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Music and the Mind por Anthony Storr
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Music and the Mind (edição 1993)

por Anthony Storr

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335160,114 (3.57)6
Examines the psychological, emotional, historical and philosophical roles of the musical experience in a person's life. This text looks at music as both a social and a solitary experience and supports the contention that music is the most significant experience in life.
Membro:barclayb
Título:Music and the Mind
Autores:Anthony Storr
Informação:Ballantine Books (1993), Paperback, 224 pages
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Music and the Mind por Anthony Storr

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In our logos-dominated society, music (not possessing any discernible relation to the external world) often seems a meaningless indulgence ('auditory cheesecake', as Steven Pinker once scathingly observed) - but this is profoundly untrue, especially for those love music.

But this latter group of people are often clueless when it comes to describing why music moves them so profoundly - after all, they are just tones, sounds - arranged in a particular sequence and perceived through the hearing apparatus of homo sapiens..

But like, that famous haiku goes "but yet, but yet.."

The search for this elusive 'more' that music provides to its supplicants is basically at the heart of this fairly dense book. The writing is like quicksilver, dense and light at the same time, as the author (a psychiatrist by profession) wears his erudition lightly, weaving a tapestry of informed speculation drawn from the coils of anthropology, ethnomusicology, psychoanalysis (of course), and philosophy. This exploration is conducted through several pointed chapters, each a dense article in itself, dealing with questions that only a music obsessive would ponder : where exactly does music come from? (possibly from our primate heritage) is it true, as freud suspected, that the fundamental attraction of music is that it represents an escape from depressing reality? (sort of, but not entirely) He even takes a gander at the speculation that solitary listening to music (an evolutionarily novel, and historically very recent phenomenon) can be construed as neurotic phenomenon.

The conclusion that the author arrives at (after several detours and pitstops) is that music is meaningful precisely because we are, by necessity, meaning-making creatures - we do not grasp individual phenomena as they are by themselves, but their relations. In this, music's well-known affinity with mathematics is made clear, both are concerned with the implicit ordering of abstract phenomena (the relation between tones in music, and the process of ordering itself in mathematics), but mathematics does not have the bodily component that music does. We are inescapably bodily creatures, and music is inescapably bodily. Music thus manages to be both abstract and concrete, mind and body, at the same time - it moves us so profoundly and at our whole being, because it is a synthesis and a re-unity of aspects of ourselves that are very often divided. It is the ur-phenomenon of the primal human process of meaning-making, the crystalline model of our intuitively-felt flow of life.

The author quotes Nietzsche (who has a chapter devoted to him) approvingly, "If not for music, existence would most certainly be considered a mistake." - and the author himself, ends his treatise with the expansive declaration that "music is an unasked-for, and undeserved blessing - transcendent."

I feel as though the author, given the opportunity to write about the love of his life, has just thrown the kitchen sink at it - like all love letters, it is passionate, a bit messy, and a tour-de-force of intellectual synthesis (OK, maybe not the last one) - strongly recommended for anyone who has heard a song.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that while the author's specialty and focus is the tradition known as Western classical music, a knowledge of music theory is not really required (except for the chapter "Basic Patterns" which purports to investigate the claim for the supposed objective basis for the Western harmonic system), given that the book is written at a sufficiently general level - an achievement I feel is of real credit to the author. ( )
  djjazzyd | Feb 12, 2021 |
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Informação do Conhecimento Comum em inglês. Edite para a localizar na sua língua.
Music's the medicine of the mind - John Logan (1744-88)
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For Sophia, Poly, and Emma who share my love of music
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Today, more people listen to music than ever before in the history of the world.
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Examines the psychological, emotional, historical and philosophical roles of the musical experience in a person's life. This text looks at music as both a social and a solitary experience and supports the contention that music is the most significant experience in life.

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