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By Euler L.

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Both the body and mind are moved at one and the same time; the spirit transcends the realm of the phenomenal and catches a glimpse of that which would otherwise remain inaccessible. Other writers of this same generation also shifted their allegiance to the aesthetics of idealism during the closing years of the eighteenth century and the first decade of the nineteenth. The writings of Johann Gottfried Herder (1744–1803) illustrate this change particularly well, for his views on the nature and aesthetic worth of instrumental music changed markedly over the course of his life.

Schlegel used this premise to expose the inadequacy of earlier psychological, empirical, and sensualist theories of music. ”51 Because of its incorporeality, “one must accord music the advantage of being ideal in its essence. ”52 Friedrich Schlegel, the brother of August Wilhelm, concurred. ”53 IDEALISM AND THE NEW AESTHETICS OF LISTENING Idealist vocabulary and categories of thought figure prominently in the musical aesthetics of the early Romantics. The emphasis on specific points varies from writer to writer, but many of the most basic terms and concepts derive from idealist philosophy.

3 Had Hoffmann had been a solitary critic—if, in other words, his account had not resonated among his contemporaries—his review would have been swallowed up among the countless other notices of the day, filed away and forgotten. But his ideas were soon taken up by others, and the premises of listening he articulates in this review would soon be assimilated into the most basic assumptions of how to listen to music. In his Critique of Judgment, Kant declared instrumental music to be “more pleasure than culture” (mehr Genuß als Kultur), for without a text, music could appeal only to the senses and not to reason.

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An analytical exercise by Euler L.


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