Aesthetics III. The Genealogy of Modern European Art Music

Karol Berger

in A Theory of Art

Published in print December 1999 | ISBN: 9780195128604
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785803 | DOI:
 Aesthetics III. The Genealogy of Modern European Art Music

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Modern European art music is a social practice with internal aims on which its claim to relative autonomy rests (relative, because the contrast between autonomous and functional music, as well as the parallel contrast between art and popular music, is the contrast between ideal types). A profound transformation of these aims marks a revolution or a paradigm shift in the history of this practice. With each successive paradigm shift, the specific relation and proportion between its artistic-autonomous and popular-functional components, specifically between the idea of music as the abstract embodiment of harmony and the idea of music as the representation or mimesis of passions, changed. The formalism and abstraction that characterize the musical and artistic modernity celebrates the modern absolute freedom of a subjectivity that intends everything, but is committed to nothing. At its most radical, it faces the same loss of significance and sterility that is faced by the subjectivity it celebrates.

Keywords: social practice; paradigm shift; music; autonomous; functional; art; popular; harmony; representation; mimesis

Chapter.  28519 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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