Mar 29, 2023

It’s universally acknowledged that music effects our emotions.
But does it actually make sense to talk about music “expressing”,
emotions in any intrinsic sense (that is, can music itself be happy
or sad)? And even if it does, should we treat emotional expression
as the essential purpose of music, or the criterion by which we
judge musical beauty? If music doesn’t literally contain emotions,
how does it still manage to affect our feelings so powerfully? And
what is music expressing, imitating or reflecting, if not

If we want to understand the nature and purpose of music, much
less its relation to our moral and spiritual lives, we have to give
some answer to these questions. Thomas Mirus, drawing on the
thought of the 19th-century music critic Eduard Hanslick and
psychologist Edmund Gurney, argues against the conventional view
that music is essentially a vehicle for emotion.

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