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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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XII Psycho-/neurological rehabilitation of the aesthetics of emotion?

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XII

Psycho-/neurological rehabilitation of the aesthetics of emotion?

In the years following the Second World War any mention of emotion was almost automatically attributed in the avant-garde art scene to the reactionary rhetoric of conservative circles. The troops were firmly dug in along the front line, and emotion seemed fixed once and for all on one side. This side, seen from a polemical viewpoint, was characterized by regressive, even fascist-leaning tendencies. To accept the emotional element back into the fold presupposed that it could be conceded to have a formally innovative and ideologically progressive function.

After the representation of emotion had been fundamentally called into question for these and other reasons, new options are opened up at the end of the twentieth century. The depiction of emotion is sanctioned again by the zeitgeist, and this zeitgeist can be interpreted as a thoroughly ideological current, but one which ostentatiously emphasizes its roots in objective scientific research, and which makes the artistic conviction appear logical and necessary. First of all we can recognize a psychological wave, i.e., psychological jargon flourishes and replaces political or sociological models of thought or explanation as the new paradigm. Composers follow this trend and give it, as it were, their own twist, that is: whatever is in vogue is not simply accepted passively, but developed further in various directions.

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