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Object #17 / Arnold Schönberg: Nocturne

Oil on three-ply panel
ca. April 1911
Catalogue raisonné 151

Belmont Music Publishers, Pacific Palisades/CA

At the time when I painted I was able to divide, a line 3, 4 or more inches, even 38 inches long very nearly correctly into 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 equal parts; or I could say that a ribbon was 97 centimeters long; I also drew a circle, inserted the center and it was very little deviating when you checked it with the compass.
I was also able to state that I, or my children had a temperature of (e. g.) 38 3/10 degrees of Réaumur. I had also a good judgement of weights. When I was in the army I shot 4 times in the same hole, and I practised to make exactly – during five consecutive minutes – the 116 steps the regulations demanded.
I was also sure of metronomic speeds and had a good judgement of the altitude of airplanes.
I guess this sense of measures, measurements and distances is one of the basic qualities of the sense of form.
Thus it might surprise that my “absolute pitch” (I call it memory of pitches) which should be my best quality is – at best – not very superior to these others of my talents. I have, of course, “absolute pitch” – but I cannot absolutely depend on it. Sometimes it functions blamelessly and I follow a performance as if I would read a score. Sometimes, however, I cannot recognize a key – especially if it is not quite in pitch. –
What I call the “analytical ear” is also not quite reliable and at least I am slow in recognizing the true facts. On the other hand I remember distinctly that I could follow thoroughly 6 to 8 voices at the end of my Gurre-Lieder.
(Arnold Schönberg, April 1948)

Arnold Schönberg: Nature Pieces

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