To install click the Add extension button. That's it.

The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple. You could also do it yourself at any point in time.

Kelly Slayton
Congratulations on this excellent venture… what a great idea!
Alexander Grigorievskiy
I use WIKI 2 every day and almost forgot how the original Wikipedia looks like.
What we do. Every page goes through several hundred of perfecting techniques; in live mode. Quite the same Wikipedia. Just better.

Absolute music

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Absolute music (sometimes abstract music) is music that is not explicitly "about" anything; in contrast to program music, it is non-representational.[1] The idea of absolute music developed at the end of the 18th century in the writings of authors of early German Romanticism, such as Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder, Ludwig Tieck and E. T. A. Hoffmann but the term was not coined until 1846 where it was first used by Richard Wagner in a programme to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.[1][2]

The aesthetic ideas underlying absolute music derive from debates over the relative value of what was known in the early years of aesthetic theory as the fine arts. Kant, in his Critique of Judgment, dismissed music as "more a matter of enjoyment than culture" and "less worth in the judgement of reason than any other of the fine arts"[3] because of its lack of conceptual content, thus treating as a deficit the very feature of music that others celebrated. Johann Gottfried Herder, in contrast, regarded music as the highest of the arts because of its spirituality, which Herder attributed to the invisibility of sound.[4] The ensuing arguments among musicians, composers, music historians and critics continue today.

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/3
    17 353 444
    39 801 895
    8 858
  • New Year Music Mix 2021 ♫ Best Music 2020 Party Mix ♫ Remixes of Popular Songs
  • Summer Mix 2020 - Chillout Lounge Relaxing Deep House Music
  • Absolute Music Walkthrough Tour


Romantic debate

A group of Romantics consisting of Johann Gottfried Herder, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Jean Paul Richter and E.T.A. Hoffmann gave rise to the idea of what can be labeled as "spiritual absolutism".[citation needed] In this respect, instrumental music transcends other arts and languages to become the discourse of a 'higher realm', an idea expressed in Hoffmann's review of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, published in 1813.[5] These thinkers believed that music could be more emotionally powerful and stimulating without words. According to Richter, music would eventually 'outlast' the word.[citation needed]

Formalist debate

Formalism is the concept of music for music's sake, or that music's 'meaning' is entirely in its form. In this respect, music has no extra-musical meaning at all and is enjoyed by appreciation of its formal structure and technical construction.[6] The 19th century music critic Eduard Hanslick argued that music could be enjoyed as pure sound and form, and that it needed no connotation of extra-musical elements to warrant its existence. He argued that in fact, these extra-musical ideas and images detracted from the beauty of the music.

Music has no subject beyond the combinations of notes we hear, for music speaks not only by means of sounds, it speaks nothing but sound.

— Eduard Hanslick[7]

Formalism therefore rejected genres such as opera, song and tone poems as they conveyed explicit meanings or programmatic imagery. Symphonic forms were considered more aesthetically pure. (The choral finale of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, as well as the programmatic Sixth Symphony, became problematic to formalist critics who had championed the composer as a pioneer of the Absolute, especially with the late Beethoven string quartets). Carl Dahlhaus described absolute music as music without a "concept, object, and purpose".[8]

Opposition and objections to absolute music

Richard Wagner was a vocal opponent of absolute music, a phrase he coined.[9] Wagner considered the choral finale of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to be the proof that music works better with words, famously saying: "Where music can go no further, there comes the word ... the word stands higher than the tone."[10] Wagner also called Beethoven's Ninth Symphony the death knell of the symphony, for he was far more interested in combining all forms of art with his Gesamtkunstwerk.

Contemporary views

Today, the debate continues over whether music has, or ought to have, extramusical meaning or not. However, most contemporary views[which?], reflecting ideas emerging from views of subjectivity in linguistic meaning arising in cognitive linguistics, as well as Kuhn's work on cultural biases in science and other ideas on meaning and aesthetics (e.g. Wittgenstein on cultural constructions in thought and language[11]), appear to be moving towards a consensus that music provides at least some signification or meaning, in terms of which it is understood.

The cultural bases of musical understanding have been highlighted in Philip Bohlman's work, who considers music as a form of cultural communication:

There are those who believe that music represents nothing other than itself. I argue that we are constantly giving it new and different abilities to represent who we are.[12]

Bohlman has gone on to argue that the use of music, e.g. among the Jewish diaspora, was in fact a form of identity building.

Susan McClary has criticised the notion of 'absolute music', arguing that all music, whether explicitly programmatic or not, contains implicit programs that reflect the tastes, politics, aesthetic philosophies and social attitudes of the composer and their historical situation. Such scholars would argue that classical music is rarely about nothing, but reflects aesthetic tastes that are themselves influenced by culture, politics and philosophy. Composers are often bound up in a web of tradition and influence, in which they strive to consciously situate themselves in relation to other composers and styles.[13] Lawrence Kramer, on the other hand, believes music has no means to reserve a "specific layer or pocket for meaning. Once it has been brought into sustainable connection with a structure of prejudgment, music simply becomes meaningful."[14]

Music which appears to demand an interpretation, but is abstract enough to warrant objectivity (e.g. Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony), is what Lydia Goehr refers to as "double-sided autonomy".[15] This happens when the formalist properties of music became attractive to composers because, having no meaning to speak of, music could be used to envision an alternative cultural and/or political order, while escaping the scrutiny of the censor.

Linguistic meaning

On the topic of musical meaning, Wittgenstein, at several points in his late diary Culture and Value,[16] ascribes meaning to music, for instance, that in the finale, a conclusion is being drawn, e.g.:

[One] can point to particular places in a tune by Schubert and say: look, that is the point of the tune, this is where the thought comes to a head.

Jerrold Levinson has drawn extensively on Wittgenstein to comment:

Intelligible music stands to literal thinking in precisely the same relation as does intelligible verbal discourse. If that relation be not exemplification but instead, say, expression, then music and language are, at any rate, in the same, and quite comfortable, boat.[17]

See also


  1. ^ a b M. C. Horowitz (ed.), New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, ISBN 0-684-31377-4, vol.1, p. 5
  2. ^ Dahlhaus, Carl (1991). The Idea of Absolute Music. University of Chicago Press. p. 18.
  3. ^ Kant, Immanuel (1790). Walker, Nicholas (ed.). Critique of Judgement. Translated by Meredith, James Creed (2nd ed.). United States: Oxford University Press (published 2007). pp. 156–7. ISBN 978-0-19-280617-8.
  4. ^ Rothfarb, Lee (2011). "Nineteenth-Century Fortunes of Musical Formalism". Journal of Music Theory. 55 (2): 167–220. doi:10.1215/00222909-1540347.
  5. ^ Wright, Craig; Simms, Bryan (February 27, 2009). "E. T. A. Hoffmann, "Beethoven's Instrumental Music" (1813)" (PDF). Music in Western Civilization (1st ed.). Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-0-495-57273-2.
  6. ^ Kivy, Peter (2002). Introduction to a Philosophy of Music (1st ed.). New York: Clarendon Press. pp. 23–24. ISBN 978-0-19-825048-7.
  7. ^ Quoted in the liner notes to the Juilliard String Quartet's Intimate Letters. Sony Classical SK 66840.
  8. ^ Bacci, Francesca; Melcher, David (2011). Art and the Senses. Oxford University Press. p. 253. ISBN 978-0-19-923060-0.
  9. ^ Bonds, Mark Evan (2014). Absolute Music: The History of an Idea. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-934365-2.
  10. ^ Goehr, Lydia (1998). The Quest for Voice: On Music, Politics, and the Limits of Philosophy: the 1997 Ernest Bloch Lectures. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-21412-5.
  11. ^ Béla Szabados (Fall 2004). "Wittgenstein the Musical: Notes toward an Appreciation". Canadian Aesthetics Journal. 10.
  12. ^ Shula Neuman (April 2, 1998). "The Meaning of Music". The University of Chicago Chronicle: Vol. 17, No. 13.
  13. ^ McClary, Susan (1993). "Narrative Agendas in 'Absolute' Music: Identity and Difference in Brahms's Third Symphony". In Solie, Ruth A. (ed.). Musicology and Difference. University of California Press. pp. 326-44
  14. ^ Kramer, Lawrence (2013). "Subjectivity Rampant!: Music, Hermeneutics, and History". In Clayton, Martin et. al. (ed.). The Cultural Study of Music: An Introduction. Routledge. p. 133.
  15. ^ Goehr, Lydia (1992). The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works: An Essay in the Philosophy of Music (1st ed.). New York: Clarendon Press. p. 211. ISBN 0-19-823541-0.
  16. ^ Ludwig Wittgenstein (1944). Vermischte Bemerkungen [Culture and Value]. Translated by Peter Winch. p. 47.
  17. ^ Musical Thinking (Fall 2003). "Jerrold Levinson". Journal of Music and Meaning: vol. 1, section 2.

Further reading

  • Chua, Daniel Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning (Cambridge University Press, 1999)
  • Cook, Nicholas Music: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 1998)
  • Dahlhaus, Carl The Idea of Absolute Music trans. by Roger Lustig (Chicago/London 1989; orig. Kassel, 1978)
  • Goehr, Lydia The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1992)
  • Kivy, Peter ‘Absolute Music’ and the ‘New Musicology’ in Musicology and Sister Disciplines. Past, Present, Future. Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of the International Musicological Society, London 1997 ed. D. Greer, I. Rumbold and J. King (Oxford, 2000)
  • Kramer, Lawrence Subjectivity Rampant! Music, Hermeneutics, and History in The Cultural Study of Music. A Critical Introduction ed. M. Clayton, T. Herbert and R. Middleton (New York and London, 2003)
  • Scruton, Roger. "Absolute music." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online.[permanent dead link]
  • Williams, Alastair Constructing Musicology (Ashgate Publishing Ltd., Aldershot, Hampshire, 2001)
  • Wolff, Janet The ideology of autonomous art, in: Music and Society in The Politics of Composition, Performance and Reception ed. R. Leppert and S. McClary (Cambridge, 1987)
  • Young, James O. Critique of Pure Music (Oxford University Press, 2014)
This page was last edited on 20 May 2023, at 14:52
Basis of this page is in Wikipedia. Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License. Non-text media are available under their specified licenses. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. WIKI 2 is an independent company and has no affiliation with Wikimedia Foundation.