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Musical ConcernsEssays in Philosophy of Music$
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Jerrold Levinson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199669660

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669660.001.0001

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Shame in General and Shame in Music

Shame in General and Shame in Music

(p.88) 7 Shame in General and Shame in Music
Musical Concerns

Jerrold Levinson

Oxford University Press

This chapter is organized into two largely independent parts. The first part offers general observations on the nature of shame, contrasting it with some neighbouring emotions, underlining its positive and negative aspects, and illustrating observations with some examples, including one from William Styron’s novel Sophie’s Choice. The second part turns to the somewhat odd question of whether there are varieties of shame specific to music. It offers a simple taxonomy of varieties of shame following the different roles involved in the musical situation. It concludes by addressing the more traditional question of whether music can actually express highly cognitive and culturally conditioned emotions such as shame, and returns a guardedly positive answer.

Keywords:   shame, William Styron, Sophie’s Choice, music, emotions

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