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Contemplating ArtEssays in Aesthetics$
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Jerrold Levinson

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199206179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199206179.001.0001

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Sound, Gesture, Space, and the Expression of Emotion in Music

Sound, Gesture, Space, and the Expression of Emotion in Music

(p.77) 5 Sound, Gesture, Space, and the Expression of Emotion in Music
Contemplating Art

Jerrold Levinson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The main concern of this essay is musical expressiveness and the role that the imaginative construal of sound in gestural ways plays in grounding that expressiveness. It is argued that to hear the expressiveness of music is to hear it as personal expression; that to hear it as personal expression is to hear a sort of gesture in the music, or the music as gesturing in a certain manner; that to hear such musical gesture is to deploy a capacity to imagine in spatial terms, most obviously because that is required for apprehension of the behavioural gestures and performing gestures that underlie musical gesture. Thus, grasp of expressiveness in music is not detachable from a comprehension of the range of expressive human gesture and a comprehension of the means by which music is actually produced, each of which implicates possession by the hearer of a robust spatial imagination.

Keywords:   musical expressiveness, personal expression, imagination

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