Songs of the Sirens

Judith A. Peraino

in Listening to the Sirens

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780520215870
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520921740 | DOI:
Songs of the Sirens

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This chapter considers the hedonistic side of music, notions, and practices of music that concern shaping the self through excessive desire. Musical activity can be at once ascetic and hedonistic: formed by supervision and regulation of the senses, it can overpower them, flooding the listening self and sweeping it away. And, ultimately, reflection on the activity of the musical performer must allow for the performer's own rapturous response to the music, just as the response of the listener may assume the posture of a disciplined activity. The chapter also presents the reports of a number of tracks left in myths, philosophy, and song from Mediterranean antiquity to the European Middle Ages. Some of these individuals, such as Plato and Augustine, left views that were unconventional in their own time, but which became foundational to later philosophical thought. Others, such as Sappho, Hildegard of Bingen, and Arnaut Daniel, recorded their individual poetic and musical ruminations that reflect sensibilities shared among their peers and companions.

Keywords: music; Mediterranean antiquity; European Middle Ages; musical ruminations

Chapter.  26009 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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