Introduction to Musicology: A Survey of the Fields, Systematic & Historical, of Musical Knowledge & Research

By Glen Haydon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
MUSICAL AESTHETICS

IN SYSTEMATIC MUSICOLOGY, ACOUSTICS TREATS OF MUSIC from the physical viewpoint as "pulsations in the air"; physiology and psychology deal with the behavior of the human organism in relation to physical phenomena; and aesthetics concerns, fundamentally, problems of value in music. As a science responsible for the organization of knowledge within this area, aesthetics depends upon many related areas of inquiry, and draws upon them freely as the occasion demands. Various branches of the natural and social sciences, the arts, and philosophy all contribute to the science of aesthetics.1 And, in turn, the science of aesthetics makes its proper contribution to each of the other branches of knowledge.

Because many of the topics that would logically be included in a work devoted entirely to musical aesthetics are discussed in other chapters in the present work, they are omitted here. The present chapter is limited to a survey of some important problems of aesthetic theory, with special emphasis on their musical implications. Although we ordinarily suppose musical criticism to be the field most directly related to aesthetics, musical aesthetics is applied in composition, performance, and listening to music.

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1
For a more extended discussion of this point in relation to musical aesthetics, see, for example, Charles Lalo, Esquisse d'une esthétique musicale scientifique, pages 5-38.

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