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Lament in the Land of logos

By Naomi Weiss

Lament is frequently represented as a musical paradox in Greek tragedy. From Cassandra’s nomos anomos (“tuneless tune”) in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon to the description of mourning as “unmusical” in Euripidean drama, the musicality of lamentation tends to be simultaneously stressed and negated. The motif of the “unmusical muse” has been viewed in terms of its emotive affect—the pleasure produced by songs of suffering (Segal 1993).

When Sounds Become Song: Thauma as a Response to Musical Transformations

By Amy Lather

In archaic and classical usage, thauma, "wonder", and its cognates are used to designate the overwhelming affective power of certain phenomena. And while thauma is most often cited as a response to visual experiences, there are several passages that link it specifically to music. In this paper I consider three passages in which such an encounter is described in detail in order to elucidate the ways in which music could evoke thauma.

Aristotle on Musical Emotions

By Juan Pablo Mira

Music affords a suitable “ambient” for the arousal of emotion and can change the appearance of and object, and so our belief towards that object. In this sense music acts as a catalyst for the appearance of emotions, imitating their physiological output, i.e. bodily motions and sounds. It can make us, like wine, readily vulnerable and apt to an emotional response changing our body; but the emotional response is about something different outside the music, i.e., a proper intentional object able to arouse emotions.

Is the Idea of “Musical Emotion” Present in Classical Antiquity?

By Andreas Kramarz

This paper will investigate to what degree the concepts related to “musical emotion,” a term coined by contemporary music psychology, can be traced in ancient classical music theory. As the debate among present-day philosophers of music and psychologists shows, the notion of “musical emotion” is not clearly defined, nor is there agreement on what role, if any, it plays in the musical experience.

The Experience of the Other: Dance and Empathy in Ancient Mystery Rites

By Karin Schlapbach

This paper examines the nexus of dance and emotion in ancient mystery rites. It does so by focusing on the apocryphal Acts of John, a little studied text which continues the literary tradition related to the ancient mysteries. This text spells out most clearly the intimate connection between dancing, sensory-emotional experience and cognition. The analysis is complemented with recent neurobiological research on intersubjectivity.