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By Peter Kivy

Antithetical Arts constitutes a defence of musical formalism opposed to those that may placed literary interpretations at the absolute tune canon. partly I, the old origins of either the literary interpretation of absolute song and musical formalism are laid out. partially II, particular makes an attempt to place literary interpretations on a number of works of absolutely the track canon are tested and criticized. eventually, partially III, the query is raised as to what the human value of absolute song is, if it doesn't lie in its representational or narrative content material. the answer's that, as but, philosophy has no solution, and that the query can be thought of an immense one for philosophers of artwork to contemplate, and to aim to respond to with out attract representational or narrative content material.

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Extra resources for Antithetical Arts: On the Ancient Quarrel Between Literature and Music

Sample text

In the past I have acquiesced in their judgment. But I will, later on, come back to consider whether we have really understood correctly just what Kant was saying here. With this textual problem out of the way, at least for the moment, let us return again to the section of the third Critique where Kant tackles the question of whether music is a fine or an agreeable art. It seems to turn, remember, on whether we perceive the forms of vibrations of musical tone, Euler’s vibrations, cognitively, or whether we merely feel their effect.

The reading of the third edition completely reverses the meaning of the sentence from apparently denying that we actually perceive sound vibrations cognitively, rather than just sensing their effect, to apparently affirming that that is exactly what we do. Which is the authentic reading? The version of the first and second editions certainly seems to make it a more plausible claim, at least if we are interpreting Kant correctly here. And in the absence of other textual evidence, that might decide us in its favor.

This involves attentively following the progression of sounds, yielding completely to this stream of overwhelming sensations, and banishing and withdrawing from every disturbing thought and every alien sense-impression. ²⁶ I am struck by the similarity of this description to that of an author far from unfamiliar, Clive Bell, whose formalist credentials are beyond reproach: when I am feeling bright and clear and intent, at the beginning of a concert, for instance, . . I get from music that pure aesthetic emotion I get from visual ²⁶ Peter le Huray, Authenticity in Performance, 249.

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