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Antithetical ArtsOn the Ancient Quarrel Between Literature and Music$
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Peter Kivy

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562800

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562800.001.0001

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Musical Morality

Musical Morality

(p.215) 10 Musical Morality
Antithetical Arts

Peter Kivy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the moral claims of absolute music. It argues that absolute music shares with many other human activities the propensity to produce, in human beings, a kind of ecstasy that might seem appropriate to describe as character-enhancing, consciousness-raising and, therefore, in some vague, perhaps attenuated sense, morally improving, while it lasts. However, being just one of many such activities, absolute music seems to lose that special, magical connection to morality that goes back, one suspects, to its Pythagorean and Orphic roots.

Keywords:   absolute music, musical formalism, moral claims, moral behaviour, moral knowledge, character

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