Beauty and Sadness
Here's some good news: "The inexhaustible variety of possible melodies corresponds to nature's inexhaustible variety of individuals, physiognomies, and ways of life."
But with Schopenhauer there's always a catch: "the transition from one key to an entirely different one, since it breaks the connection with what went before, is like death, in so far as the individual ends there..."
You, see, that's what makes Schopenhauer such a sad guy. He always sees the worst case scenario, the glass half empty. On the one hand, the Blind Cosmic Will in which we participated while alive "lives on, appearing in other individuals," -- BUT -- this "consciousness has no connection with" ours. So we got that going for us. We're still dead, but at least the meaningless impersonal will that willed us wills on forever.
This is better: music is an "unconscious exercise in metaphysics in which the mind does not know that it is philosophizing." Thus, "our imagination is... susceptible to music" and "seeks to give form to that invisible yet lively spirit-world which speaks to us directly, and clothe it with flesh and blood." But for Schopenhauer, this "lively spirit world" is just an impotent Wiener process of the same old impersonal World Will.
Nevertheless, he gets the broad outline correct, that "we may regard the phenomenal world, or nature, and music as two different expressions of the same thing," such that the "unutterable depth of music" reveals the "truth, the inner nature, the in-itself of the world..."
Music is "a perfectly universal language," but unlike, say, the universal abstractions of mathematics, it is both embodied and experienced in the body. Thus, "we might just as well call the world 'embodied music' as 'embodied will."
That's right, Art, so why build your system around the latter instead of the former? Why reduce music to blind will instead of elevating the will to conscious composer?
I'll tell you why: because you are depressed, that's why. When we are depressed, our depression feels like "the truth." In short, your philosophy is an expression of your clinical depression. Dude, you said it yourself:
I would recommend an antidepressant, but they won't be invented for another 100 years or so. Try getting a bit more sunlight, or maybe eat more fish.
Okay. Be that way.
I suspect that Schopenhauer tried to use art in general and music in particular as an antidepressant. In fact, according to his biographer, Bryan Magee, he felt "there is one way in which we can find momentary release from our imprisonment in the the dark dungeon of the world, and that is through the arts." Thus, Schopenhauer regarded art as providing more the temporary removal of pain than the revelation of cosmic joy:
"In painting, sculpture, poetry, drama, and above all music, the otherwise relentless rack of willing on which we are stretched out throughout life is relaxed," and for a moment "we find ourselves free from the tortures of existence." Woo freaking hoo.
True, music does stimulate the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that mediates pleasure and reward. But chronically depressed people are probably low on dopamine, accounting for their anhedonia, i.e., difficulty experiencing pleasure and joy.
Schopenhauer was a major influence on Wagner, who attempted to embody the world will in his music. Magee has written of this in another book, The Tristan Chord.
Wagner was, of course, a Nazty Piece of Work, but some people think he is the greatest musical genius in history. I have no opinion on that, but Magee writes that for Wagner, "the function of serious art" is "to reveal to human beings the most fundamental truths of their innermost nature." His music "is the direct utterance of the metaphysical will."
But I'm not sure someone as nasty as Wagner can know the fundamental truth about humans. Magee writes that very early on, "he felt unable to relate to other people," for "they did not understand him." This is a common feature of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, in that the narcissist is so special that he is in a category all his own.
"As a result, the world always seemed to him an alien place, both puzzling and hostile. He did not understand it, was not home in it, did not like it. He wanted to escape from it."
In fact, "Until his fifties not a year of his adulthood went by in which he did not seriously contemplate suicide."
But again, consistent with clinical narcissism, the depression alternated with intense grandiosity, in that he was convinced that he was the only person in history who could express the ultimate truth of existence: "it is a question here of conclusions which I am the only person able to draw," for "there has never been a man who was poet and musician at the same time, as I am, and to whom therefore insights into inner processes were possible such as are not to be expected from anyone else."
Well, aren't you special. I can't say what it means about his music, but Hitler was absolutely crazy about it, attending performances of it as often as he could, even when he was poor and broke. It "nourished" him like nothing else.
The Blurb from Hell.
I forget why Wagner was such a vicious anti-Semite, but certainly the Biblical view of music is quite contrary to his -- for example, it is God our maker "who gives songs in the night" (Job 35:10), and who puts those new songs in our mouths (Ps 40:3). In other words, music doesn't come from the primordial below, the noumenal will, but is a gift from above.
Then again, maybe I'm just not depressed enough to understand the awful truth about the world.