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Absolute MusicThe History of an Idea$
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Mark Evan Bonds

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199343638

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199343638.001.0001

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(p.112) 7 Disclosiveness
Absolute Music

Mark Evan Bonds

Oxford University Press

By the turn of the nineteenth century there was a growing conviction that purely instrumental music, independent of any text, had the capacity to disclose truths about the nature of the universe in ways that words could not. From this perspective, the greatest composers were in effect oracles, intermediaries between the divine and the human. Music’s greatest value, in this scheme of thought, is formative, in that it helps us perceive the world in ways we otherwise would not. Changing attitudes toward the nature of language itself helped foster this outlook.

Keywords:   Wilhelm Heinse, Edmund Burke, Hans Georg Nägeli, Karl Philipp Moritz, Friedrich Wilhelm Schelling, Idealism, Johann Gottfried Herder, Novalis, Ferdinand Hand

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