’s “aesthetic-structural methodology” is, therefore, more than a critical philosophical-aesthetic discourse; it is a way of escaping music in order to allow music to come into being. Far from being an abstract system, it contains extremely concrete and sound-related categories. It enabled Lachenmann to develop his “musique concrète instrumentale”, a music in which the sound events are chosen and organized so that the manner in which they are generated is at least as important as the resultant acoustic qualities themselves. In such a music those qualities, such as timbre, volume, dynamics or duration, do not produce sounds for their own sake, but describe or denote the concrete situation: listening, you hear the conditions under which a sound- or noise-action is carried out, you hear what materials and energies are involved and what resistance is encountered. In order to better understand and to have some kind of control over those energies and resistances, Helmut Lachenmann devised three “theses” on composing, and four more analytical “conditions” of the music material. It is upon these elements that this article will now concentrate, briefly describing each one of them and entering a virtual dialogue with concomitant concepts by Gilles Deleuze.

Helmut Lachenmann’s three “theses” on composing

13In 1986, in an essay dedicated to Wolfgang Rihm with the title Über das Komponieren21 (“About composing”), Helmut Lachenmann presented three “fundamental observations” about the act of composing. These three observations, full of metaphorical qualities, were presented anew, in condensed form, during Lachenmann’s lecture at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent, published in 2004 with the title “Philosophy of Composition - Is there such a thing?”22.

14The first thesis (T1) states that composing requires a thorough reflection upon music and its materials: “Composing means: reflecting upon music”. Such reflection is intended in the sense of searching, experimenting, sensitising oneself to the preformations of listening and of compositional resources, whether intellectually or intuitively controlled23. It has to do with critical and with structural thinking, since the material is to be scrutinised as potentiality, as well as investigated in its historically charged preformations (“aura”). Only when this reflection is made as part of the concrete daily work, does it allow for creative estrangement of the “familiar”.

15The second thesis (T2) concerns immediate creative practice, and it follows the previous understanding of sound as “experience” of structures. T2 affirms that “to compose is to build an instrument”. This thesis addresses the necessity of establishing a new system of categories in every single new work, and it constitutes the central focus of Helmut Lachenmann’s investigations24. Lachenmann conceives the very essence of composing as a scanning, a mapping of diverse possibilities that are drawn together by structural similarity or functional convergences. To compose is to find, discover or to invent such similarities and convergences. By so doing the composer is “building” a new instrument. Moreover, it is crucial to remember T1, not to forget that every sound carries its specific “history”, its “expressive” predeterminations and context – to overlook this aspect is to blindly ignore and violate the material.

16Finally, Lachenmann insists in the fact that music-making is not carried out “to say” something, but “to do” something! His third thesis (T3) is that “composing doesn’t mean ‘letting oneself go’, but rather ‘letting oneself come’”25. Beyond structural analysis and mechanisms of innovation it is the expressive intuition that is now addressed. With this third thesis, Lachenmann opens the door to freedom, to personal doubts and joys, to the passion of writing a score with all the risks and fears it might raise. But this also raises the possibility of change, of inner transformation and realisation as a “whole man” (Marcuse). Moreover, the idea of “letting oneself come” carries an erotic dimension, which Lachenmann doesn’t evade: for him the encounter between creative will and sonic matter is an encounter full of fascination, passion, complementarities, joy and happiness26.

Gilles Deleuze’s “diagnostic function of art”, “capture of forces”, and “body without organs”: first convergences with Helmut Lachenmann

17Deleuze’s references to art and to the phenomena of creation and creativity run through all his periods, but seem to be more intensely and consistently addressed in his last phase, particularly after Francis Bacon, the Logic of Sensation (1981). If his first period is dominated by philosophical and literary “interpretation”, and the second (marked by his collaboration with Félix Guattari) by complex discussions on semiotics, psychoanalysis, unconscious processes and political implications of thought, the third period is characterised by the reflection on art, including a study on Francis Bacon27, two books on cinema28, a study of the Baroque29, a collection of articles30 and a final collaboration with Guattari31, where art is presented, together with philosophy and science, as one of the “great forms of thought”32. However, Deleuze never wrote a book on music, and even when he wrote about music (as he did in 1980 in A Thousand Plateaus, particularly in the chapter “1837: Of the Refrain”33) his reflections are more directed toward non-musical concepts (such as “territory”, “refrain”, “striated space” and “smooth space”, a.o.) than to music itself. Generally speaking, one can say that music remains a marginal topic in the global output of Deleuze. At the same time, however, many musicians recognize in diverse Deleuzian concepts a strong potentiality to articulate them in musical terms. Several composers (for example, Brian Ferneyhough and Bernhard Lang) openly stated their reflection upon and use of Deleuzian thoughts and ideas for composing. There seems to be a “musical potentiality” within the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, a potentiality that might be brought to light by setting up unexpected encounters with other domains and systems of thought. Such an unexpected encounter is what follows – an encounter with Helmut Lachenmann’s theses on composing.

Diagnostic function of art

18Lachenmann’s first thesis (T1: “Composing means: reflecting upon music”) allows for a connection to Deleuze’s “diagnostic function of art”. For Deleuze, artists and philosophers are symptomatologists (as Deleuze coined it), “physicians of culture”: “ artists are clinicians not with respect to their own case, nor even with respect to a case in general; they are clinicians of civilization”34.

19The artist is not only the expert who diagnoses the pathologies of civilization; he or she becomes the operator that enables new constellations of forces to emerge. As Anne Sauvagnargues, referring to Deleuze’s “clinical” understanding of art, observes:

“L’œuvre, dans son fonctionnement esthétique prend maintenant une valeur critique immédiate, parce qu’elle transforme le gout, mais surtout parce qu’elle s’inscrit directement dans les mœurs et module un rapport réel entre l’œuvre et le corps social, qui transforme l’espace de sa réception et contribue en même temps à modifier la posture et le statut de l’artiste”35.

20Inspired by Nietzsche, for whom all phenomena are signs or symptoms that reflect a certain state of forces, and by Spinoza, whose critique of signs revealed that art is not independent from systems of social domination, Deleuze comes to the central question of investigating how is it possible that “forces” arrive at producing “signs” and “forms”. Without this reflection, it is not possible to study the power of affecting and of being affected by a given material. The “diagnostic function of art” comes to a meeting-point with Lachenmann’s analytical scrutiny of the material. What Lachenmann affirms as the first foundational activity of a composer (reflecting upon the material) is only meaningful if he or she is capable of identifying the forces behind signs and forms. The mapping or active “palpating” of the sonic resources implies a diagnosis of their own conditions. In addition to identifying weak and strong elements in a given material, it is the composer’s job to unveil false securities and to reveal new forces, signs and forms, which bring to light previously unnoticed qualities of the material. Furthermore, the totality of the material at the composer’s disposal (what Lachenmann critically called “the aesthetic apparatus”), with all its inherent preformations and predeterminations (“this all embracing and all pervading monster”36) coincides with Deleuze’s notion of “chaos”. For Deleuze, chaos is formless but not undifferentiated – an aspect that finds resonance in Lachenmann’s fourth condition of music material, the “aura” (see below). If, as Deleuze says, the essence of creation resides in facing and confronting chaos and in imposing a cutting plan of immanence, than the first step is to reflect upon, to analyse, and to diagnose its constitutive elements. As for music, such an analysis is to be done through “the sense of searching, experimenting, sensitising oneself to the preformations of listening and of compositional resources, whether intellectually or intuitively controlled”37. The next step, the passage from “symptomatology” to the “capture of forces” leads to Lachenmann’s second thesis on composing.

Capture of forces

21According to Deleuze, the making of art consists of the capture of forces. That such “forces” do not exist in some kind of transcendental realm wherefrom they would be extracted, but that they are generated by a radical immanence of the creative process is a crucial differentiation that many critics of Deleuze overlook. The idea of the “capture of forces” originated on Deleuze’s extended understanding of Simondon’s ecceité, Duns Scott’s haecceité and Spinoza’s theories on affection, longitude (speed) and latitude (intensity), before coming to a metaphorical formulation in the image of the baroque “fold”. Briefly: the “capture of forces” is a gradual process through which intensity (latitude, energy) starts generating extension (longitude, matter), a process that occurs in the realm of artistic (philosophical, scientific) activity, in and through the concrete working out of artistic (philosophical, scientific) materials. The fold reveals the (un)folding process behind it. The entire process exists and takes place in terms of matter, of radical immanence of material “unfoldings” – and not as capture of transcendental categories. It has to do with structure, with the definition of “longitudes”, extended formulae or objects (“percepts”), which conversely start liberating sensitive stimuli (“affects”). Lachenmann’s expression “to build an instrument” has to do with the invention of such structures. They are not immediately an artwork, but they appear after the reflective moment (diagnostic) and before the actual “doing” of the work. “To build an instrument” is to organise the material for the capture of forces, to create a plan of immanence that will allow concrete events to take place. That such an instrument needs to be “new” and previously unseen is a fundamental condition to its success, to its possibility of speaking to a people still to come.

Body without organs

22The term “Body without Organs” (BwO) first appeared in Deleuze’s The Logic of Sense (in the context of the relation between thought and corporeity, between literature and madness38), and was subsequently refined with Guattari in Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus. It is used for last time in Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, after what it became Deleuze’s “Figure”. It is important to note that the concept of BwO is slightly different in Deleuze and in Guattari. While Guattari comes from the psychoanalytical world, considering the BwO in the light of processes of definition of identity and formation of the subject, Deleuze (coming from the literature, i.e. from Artaud), considers it as physicality, as an indestructible wholeness capable of affecting and being affected by other bodies – without a central coordinating device commanding diverse organs. Furthermore, Deleuze also invokes the “theory of the germplasm” by the German biologist August Weismann in order to propose that the BwO “is always contemporary with and yet independent of its host organism”39. Deleuze’s notion of “organism” is that of a form, which imprisons a body inside of a predefined organisation.

23If Lachenmann’s structural organization implied in T2 is understood as such a predefined organisation, as an organism potentially trying to control all the organs, than his third thesis (T3) (“letting oneself come”) is the BwO from Deleuze. It is the moment where the intense corporeity of the composer comes into action, being contemporary of the structure, yet independent (and even contradictory) from it. One of the fundamental critiques Lachenmann makes of the “classical” time of integral Serialism has to do with a certain negation of this liberating element. The confidence in the given structures was so high that the body, the immanent corporeity of the writing process itself was disregarded as “subjective redundancy”.

24For Helmut Lachenmann, the definition of complex local situations has priority in relation to a hyper-structure (which he doesn’t refuse), a position opposed to those who carry a definition of details imposed by a superstructure located somewhere above. The difference is exactly the same as the difference between a body without organs (defined by an undetermined organ) and an organism determined by clearly defined organs. “Le corps sans organes se définit donc par un organe indéterminé, tandis que l’organisme se définit par des organes déterminés”40.

25Following Anne Sauvagnargues the BwO assumes two functions:

26a) to deal with modes of bodily individuation before a centred organisation takes control (as an example of this one might think of Artaud’s poetic experience and Bacon’s painting);
b) to reflect upon the junction between art and body, taking the case of Artaud as a paradigmatic example.

27Both functions can be retraced in the music and writings of Helmut Lachenmann. On the one hand, Lachenmann’s third thesis functions as a liberator from and as a corrector of the (potentially) centralising second thesis; on the other hand, the metaphor of “letting oneself come” positively affirms the total connection between art (structure, idea, material) with the idiosyncratic body of the composer. The “satisfaction”, or the feeling of “fulfilment” that Lachenmann explicitly articulates in relation to his third thesis goes even further, pointing to a sexual connotation that opens the horizon for Deleuze-Guattari’s complex psychoanalytical, post-Freudian concept of the “desiring machines”. “Desire” is not only one of the central terms in Deleuze-Guattari’s lexicon – it has a positive, productive, and creative meaning. In the place of “desire” as lack of something (as it is understood in classical psychoanalysis) Deleuze and Guattari propose a definition based on processes of experimentation on a plane of immanence. Desire is productive. Desire is projection into the future, not repressed unconscious analysis of the past. In the same terms, to write down a score is a moment of joy, of fascination, passion and total commitment to oneself. Only such a fusion of reason, passion, and bodily, tactile experience leads to a music full of energy and of radical immanence of the sonic events. After the deterritorialization operated within T1 and T2, T3 offers a renewed and necessarily original reterritorialization. That such a reterritorialization establishes a critical tension with the territory (the “aesthetic apparatus”) is the condition for newness and perpetuity.

Helmut Lachenmann’s four “Conditions of the Music Material”

28Perception and the conditions of perception are Lachenmann’s fundamental concerns, becoming even more relevant to him than listening: “The concept of perception is more adventurous, more existential than that of listening”41. As a basic assumption, Lachenmann thinks that there is no such a thing as a free, neutral and unconditioned perception. Rather the contrary is the case – every perception, every sounding event is charged with “qualities” before the composer even starts to use it. The idea of a completely free and independent “work-structure” (as many composers proposed during the 1950s) is for Lachenmann utopian and unrealistic. As a result of his reflection on perception, Lachenmann came already in 1966 to a first definition of four aspects that participate in the complex process of music perception.

“Four aspects that participate in every sounding object come into the foreground. These aspects may be ignored by the composer (who sometimes must even ignore them), but their presence a-priori and their inevitable affecting intensity might very well work against the composer’s intentions – in which case, it is better to decide how and in what extent does he/she wish to integrate them in the final form of a work”42.

29These four aspects, later called “conditions of the material” build up a typology of conditions and were further systematized in several essays written between 1966 and 1990. They are understood as a synthesis of diverse socio-psychological aspects of the composer’s activity, relating both to society and to the individual, revealing deeper relations between them. To Lachenmann the “degree” of individuation of a composer is the result of his/her capacity to diagnose and reflect upon the material – even if that capacity appears at first as something intuitive that must be analytically scrutinized later. The four conditions establish a structural tool for such diagnosis and reflection. The conditions of music material (CMM) are43:

30a) Tonality – almost a synonym of “tradition” and all its related categories and dialectics of consonance/dissonance, tonal/atonal, familiar/unfamiliar, homely/exotic, etc.;
b) Corporeity – the acoustical and physical experience of sound, its bodily expression, its energetic and immediately perceptible anatomy;
c) Structure – not to be confused with ordering or organising procedures, but rather the complex set of newly individuated systems, rules, laws, temporally-articulated constellations; the experience of organisation and of disorganisation, construction and deconstruction;
d) Aura – the history of the material in wider, extramusical contexts, in all spheres of our social and cultural reality, of our conscious and unconscious awareness, our archetypal memory, both collective and individual.

Gilles Deleuze’s “opinion”, “corporeity”, “fold” and “latitude”: further convergences with Helmut Lachenmann

Against opinion

31Strikingly, Helmut Lachenmann’s definition of his first condition of music material (“Tonality”) comes close to Pierre Bourdieu’s “habitus”, a set of acquired schemata, sensibilities, dispositions and taste that are dependent on history and human memory. “Tonality”, understood as the whole complex of experiences related to the inherited aesthetic conventions, has an emphatic character, due to the fact that the experience of the “tonal” is associated with the idea of individual and social identity. And in the same way that Bourdieu criticizes those social theories that pretend to ignore such elements of structural dependency, Lachenmann also objects to all those who pretend to work with music elements supposedly independent from their context, history and memory. However, Lachenmann also criticizes all those who adhere, defend and reinforce the a-critical notion of an “all-determination” of structuring elements as they are implicit in the concept of “habitus”. That is to say: Lachenmann acknowledges the existence of an extended “habitus” (that he sometimes calls the “monstrum” of the “aesthetic apparatus”), but he conceives the role of the composer as a “de-constructer”, as a permanent challenger of that habitus. To pretend that there is no such a thing as an aesthetic “habitus”, or, on the contrary, to blindly worship it, are both, for Lachenmann, limited ways of dealing with the responsibility inherent to the making of art. According to Lachenmann, the relation to tradition, to the habitus, must be based on a dialectical confrontation, whereby the artwork identifies elements of the habitus in order to subvert them, generating a hiatus of perception – a moment of existential insecurity. Such dialectical confrontation shares some common features with Deleuze’s idea of lutter contre l’opinion – to fight against opinion. Deleuze argues that to make an artwork is to extract something out of chaos, a percept and an affect. The first fight of an artist is, therefore, a struggle against chaos. But “another struggle develops and takes on more importance – the struggle against opinion, which claims to protect us from chaos itself”44. In a visual metaphor, Deleuze quotes a passage from Lawrence in which an umbrella is described45. People are sheltered under this umbrella and draw a firmament and write their conventions and opinions on its underside. It is the function of poets and artists to make a slit in the umbrella, to open the sight to the firmament – even if for just a fraction of time, since imitators (supported by the “common man”) will soon repair the fissure, restating a state of “familiarity”, i.e., of “tonality”. Therefore the artist struggle is against the clichés of opinion:

“The painter does not paint on an empty canvas, and neither does the writer write on a blank page; but the page or canvas is already so covered with pre-existing, preestablished clichés that it is first necessary to erase, to clean, to flatten, even to shred, so as to let in a breath of air from chaos that brings us the vision”46.

32Art’s struggle with chaos occurs in order to bring forth a vision that illuminates chaos for an instant, what Deleuze calls “a sensation”, a radical immanence of forces in a specific here and now. In a similar way, Lachenmann’s dialectical confrontation with “tonality” aims at enabling a suspension of the traditional perception by means of creating a sound-situation full of energy and bodily expression – a radical immanence of forces in a specific here and now.

33Another Deleuzian concept that might relate Lachenmann’s “tonality” is the dualism “major/minor”, expressed in detail in Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature (1975)47. Deleuze-Guattari’s notion of “majority” refers to a broader system of imprisonment, domination and normalisation of the creative forces. “Minoritarian” are groups of ever changing single events (“molecules”) that escape the instances of control drawn above them by “major” systems48. More than a question of quantity, of number, the “major” is essentially a question of power – the distinction between major and minor art being that between a power (pouvoir) of constants and a power (puissance) of variables49. It implies, therefore, a political dimension and the use of a minor language puts the major language into flight. As Verena Conley wrote: “Minoritarian authors are those who are foreigners in their own tongue”50. A minor language deterritorialises language and provides an intimate and immediate connection between the individual and the political. Lachenmann’s “tonality”, Bourdieu’s “habitus”, Deleuze-Guattari’s “opinion” and “major” seem to establish similar categories of power and domination, carrying potential for alienation and misuses. To critically confront them, to fight against them is (and always was) Lachenmann’s aesthetic attitude. Similarly to Franz Kafka, who made a “minor” use of the German language, so Lachenmann might be seen as a composer making a “minor” use of musical elements. In this sense Lachenmann: Toward a Minor Music could be the perfect title for an imaginary book by Gilles Deleuze.


34When Helmut Lachenmann focuses the discourse on the acoustical and physical experience of sound, on its bodily expression, its energetic and immediately perceptible anatomy, he is addressing the corporeality of the production of music. Every element subjected to compositional treatment can be defined as an immediate stimulus conveyed through physical information, and sounds are composed and performed as a result of direct, immediate and concrete body actions. Such actions create a resistance against the aforementioned first condition of the “tonality”. A glance at the physical, energetic, immediately perceptible anatomy of sound-events implies the exclusion of a mode of listening “polished” by tradition and habit. Every single body is unique and unpredictable: “No one knows what a body can do”, said Spinoza, cited frequently by Deleuze. In terms of music, corporeality and the idiosyncrasy of the body force the material and the tradition into a collision.

35Corporeality has been always an important element in the conception of music, but it was traditionally understood as a “vehicle”, as an “envelope” for the “tonal” aspects to be conveyed. With Lachenmann the body is no longer a “vehicle” for the “tonality”. It is an energy in action that breaks the schemes of thought and perception of the “major” systems of opinion. It is the art-making body that starts the concrete deconstruction of tonality, opinion and habitus.

36Deleuze, following Spinoza, suggests that a body is primarily defined by its speeds and slownesses, not by its functions and forms. It is the body in its relation to its own internal milieu that is capable of producing intensities, which will unfold into infinite affects. But it is that same body that will reduce this infinity to a finite plane of immanence, risking a division in diverse bodies (becoming-schizoid) while allowing body and thought to come together, and so defining the Body without Organs—a body independent from a centralising instance, an instrument of direct deterritorialization.


37Lachenmann’s structurality of sound (expressed in his third condition of the material) as a newly individuated product of systems, rules, laws and temporally-articulated constellations defines a processes of reterritorialization. If the moments of analysis of the material and of bodily original investigations constitute moments of deterritorialization, the decisive adventure of giving a structure to a complex set of sensually experienced sounds is a re-entering in the sphere of the “finite”, of the executable, of an human horizon. A new definition of old territories or a construction of fully new ones, it is in both cases a reterritorialization of forces and energies. Such a process isn’t for Lachenmann a mere “organisation” of acoustic events that would point to transcendence. On the contrary, by emphasizing the energetic element carried out through bodily actions Lachenmann affirms the absolute immanence of his music. Music as permanent “actualization” of “virtual” (since previously unheard) forces. the fundamental difference to “transcendental” conceptions of music lies in the fact that Lachenmann’s conception involves the composer, as much as the performer and the listener.

38As the result of the unfolding of the structurality of sound, Lachenmann’s third condition unveils a form that is defined through complex unfoldings of forces. These new formations of new territories aren’t, therefore, based on mimesis or contestation of old musical formulae. They propose completely new ways of reorganising functions and of regrouping sensations. Forms appear as conglomerates of relations – probably what Lachenmann calls “a polyphony of configurations”. They are but forces engendering forms as “becomings of forces”.


39In “Memories of a Spinozist, II”51 Deleuze writes:

“To every relation of movement and rest, speed and slowness grouping together an infinity of parts, there corresponds a degree of power. To the relations composing, decomposing, or modifying an individual there correspond intensities that affect it, augmenting or diminishing its power to act; these intensities come from external parts or from the individual’s own parts”52.

40The “degree of power” (or the “power to act”) of a body is the crucial element of Deleuze’s extended reflection on art as “capture of forces”. Beyond the diagnostic function of art (against opinion), its corporeality and structured processes of reterritorialization, it is in the modal aspect of qualitative degrees of “power” that the making of art will come to its ultimate expression – the haecceity. In order to explore the movement and relations between material systems of signs and immaterial ethical implications of art, Deleuze – inspired by Spinoza – makes use of two terms: latitude and longitude. In geophysics, “latitude” is an angular measurement ranging from 0° at the Equator to 90° at the poles. Longitude is another angular distance, measured east or west from a given meridian (normally Greenwich) to another one. The difference is obvious: where longitude is a pure abstraction concerning the measurement of space, latitude has a natural basis (the distance from the Equator) and implies a qualitative change of state – temperature and climate vary dramatically with a change of latitude. Longitude concerns the development of something over time or space (extension), while latitude has to do with intensities, with varying degrees of power.

“We call the latitude of a body the affects of which it is capable at a given degree of power, or rather within the limits of that degree. Latitude is made up of intensive parts falling under a capacity, and longitude of extensive parts falling under a relation53.

41On the one hand, longitude has to do with extension (with relations, speeds and structures), while latitude deals with intensity (power, potentiality, affects); on the other hand, Deleuze uses these highly elaborated concepts as a means to propose a relation between signs (extension) and ethics (intention), between palpable materiality and ungraspable force. “Force” is the condition of sensation, and “sensation” is relation of forces producing an “image”, percept and affect. “That’s why art is capture of forces. One force must be exerted over a body in order to produce a sensation”, as Anne Sauvagnargues has formulated54. To give an example: the “extension” horse might have two completely different intensities, according to it being a racehorse or a workhorse: “A racehorse is more different from a workhorse than a workhorse is from an ox”55. The difficulty for art is how to distinguish the racehorse from the workhorse before seeing them in action. Lachenmann’s third condition of music material (structurality, i.e. – extension) helps in creating a basic context for the artwork but it is only through the scrutiny of its inherent auratic potential that the artist has a window to feel its intensity.

“We know nothing about a body until we know what it can do, in other words, what affects are, how they can or cannot enter into composition with other affects, with the affects of another body, either to destroy that body or to be destroyed by it, either to exchange actions and passions with it or to join with it in composing a more powerful body”56.

42Without pretending that Lachenmann’s concept of “aura” is identical with Deleuze’s “latitude” (and they are not identical!), it is my view, however, that the complex dualism latitude/longitude establishes a dialogue with the materials of art that has similarities with Lachenmann’s dualism aura/structure. Moreover, Lachenmann’s idea of structure resembles the “fold” and the processes of unfolding, whereby the inside of the outside is simultaneously revealed and generated. Structure as extension (longitude) might generate intensity (latitude). But that needs to be mediated by Lachenmann’s first thesis (critical thinking) and by his second condition (“corporeity”). At this point, it is now clear that between the signs and symbols of the longitude (structure) and the affects and ethics of the latitude (aura) there are two fundamental linking elements – the reason as aesthetic regulator, and the body as mediator (and concrete materialiser) of forces and energies. The “aura” is than an extension of the structure”, reflected by “reason”, and mediated by the “body”.

The conditions of creation and the haecceity of music material: a philosophical-aesthetic Erewhon

Life only creates such zones where living beings whirl around, and only art can reach and penetrate them in its enterprise of co-creation. This is because from the moment that the material passes into sensation, as in Rodin sculpture, art itself lives on these zones of indetermination. They are blocs.
Gilles Deleuze, 199157

43According to Deleuze-Guattari “philosophy is the art of forming, inventing, and fabricating concepts”58, while science and art are the inventors of “functives” and “images” (percepts and affects). The power of invention, of creation, is therefore one of Deleuze’s fundamental themes, and in the final sections of What is Philosophy? the question of the conditions of creation in philosophy, science and art is openly discussed. Following Deleuze-Guattari such conditions are:

44a) a struggle against “opinion”;
b) the promotion of a receptor still to be born (“un peuple à venir”); and
c) to extract something out of chaos.

45For Deleuze “what defines thought in its three great forms – art, science, and philosophy – is always confronting chaos, laying out a plane, throwing a plane over chaos”59. However, this confrontation is made difficult by an innumerable amount of clichés and commonplaces, “small truths” that give shape to “opinion”. And it is against “opinion” that Deleuze first speaks: “We come to a conclusion to which art led us: the struggle against chaos is only the instrument of a more profound struggle against opinion, for the misfortune of people comes from opinion”60. Artistic creativity has, therefore, to overcome an obstacle, opinion – the cliché as a system of perception and of taxonomized thought. In this sense, Deleuze’s “opinion” comes very close to Lachenmann’s “tonality”, a collection of commonly accepted dialectical categories embracing the whole spectrum of music perception. Both Deleuze’s “opinion” as well as Lachenmann’s “tonality” are systems of domination and repression. They not only censure creativity, as they stimulate the proliferation of “empty words”, of repetitive messages, so that the status quo stays untouched. The struggle against opinion, the critical structural reflection upon the materials of music is, therefore, a first condition of creativity.

46As a result of this first condition, the work of a philosopher, a scientist or an artist will always start by revealing forces, energies and matters that were not previously known or noticed. Looking beyond recognition, they will write, formulate or compose works that will only be understood by a receiver still to come:

“Le propre du nouveau […] est de solliciter dans la pensée des forces qui ne sont pas celles de la recognition, ni aujourd’hui, ni demain, des puissances d’un tout autre modèle, dans une terra incognita jamais reconnue ni reconnaissable”61.

47The intensity of the newly created object finds its equivalent in the initial incomprehension from the spectator. Artistic creations break the dominant opinion and do not look for consensus. That’s why they steadily address a new audience, and are unconcerned with fulfilling pre-existent expectations of an empirically formed community. Il n’y a pas d’œuvre d’art qui ne fasse appel à un peuple qui n’existe pas encore62, said Deleuze in an interview. But this “people still to come” is not a folk belonging to the future, near or far away – what is meant is a spectator from another temporality, from another perceptual universe, one that the artist touches in the precise moment of creation, even if in an unarticulated way:

“Through having reached the percept as “the sacred source”, through having seen life in the living or the living in the lived, the novelist or painter returns breathless and with bloodshot eyes”63.

48Lachenmann’s critical and structural struggle against a pseudo “natural habitat”64 of artistic experiences and perception (the “aesthetic apparatus” of the “tonality”) draws another bridge to Deleuze’s philosophy of art. Chaos as the excess of speed, and opinion as the excess of redundancy are always offering us a false security, captious arguments not to abandon them, not to abandon home, not to abandon language, not to abandon tradition, not to abandon “tonality”, not to abandon oneself. But without abandoning oneself, without abandoning our world and entering new universes of perception, is there any art at work?

49To confront chaos and opinion is exactly what Helmut Lachenmann does when building an instrument, when defining a structure, when critically listening to the preformations and reflecting upon the material – and even more when he “lets himself come” in the form of a score, the place where his philosophy on “composition and the idea of retrieving the concept of art with reference to society, its “occidentally”-based restrictions, and not least the human need for self-realisation through the creative process”65 more deeply reveals itself. To make music is not to “to say” something, but “to do” something. And this “to do” is Deleuze’s extraction of something out of chaos – a concept in philosophy, a function in science, an image (percept and affect) in the arts.

50Beyond all the philosophical-aesthetic arguments presented so far, but as a consequence of them, the music of Helmut Lachenmann is “existentially” energetic, revealing a fundamental corporeality that is present in the moment of composition, as well in that of the performance and perception. Between a quasi-transcendence of elaborated structures (such as time grids, complex pitch sequences, sound-families and polyphony of dispositions) and the extreme physicality of the sound production, it is the energetic concreteness of every single event that carries the attention, revealing an immanent mode of perception. Lachenmann’s music is not be heard sound after sound – it is to be perceived with the whole body (“the whole man”) in all its energetically rhythmical power. Much has been written on the rich array of diverse techniques for sound production in Lachenmann’s music. Much less has been said about the fundamental importance of rhythm and “rhythmicality” of this music. The sumptuous richness of indications concerning how to make a given sound happen leads to a certain disdain of its rhythmical qualities. However, these are of the utmost relevance, since without them the entire point is being missed: Lachenmann’s music happens “here” and “now”, in an existential Erewhon. It is a combination of forms and matters, giving shape to a “becoming of forces”, to the emergence of sensations out of a radical concreteness of sound and sound-production. Establishing relations of movement and rest between bodily graspable “molecules” of sound, Lachenmann’s music liberates capacities to affect and to be affected. Beyond “molar” elements virtually present in the work’s meta-structures, it is the “molecular” agitation of sonic events that gives life to his music. More than a plane of consistency it creates a composition of haecceities.

“It is the entire assemblage in its individuated aggregate that is a haecceity; it is this assemblage that is defined by a longitude and a latitude, by speeds and affects, independently of forms and subjects, which belong to another plane”66.

51With the concept of haecceity, Deleuze-Guattari opened new avenues to the understanding of art. Focusing the discourse on the here and now of the effective capture of forces, they relegated hermeneutics, interpretation and analysis to a second plane. The radical capture of forces in an irreducible Erewhon renders obsolete the quest for the author’s intentions (hermeneutics), the imaginary games of interpretation, and the knowledge of the work’s internal structure (analysis). With the capture of forces and with its implicit relations between form and matter, between sign and potentiality, a completely new mode of perception became possible. More than a classification of experiences, it is now the capture of becomings happening in real time that gains momentum. While perceiving the longitude of the artwork (its signs and markings), it is within the latitude that a new ethic of affection is captured. It is the concrete and radically immanent energy of sound-events in the music of Helmut Lachenmann that gives it a quality of intense existential experience. The effect of this music is not reducible to its structural dimension. It claims for a semiotics of the moment, of the erewhon, of the haecceity – a true logic of sensation.

52Helmut Lachenmann and Gilles Deleuze share the idea that thinking is not a natural exercise but always a second power of thought, born under the constraint of experience as a material power, a force. Lachenmann developed a conception of music as “existential experience” and Deleuze a sumptuous philosophy of “transcendental empiricism”. With this article, I brought them together through diverse encounters of concepts and theories, but particularly through the concept of haecceity, a concept derived from Dons Scotus’ haec, “this thing”. In my view, the radical “thingness” of the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and of the music of Helmut Lachenmann allow for new modes of perception, sensation and thought. I hope that I am not wrong when approaching them, or at least that (even if being wrong) this might be a fruitful error, since: “We write only at the frontmost edge of our knowledge, at the boundary that separates knowing from unknowing and allows the one to change into the other67.


1  Gilles Deleuze, Différence et Répétition, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1968; translated as Difference and Repetition, translated by Paul Patton, London, Athlone, 1994, p. xix.

2  Helmut Lachenmann, « Philosophy of composition – Is there such a thing? », in Identity and Difference – Essays on Music, Language and Time, Ghent/Leuven, Collected Writings of the Orpheus Institute, Leuven University Press, 2004, p. 64.

3  Helmut Lachenmann, Musik als existentielle Erfahrung. Schriften 1966-1995, ed. Josef Häusler, Wiesbaden/Leipzig/Paris, Breitkopf & Härtel, 1996, pp. 1-20. The radio conference was broadcasted in spring 1967 (Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cologne), but Lachenmann started working on the manuscript already in 1966 (cf. Ibid., p. 429.

4  Helmut Lachenmann, « Philosophy of composition – Is there such a thing? », op. cit., pp. 55-69.

5  Helmut Lachenmann, « Vier Grundbestimmungen des Musikhörens » (1979), in Musik als existentielle Erfahrung. Schriften 1966-1995, edited by Josef Häusler, Wiesbaden/Leipzig/Paris, Breitkopf & Härtel, 1996, p. 62.

6  Helmut Lachenmann, « Werkstatt-Gespräch mit Ursula Sturzbecher » (1970), in Ibid., p. 145.

7 Helmut Lachenmann, « Zum Verhältnis Kompositionstechnik – Gesellschaftlicher Standort » (1971/72), in Ibid., p. 95.

8  For a broader discussion on Deleuze’s “clinical function” of art see: Anne Sauvagnargues, Deleuze et l’art, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2005, pp. 39-58.

9  Helmut Lachenmann, « Vier Grundbestimmungen des Musikhörens » (1979), in Musik als existentielle Erfahrung, op. cit., p. 55.

10  See Ulrich Mosch, « Kunst als vom Geist beherrschte Magie – Zu einem Aspekt von Helmut Lachenmanns Musikbegriff », in Ulrich Tadday (éd.) Helmut Lachenmann, Musik-Konzepte 146, VII/2009, München, edition text+kritik, 2009, pp. 76-96.

11  Helmut Lachenmann, « Philosophy of composition – Is there such a thing? », in Identity and Difference – Essays on Music, Language and Time, Collected Writings of the Orpheus Institute, Ghent/Leuven, Leuven University Press, 2004, p. 56.

12  Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, translated by J.A. Underwood, London, Penguin Books, 2008 (1936), p. 13.

13  Cf. Ulrich Mosch, op. cit., p. 86.

14  „Musik, die zauberischste aller Künste, lernt den Zauber brechen, den sie selber um alle ihre Gestalten legt”, in Theodor W. Adorno, « Versuch über Wagner », in Gesammelte Schriften, edited by by Rolf Tiedemann, 20 vols (Frankfurt a. M., 1971–86), xiii; Die musikalischen Monographien (1977), edited by by Gretel Adorno and Rolf Tiedemann, p. 145 (translated as In Search of Wagner, translated by Rodney Livingstone, London, verso, 1981), p. 156.

15  Helmut Lachenmann, Musik als existentielle Erfahrung. Schriften 1966-1995, op. cit., p. 346.

16  Helmut Lachenmann, « Philosophy of composition – Is there such a thing? », op. cit., p. 56.

17  „Eine umfassendere Beschreibung der Wechselwirkung von immanenten Gesetzen des ästhetischen Mediums und objektiver Wirklichkeit (der „Mensch ganz“ im homogenen Medium ästhetischer Disziplinen gegenüber dem „ganzen Menschen“ im vielseitig gefächerten existentiellen Alltag) habe ich bisher nirgendwo anders als in der Ästhetik von Georg Lukács gefunden“, cf. Lachenmann, Musik als existentielle Erfahrung. Schriften 1966-1995, op. cit., p. 109.

18  Cf. Eberhard Hüppe, « Helmut Lachenmann », in Komponisten der Gegenwart, München, edition text + kritik, 1996, p. 3.

19  Herbert Marcuse, The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics, translated and revised by Herbert Marcuse and Erica Sherover, Boston, Beacon Press, 1978, p. 7.

20 Ibid., p. xii.

21  Helmut Lachenmann, Musik als existentielle Erfahrung. Schriften 1966-1995, op. cit., pp. 73-82.

22 Helmut Lachenmann, Helmut Lachenmann, « Philosophy of composition – Is there such a thing? », op. cit., p. 56.

23 Ibid., p. 57.

24 Ibid., p. 57.

25 Ibid., pp. 56-57.

26  Cf. Helmut Lachenmann, Musik als existentielle Erfahrung. Schriften 1966-1995, op. cit., p. 82.

27  Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, translated by D.W. Smith, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2003 (Originally: Francis Bacon : Logique de la sensation, Paris, Éditions de la différence, 1981).

28  Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 1: The Mouvement-Image, translated by H. Tomlison, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1986 (Originally: Cinéma 1, L’Image-mouvement, Paris, Minuit, 1983); Cinema 2: The Time-Image, translated by H. Tomlison and R. Galeta, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1989 (Originally: Cinéma 2, L’Image-temps, Paris, Minuit, 1985).

29  Gilles Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, translated by T. Conley, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1993 (Originally: Le Pli. Leibniz et le baroque, Paris, Minuit, 1988).

30  Gilles Deleuze, Essays Critical and Clinical, translated by D.W. Smith and M. Greco, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1997 (Originally: Critique et clinique, Paris, Minuit, 1993)

31  Gilles Deleuze, What is Philosophy?, translated by H. Tomlison and G. Burchell, New York, Columbia University Press, 1994 (Originally: Qu’est-ce que la philosophie ?, Paris, Minuit, 1991).

32 Ibid., p. 197.

33  Gilles Deleuze, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophremia II, translated by B. Massumi, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1987, pp. 342-386 (Originally: Mille Plateaux : Capitalisme et schizophrénie II, Paris, Minuit, 1980).

34  Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, op. cit., p. 237.

35  Anne Sauvagnargues, Deleuze et l’art, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2006, p. 110.

36  Helmut Lachenmann, Musik als existentielle Erfahrung. Schriften 1966-1995, op. cit., p. 74.

37  Helmut Lachenmann, « Philosophy of composition – Is there such a thing? », op. cit., p. 57.

38  Cf. Anne Sauvagnargues, op. cit., p. 86.

39  Kylie Message, « Body without Organs », in Adrian Parr (ed.), The Deleuze Dictionary, New York, Columbia University Press, 2005, p. 32.

40  Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon : Logique de la sensation, op. cit., p. 50.

41  Helmut Lachenmann, Musik als existentielle Erfahrung. Schriften 1966-1995, op. cit., p. 91.

42 Ibid., pp. 87-88.

43  Cf. Helmut Lachenmann, « Philosophy of composition – Is there such a thing? », op. cit., p. 58.

44  Gilles Deleuze, What is Philosophy, op. cit., p. 203.

45 Ibid., pp. 203-204; the passage from Lawrence is to be found in D.H. Lawrence, « Chaos in Poetry », edited by A. Beal, Selected Literary Criticism, London, Heinemann, 1955.

46 Ibid., p. 204.

47  Gilles Deleuze, Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, tranlated by D. Polan, Minneapolis, Inuversity of Minnesota Press, 1986 (Originally: Kafka: Pour une littérature mineure, Paris, Minuit, 1975).

48  On the dualism “Major – Minor” see Arnaud Bouaniche, Gilles Deleuze, une introduction, Paris, Pocket, 2007, pp. 186-193.

49  Cf. Verena Conley, « Minoritarian », in Adrian Parr (ed.), op. cit., p. 164.

50 Idem.

51  Gilles Deleuze, A Thousand Plateaus, op. cit., pp. 283-287.

52 Ibid., p. 283.

53 Ibid., p. 283.

54  Anne Sauvagnargues, op. cit., p. 210.

55 Ibid., p. 283.

56 Ibid., p. 284.

57  Gilles Deleuze, What is Philosophy, op. cit., p. 73.

58  Ibid., p. 2.

59  Ibid., p. 197.

60 Ibid., p. 206.

61  Gilles Deleuze, Différence et répétition, op. cit., p. 177.

62  Gilles Deleuze, Deux Régimes de fous : textes et entretiens, 1975-1995, Paris, Les Éditions de Minuit, 2003, p. 302.

63  Gilles Deleuze, What is Philosophy?, op. cit., p. 172.

64  “Beauty as the ‘denial of habit’ has, insofar as the term ‘habit’ encompasses the idea of ([…] comfortably? thoughtlessly? safely? unemancipatedly?) ‘dwelling’, the following meaning: an offer to break free from all security”, Helmut Lachenmann, « Philosophy of composition – Is there such a thing? », op. cit., p. 56.

65  This quotation was intended as the original title for Lachenmann’s seminar at the Orpheus Institute Ghent, later changed and published as “Philosophy of Composion: Is There Such a Thing?”, op. cit., pp. 55-69.

66  Gilles Deleuze, A Thousand Plateaus, op. cit., p. 289.

67  Gilles Deleuze, Difference and repetition, op. cit., p. 4.


Paulo de Assis, «The conditions of creation and the haecceity of music material», Filigrane. Musique, esthétique, sciences, société. [En ligne], Numéros de la revue, Deleuze et la musique, mis à  jour le : 23/01/2012, URL : https://revues.mshparisnord.fr:443/filigrane/index.php?id=422.


Quelques mots à propos de :  Paulo de Assis

Paulo de Assis, born in 1969, is a pianist, musicologist and artistic-researcher. He studied piano (Konzertexam at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, with Vitaly Margulis and Michel Béroff) and musicology (in Venice and Salzburg with Jürg Stenzl). He has a PhD on Luigi Nono’s piano works and he completed Camillo Togni’s unfinished Piano Concerto. He is head of the research strand “Composition, Performance, Experimentation” at the Research Centre for Aesthetics and Sociology of Music (CESEM) at the University Nova, Lisbon (Portugal) and coordinator of the research group “Thoughts and Concepts in Musical Practice” at the Orpheus Research Centre in Music (ORCiM) at the Orpheus Institute, Ghent (Belgium). He has published two books (Luigi Nonos Wende, Wolke Verlag, Hoffheim 2006 ; and Domani l’aurora, Leo S. Olschki, Florence 2005), and several articles in Belgium, Italy and Portugal.