Eduard Hanslick's Formalism and His Most Influential Contemporary Critics

Belgrade Philosophical Annual 27:113-134 (2014)
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Abstract
The paper deals with the formalistic view on music presented in Eduard Hanslick’s treatise On the Musically Beautiful, which is taken to be the foundingwork of the aesthtetics of music. In the paper I propose an interpretation of Hanslick’s treatise which differs on many points from the interpretations displayed in the works of several most influential contemporary aestheticians of music. My main thesis is that Hanslick’s treatise is misunderstood and incorrectly presented by these authors. I try to demonstrate this thesis by referring to Hanslick’s original formulations in the German edition and by showing that my interpretation renders Hanslick’s view far more coherent and his arguments successful in showing his main conclusions. Accepting this alternative interpretation should have further implications on many contemporary theories in the aesthetics of music that reckon on the failure of Hanslick’s arguments as presented by usual interpretations.
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