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Formalism and expressivism in the aesthetics of music.

Kamp, C.; (2008) Formalism and expressivism in the aesthetics of music. Masters thesis , University of London. Green open access

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The claim of this thesis is that both formal and expressive qualities are equally relevant to our judgements concerning the aesthetic value of music. I limit my enquiry to the case of instrumental music. This is principally because, instrumental music seems to represent the "hard case" for my thesis, as while it appears uncontroversial that instrumental music has a specifiable form, it is less clear that it has expressive content, due to its abstract nature. Although the formalist would have us accept that the aesthetic value of instrumental music is to be found in its form alone, I believe that to exclude the expressive qualities of music from our aesthetic evaluation of it is misguided. Accordingly, I provide accounts of both the nature and value of the experiences of form and expression in music. I argue that formal, as well as expressive qualities, are subjectively determined features of our aesthetic experience, and that it is these features, manifested in our experience, that are the objects of our aesthetic judgements. I maintain that it is our musical understanding that determines the perceived formal and expressive qualities, which are the contents of that experience. This view departs from traditional approaches to aesthetics in that it admits to a degree of subjectivity, not only in our ascriptions of expressive content but also of form.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: Formalism and expressivism in the aesthetics of music.
Identifier: PQ ETD:593722
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by Proquest
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1446346
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