The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue: A Phenomenology of Music

The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue: A Phenomenology of Music

The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue: A Phenomenology of Music

The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue: A Phenomenology of Music

Excerpt

On learning that I was working on a phenomenology of music making, one philosopher commented to me that, although he was also a musician, he had never wanted to think philosophically about music. He was worried that it might diminish the pleasure he derived from playing and listening to music. Somehow it was impossible to miss the hint of a suggestion that I follow his example.

No doubt there are ways of thinking and writing about music that could have that effect. Sometimes it seems that philosophers have lost sight of the musical experience itself, so that music ends up being treated as an ontological puzzle. For instance, although Roman Ingarden in many ways comes close to capturing the musical experience, toward the end of his life he made the astonishing admission that the primary focus of his phenomenology of music had not really been that of understanding music at all. Or in his own words: “The specifically aesthetic questions were to me at that time of secondary importance.” Ingarden’s real concern was instead with the issue of realism versus idealism – and the

Quoted in Max Rieser, “Roman Ingarden and His Time,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 29 (1971) 443.

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