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Acousmatic Experience and Musical Movement: A Pluralistic Conception

JACOB, SALOME (2019) Acousmatic Experience and Musical Movement: A Pluralistic Conception. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis attempts to reconcile the intuition that musical experience involves physical movement, such as bowing movement, with the acousmatic thesis. The first intuition is part of what I call the Datum. The acousmatic thesis, most notably defended by Roger Scruton (1999; 2009), holds that musical sounds are heard as detached from their sources of production. While the acousmatic thesis has conceptual force, it seems unable to honour the Datum. Chapter 1 sets out in more details this apparent dichotomy between the Datum and the acousmatic thesis defended by Scruton. Chapter 2 draws on points of historical interest – from Aristotle, Newton, Leibniz, and Descartes – that may help to explain what conception of musical movement we hold. Chapter 3 is pivotal to illustrate some of the points raised in previous chapters as well as to shed light on the complexity of musical movement (in particular melodic and sound-producing movement), and various forms of acousmatic experience. The acousmatic thesis that I gesture at at the end of the thesis elaborates upon the descriptive phenomenology of the beginning of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto and Ligeti’s Atmosphères. Chapter 4 critically engages with the debate on the nature of melodic movement, while Chapter 5 examines how we can perceive, through audition, sound-producing movement. In Chapter 6, I argue that Scruton’s acousmatic thesis can accommodate the perception and aesthetic significance of some kinds of sound-producing movements. However, his view faces certain limitations, which leads me to suggest a modified acousmatic thesis. Chapter 7 seeks to finesse this modified acousmatic thesis, focusing on the spatiality of music and on the combination of melodic and sound-producing movement in the listening experience (Rachmaninoff’s concerto). The notion of imbrication is, I think, a promising avenue to make sense of this fusion of two kinds of movement.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:acousmatic, musical movement, melodic movement, musical space, Scruton, hearing-in, stasis, imbrication, sound source
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Philosophy, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:04 Sep 2019 12:59

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