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Music and ConsciousnessPhilosophical, Psychological, and Cultural Perspectives$
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David Clarke and Eric Clarke

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199553792

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199553792.001.0001

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Phenomenology and the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness and music

Phenomenology and the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness and music

(p.29) Chapter 2 Phenomenology and the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness and music
Music and Consciousness

Eugene Montague

Oxford University Press

This chapter compares what is termed ‘the hard problem’ in the study of consciousness with a similar issue in music scholarship. The grounds for this comparison are difficulties common to both disciplines, to do with the incorporation of subjective experience within an objective explanatory framework. In highlighting these common difficulties, it is suggested that they may be open to similar solutions. In particular, it is argued that musicology would do well to revisit theoretical perspectives that reject a fundamental opposition between objective and subjective, such as the (European) Continental tradition of phenomenology, since such perspectives have proved useful in meeting challenges posed in the study of consciousness. In this vein, the chapter takes a fresh look at Edmund Husserl's well-known analysis of time consciousness, using this analysis to provide a theoretical framework within which to understand the objectivity of a musical piece through the subjective experience of the performing body. Such an understanding can provide a resolution to the difficulties that underlie the hard problem of music. This is demonstrated through a brief analytical engagement with a Chopin étude.

Keywords:   Edmund Husserl, time consciousness, Chopin, étude, music scholarship

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