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The Philosophy of RhythmAesthetics, Music, Poetics$
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Peter Cheyne, Andy Hamilton, and Max Paddison

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199347773

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199347773.001.0001

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The Life of Rhythm

The Life of Rhythm

Dewey, Relational Perception, and the “Cumulative Effect”

(p.101) 6 The Life of Rhythm
The Philosophy of Rhythm

Garry L. Hagberg

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 poses the question: Why does rhythm speak to us so deeply? Patterns of accented or percussive sound that move us are meaningful, yet we find it hard to say what associations or connotations create that meaning. It argues that John Dewey’s Art as Experience has deep insights on this question, and focuses on their implications for jazz improvisation. For Dewey, both player and listener are like the live organism interacting within its environment. Hagberg addresses Dewey’s understanding that “rhythm is a universal scheme of existence, underlying all realization of order in change, [that] pervades all the arts, literary, musical, plastic and architectural, as well as the dance”; that “The supposition that the interest in rhythm which dominates the fine arts can be explained simply on the basis of rhythmic processes in the living body is but another case of the separation of organism from environment.”

Keywords:   rhythm, perception, meaning, John Dewey, jazz improvisation, living body

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