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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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The psychic disintegration of a demi-god:

The psychic disintegration of a demi-god:

conscious and unconscious in Striggio and Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo

Chapter:
(p.343) Chapter 20 The psychic disintegration of a demi-god:
Source:
Music and Consciousness
Author(s):

Jeffrey Kurtzman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199553792.003.0092

‘Consciousness’ is a word used casually in everyday parlance, suggesting that, in the Western world at least, we have an unproblematic understanding of the term, however problematic it may be when examined more closely. Its opposite, ‘unconscious’, however, is far more vague and manifold in its usage and significance. Both concepts may be studied from many different angles, according to the criteria and practices of many different disciplines. This chapter examines the methods of poetic and musical expression employed by the librettist Alessandro Striggio and the composer Claudio Monteverdi in their first opera, L'Orfeo, from a psychological standpoint. Such an approach is particularly fruitful, for the premise of opera from its incipient stages was psychological, leading to a rich musico-dramatic portrayal of both the conscious and unconscious levels of its protagonist's mind.

Keywords:   music, consciousness, opera, L'Orfeo, Alessandro Striggio, Claudio Monteverdi, poetic expression, musical expression

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