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https://doi.org/10.52685/cjp.21.1.5

Davies and Levinson on the Musical Expression of Emotion: What’s the Problem?

David Collins ; McGill University, Montreal, Canada


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Stephen Davies and Jerrold Levinson have each offered accounts of how music can express emotions. Davies’s ‘Appearance Emotionalism’ holds that music can be expressive of emotion due to a resemblance between its dynamic properties and those of human behaviour typical of people feeling that emotion, while Levinson’s ‘Hypothetical Emotionalism’ contends that a piece is expressive when it can be heard as the expression of the emotion of a hypothetical agent or imagined persona. These have been framed as opposing positions but I show that, on one understanding of ‘expressing’ which they seem to share, each entails the other and so there is no real debate between them. However, Levinson’s account can be read according to another—and arguably more philosophically interesting— understanding of ‘expressing’ whereas Davies’s account cannot as easily be so read. I argue that this reading of Hypothetical Emotionalism can account for much of our talk about music in terms of emotions but must answer another question—viz., how composers or performers can express emotions through music—to explain this relation between music and emotion. I suggest that this question can be answered by drawing on R. G. Collingwood’s theory of artistic expression.

Ključne riječi

Musical expression, Stephen Davies, appearance emotio nalism, Jerrold Levinson, hypothetical emotionalism, R. G. Collingwood.

Hrčak ID:

257716

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https://hrcak.srce.hr/257716

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