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The Emotional Power of MusicMultidisciplinary perspectives on musical arousal, expression, and social control$
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Tom Cochrane, Bernardino Fantini, and Klaus R. Scherer

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654888

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654888.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 10 December 2019

On nostalgia

On nostalgia

Chapter:
(p.328) (p.329) Chapter 24On nostalgia
Source:
The Emotional Power of Music
Author(s):

Jean Starobinski

Kristen Gray Jafflin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654888.003.0024

This chapter provides an analysis of the introduction into medical discourse of the concept of nostalgia in the 18th and 19th centuries. Nostalgia was first designated a pathological entity suffered by Swiss soldiers when they had "lost the sweetness of their homeland." Even though it can produce direct negative influences on the body, nostalgia was understood as a derangement of the imagination, as a pain of the memory. The fragment of a melody heard in the past suffices to exacerbate the suffering. A "little phrase", a simple popular melody, like the ‘Ranz des vaches’ had the singular power of provoking the illusion of seeing a countryside from the past, doubled by the painful emotions of separation. However, in the heard melody there is no objective content, or specific figure, able to cause such a sentiment. Music is only a ‘signe mémoratif’ (Rousseau), a call of memories of the past, and its emotional power results from a conventional association between the present condition and past experiences.

Keywords:   Music, nostalgia, medicine, 18th century, emotion

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