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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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VIII Janáček and the ecology of the soul


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Janáček and the ecology of the soul

The identification of music with the expression of feelings had established itself firmly as the conventional wisdom during the Classical-Romantic epoch of musical history, so that in the end the only alternatives left were either to agree or disagree with this convention or - sensibly - to try to define more precisely what these rather diffuse words actually mean. The expression of feelings: towards the end of the epoch it was above all the latter which were the subject of critical scrutiny, not so much expression as the feelings themselves, not so much the term as what it referred to. Feelings, whose existence nobody denies, but which have lost their unselfconsciousness, feelings which are reified and appear in connection with other aspects, as only parts of a whole, feelings which are relativized, but so can possibly be enabled to take their place in reality, feelings which are not what they were long thought to be, feelings which exist, yes, but in a different way. Such ideas were in vogue in the outgoing nineteenth century. The legacy of traditional values had not yet been thrown out with the bath water, but was given a thorough scrub-down.


Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) discovers a new style of representing feelings via noting down language or speech melodies496. It is reported, and he himself documents it in his writings, that he observed people's everyday speech...

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