Does listening to Morton Feldman’s ‘Crippled Symmetry’ suite (above) remind you of a Persian rug? If not, you may not be attuned to Feldman’s repetitions and variations – which, on closer inspection, may, it’s said, in some senses, resonate with patterns on rugs. But, academically speaking, possible common threads have not been studied in much detail – until now.
“Repetition and variation are the main strategies in Feldman’s music. These are the features he extracted from observation of a rug design and connected Oriental weaving rug pattern to Western music notation, which are rarely studied by researchers.”
– explain A.A. Javadi, M. Fujieda of the Faculty of Design, Kyushu University, Japan in a paper for the International Journal of Music Science, Technology and Art (IJMSTA) – Vol. 2 – Issue 1 – January 2020
The researchers asked themselves :
“Are the elements and principles in music (repetition and rhythm) related to the same elements and principles in weaving Persian rug design?”
And, to find out, the team performed a close reading of several rugs (see illustration below) making comparisons with Feldman’s music (e.g.‘Crippled Symmetry’) – and conclude that, yes, they are.
“Our studies reveal the relationship between repetition and symmetry in both the pattern of Persian rugs and the Feldman musical approach in his composition.”