Persephone's Fiddle

Lawrence Kramer

in Why Classical Music Still Matters

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780520250826
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933644 | DOI:
Persephone's Fiddle

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This chapter illustrates the value of classical music. All classical music is for attentive hearing. It is known that classical music is supposed to be listened to in a certain way, with a certain ritualized respect. At its best, classical music is defined by discovery, and continual rediscovery. Through this discovery, music ttentively heard can become the performance of inner coherence. It can serve as the portal to an inner life understood as possessing a psychological and emotional richness that the ego enjoys and suffers but never fully masters—hence a life not wholly determined by mundane forces and responsibilities. It is conceptualized with a greater clarity, given a greater importance, and charged with a more vital function. Attention became the instrument by which the self meets the social demands of modern life or is undone by them.

Keywords: classical music; discovery; mundane; attention; instrument

Chapter.  6673 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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