Intentionality is an important part of composed music- but I also realize that there are large portions of musical material that flowed from a hidden source- that is, material whose presence cannot be justified through empirical methods. The idea of musical development is, on a basic level, an empirical process because the development springs forth from that which is already “experienced”, or material heard earlier in the piece.
On the other hand, there is the material that falls outside of the empirical process, the “dark matter” which marks its presence through its “unknownness” but justifies its presence through mysterious and ultimately mystical means. One of my professor’s describes these ideas (klangs, motives,chords, etc.) as “sphinxes”, carriers of hidden knowledge whose secrets remain profound but very much shrouded.
A good composer’s music is wholly intentional- they are able, through mystical processes to make their “sphinxes” feel equally as important as their empirical material. Besides the obvious, some composer that effectively utilized the mystical include J.S. and C.P.E. Bach, Schumann, Sibelius, Prokofiev, Dufay, Mozart.
Tyler Versluis is a composer and pianist.