Music, Motion, and Subjectivity

Eric F. Clarke

in Ways of Listening

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780195151947
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199870400 | DOI:
Music, Motion, and Subjectivity

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This chapter discusses the ways in which sounds can specify motion, and the significance of this motion in music. Rather than considering motion in music to be metaphorical in nature, the chapter argues that sounds are capable of perceptually specifying genuine motion, but in a virtual space rather than a real space. This sense of motion is in turn one of the ways in which music brings about a strong sense of subjective identification for a listener, the sense of motion appearing to place the listener in amongst the materials of music. These ideas are illustrated and demonstrated through examples taken from pop music (Fatboy Slim), opera (a short section from Berg's Wozzeck), and Classical instrumental music (a passage from a Mozart String Quintet).

Keywords: metaphor; virtual space; gesture; Fatboy Slim; Berg; Mozart

Chapter.  8158 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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