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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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Empty Pleasure to the Ear

Empty Pleasure to the Ear

(p.235) 11 Empty Pleasure to the Ear
Antithetical Arts

Peter Kivy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the feeling of ecstasy, exaltation, or passionate enthusiasm that absolute music in its highest manifestations calls forth in its devotees, is of an intrinsic worth beyond price, and during the time one is experiencing it one is, on that account, a better person. It may not be an enduring moral force in the world, or a revelation of a deeper reality, but it is great while it lasts. And if it makes us better in the moment, by affecting us in the way that it does, then this is more than can be said for most human experience, and more than enough to justify the esteem in which it is held.

Keywords:   musical formalism, absolute music, pleasure, passion

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