Talk:Surrealist music

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The title of this article...[edit]

How was this particular title chosen? It really does not seem like the logical choice to me. "Surrealist music" or "Surrealism in music," even, would have made more sense. I prefer the first title, and I propose that the article be moved to said title. Any thoughts? ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 16:36, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

On "Influence of Surrealist music" and "Surrealism and Music" etc.[edit]

In "Influence of Surrealist music", Can't it be argued that these were not influences of surrealist music on music but rather influences of surrealism on music? I'd think the artists mentioned here should be ones influenced by surrealist musicians, rather than ones influenced by surrealism in general.

I Also think that the title "Surrealism and Music" is problematic because it's not really discussing the interaction between the two, but rather how surrealists employ music.

I've changed their titles for these reasons.

-ppk80

Standard for references...?[edit]

I've just finished making some minor corrections to the Desolation Row lyrics that were quoted in "Influence of Surrealism in Popular Music". I notice that some or all of the external links that serve as references for this article don't seem to be presented in line with any of the WP specifications. Should they be changed, or left as they are? What do you think? Twistlethrop (talk) 20:37, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

You are quite right: planting an external link in the middle of the article text is not an approved method of citation on Wikipedia generally. Apart from anything else, the bare external links need to be properly identified with an author, title, and so on. Since the established reference format here is author-date parenthetical referencing, this information should be put in the list of Sources, and the link placed there (this is usually on the title of the source). The format should be plain from the items already there.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:40, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Influence of surrealism in popular music[edit]

I removed the following from the article and bring it here for discussion:

Surrealist films Eraserhead and Un chien andalou (the latter in "Debaser") have been cited as influences on Black Francis of the Pixies (Anon. n.d.).
Bob Dylan's eleven-minute epic song "Desolation Row", which has been called "Armageddon-as-staged-by-Fellini brilliance" (Williamson [n.d.], 205), with lyrics such as "... And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot/Fighting in the captain's tower/While calypso singers laugh at them and fishermen hold flowers... " (Dylan 1965).
Queen's "March of the Black Queen", featured on their 1974 album Queen II, illuminates writer Freddie Mercury's interest in surrealism, as explained in the sleeve notes for the 1994 re-release of the album (Queen 1994, 14).

None of this is referenced, or certainly not adequately so, and all of this sounds like the opinions and interpretations of the editor who added it. This should not be restored until it is better sourced. ---RepublicanJacobiteTheFortyFive 02:14, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

First of all, I agree with the spirit of what you are doing here: this whole section demands discussion. I disagree only to the extent that all of these claims are referenced—whether "adequately" is an entirely different matter. Anon. n.d. is a dubious source at best, Williamson is a "Rough Guide" publication and these are very uneven, to say the least. The Dylan source would be fine if it quoted Dylan saying "I was influenced by surrealism", but it is merely the source of lyrics which may or may not be interpreted as "surreal". The last source only documents Freddie Mercury's "interest in surrealism"—the assertion that this is "illuminated" by "March of the Black Queen" looks like Original Research to me, not to mention vague about what it is that might relate to surrealism (the words? the chord changes? the rhythms? etc.). Worst of all, though, is the idea that the "influence" of an aesthetic/philosophic movement like surrealism can somehow be detected in (presumably superficial) details of this or that pop song. Surely this would require in-depth analysis of the sort that none of these sources can possibly provide.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 03:50, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree with everything you've said there, Jerome. I brought this here to discuss it, rather than deleting it outright (as I did with the recently added bit about Pink Floyd), because I thought something good might come out of discussion. Especially in regards to Dylan, I think something could be found that shows he was influenced by Surrealism. Frankly, though, I do not think "Desolation Row" is the best example of Surrealist influence in his lyrics.
As for the Pixies, Black Francis was definitely talking about Un Chien andalou in the song "Debaser." But, is Eraserhead a Surrealist film? Is mention of it here even relevant, whether it influenced Francis or not?
Freddie Mercury I am a little less optimistic about. ---RepublicanJacobiteTheFortyFive 17:08, 7 October 2011 (UTC)


I'm a little concerned that this section of the article has been removed. It seems that the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater.

I understand how the problem with the section arose. There were parts that were not overtly surrealist. However, the section was concerned with the influence of surrealism, not surrealism itself.
I don't believe that we need a qualifying statement from a particular artist that he or she created something that was influenced by Surrealism, because we might identify surreal elements in a particular piece of music by merely listening to it.
I also don't believe that it's necessary for a work to include a direct reference to something previously categorized under Surrealism before it is itself brought into that category.
There are some entities that have been obviously influenced by Surrealism (and similar movements such as Dada): Frank Zappa, early Soft Machine, Bonzo Dog Band, Beatles, and so on.
I don't believe that only one tendency is the only influence in a piece of work. There are most often many influences. But it's often easy to spot them.
And, in my experience, given time and exposure to them, surreal elements - especially in music - lose their surreal nature.

Twistlethrop (talk) 19:33, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Citation needed[edit]

I added some "citation needed" tags to a quotation explaining the philosophy of surrealism in music. The first one, in part, is simply technically required. The second, and the first as well, need citations in order so that people can expand on the concepts, or put them into more up-to-date, less stylistic words. Like, does anyone know how the spiritual concepts of immanence and transcendence are related to this art style? — Preceding unsigned comment added by IvyA-O 9 (talkcontribs) 18:30, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

Both of the phrases were already cited at the end of the paragraph, as is usual. However, I have added the specific citations you demanded, in the full expectation that they may be removed again as excessive and redundant. As for the "more up-to-date, less stylistic words", what you are asking for is a simplification of Adorno, a writer renowned for his difficult and complex (which I imagine is what you mean by "stylistic") expression. I doubt you will succeed in obtaining what you are seeking, though if you read him very carefully (and preferably in the original German, rather than in the very up-to-date 2002 translation cited here) and in the full context, you may come to understand him in time. You may also wish to consult the editor's preface and commentary to that volume, as well as some of the references cited there.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:24, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

Erik Satie[edit]

I have to question the unsourced and chronologically confused statement that Erik Satie was "most associated" with early Surrealism, simply because Apollinaire coined the term surréalisme to describe the ballet Parade. It's an assumption based on a literary coincidence and nothing more. Parade was first performed in 1917, while the Surrealist movement - the name of which André Breton took from Apollinaire - didn't begin to take off until 1923-1924. In the 1920s, the starting point for this article as written, Satie was vociferously aligned with Tristan Tzara's Dada movement. He sided with Tzara when Breton broke off from the Dadaists in 1922 and thereafter referred to the budding Surrealists as "pseudo-Dadas". Breton got his revenge by staging a demonstration that disrupted the premiere of Satie's ballet Mercure (1924), with his group (including Louis Aragon) shouting "Down with Satie!" among other things. To suggest the composer was in any way a Surrealist or associated with that movement is ridiculous, to say the least. TheBawbb (talk) 13:29, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

Well, the source already in place at the end of the sentence states point-blank that Satie and Antheil were the two composers most associated with surrealism, but it did not support the claim that the term "surrealism" itself was coined by Apollinaire in response to Parade. It was not difficult to find a source for this, and it has now been added. While it is true that Satie never declared himself to be a member of the surrealist movement, and Breton was certainly no friend, logic fails spectacularly when we try to draw a sharp line around the surrealists in order to separate them from "the avant-garde", "Dada", "cubism", and a host of other movements largely dreamed up by critics and historians. The main issue on Wikipedia is that "the threshold for inclusion is verifiability, not truth", and our finely argued analyses, as editors, amount only to original research. It would probably be a good idea in this case to extend the discussion to include something about the difficulty of identifying specifically surrealist elements in a piece of music—or more specifically, music without a text or programme that might associate it with literary surrealism. Does the presence, for example, of a C half-diminished seventh chord, 11/4 meter, or extraordinary brevity or length either support or refute the presence of surrealism? To say either that these things do or do not would be equally absurd but, as long as we are indulging in our original research, it is a question worth considering and may provide some focus in our search for reliable sources to support whatever claims we wish to make in the article.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:04, 17 July 2015 (UTC)