Contemplating Music: Source Readings in the Aesthetics of Music - Vol. 2

Contemplating Music: Source Readings in the Aesthetics of Music - Vol. 2

Contemplating Music: Source Readings in the Aesthetics of Music - Vol. 2

Contemplating Music: Source Readings in the Aesthetics of Music - Vol. 2

Excerpt

The notion of musical import was broadly raised under the heading of Substance, since queries concerning substance also connect with ascertainments concerning meaning and understanding. The subject, however, deserves to be treated in more specific terms.

The notion of Import is as complex as the word itself. Indeed, whether musical import is expressed or experienced, represented or induced, signified or denotated, objective or subjective, is not only related to the polar twins of reason and experience, but is complicated by an awareness of the role played by historical conventions and by the evermounting insights into the cognitive side of the sensual.

Based on familiarity with and retension of things, experiences, admittedly, may lead to conjectures and generalizations. It has been argued, however, that experiences cannot simply be identified with the 'real.' While the argument in favour of reasoning from first principles calls attention to the uncertainty of sense experience it also raises an additional point, namely, that perceptual illusions are produced by the perceiver and reside in him. The experienced object, in other words, along with a part which is 'given,' involves interpretation. Experiences, accordingly, entail not only an epistemological dimension, but a psychological dimension as well.

Between the view that no single method of discovery exists that is applicable to all subject matters and conceptions of a universal method applicable in all the sciences, the view that knowledge is acquired either by reasoning or experience has been largely contended. The concept of experience, however, was often broadened to include not only what is learned through the external senses but also that which comes about through internal illumination. The latter, in fact, played an important part not only in the religious domain, but in the speculative sciences as well.

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