Architectural Score

Harrah's Las Vegas

The attribution of the phrase “Talking about music is like dancing about architecture” is apparently much debated. (It sounds to me like something Gertrude Stein would say, but it was probably originally an aggravated musician.)

Be that as it may, some buildings can appear like musical scores to me, and this is one of them. The tune isn’t particularly subtle or complex, but the orderliness and stepwise progression of the harmonies is pleasing. The open windows and light reflections provide subtle variations on the theme.

If you look at the black-and-white version of this picture (see below), however, you can see the totalitarian bones beneath the surface. This building’s design seems to have been ripped right out of the Stalinist textbook; you’d expect to see this place serving as an apartment block for the elite in the old East Germany, for example.

It seems that the music is a product of context ~ blue skies and afternoon light ~ after all.

Harrah's Las Vegas (b&w)

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