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«Seiner Leidenschaften Meister sein» - «In control of the passions»

Zur Reflexion des Gefühls im Musikdenken - Emotion as reflected in musical thinking

Joachim Noller

Was heißt es, wenn Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach vom ausführenden Musiker fordert, er müsse selbst gerührt sein, bevor er seine Zuhörer in Rührung versetzen könne? Der Autor schreibt über die Idee der Emotion, über ihre Rolle im Szenario sogenannter Musikanschauung (von ca. 1750 bis heute). Von Interesse ist dabei weniger die Gefühlshaltigkeit der Musik selbst, als vielmehr die Art, wie das Musikdenken dieselbe be- und verhandelt; nicht Emotionen in tatsächlicher Wirkung, sondern wie sie, als Denkfigur, in musikalischen Zusammenhängen theoretisch bewältigt werden.
What does it mean when Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach demands that a performing musician must himself be moved before he can move his listeners? The author writes about the idea of emotions and their role in the scenario of what is called music appreciation (from about 1750 till the present day). His focus is not primarily on the emotional content of music as such, but rather the way in which it is treated in thinking about music; not on the actual impact of emotions, but the way in which they have been thought about in a musical context, as concepts around which a theoretical discourse crystallizes.
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I Feelings - in theory


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Feelings - in theory

Music and feelings: the danger in this topic lies in the fact that it is so often taken for granted; the association with feelings is almost a conditio sine qua non of the understanding of music in our cultural sphere. Getting to the bottom of this should rightly be the task of music psychology, as the specialized scientific discipline. But (as we have already outlined in the introduction to this book) it is not our purpose to argue the legitimacy of feelings in themselves or in connection with musical works of art, neither do we propose to give exhaustive answers to the questions thrown up by the topic, but rather to shed light on thinking about emotion and the way it is anchored in music. We will restrict ourselves by and large in this to the recent tradition which drew its seminal impulses from the ideas of sensibility in the eighteenth century. This means that what we are doing here is to review cultural history with a focus on a particular theme, and we could simply order and classify the different approaches to thinking about the feelings represented or caused or expressed by music into the appropriate categories and leave it at that, i.e., consign them ad acta scientiae historicae and close the project with the scholar's typical feeling of satisfaction that he has increased his knowledge and understanding. While we sincerely hope that we will not have...

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