Music, Violence, and the Stakes of Listening

Richard Leppert

in The Oxford Handbook of the New Cultural History of Music

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195341867
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Music, Violence, and the Stakes of Listening

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This article is concerned with Apollo, the Greek god of music, and the brutality he displays whenever his musical talent is challenged. The article also discusses the role music plays in the aestheticization of politics and how it can be used as a form of unwilling listening inflicted as a form of punishment. It relates the myth of Apollo and Marsyas, a mortal who dared challenge the Greek god to a contest of musical skill. This myth is depicted in hundreds of paintings, from Pietro Perugino's late fifteenth-century representation, to more modern depictions. Apollo was also used in paintings that decorated harpsichords and virginals, and his exploits were performed during the ommegang or public parade.

Keywords: Apollo; aestheticization; politics; unwilling listening; brutality; Marsyas; Pietro Perugino; ommegang; harpsichords

Article.  11133 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Musicology and Music History

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