Musical Feelings And Atonal Music

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Several recent studies in many different fields have focused on the question of how music can be expressive of such emotions that only sentient beings can feel. In philosophy of music the adherents of cognitivist theories of expressivity (e.g. Davies 2003, Kivy 2002) try to solve this problem by explaining that we hear music as expressive of emotions, because we hear the events and contours of music as resembling the typical ways in which human beings express their emotions in behaviour and utterance. In cognitivist theories listeners are not supposed to have any reactionary feelings to the expressed emotions, whereas ‘arousalists’ (e.g. Matravers 1998) emphasize that a listener’s experience of expression involves an aroused feeling that is related to the expressed emotion; this aroused feeling makes it the case that we describe music as melancholic, for instance. The third type of philosophical theory of expressivity is the symbolist account (Addis 1999, Langer 1951) whose defenders regard music as isomorphic with our feelings and states of consciousness; in particular, special stress is laid on the idea that music is capable of presenting these ineffable states.
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Archival date: 2019-06-24
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