Music in the Moment

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Overview

"Jerrold Levinson's new book, Music in the Moment, makes a major contribution to the now flourishing field of philosophy of music. He has a daring thesis about music listening that is going to shake up the experts, and pose for them, and for us all, some very hard questions. To reuse, yet again, the old cliché, no one interested in the field, can afford not to read Levinson's book."—Peter Kivy, author of Authenticities"Jerrold Levinson is one of the world's outstanding philosophers of music. His new book, Music in the Moment, is bold, meticulous, cogent and immensely illuminating of the experience of listening to music."—Malcolm Budd, University of LondonWhat is required for a listener to understand a piece of music? Does aural understanding depend upon reflective awareness of musical architecture or large-scale musical structure? Jerrold Levinson thinks not. In contrast to what is commonly assumed, Levinson argues that basic understanding of music only requires properly grounded, present-focused attention, and that virtually everything in the comprehension of extended pieces of music that suggests explicit architectonic awareness can be explained without positing a conscious grasp of relationships across broad spans.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Levinson's theory that musical understanding lies in entering the flow of linked musical moments is firmly and compellingly made in his Music in the Moment. This slim, taut book makes the case for its deceptively simple thesis with such clarity and gentle certainty that, at the end, it's hard to understand why anyone would think otherwise."—Kenneth LaFave, Washington Times

"The conundrum of musical understanding has always been problematic because of music's keen relationship to time: it progresses through time, and therefore does not reveal itself inherently holistically. Jerrold Levinson examines this dichotomy most effectively. . . . Recommended for general readers and all levels of students."—Choice

"Brilliant and compelling. . . . It is engagingly written and powerfully argued. . . . This very fine book amply deserves the attention it will receive from both philosophers and musicologists."—Philosophical Quarterly

"When a musically sophisticated aesthetician like Levinson feels compelled to polemicize, we do well to pay heed. . . . Listening is both an experience of occurrent sound and an invitation to contemplation, and such contemplation will engage a wide range of thoughts and memories. . . . Perhaps, then, Levinson is telling us that . . . we too often seem to forget that music is, first and foremost, for listening."—Journal of the American Musicological Society

"A small book, a big question. Does musical understanding require reflective, explicit awareness of large-scale musical structure? Jerrold Levinson's answer is, interestingly, no. As a recovering Schenkerian myself, I am struck by the glorious yet disconcerting heresy of this thesis. . . . Rarely has a new book in musical aesthetics so rattled my ideas about the actual event of listening. In music academia, any view that denies an architectonic view of how music works at even the most elemental level is practically unthinkable. Yet here it is. Brilliantly argued and cogently presented, Music in the Moment not only muddies the pond, it dashes and splashes about. It will be interesting to see who jumps on it."—Jennifer Judkins, British Journal of Aesthetics

"Music in the Moment is a welcome addition to the . . . list of books in aesthetics and the philosophy of music."—Gary Iseminger, Philosophical Review

"Jerrold Levinson's new book, Music in the Moment makes a major contribution to the now flourishing field of philosophy of music. He has a daring thesis about music listening that is going to shake up the experts, and pose for them, and for us all, some very hard questions. To reuse, yet again, the old cliché, no one interested in the field, can afford not to read Levinson's book."—Peter Kivy, author of Authenticities

"Jerrold Levinson is one of the world's outstanding philosophers of music. His new book, Music in the Moment, is bold, meticulous, cogent and immensely illuminating of the experience of listening to music."—Malcolm Budd, University of London

Anthony Pryer
There is much in Levinson's argument that will debunk the more grandiose notions of the formalists but, like all good philosophy, it creates unease as well as insight.
—From The Times Literary Supplement.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801474293
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 196
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Musical Illustrations
Preface
1 Edmund Gurney and the Experience of Music 1
2 Statement and Elaboration of Concatenationism 13
3 Initial Defense of Concatenationism 22
4 Concatenationism and Causality 43
5 Large-Scale Relationships in Music 53
6 Sonata and Other Forms 71
7 Further Challenges I 110
8 Further Challenges II 132
9 Concatenationism, Musical Value, and Musical Form 159
Works Cited 176
Index 181
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