Music and Humanism: An Essay in the Aesthetics of Music

Hardcover | February 15, 2000

byR. A. Sharpe

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Is music sad because it causes the listener to feel sad? Is it to be valued because of the pleasure it gives us? R. A. Sharpe argues that the views these questions enshrine underestimate the cognitive element in our response to music. Our beliefs about music and our knowledge of the culture inwhich it originated underlie the judgements we make. At their most general, these cognitive elements are ideological in nature and they play both a positive and a negative role in our response to music--they both help and hinder. Music has long been thought of as a language. This metaphorunderpins the way we hear music and the way we think about it. We conceive of music both as expressive and as something to be understood. Almost certainly the roots of this conception lie in the fertilization of music by rhetoric during the Renaissance. Sharpe suggests that music may have entered anew period in which the language analogy and the humanist conception of music which it expresses are becoming less and less appropriate.

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Is music sad because it causes the listener to feel sad? Is it to be valued because of the pleasure it gives us? R. A. Sharpe argues that the views these questions enshrine underestimate the cognitive element in our response to music. Our beliefs about music and our knowledge of the culture inwhich it originated underlie the judgements...

R. A. Sharpe is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Wales, Lampeter. He has held visiting positions in America, Australia, and Finland.

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Format:HardcoverPublished:February 15, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198238851

ISBN - 13:9780198238850

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Table of Contents

PART I: NATURALIZING MUSIC; 1. Naturalizing Music; 2. Language and metaphor, emotions and mood; 3. Music, rhetoric, and oratory; PART II: PLAYING OFF OLD SCORES; 4. The motivations for musical ontology: a German ideology; 5. Performance; 6. Music's ruling myths; PART III: HUMANISM FOUNDERS; 7.Humanism founders? Bibliography; Index.

Editorial Reviews

`There is much to disagree with in Music and Humanism ... But it is important in that it dares to tease out its own project 'piecemeal' in a compelling, progressive manner. Sharpe may become a trendsetter in that his book, perhaps for the first time, runs something new alongside thetraditional absolute music versus ideology debate. If so, that something new requires further definition. This sets the challenge Sharpe is posing for future musical and philosophical enquiry.'Music and Letters