By Peter Kivy
Antithetical Arts constitutes a defence of musical formalism opposed to those that may positioned literary interpretations at the absolute song canon. partly I, the historic origins of either the literary interpretation of absolute song and musical formalism are laid out. partially II, particular makes an attempt to place literary interpretations on a variety of works of absolutely the track canon are tested and criticized. ultimately, partially III, the query is raised as to what the human value of absolute track is, if it doesn't lie in its representational or narrative content material. the answer's that, as but, philosophy has no solution, and that the query may be thought of a big one for philosophers of artwork to think about, and to attempt to respond to with no entice representational or narrative content material.
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Extra resources for Antithetical Arts: On the Ancient Quarrel Between Literature and Music
It is this ‘‘crowd of sensations and secondary representations for which no expression can be found,’’ which is to say, the aesthetic ideas, that constitutes the art-relevant content of the ﬁne arts: the arts of the beautiful. But absolute music, too, on Kant’s view, possesses both manifest content and aesthetic ideas that that content sets in train. The manifest content turns out, not very surprisingly, to be what we might call music’s expressive or emotive content. For Kant bought into the eighteenth-century doctrine, particularly prominent in Germany under the title of the Affektenlehre, that is to say, doctrine of the affections, which made music out to be a kind of language of the emotions, which reﬂected the emotive tone of passionate human speech.
What one cannot discuss one cannot understand, or explain to another. To put it more grandiosely, words give us power over things. But where to ﬁnd the words? Is it too bizarre to suggest that the ﬁrst model for absolute music talk was the practice, already in place, of putting words to already existing music? Casti’s and Salieri’s joke, in other words, became the critics’ and theoreticians’ stock-in-trade. As Bach, or his collaborator, wrote words for the overture to the Fourth Orchestral Suite, as Stephanie wrote words for Mozart’s already composed aria, so the theoreticians and critics wrote words for symphonies and string quartets.
Thus, it seems, musical sound cannot be perceived as form, so music cannot be a ﬁne, but must be an agreeable art. There is a catch, however, namely, that in the third edition of the Critique of Judgment, ‘‘I very much doubt’’ is altered to read: ‘‘which I ⁵ Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, trans. J. H. Bernard (New York: Hafner, 1951), 60 (§14). designs à la grecque 33 still in no way doubt . . ’’⁶ The reading of the third edition completely reverses the meaning of the sentence from apparently denying that we actually perceive sound vibrations cognitively, rather than just sensing their effect, to apparently afﬁrming that that is exactly what we do.
Antithetical Arts: On the Ancient Quarrel Between Literature and Music by Peter Kivy