Music and the Emotions: The Philosophical Theories

By Malcolm Budd | Go to book overview

II

THE REPUDIATION OF EMOTION

1 Music can be considered from many points of view. These points of view include those of the composer, the executant or executants and the listener. But the points of view of the composer, executant and listener are not entirely distinct. For they may overlap—as when music is improvised—and they are interconnected: a composer normally intends his composition to be performed; it may be the intention both of the composer and the executant that the performance of a musical composition should be listened to; an executant’s performance is normally guided by his understanding of the composer’s intention as to how the music should sound; and not only is a listener aware that what he is hearing is a performance of a musical composition, but the manner in which he attends to what he hears is informed with this awareness—he listens to what he hears with expectations he would not otherwise have.

By the point of view of the listener I mean the point of view of someone who listens to music for its intrinsic rewards. Accordingly, there are two aspects to the listener’s attitude to music. Firstly, the listener listens to music. He does not merely hear the music while he is engaged in some other activity that occupies all or part of his attention and which the music is an adjunct or stimulus to or a distraction from or an enhancement of—as when music is danced or marched to or accompanies rhythmical labour or provides a background to a social gathering or is used to induce a mood appropriate to a ceremony. The listener’s attention is focused on the music. Secondly, the listener listens to music in the knowledge or hope that he will find the experience of the music intrinsically rewarding and not solely with some other end in mind.

-16-

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Music and the Emotions: The Philosophical Theories
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • I - The Emotions 1
  • II - The Repudiation of Emotion 16
  • III - Motion and Emotion in Music 37
  • IV - Sexual Emotion in Ideal Motion 52
  • V - The World as Embodied Music 76
  • VI - Music as Unconsummated Symbol 104
  • VII - Music as the Expression of Emotion 121
  • VIII - Meaning, Emotion and Information in Music 151
  • Summary Conclusion 175
  • Notes 177
  • Index 189
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