Rosenberg 3.0: not violin music (book review)

Rosenberg 3.0: not violin music

Curated by Jon Rose


Following Pink Violin and Violin Music in the Age of Shopping, not violin music presents the latest scholarship from the rarefied field of Rosenbergology. For those who have not had the pleasure of delving into the intellectual humus of the Rosenberg family tree, the Rosenbergs are a clan of physicists, mathematicians and, of course, violinists who all share the same first initial “J.” The family’s pseudonymous scholars are keen culture critics and dialecticists, ready to lament the decline of Western Civilization while decrying its inherent contradictions. The book revels in collapse and tragedy, beginning with a post-apocalyptic portrait of one Dr Rosenberg reinventing the Doric column and ending with a suicide.

The material form of the book develops this sense of cultural amnesia. It is an unwieldy book, lacking even that most basic of bibliographic conveniences: page numbers. There is no table of contents, nor even a list of contributors. Book sections can only be distinguished by their idiosyncratic typesetting. Each chapter has a different font (though Comic Sans does not make an appearance, I was disappointed to find. Even scientists at CERN use it!). The glossy, low-resolution cover betrays its origins in a print-on-demand self-publishing house. It is, in short, a dysfunctional book.

Which is precisely the point. Contributors were briefed to explore dysfunctionalism as a theme. In one chapter “Dr Robert Ostertag” gives the principle of dysfunctionalism as that “[…] a machine performing a task badly is aesthetically superior to a human performing the task wel.” The phrase is clipped because Ostertag’s responses are subject to Twitter’s 140-character limitation. The book is thus a product of the axiom that cheap-and-quick printing and cut-and-paste formatting are aesthetically superior to more manual production values.

Ostertag’s definition of dysfunctionalism only covers cases where automatism is pitted against human agency in the performance of a given task, such as in the construction of a print-on-demand book. But the cases of dysfunctionalism explored by the contributors are usually those in which a machine poorly translates or transmits human intentions (If I may add my own example, consider the joy derived from watching crappy robots fight each other compared to their better-greased counterparts). For instance, Ostertag cites an installation where Dr Rosenberg attempts to play a violin using ECG data. Another author relates the dysfunctional scenario of a Maoist TED talk by Judd Rosenberg. Plagiarism, new and old violins, jazz clubs, composition competitions and the instrumental innovations of violin metal are also evaluated as dysfunctional mediums.

The authors explore language itself as a dysfunctional medium. Academic language, theory language, art language, even mathematical language (the book is a pleasure for those on hand-waving terms with pure mathematics) all come under parodic scrutiny. One chapter is shockingly written in “Engrish,” with “l”s and “r”s interchanged. Another frequently drops articles. These caricatures of the language of people from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds are made all the more offensive by the use of pseudonyms as dysfunctional names. The pseudonym does not point the reader to any particular context. It is a reader’s dead-end. This is dangerous when a text hinges on irony, on knowing that an author “doesn’t really mean it.”

Dysfunctional names leads to dysfunctional readings, and here I cannot accept that dysfunction aesthetically trumps function. Only after clarifying with Jon Rose that the two chapters in question were indeed written by a Japanese and a Slovakian contributor respectively and that exploring dysfunctional language was an essential part of their brief was I able to read the contributions with any sort of sympathy.

There is yet the disfunctionality of culture critique that plagues the book. Lazy generalisations mar the contributors’ clever jabs at contemporary culture. One author paints a juvenile caricature of the Australian suburbs as a cultural wasteland devoid of music-making. Rosenberg is driven around the suburb of “Roselands” in a taxi and promises to double the fare if he can find somebody performing music. He resorts to door knocking after failing to find music at pubs and malls, but house after house is devoid of music-making. I call this caricature juvenile because I entertained it myself as a teenager in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. But then again, I was playing the cello every day from the back room of our triple-fronted, cream brick home, as were many other kids in the neighbourhood. I lament with the author the steady decline in public musicking since the nineteenth century, but they would better pose the question of why amateur music making is still largely delineated by class rather than shaming the working class, or indeed the economic middle class, for having apparently given up on violins. The Muslim taxi driver in this chapter is also a caricature the purpose of which mystifies me.

Several chapters in the book are quite tasteless, which is again part of the book’s design. In response to my inquiries about the book’s portrayals of class and religion, Rose stressed the point that he exercised no censorship in curating the contributions. Tasteless, too, is the Violin Museum inspiring the contributions, which features several exhibits that cannot be included among the thirty-one pages of pictures of the Museum. The museum, which actually exists, was once situated in the town of Violin in Slovakia. Rose has passed a dragnet through contemporary culture, from the high to the low and the experimental, picking up authentic Rosenberg modified violins and art works, as well as violin-themed nick-knacks and smut. After threats to the museum director’s life, the museum is currently homeless, but will soon be exhibited in Berlin, Bologna and Australia. Whatever the anti-censorship ideals behind the book, the use of dysfunctional names will lead the book to be judged on face value. The book’s irony will be flattened out.

20 thoughts on “Rosenberg 3.0: not violin music (book review)

  1. Dear Mr. Lorenzon,

    As a Christian convert, mother of five, and lover of fine music, I wish to protest in the strongest possible way to the drivel advocated in this compendium of tasteless innuendo and smut -aimed no doubt at my favourite flag ship companies of music and opera. (I note with irritation that Opera Australia and the former and most excellent Dean of the Conservatorium of Music came in for yet another tiresome hammering.) The book’s cast of characters like Robert Ostertag, Anthony Pateras, or Erkki Veltheim are clearly pure fiction and any one with half an ounce of intelligence could drive a family car through their flimsy parodies of genuine musical artists. Who in their right mind would take the trouble to invent and write one hundred and thirty definitions of music under such obvious pseudonyms as Richard Wenn, Eugene Ughetti, Brian Ritchie, or Lieven Bertels (that’s not even proper English). And what is the point of a book without page numbers as Alice might have said in Wonderland, why I may have read the same page a number of times and not realised? That I find very disturbing! There are certainly pictures, and I find them all quite despicable. They are sexist, racist, inhuman, and show the ill-considered results of a twisted mind that has consumed too many drugs or been seriously damaged by the enjoyment of Dadaism, Surrealism, the Fluxus movement, Psychedelic Rock, The Second Viennese School, Speed Metal, and various other tortured nonsense of earlier decadent decades. Which leads me on to the enclosed CD that sounds like someone chasing a cat amongst the organ pipes of the Church of Hell and Everlasting Damnation – won’t someone put it out of its misery, please?

    I applaud your critique of this atrocious book, it’s time to be serious, my son gave it to me as a get well present. Unfortunately, I read the whole thing.

    Sincerely, Judith Rosenberg.

    ps. I loved hearing about your childhood growing up in glorious Adelaide surrounded by your many friends also playing away on their cellos in your neighbourhood. I wonder where it was?

    1. Dear Judy,

      Thank you for the kind praise of my humble review. It is truly a terrible publication. That said, you raise several aspects of the book that I do not find entirely heinous. I did not think that the characters of Anthony Pateras and Erkki Veltheim were all that bad. In their half-finished sentences and monosyllabic dialogue I found reasonable facsimiles of actual musicians’ conversations, not that I have heard many as I almost never go to concerts apart from the odd Opera on the Harbour. But even then, whoever wrote their hilarious Punch and Judy (no pun intended) ramble snuck in some pretty insightful stuff about the role of experimentation in the dialectic of sound and time within the straightjacket of the contemporary music industry.

      I would like to point out, however, that not all of the contributions are pseudonymous. Comrade Dr Willy Ohrwig is a good friend of mine, even if I must disagree with the essence of his contribution “The Case Against Prime Ministerial Intervention in the Arts.” Why, if our own PM were not currently so imperiled, then a short missive from a well-respected North Shore churchgoer such as yourself ought to be enough to bury this book at the back of the Attorney-General’s bookcase for years.

      Even though the one hundred and thirty definitions of music by non-fictional characters may be an invaluable resource for cultural anthropologists in centuries to come, I was shocked to find another 35 examples of the pseudo-philosophical drivel that (thankfully) arrived too late for publication on Jon Rose’s website.

      I include the web address only so that you may add it to your formidable internet filter and thus protect the delicate minds of your five children.

      As for the CD, I find it quite useful when I want to block out the cacophony of Hackham West’s cellists practicing before dinner.


      Matthew Lorenzon

  2. List of “dysfunctional” authors who wrote in rosenberg 3.0– not violin music To my knowledge they are currently all living. Jon Rose

    Dr Jozef Cseres
    Dr Nick Shimmin
    Dr Hollis Taylor
    Chris Abrahams
    Tomomi Adachi
    John Berndt
    Melánia Cseresová
    Chris Cutler
    Dr Frances Dyson
    Kurt Gottschalk
    Lloyd Honeybrook
    Dr Cat Hope
    Rainer Linz
    Dr Sally Jane Norman
    Dr Robert Ostertag
    Dr Anthony Pateras
    Waheed Nasser Zafar Qureshi
    Marie-Mart Roijackers
    Clayton Thomas
    Jean-Michel van Schouwburg
    Erkki Veltheim
    Jim Denley
    Mohamed El-Sayed
    Shuji Uchida
    Lawrence English
    Dr. Douglas Kahn
    Ross Bolleter
    Ian Hartley
    Veryan Weston
    Lucas Abela
    Colin Bright
    Cor Fuhler
    Hans w. Koch
    Ute Pinter
    Norie Neumark
    Dr. Robin Fox
    Gabriella Smart
    Joel Stern
    Eugene Ughetti
    Warren Burt
    Chris Mann
    Richard Toop
    Mike Atherton
    Richard Wenn
    Andy Rantzen
    Richard Johnson
    John Jacobs
    Matthew Lorenzon
    Dr. Robin Ryan
    Ed McKeon
    Martin Davidson
    Nic Collins
    Damien Ricketson
    Frank Baldé
    Brother Theodore
    Adam Linson
    Olga Lipinski
    Arnold Dreyblatt
    Evan Parker
    Rod Cooper
    Christopher Williams
    Ellen Fullman
    Glenn Weyant
    Alister Spence
    Claire Edwards
    Yung Ying
    Lieven Bertels
    Dr. Peter Tregear
    John Shand
    Barre Phillips
    Aaron M. Clarke
    Jean-Michel Van Schouwberg
    Nikolaus Gerszewski
    Tess de Quincey
    Dr. Martin Wesley-Smith
    Julo Fujak
    Alvin Curran
    Sean Baxter
    John Davis
    Slawek Janicki
    Ernie Althoff
    Chris Read
    Richard Grantham
    Cornelius Duffalo
    Alexander Schubert
    Roz Cheney
    Tony Bond
    Bree Van Reyk
    Robert Davidson
    Paul Steenhuisen
    Michael Sheridan
    Dr. Ros Bandt
    Nat Bates
    Kate Moore
    David Moss
    Peter Cusack
    Melody Eötvös
    Yolande Harris
    Brian Ritchie
    Ken Butler
    Johannes Bauer
    Lloyd Swanton
    Harry Vatiliotis
    Katherine Brisbane
    Ilario Colli
    Mark Dresser
    Julian Day
    Yuko Nakayama
    Audrey Chen
    Amanda Stewart
    John Whiteoak
    Peter Knight
    Daniel Matej
    Hans Tammen
    Dr. Kersten Glandine
    Jeff Zeigler
    Phillipp Hintermeister
    Milton Sonderheim
    Klaus Kürvers
    Otomo Yoshihide
    Richard Barrett
    Scott Tinkler

  3. You think name dropping is going to save this book? Tarnishing the names of these people in such a disgraceful fashion will do nothing but reserve you a seat in the supreme court!

    And as to the missing page numbers. I bought a book yesterday that had the number for page 87 missing. Page 86 was there. So was page 88. I have written to publishers asking them how we are supposed find page 87!

    A sexist, racist book that doesn’t even have a table of contents. Published on “demand” to boot. I doubt very much that there is any demand for a book like this.

    God save us from the failure of cultural commentary.

    Good on you Matt. Hope your RSI improves and you get back to the cello soon.


  4. I’m writing from Paris and have recently bought a copy of the book Rosenberg 3.0 – not violin music. I must say the lack of page numbers can at first be a challenge, but then it was obvious that this IS the clue to reading it. Randomly select a page, read the selected page, shut the book; then repeat the action. Drink a glass of Bourgogne… What could be simpler than that? I find it all makes perfect sense. I particularly appreciate the interview with Sheik Zbouda Abdulla – he was a visiting scholar here recently. I love that little touch where he throws the violin to his dog for dinner – such a gestural response and to which ‘even Baudrillard would been nonplussed for a response!’ And I’d like to add, one thing this book shows plenty of is humour – a quality ML in my view, beside having MISSED “the point” proves to be short of. Sincerely, Corinne Vernizeau

  5. Dear Sir, to call the book “sexist” is to miss the point, this tome is ONLY about sex and the sex crazed and as far as I can read (which I try to keep down to as little as possible) has almost nothing to do with music at all! The book fell open at a page that literally took my disgusted breath away. The lack of page numbers has nothing to do with it. There spread out before the eye was a triptych of religious iconography; the holy trinity revealed as an aide-memoire. On the right of the page is clearly God the father manifested as a powerful businessman’s tie (true, there is a violin depicted, but it is the tie that is the symbol of omnipotence). On the left is a violin in the form of a necklace crucifix. It is reminiscent of those crucified Santa Claus that were manufactured for the Christmas shopping frenzy in Tokyo department stores in the 1980s. Vulgar and tasteless as it is, one is swept away in the psycho-post-denial-state of God the spirit. Which leaves us with the Son. Centre page is an enlarged earring with a photograph of a young lady in a condition of “pleasure” and needless to say holding onto a violin for dear life. Now in this enlightened age, one could believe that God the son has had a sex change or is indeed super-naturally capable of either or any basic function, but more importantly it begs the question who is or was the owner of the earring? Opposite is an appalling shiny metallic looking object of torso with a violin scroll replacing the head of the victim who appears to have been boiled and bottled alive. This foul artifact undoubtedly belongs to an epoch when the great and the good thought the Sun revolved around the Earth. But I digress, in a manner not so dissimilar to those dysfunctional cretins who wrote in Rosenberg 3.0… as to the state of music in the 21st century, the question is academic, who really cares?


    Dr J M Cupper

  6. Thank God! Matthew for your expose on this insidious cult leading our youth into cultural annihilation. I call for a Royal Commission. Most sadly this has reminded me of a terrible period of my life when under the influence of Rosenbergean lies and indoctrination, I actually believed I was a Rosenberg! Besides the general delusion, this caused me to actively support various arms and projects of the Rosenberg family. This in turn lead to the destruction of a promising (apparently) career – I have never really fully recovered. Fortunately I discovered golf which over many years helped me recover enough from pathological ironic analysis of dominant, outdated, fascist musical and cultural paradigms – enough that I now can get through the day just focused on that little round ball. I’m sure there are many out there around the world who have been left traumatised by a similar Rosenberg experience. I truly hope that your review (such a rigorous denunciation of the book, family and museum) will give others the strength to speak out against this tribe of disruptive malcontents.

  7. Dear Matthew, I was puzzled by this review as my copy (it arrived in the mail with no explanation, see below) had page numbers, though they weren’t in the usual place and there were a number of amateurish errors in sequence. They were in the center of the page usually, but absent on some pages, you had to hunt for them. Is it possible that because it is “Vanity Published” (I love that term! Like “Vanity Fair!”) every copy is somehow different, maybe personalized to the viewer or something? Also, I fully agree with you about the unsavory nature of the book (for instance I can’t believe that VIOLINS are discussed in the book, it throws me into a rage; not to mention all the pages and pages of viscous hate-speech in my copy about the Tof people in Siberia), but I have to say I only heard about it after the fact, as, contrary to being listed in the book, I was actually never involved in the project (I have much bigger fish to fry). I started to hear about this a year ago, when I set up a Google alert on different misspellings of my name (a frequent problem that occurs which throws me into a rage) when I discovered this whole “Jon Rose” business was brewing again, this time trading on my good name. But I assume you already know that Jon Rose is pseudonym that the Rosenberg character started using in the 70’s and that he “open sourced” in ’75, making the name similar to Luther Blissett and Monty Cantsin, open names used by large groups of crackpot people who for legal (and sometimes spiritual) reasons can’t use their own names. Then, to make things worse, these vampires go around (and here I mean “wide stance”) and steal other people’s names, as if that wasn’t bad enough (that more or less throws me into a rage already, since a man’s name is his word/bond, or “James Bond”)–which as you know, being so involved in new music, all has significant “higher dimensional” implications. Check it out, if you look at “Jon Rose” material on the web, it will become clear it couldn’t be the work of one guy (though a number of these clowns seem to have bleached their hair a shocking white). Needless to say, this all creates great problems for copyright lawyers and stylistics, and also for the police. However what really drives me nuts is that throughout the book (and your review) my name was misspelled. BERNDT. Its easy to spell. How hard could it be. BERNT. BERNDT. I count it being spelled no less than four different ways in the book alone (this throws me into a rage) to to mention what I would consider “implied misspellings.” Unless somehow *each copy was different* (this is a clue), in which case I don’t know if it was *consistently* misspelled–which in itself seems to also have “higher dimensional” implications. In fact what I’m hoping you can sort out for me, Matthew, is that if each copy of the book is indeed different (as you seem to be suggesting), what are the implications of all these misspellings in a “higher dimensional” sense? For instance, what I’m wondering is, if a race (there’s that word again) of higher-dimensional reptilians were to hide among human beings (you can tell them because their hair turns white when they 25) and play the cello apparently not so dangerously in their suburban living rooms, biding their time with absolute discipline until such a point when humanity were to WILLINGLY INVITE THEM IN THROUGH THE PORTAL, IN A REPTILIAN SENSE through tolerating gross, gross, gross misspellings of their names, which is part of a “rule” they have to abide by that is dictated somehow by physics to the reptilians, they can’t do anything to you until you let them mis-spell your name, the more times they do it the more they can do to you, eventually they have you putting out all sorts of weird self-published books that further their agenda, even as wage a disorienting counter-campaign of criticism against them, so you have to track it down, and then if they start all using the same names themselves, etc. etc. well, you should think about it. It’s not the kind of thing you solve before breakfast. Anyway, thanks for paying close attention to all this and figuring it out, and of course see you next Wednesday. Bests, John Berndt

  8. Dear Sir,

    There seems to be some problem in how to approach Rosenberg 3.0 – not violin music, only a purveyor of scientific method would suggest that if it walks and quacks like a duck – then it’s a duck. To read this book, one should start with the suicide first, it’s the dysfunctional way – reading out loud in the original Warlpiri to whomever will listen. Then the descent of cultural aurality into 21st century musical practice will become evident and visceral… the stones can be easily dodged at the bus stop. As Deleuze and Guattari wrote on Capitalism and Schizophrenia before they retired to the Riviera: “From chaos, Milieus and Rhythms are born. This is the concern of very ancient cosmologies. Chaos is not without its own directional components, which are its own ecstasies. We have seen elsewhere how all kinds of milieu, each defined by a component, slide in relation to one another, over one another. Every milieu is vibrationary…” From this view point we are but one step away from Rosenberg’s theory of Slipping Music, and the reader can drill down through the filters of life observation to the existential hard rock of rhythmic cosmologies exposed in the book. As we know (from reading the books by Lotman, Barthes, and others), the difference between language (as a “mere” communication device) and artspeak (in this case dysfunctional) resides in the succession of the code and text. In the first case the code precedes text, in the second case the text precedes code. Please Matthew, try reading the book once more with this tip. Chapter order becomes redundant; table of contents and pagination will not help you – indeed there is not help page.
    I would like you to know that I did not take the job of Museum Director with much joy. They (the Rosenbergs) forced me into it, I had to accept the position, or they would have used blackmail, and I was in no position to deal with another court case. The dysfunction of the directional has for me become a vibrating force of destructive proportions. Much was promised, great wealth was alluded to, a sonic gamble was sent aloft, but in the end I was left with a pile of broken violins and chronic debt.


    Dr. Jozef Cseres (Emeritus Director of the Rosenberg Museum)

  9. With all Mr. Lorenzon’s talk of dysfunctionalism and smut in the pages of “Not Violin Music” (which are generally the more positive aspects of the Rosenberg legacy), I’m reminded of a Hunter S. Thompson quote I once found scratched onto a urinal in Glasgow that read: “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”

    1. And if God had wanted a book about not violin music, He would have had Moses or somebody bring it down from the mountain; I doubt very much that He would have self-published it.

  10. Sir Sir/Madam:

    It’s astonishing that a review filled with three plus syllable words (in paragraph 4 alone there are 21 of them) and among so many complaints put forward one which enshadoweds many is the first which is so easily rectifiable. In fact, in the course of writing this description I momentarily lost all sense of coordination and found myself running to the book itself, knowing that there are no page numbers, but wanting to correct that pseudohorrible occurrence by putting them in myself*. Library Studies undertaken by this author back in 1999 indicated that there were four different standards of bibliography that are acceptable under the aegis of the American Librarians Association (who control with strict regulation the goings on of the Canadian Librarians to whom I am beholden), those being the American Psychological Association’s determinants, the Modern Language Association (no relation to the Modern Language versions of the King James Bible), the Chicago Style Practices, and of course something I’ve never heard about called Turabian. None of these require that a book holding an ISBN number must have page numbers and furthermore, that all librarians creating a coded entry for their databases must employ a minimum wage employee from the back windowless rooms to count the number of pages in any given book.

    Of course those library studies are not authoritative in this case, as the obtaining of a degree was hampered by the poor reception of the Descriptive capabilities of this author being stymied into a unstoppable fit of giggles during the final examination which contained the question, “Imagine a library being a human being, and describe how a client goes through the system,” a question to which no reference to the anal cavity could be avoided. But nonetheless as Describer in Chief, I still hold strong adherence to the principles of MARC coding.

    The lack of continuous cohesion of the fonts used in the book indeed throw the elements of proper linear narrative into a loop, perhaps a moebius loop if we’re not too careful, but as The Describer in Chief, in the course of describing the book in the weeks to come with a lot of attention to diminishing the auto-perspective of thumbs down and thumbs out, the established technique of re-typing all of the texts (the only noble manner in which a reviewer severs his own thumbs up and down in the attempt to feel the book through the aegis of finger reading) and all in the same font will straighten out the irritants caused by the continual change of the weather devices used to control the chosen style voices.

    In the seminal work, Anatomy of Criticism, Northrup Frye, as he is undertaking the autopsy of writing about works which are dead and cannot speak for themselves, has underlined the importance of a voice coming from the text, similar to Ivan Illich’s notion of the ephemerality of sacred texts of the 12th century screaming from each page a song to be heard as the monks spoke the unbroken syllables out loud. Thus a Muslim taxi driver may or may not have meaning, but it is incumbent on the critic or describer to give “the work a meaning it cannot express itself” (Frye: 1957) but it is an abrogation of the reader giving voice to a text to give up and declare mystification, all while heading towards the conclusion of a book review prepared for the digital audience that would find it by googling (though Microsoft suggests “ogling”) “dysfunctional violins”.

    Actually, as a Frye-ite scholar en germe, one of the self-described tasks of the function of Describer in Chief is to flatten out not only irony, but occlusions, alliterations, onomatopoeia and ellipses (taking good care as not to squish those little dots representing an infinite thought) in order that, again, the reader will have the describer describe the work which cannot describe itself. Thus in doing, the most precise statement of matthewlorenzon is the fact that this ironing out will be attempted over the course of the next weeks and months in order to give as was done with The Waste Land, enough footnottery to enshadow, one could say dysfunctionally enshadow the actual work whose voice is silent except for the breaking of the spine and the fluttering of the leaves, were they to be amplified throughout a proper echo chamber, say like the Sydney (British Columbia) opera house located some 16 km from the Describer’s current residence.
    It also seems that Neil Kelsey may have been inspired by some of the quantum mathematics which influenced more than one Rosenberg and there is even a bit of Schrödinger’s Cat when we look at a book without numbers knowing that the odd numbered pages are on the right and the even numbered pages are on the left; so how is it possible that there is only a missing half page? Of course, the answer is “a blank page is a representation of 4’33” (and to be properly read one should contemplate the divine for four minutes and thirty-three seconds while “reading” the page) and thus a musical expression of silence rendered into the fullness of a white page. But common sense would not require a publisher’s affidavit in order to confirm the absence of a half a page. Renumbering that (those) errant copie(s) of 3.0, is the solution here, especially for the aforementioned library classification requirements needing a minimum wage library studies student to prepare the proper citation card.

    And as the Describer in Chief, I would like to thank Ms. Vernizeau de Paris (et des beaux bizous de l’Acadien qui admire votre sobriquet) for having established a good procedure for the proper digestion of this text. Bourgogne, perhaps, though it can be pricey here in British Columbia and there are other natural lubricants that would assist not only in the reading of 3.0, but in trying to listen to Milton Babbitt’s integral serialism in preparation for that Degré de Musique.
    Her solution was to my question of how to properly create a description but not, as it were, give away the whole barn; of course a linear description which is necessary (once again following the Frye dictum of explaining that which cannot be explained by the book) must be produced (and is to start soon both on this site and on Mr. Rosenberg’s official Facebook page where it will continue until a proper descriptive review of the artifact before the Describer in Chief (me for the moment) has tackled all 262 pages. If necessary, an index will be provided as well and of course a full description of the organ pieces which accompany the book, in the same style of the performance of Cyberman at Violin Music in the Age of Shopping in Nancy, France, in May 1995.

    The first of these Descriptions of the Book for Those Who Can’t Digest It (the sort of thing that scholars read about the Waste Land instead of reading The Waste Land) will appear on this site (assuming that it is still up by the time of writing) and at the above facebook account belonging to Johannes Rosenberg’s followers.

    The purpose of retyping each page prior to the description of the page which was just typed has many goals. First, of course, just to show off that at age 55, the Describer in Chief still has typing and descriptive abilities that are available on a reasonable hourly basis and can be accomplished online from a cabin deep in the Vancouver Island coastal area. Second, a retyping allows for an ethereal assimilation, and whether or not there really are paranormal influences hovering worldwide from the Rosenberg legacy, this would be an automatic writing technique which both saves time and diminishes cultural influences, providing literally a fresh perspective. Third, once the entire book has been retyped, Microsoft software allows the find and search capabilities to allow the other nit to be picked, that is, an index can finally be provided. Despite the previous incident described, the Describer in Chief still does have awesome indexing capabilities (available for hire).

    thank you for your patience in granting me your attention to this matter.
    Georges “Cyberman the Describer 1995” Dupuis

    *In order to complete both the task of providing numbers for the estimated 284 page book, and since it is not the original intent of the staff who prepared the tome, a compromise must be reached in order to be more faithful for what has been labeled an arbitrary set of essays. A better label of course would be chance or the more commonly used term of indeterminacy, and with the Rosenberg spirit at mind, the numbering of the pages of the book will include all 284 pages, but the pages numbers will be determined with the assistance of the most helpful website, and thus, since this is the first almost official numbering of the pages of the book, for review references, the pages should be as follows (this should also resolve the issue of errant half-pages as well)**:
    106 31 124 110 181 191 192 229 75 95
    131 158 94 240 191 273 128 174 247 157
    111 84 242 176 273 261 14 154 35 66
    106 144 64 1 269 9 95 116 129 35
    1 11 111 173 182 165 218 146 242 100
    59 83 210 28 198 130 191 174 81 211
    160 20 277 222 188 175 138 148 207 180
    254 238 280 132 26 1 195 256 159 5
    172 … the rest will appear as an appendix to one of the first full page descriptions in the weeks to come. A full index using this numbering system will appear eventually on the Facebook site. Theoretically.
    **a slight problem in that using the True Random Number Generator, some numbers through the course of putting 280 page numbers out, are repeated. This is why there are more than one first pages.

  11. There are many fair criticisms in these responses. I do take books and music seriously. However, I want to make it clear that I actually have no problem with the lack of page numbers. I took the effort to understand their absence as an example of the theme of dysfunctionality underpinning the book.

  12. We are temporarily a little short staffed here at the Rosenberg Museum, as we must prepare for a round of new exhibitions in Berlin and Bologna in May (restoration of violins, etc), so it has fallen to me to answer a few of the enquires about Rosenberg 3.0 – a recent publication. In some private correspondence received last week, a number of commentators have suggested that there is no “ur-edition” of the book, that all the books contain unique references and differences, and that no two books are the same. Some letters go further to complain that entire propositional narratives have been reversed – akin to a mirror inversion in a musical discourse – consequential meanings and inferences running in contrary motion. In other words, there exist articles under the same title that are diametrically opposed to their blood relatives. Others complain that chapters have been “disappeared” or “appended”. And some writers level the accusation that a lack of page numbers is an attempt to disguise this disreputable attack on the whole notion of the post Johannes Gutenberg book. I am not at liberty to comment on these comments, but to say there are no page numbers is to be economical with the truth, there are at least three in every copy of the book that I have accessed – one, two, and many.
    Norman Rosenberg

  13. dear commenters and Rosenbergologists ,
    There ate these interesting remarks about the whole Wiyapawiya tribe’s fiddle “mirroring” music practices and famous Violinist twins from the Belle Epoque – early XXth century era . This was made by the obscure Belgian unacademic scholar and researcher on alternative musicolophony (which is another way of seeing at musicology) , J-M Du Theatre
    So i quote the text written in french .
    Jon Rose Double Indemnity
    Hermes Discorbie HDCD 005 Produced by Jozef Cseres, Director of the Rosenberg Museum. Enregistré à St Ouen en janvier 2002. Double Violon du Dr Johannes Rosenberg (1921-1992).

    Le célèbre Double Violon à Dix Cordes du Dr Johannes Rosenberg fût prêté exceptionnellement à Jon Rose par le Rosenberg Museum de Violin en Slovaquie à l’occasion de sa Résidence d’Artiste et Compositeur à Mains d’Oeuvre à Saint Ouen en janvier 2002.
    Cet instrument remarquable fût inventé par le génial musicologue, ethnographe, violoniste et compositeur Johannes Rosenberg (1921 – 1992). Suite à l’étude approfondie qu’il fit des chants et danses des joueurs de vielle jumeaux siamois du peuple Wiyapawiya en Nouvelle – Guinée (World Music Journal, 1971), il créa son Double Violon afin d’étudier le complexe de la dualité chez les instrumentistes à cordes frottées. Les musiciens insulaires Wiyapawiya avaient fabriqué une double vielle avec deux caisses de résonance semblables reliées par un pont sur le quel est fixé la touche. Les cordes de l’instrument étaient attachées aux deux extrémités et tendues par deux chevalets posés sur chacune des caisses à hauteur des ouïes respectives. La double-vielle des Wiyapawiya se joue couchée sur les genoux des musiciens lors des fêtes dansées. Chacun des jumeaux siamois actionne un arc sur les cordes, l’autre main adaptant la position de frettes mobiles fixées par la tension des cordes sur la touche.
    L’instrument du Dr Johannes Rosenberg reprend les mêmes principes de base : il est fabriqué par deux violons relié par un seul cou. Dans cet enregistrement, Jon Rose manipule deux archets simultanément. Il en tire une musique à plusiers voix qui évoque celle des ensemble de flûtes de pan Are-Are des îles Salomon (Le Chant du Monde LDX 274 961.62) enregistrés par l’éminent collègue du Dr Rosenberg, le Dr Hugo Zemp du CNRS et du Musée de l’Homme. La musique enregistrée ici s’articule autour de courts motifs mélodiques récurrents. Jon Rose procède par ajouts et altérations. Tout l’intérêt réside dans l’impact sonore particulier obtenu par la pression de l’archet, des hauteurs absolument non tempérées et, je pense, la vibration des cordes sympathiques. Le croisement des sonorités produites par le double jeu d’archets renforce le côté complètement irréel de cette musique. Vers la quatorzième minute, il évoque pour mon plus grand plaisir le son de l’ajaeng, la cithare à archet coréenne. Un peu plus tard, un dombra kazakh ou un concertina. Il obtient des sons complétement freak out à plusieurs reprises. Le comble est atteint après un remarquable crescendo d’accords microtonaux. A partir de la minute 35, on croit entendre un kayageum coréen joué alternativement avec les doigts et l’archet. On peut se référer au vinyle d’anthologie Korean Folk and Social Music ( Lyrichord Stereo LLST 7211 produit par le fameux musicologue John Levy) : la similarité des sons est étonnante, même s’il s’agit d’une coïncidence. Le final a qualité vocale troublante : des voix irréelles semblent venir de l’espace.

    Il faut un artiste consommé comme Jon Rose pour transcender un instrument aussi particulier que le Double Violon à Dix Cordes du Dr Johannes Rosenberg. En effet, les cordes ne sont pas pincées sur la touche et elles sont frottées continuellement comme une vielle-à-roue et barrées par deux chevalets mobiles maintenus par la tension des cordes. JR les déplace latéralement d’une main pour modifier la hauteur des cordes, tout en poursuivant le jeu à l’archet de l’autre main.
    Nous savions que Rose est un artiste très impliqué dans la vie et la culture de son continent, l’Océanie. Parvenir à exprimer l’esprit d’une musique aussi particulière des Are – Are, qui habitent une île au grand large de l’Australie, avec un instrument occidental, voilà qui démontre que Jon Rose dépasse la curiosité organologique pour atteindre l’universel. Il s’est imprégné de la culture ancestrale des populations autochtones. Il n’y a rien d’étonnant à cela, car depuis plus d’une décennie notre violoniste australien s’est plongé dans l’étude des Principes de l’Improvisation Emancipée du Dr Johannes Rosenberg dont il a retrouvé une copie du manuscrit dans une pharmacie de Darwin. La pochette du CD contient une étude du Dr Willy Orwig qui trace un parallèle intéressant avec les siamois Wiyapawiya et les soeurs Blasek, violonistes siamoises célèbres dans le monde du music-hall, il y a une centaine d’années. Tout cela est fascinant et vous pourrez en savoir plus sur ce sujet en consultant le site . Cela permettra aussi de vous faire une idée de l’étendue des activités musicales de cetv artiste exceptionnel qu’est Jon Rose.
    J-M Van Schouwburg

    PS’ : Remerciements à la direction du Rosenberg Museum et au gestionnaire du Fonds Rosenberg à Brisbane pour la communication sue la vielle Wiyapawiya.

    PS” : Etant donné les différentes orthographes des noms propres néo-guinéens dues aux différentes provenances tribales, et donc linguistiques, du collectage en pays Bati-Bati, il semble que l’usage correct du nom de la tribu Wiyapawiya soit Payawipaya, comme l’utilise le Dr Willy Orwig dans son étude The Generic Tendency in Violin Music et le Dr Joseph K. Rosenberg dans son texte Twins, ces deux remarquables travaux étant insérés dans le livret du présent CD. La terminologie Wiyapawiya m’est parvenue par un autre informateur. Il semble que la musique de double-vielle, qui est au centre des cultures Payawipaya et Bati-Bati, ait de multiples conséquences sur plusieurs aspects de la vie de cette population, entre autres linguistiques. Dans le cas précis, elle engendre un effet miroir sur certains vocables utilisés qui se traduit par l’inversion des syllabes. (Henri Tournelle, Vie Sociale et Fêtes des indigènes en pays Bati-Bati. Twins Press/Bratislava University, 1974.

  14. I see dissident members of the Rosenberg clan have been at it again, claiming to be critics of contemporary music and the like; comedy routines in the guise of cultural commentary. I’d like to point out that these people have nothing to do with us, they are not employed by the museum, and never have been. Really, it’s all so 20th century! In these turbulent times, our respected flagship arts companies need a steady hand at the tiller, not someone shooting holes in their vulnerable and creaking hulls. I would point the discriminating reader of Rosenberg 3.0 to the chapter on the “musical goat”. I think that will clear up any misunderstandings regarding scholarship and serious research.
    Norman Rosenberg (for the Museum)

  15. Gentile sig. Lorenzon,

    approfitto dell’ospitalità in questa cortese discussione per puntualizzare una volta per tutte che le presunte insinuazioni che il Museo Rosenberg sia una sorta di luogo fittizio sono del tutto destituite da ogni fondamento.

    Posso assicurare che attualmente sto lavorando veramente sodo per organizzare qui in Italia la tappa del tour internazionale del Museo, che avrà luogo a fine maggio a Bologna, nel’importante Museo della Musica.

    L’inaugurazione darà il 27 maggio, e sarà la più grande esposizione mai realizzata in Italia di oggetti dei Rosenberg. Invito quindi tutti a partecipare e a verificare di persona.

    Per contatti e informazioni potete contattarmi.

    Ing. Mauro Stocco

    mauro_stocco AT yahoo DOT com

  16. 1Henry6 2:4
    If I, my Lord, for my opinion bleed,
    Opinion shall be surgeon to my hurt
    And keep me on the side where still I am

    Dear Sirs and Madames,
    Subsequent to my note of the February 14th posting of mine which clutters up a lot of space above, I would just like to state that I have resumed after an exact twenty years’ absence the post of Chief Describer (or Describer-in-Chief in North America and Descripteur-Général in Europe) for the Rosenberg Foundation.

    As part of my present duties, despite the poor condition of the Victoria (British Columbia, not Australia) Scribe Headquarters, an effort to properly describe the contents of the Rosenberg 3.0 tome has now begun, the first of a projected (at least) 284 pages of description using the repatented “simulzdescrip” formula first generated as a data collection device during the Nancy, France initial performance of Violin Music in the Age of Shopping (where I appeared on stage with the pseudonym of “Cyberhomme le Descripteur”).

    Simply put, when they started performing, I started describing and when they stopped performing, I stopped describing. Using the techniques of the taking of minutes, the play by play commentary of National Hockey League six-team radio broadcasts, a sort of tic that combines the spontaneity of Tourette’s Syndrome with the wit of Noel Coward and with a very high tolerance for fifty shades of unlistenable noise, I was able to create a layman’s device capable of describing what the heck it was that I’ve just perceived.

    Since the printed version of Rosenberg 3.0 is not something I can react to and describe in real time (only having received it in 2015 due to the slow mails), the next best process in which to apply the simultaneous description technique for a proper description of the book (both for the layman who will not read the book no matter how hard one tries to convince them and the expert whose time is too valuable to flip and understand all of the words, so just give me the highlights in bullet points, eh?) is to simultaneously react to a live typing of a first impression.

    In other words, I open the book, using the random procedure described above by the most enchanting Ms. Vernizeau (or simply going to and asking their generator-thingy to do it for me), type out the text and in the spirit of the great mediums of the time of Ravel and Debussy, while the words have bypassed my brain and gone from my eyes to my fingers, have the spirit of the authors compiled by Mr. Rose to generate a “critic” or in my case, “describer”’s description, hopefully which will not only deencrypt the secrets locked within the pages with neither page numbers, indexes nor general guidance, but also act as a Wastelandian footnote to the work which can be digested without the actual work having to be digested itself.

    The corrective to the lack of page numbers will be posted as a full guide to the new Chief Describer’s page holdings, as per the description in the previous posting on this site.
    What follows is the first (near)simultaneous description of the Rosenberg 3.0 tome; all subsequent descriptions will be posted on the facebook site (while the company is still running and relatively cost-efficient) at


    Text provided by: Cyberhomme l’Descripteur
    Description: Rosenberg 3.0 not violin music
    Page number: cd173
    Number of words on the page: 150

    The page assigned the number cd173 can be described as follows:

    This is a most interesting page within that section that fumigated the notions of the original criticisms put forth on the Partial Durations website, that is the choice of a twitter one hundred and forty something (life is too short to verify if all of them follow that hack-requirement) characters.

    As Rosenberg is referred to in the third person, this interrogation which has the dry tone of the astronauts discussing protocol with Hal the Computer in the original Kubrick-Clarke film depiction of 2001: A Space Odyssey nonetheless in its twitpoet style haikus the notions of dysfunctionalism (since added manually to my spellcheck dictionary who refused it originally) into precise almost-meaning.

    All those erotic fiddle photos from the Violin Music in the Age of Shopping [note to Rosenberg Foundation: is it still available as a back order? My copy seems to have been left behind in a hospital in Oregon.] come back to the porn memory reserve centers of my own brain as the discussion on this page is centered on the missionary division (and to quote, “the number of male orgasms per year watching porn minus the number having sex with a human partner”) and the radical implications that the notion of dysonnance (also added to the spellcheck dictionary) are sexual in nature.

    It is early to understand the full implications of this haik-essay but suffice to say, a remedy to the malady of the concert stage (something railed against to the very end by Torontonian Glenn Gould) might be ceasing with the vertical positioning of the players and placing them horizontally.
    The opening stanza of the page of course (and it should be noted that the hacked bits aren’t missed, so the twit-clip has the added advantage of keeping it short and sweet) speaks to a notion of fields of endeavor that are cyberian in nature. As my original title for stage purposes was Cyberhomme le Describeur (this is the French proper term), and as a penance for having been a public describer on the stage representation of Violin Music in the Age of Shopping, karma forced a twenty-year meditation on that performance of May, 1995, the excesses of digital consumption (one of the principal notions espoused by the Shopping performances) are well known to this writer, although not with the pornography implications that can be found on this page.

    Those implications are that someone consuming pornography through unlimited digital access will find themselves plagued with sexual inadequacies and perhaps as a corollary that needs further bridges to explain, makes the inevitable connection of porn to integral serialism.
    This is of course a first reading of the page, and such a notion does not explain why some consider Boulez to be sexy.


    As noted previously, the compact disc containing 13 variations of Johannes Rosenberg improvising on the pipe organs of Uniting Church, Lindfield, Sydney (Australia, not British Columbia) on 11 January and 22 September 1981 will be described using this simultaneous performance and inserted on days when faced with trying to find proper analogies for a description of a blank page. The answer was before us in The Pink Violin all along: the reader should contemplate the white page after having purchased one of the Rosenberg Museum’s Outreach Program Rolling Double Violins in order to “perform” the famed 4 kilometres 33 metres while listening to the recordings of the organ playing.

    The obvious benefit is that one either becomes familiar and enjoys the shapes of the organ pieces, or conversely, learns to run the marathon faster in order to come home and throw those i-tubes off their ears before the completion of another cycle of flutters, stops, wows and thingamabobs that would trill the whistles of any Messiaen complex.

    One such description of a portion of an organ variation from the accompanying disc would look something like this:


    Track 3 6:01
    This one starts off with a traditional “spooky” opening, that vibrato that would accompany a lurking werewolf and there are sail-strands across the bloops that are less omnipresent than in the first two movements. After a bunch of stones left on the lawn, flute sounds try to make way but out come the lumbering low tone beasts of elephantine, hailing their own welcome into an overcrowded arc of a sonic chamber. There is a bit of aggressiveness, impatience at all levels, almost panic inducing that seems to imply that this is not only an arc, but the waters that they bridge are indeed troubled without an oar or a garfunkle to give it stability.

    At the two minute mark, it seems that exhaustion is the only thing trying to slow down this marathon of a complete palette of the tonal possibilities, and the halting car horn sounds that frame passages, sometimes in a freeze frame of at least no more than a half a second in length, crowd all of the inhabitants of the room including the listeners of this internal tone.

    A wild roller coaster of elisions seem to sweep over the surface at the 3:10 to give away to the carnys who have come back into the carnival setting to sweep up the detritus of the preceding minutes, and possibly fast enough to allow for a second show and separate admission. The shuffling tones indeed bring this implication even more forward as we are seeing the chromatic representation of long lines of people who have been waiting in the rain all individually without proper coordination trying to locate a seat in the tent where the wear and tear hasn’t lead to drops coming down.

    At the 4:20 mark there seems to be a reorganization, a tuning of the palette and then we’re back to the same marks that opened the first variation before going into a series of panicked swirls that would have made the Road Runner and the Coyote quite pleased, before they break down into linear gallops that leave the listener back in the dust. Final calliope tones that degenerate into nothingness suggest that we’ve succeeded in drumming them out of the main tent and can pass on to the last tones. There is something sick-sweet of the dying tones of this one which sound like the dying tones of any living creature forced to endure fade pans.


    Hopefully a daily activity will it be that the Chief Describer can provide this service on the facebook location and from this seed, Appleseed the world with new contemplators of the Rosenberg legends, myths, cycles and of course, recordings available at better music stores.
    So, please come to see every day what I wrot, and in the spirit of the great literary critic Northrup Frye, “give the work which cannot speak for itself a voice” or words to that effect that seemed like a pretty good notion in 1949.

  17. How many comments so far on this book’s lack of page numbers? One? Two? Many? I wonder why? If the collator wanted a book with page numbers, it would be difficult to avoid. As with Mark Twain’s appropriated assertion about taxes and death, it’s harder to avoid page numbers than consent to their ponderous inevitability; the tedious linear convention insists on a blinkered chronological vision for all things – including music, creating a generous discombobulating trap for the critic. As has been suggested in another communication, get with the program, simply open said book at random, read numberless page, shut book, and await neurological discharge. If nothing happens to a reader’s literal mind, then this book is wasting their time, please return to Schenkerian analysis of almost any piece of classical music or go on about how the “Velvets” managed to reduce pop music from 3 chords to 1 chord – sheer bloody genius, right?

    Ernest Renan’s paradox about the nation state rings a parallel truth about consensus and amnesia. Roughly translated, “Those who wish to be part of a nation state need a lot of things in common (for it to function), but (more important) must be able to forget many things” (atrocities, origins, catastrophes, inventions). Consensus in music is now limited to celebrity, and huge chunks of the most interesting, inventive, “out there” musical praxis is lost in distant memory silos. Dull conformity and forgetfulness hang in the air.

    Consensus about music sucks and so does any standard critical reading of the situation. Despite observations designed by a terrified industry to demonstrate good health, the practice of music stumbles on, the blind leading the deaf. Living music is treated more like a syndrome: close your eyes and forget; there are pills to keep you engaged in the current dull repetitive stupor (RSS); it’s going to require an enema applied with a laser gun to shift this level of cultural constipation.

    Interesting that one music commentator on the radio the other week got the opposite story to what he was probably expecting and hoping. Ramzi Aburedwan, a Palestinian musician, ended up in Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra – an imaginary panacea to ease the troubled waters of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ramzi was duly trotted out to face the Western press, who only wanted to know what a wonderful thing this all was – Jews and Moslems creating friendships as they played their Mozart or whatever. He didn’t comply. No, he related: the Jewish girl who had just announced that he was her friend (because they were playing the same viola part), and who he’d only just met, was in fact his enemy. Gosh, horror! The truth: the lie that Israel (backed by the most powerful military industrial cultural complex the world has ever seen) and Palestine (backed by third world religious nutcases, Hamas, and little else) are somehow culturally and politically equivalent while playing “great” Western classical music…

    Which leads me to the criticism of a chapter in Rosenberg 3.0 – Roselands: Judacious Rosenberg journeys with Mohamed El-Sayed in search of live music in the Twilight Zone (by Marcus Miller). The criticism relayed is that the characterization pertains to crudity, the scenario unlikely, juvenile. Really? Like Barenboim willing his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to sooth over the conscience of the West by hoodwinking a few Palestinians into playing his (superior and non-political?) orchestral music? Palestinian music like the Palestinian voice in western culture is more often than not crowded out by western powerful elites, or casually switched to mute. I’d say that a Rosenberg (it’s not sure that he is even Jewish) and a Moslem taxi-driver chasing around a Sydney suburb looking for live music is about as likely as a Jewish girl and a Moslem boy solving the problems of the Middle East by playing Wagner together. (Wagner? You cannot be serious!)

  18. hello and excuse me for my bad english but i do want to speak that my scholarly article is of the utmost reputable status. It was researched with attention and close dedications from my colleagues at the MHMRC. My academic language is not for scrutiny but as a rigourous engagment with the problems arounding new models for study in the research arts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s