Panaiotidi, Elvira G.
December 2007
International Review of the Aesthetics & Sociology of Music;2007, Vol. 38 Issue 2, p133
Academic Journal
The immense influence of Greek musical thought upon Western theory and philosophy of music is well known. We owe to the ancient thinkers our basic aesthetic concepts, such as harmony and beauty, valuable observations concerning the origin and nature of music, its effects and its role in the life of the individual and society. Among the most significant motifs in the writings of Greek theoreticians is the idea of isomorphism between music and human subjectivity that was taken up and developed through centuries by philosophers and aestheticians. Apt examples in the modern philosophy of art are provided by Arthur Schopenhauer's and Susanne K. Langer's conceptions of music. Though the thesis of isomorphism was applied to different art forms, music remained the paradigm case. To trace its history in the context of musical discourse is a worthwhile enterprise since this thesis is still being adduced for explanation and justification for the variety of effects and functions of music. The problem however is that its validity has yet to be established and its epistemological status clarified. This will be shown by looking at the ancient theory of ethos and at Susanne K. Langer's aesthetic theory.


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