Inner images

Alf Gabrielsson

in Strong Experiences with Music

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199695225
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729775 | DOI:
Inner images

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This chapter presents selected accounts of how music can conjure up images, notions, of various sorts. These images can be of people, events, situations, or settings that have been associated with a certain piece of music. They are thus images with a background in the person's earlier experiences. There are also images that seem to be new creations, products of the imagination, which in some way have been prompted by music. But these, too, may be assumed to have been influenced by different factors related to the person or the particular situation. Exactly how this is so can be hard to analyse, but now and then some clues are to be found in the accounts. In some instances, the music has been so-called programme music, that is, the composer has described what the music is intended to represent, for example, a particular person, event, or situation. The question is whether a listener without any knowledge of the programme can apprehend what the composer wanted to describe. This is usually not especially successful, but occasionally the impression the listener gains may be close to what is intended. ‘Images’ refer here primarily to visual notions. But the accounts also contain several examples of notions within other senses, such as hearing and smell.

Keywords: imagination; images; earlier experiences; programme music; personal accounts

Chapter.  5111 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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