Its Effect and Ethos in Classical Authors and Contemporary Music Theory
After systematically assembling and assessing the value-carrying characterizations of music in poetic literature, the author reviews all noteworthy Greek and Latin writings which enlighten musical «ethos» from the theoretical-philosophical perspective. He then carries the intuitions of the ancients into our time by proposing a coherent model to explain the relationship between music, ethos, and emotions based on the results of contemporary research in the disciplines of music psychology and philosophy. The concept of harmony, understood as the appropriate measure or as the balance of opposites and so central to the reflections of the ancient authors, plays a key role in shedding light on the value and impact, both positive and negative, of music in human existence.
This book provides the most comprehensive overview available about the effect and ethos of music in antiquity and discusses many related questions of scholarly interest. It includes numerous references provided in the original language with translation, ample empirical material for further research, and an extensive bibliography.
Chapter Four. The Value of Music in Systematic Analysis
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The Value of Music in Systematic Analysis
In Western civilization, a passion, and to some degree an obsession, with music has grown up and gotten ever stronger since the 1960s. As Allan Bloom describes it:
Nothing is more singular about this generation than its addiction to music. This is the age of music and the states of soul that accompany it. (…) Today, a very large proportion of young people between the ages of ten and twenty live for music. It is their passion; nothing else excites them as it does (…). When they are in school and with their families, they are longing to plug themselves back into their music. (…) [Music] is available twenty-four hours a day, everywhere. There is the stereo in the home, in the car; there are concerts; there are music videos, with special channels exclusively devoted to them, on the air nonstop; there are the Walkmans so that no place—not public transportation, not the library—prevents students from communing with the Muse, even while studying.1
Our review of music in antiquity makes it no surprise that Seneca the Younger attests that during the first century AD there existed “musomaniacs” who listened ← 403 | 404 → to or made music all day long.2 These and other testimonies cited earlier suggest that the omnipresence of music in our present society, even though objectively on a much more intense level, is felt and judged by observers...
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