Performed Listening: Aesthetic Experience, Musical Imagination, Propulsion, and Elasticity

Author: Kurth, Richard

Publication details: Presented at the Department of Music, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, 6 November, 2015.


Abstract: Seeking to articulate and explore a for comparative analysis of musical performances, this lecture considers questions that lie between music theory and analysis, cognitive science, and philosophical perspectives, then moves towards a preliminary formulation of two concepts that might prove useful for comparing performance interpretations and communicating performance choices and effects. The presentation begins by sketching a perspective on sensory experience in music, and then compares three modes of aesthetic interest.

On this basis, it then focuses on a particular type of and imaginative listening experienced by music professionals and intensive amateur listeners, the ability to experience actual and imaginary hearings concurrently in real time. This form of aesthetic experience, in turn, becomes notions of (rhythmic, metric, temporal) “propulsion” and “elasticity” are introduced. Illustrative examples will be drawn from performances of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony.