Musical Meaning: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment

Lydia Goehr

in The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works

Published in print October 1994 | ISBN: 9780198235415
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597503 | DOI:
Musical Meaning: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment

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The central claim is supported by tracing the concept of so‐called ‘serious’ music. Since 1800, so‐called serious or classical music has been packaged in terms of works. Several general transitions are described to demonstrate the emergence of an effectively imaginary museum of musical works: (1) The move from extra‐musical to purely musical criteria of value and classification; (2) The emancipation of the music language from its dependence on poetic and religious texts; (3) The rise of so‐called purely instrumental music or absolute music; (4) The articulation of the concepts of fine art and the autonomous work of art and the inclusion of music under these categories.

Keywords: absolute music; emancipation; emancipation; extra‐musical; imitation; mimesis; purely musical; serious music

Chapter.  11928 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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