Emotional Accounts of Musical Experience and Musical Object

On the Relationship Between Music and Emotion 1

Authored by: Elvira Di Bona

The Routledge Companion to Music, Mind and Well-Being

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138057760
eBook ISBN: 9781315164717
Adobe ISBN:


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When we listen to music we have to distinguish between aesthetic attitude and estheticexperience. The esthetic attitude is a state of mind which constitutes a prerequisite for the occurrence of the esthetic experience; it is characterized by a specific way in which we attend to music. The esthetic attitude prepares the occurrence of a richer and more complex experience, which is the esthetic experience, by virtue of the employment of esthetic attention. It is common to characterize both esthetic attitude and esthetic experience by appealing to emotions, which is to say that: 1) when talking about the esthetic attitude we might refer to the way in which we attend to music emotionally; and that 2) when having an esthetic experience of music, we might focus on the different ways in which music arouses, associates to, resembles, or expresses emotions. In this introductory chapter, I give an overview of the different accounts of esthetic attitude and esthetic experience proposed within the recent debate on the philosophy of music which have underlined the importance of emotions, and compare them with the accounts which, on the contrary, relegate emotions to a marginal role.

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