This chapter examines the moral claims of absolute music. It argues that absolute music shares with many other human activities the propensity to produce, in human beings, a kind of ecstasy that might seem appropriate to describe as character-enhancing, consciousness-raising and, therefore, in some vague, perhaps attenuated sense, morally improving, while it lasts. However, being just one of many such activities, absolute music seems to lose that special, magical connection to morality that goes back, one suspects, to its Pythagorean and Orphic roots.
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