Musical Meaning: Romantic Transcendence and the Separability Principle

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: Romantic Transcendence and the Separability Principle

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Investigates how the emancipation of music from the extra‐musical involved first an inclusion of music under the recently emerged concept of ‘the fine arts’ (the Kristeller thesis). The emancipation of instrumental music and fine art both depended on the separability principle. The romanticization of fine art re‐evaluated the conditions previously associated with productive art, imbuing them with aesthetic value: creativity, product, artefactuality, and perseverance. As music began to be understood as one of the fine arts, it began to articulate its need for artefacts comparable to the other works of fine art. In music, the romantic aesthetic, broadly conceived, involved both a transcendent move and a formalist one. Both moves served more thoroughly to separate musical meaning from seemingly worldly affairs by merging form and content and eliminating mimesis as a goal of music.

Keywords: content; form; formalism; formalist move; romanticism; separability principle; transcendence

Chapter.  12275 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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