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Musical Attunement: The concept and phenomenon of Stimmung in music
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Musicology and Performance Studies.
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The principal aim of the study is to establish a new perspective on the affectivity of music. It is concerned with an everyday relation to music; that of listening for the mood, for the attunement. Despite its everyday character, this kind of listening has not been given due attention in music studies.

In order to establish this perspective, three steps are taken, corresponding to the secondary aims of the thesis. The first step is to investigate the conceptual history of the German counterpart to mood, Stimmung, since the most fertile aesthetic discussion on the matter has been held in the German-speaking sphere. This history includes most prominent thinkers within aesthetics of music from the period 1770–1930, and it is considered in relation to changes in listening attitudes as well as in compositional techniques.

The second step is to investigate the possibilities of transferring Martin Heidegger’s concept of Stimmung to a musical context. With this concept, Heidegger brought about an upheaval in the discourse of affectivity, resulting in a philosophy of Stimmung. This philosophically grounded concept is introduced into the musical sphere, leading to a reconceptualization of the existent musical concept.

At this point, the ordinary translation of Stimmung with ‘mood’ is no longer apt and therefore the term ‘attunement’ is suggested. Attunement is that which situates the listener in a primordial way, being decisive for how music is understood and how it makes sense. It is suggested that the musical work is a musical world with dimensions of temporality, spatiality, mobility, and materiality. The third step is to elucidate and draw the boundaries for attunement, and this is carried out through a series of investigations of the historicity, the duration, and the intercultural aspects of attunement. The conclusion is that the history of musical listening can be described in terms of an attunemental history and that music is crucial in intercultural understanding.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Musicology and Performance Studies, Stockholm University , 2012. , 420 p.
Keyword [en]
music, philosophy of music, attunement, mood, aesthetics, affectivity, listening, phenomenology, hermeneutics, romanticism, twentieth-century music, India, intercultural philosophy, Martin Heidegger, Theodor W. Adorno
Keyword [de]
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-80467OAI: diva2:555739
Public defence
2012-11-17, Auditorium 215, Humanistvillan, Frescativägen 24, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Available from: 2012-10-26 Created: 2012-09-20 Last updated: 2012-10-19Bibliographically approved

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