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Kant's Expressive Theory of Music


Source: The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 72, No. 2 (SPRING 2014), pp.
Published by: Wiley on behalf of The American Society for Aesthetics
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Kant's Expressive Theory of Music


Several prominent philosophers of art have worried about whether Kant has a coherent theory of musi
perceived tensions in his view. First, there appears to be a conflict between his formalist and expressive
(and even worse), Kant defends seemingly contradictory claims about music being beautiful and merely
beautiful. Against these critics, I show that Kant has a consistent view of music that reconciles these ten
Kant, music can be experienced as either agreeable or beautiful depending on the attitude we take towa
tempting to think he argues that we experience music as agreeable when we attend to its expressive qu
when we attend to its formal properties, I demonstrate that he actually claims that we are able to judg
only if we are sensitive to the expression of emotion through musical form. With this revised understan
of music in place, I conclude by sketching a Kantian solution to a central problem in the philosophy of m
is not sentient, how can it express emotion?

I. INTRODUCTION presses emotion. This line of thought coalesced

into the so-called Affektenlehre , which became the
As philosophers like Peter Kivy dominant
and Stephen
view of music during this time period.5
Davies have emphasized, one of theIt central
should notis-
be surprising, then, that when Im-
sues in the philosophy of music ismanuel
the Kant writes about music at the end of the
of expression.1 Frequently when weeighteenth
hear a century,
piece he too characterizes it in ex-
of instrumental music, we describe itpressive terms.6 Music, Kant claims, is an art form
as expressing
an emotion, for example, Ludwig van that takes the "language of the affects" ( Sprache
Eroica symphony sounds triumphant derorAffekten)
Frédéric and "puts that language into prac-
Chopin's Étude in E Major (Op. 10, No. tice for
3) itself alone, in all its force."7 Given that the
sad.2 Yet even though we do describe relationshipmusic
between music and the expression of
in these expressive terms, there isemotion is precisely what is at the heart of the
a question
of whether we should . After all, problem we normallyof expression, we might be led to won-
regard emotions as something expressed der whether
by some- Kant has anything to say that could
one or something that feels that emotion. contribute to How-
solving this problem.
ever, to borrow Davies's formulation of Onthe
the face of it, however, this line of thought
lem, "Given that music is nonsentient, seems how could
less than promising, for it has often been de-
emotions be expressed in it?"3 nied that Kant has anything coherent to say about
Although there are a number of music. What is more, the charge of incoherence
rary solutions to this problem on offer, is often basedef-
these precisely on a perceived incom-
forts have a historical precedent.4 patibility In the seven-between Kant's scattered remarks on a
teenth and eighteenth centuries, thinkers possiblelike
role Jean
for emotion to play in aesthetic ap-
le Rond d'Alemebert, Thomas Reid, and Daniel preciation and his seemingly more central claims
Webb, among others, began to argue that mu- about the exclusive importance of form. This con-
sic is best understood as a form of art that ex- tradiction appears to manifest most concretely in

The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 72:2 Spring 2014

© 2014 The American Society for Aesthetics

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130 The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

his discussion of music, has since Kant

an ineliminable at
role to once
play seems
in our aesthetic
to claim that music can be beautiful,
judgments but
about beauty in music. thenby
I conclude
also seems to relegate it to a the
offering sketch of merely agreeable
how Kant's views might con-
precisely on account of tribute to the contemporary debate
its connection about musical
to emotion.
expression (Section
Given that Kant's discussion of V). expression in
music seems to raise more problems than it solves,
it has been argued that we should treat emotion
as ancillary to Kant's account of music. Herbert
Schueller makes this point:
'formalism' "Kant did not base his
theory of musical judgment on that which music
expresses. It is clear that
BeforeKant we take up does not of
Kant's theory maintain
music per se,
that musical judgment is the judgment either
I want to briefly situate it within his aesthetic 1)the-of
the emotions music expresses
ory more broadly.or 2) In of the of
the Critique relation-
ship between the music Kant and the
describes emotions."8
aesthetic This
experience as involving
is bolstered by the argument put forth by
a special kind of judgment: a 'judgment of taste.' Peter
Kivy, among others, that Unlike there is judgment,
a 'cognitive' nothing which distinc-
is primarily
tively Kantian in Kant's discussion
grounded in our observation ofof expression
the world around
in music; rather, he is simply
us, Kant claims parroting theis "shop-
a judgment of taste an 'aes-
worn view of the musical experience" that
thetic' judgment, one that is primarily grounded domi-
nated the seventeenth in and eighteenth
something subjective, namely, centuries.9
our awareness of
In which case, it seemshow his comments
an object about
pleases or displeases ex-
us.11 Of course,
pression in music can the
be dismissed
most important kind of as, inofCarl
judgment taste for
Dahlhaus's words, "historically 'contingent' and
Kant is the judgment of beauty. And, as we find in
not systematically necessary" the "Analyticand that we
of the Beautiful," Kant should,
thinks there
instead, reconstruct Kant's considered
are four features, or "Moments," theory
that are implic-of
music on the basis of his more
itly contained general
in the aesthetic
otherwise seemingly simple
theory.10 judgment: x is beautiful.
Against these critics, I argue, Kant, in his ex- In the First Moment of Taste concerning qual-
plicit treatment of music, offers a consistent and ity, Kant claims that in order to judge something
nuanced theory of music. I proceed by consider- to be beautiful, the pleasure or satisfaction we
ing two apparent tensions in his view, taking up, take in it must be "disinterested." On his view, we
first, the ostensible tension between his formalist take an interest in an object when we desire it,
and expressive commitments (Sections II and III) and we make a judgment grounded in interested
and, second, the alleged inconsistency between his satisfaction when we judge that the existence of
claims, on the one hand, that music can be beau- the desired object would please us. Kant describes
tiful and, on the other, that it cannot be beautiful two types of interested judgments: judgments of
but is rather merely agreeable (Section IV). In the agreeable, in which the object is something
defending what I take to be Kant's coherent ac- that pleases or "gratifies" ( vergnügt ) the senses,
count of music, I argue that on his view, music and judgments of the good, in which the object is
can be experienced as either agreeable or beauti- something that pleases reason.12 The pleasure in-
ful depending on the attitude we take toward it. volved in judgments of beauty, by contrast, is not
While it might be tempting to think that, for Kant, grounded in a desire for the existence of the ob-
we experience music in the former way when we ject, but rather it is the representation o/the object
attend to its expressive qualities and in the lat- that pleases us: in judgments of the beautiful,
ter way when we attend to its formal properties, I
demonstrate that he is committed to a view I call

"expressive formalism," according to whichone weonly wants to know whether the mere representa-
can judge music as beautiful only if we are sensi-
tion of the object is accompanied with satisfaction in me,
tive to the expression of emotion through musical
however indifferent I might be with regard to the exis-
form. In which case, far from regarding emotion
tence of the object of this representation. It is readily
as irrelevant or a hindrance to our experience of that to say that it is beautiful . . . what matters is
music, Kant both accepts and insists that emotion
what I make of the representation in myself.13

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Matherne Kanťs Expressive Theory of Music 131

My pleasure, for example, in Botticelli's

in this Venus
way, they stimulate is
one another, in a pro-
not a pleasure in Venus herself or
cess that in the
involves canvas of both powers
the "animation
as a trophy to add to my collection;
of the mind (theit oneis in his
through the other)": while
representation on the canvas. the Furthermore,
imagination can uncoverKantnew sensible patterns
claims this disinterested pleasure
for the is
generated to think
not about, the under-
through desire but through ourstanding can prompt us to see the
contemplation or work of art in a
reflection on the representation
new way.18of the
Kant, object:
in turn, a
argues that being in this
judgment of the beautiful is "state
of free play brings about
, i.e.,
a distinctive
a kind of
judgment that, indifferent with a pleasureto
regard thatthe
can be
ex-shared by anyone
with these cognitive
istence of an object, merely connects capacities, regardless of our
its constitu-
tion [ Beschaffenheit ] together withpreferences.19
the feeling of
pleasure."14 The final aspect of judgments of the beautiful
In addition to being grounded in reflection left to discuss, and the one that is perhaps most rel-
and disinterested satisfaction, in the Second and evant to music, is the Third Moment concerning
Fourth Moments of Taste concerning quantity and relation. Here, Kant points toward the distinctive
modality, Kant claims that in judgments of the kind of relation that he thinks holds between the

beautiful we judge the object to be an object of judging subject and the beautiful object. He calls
universal and necessary satisfaction. That is to say, this relation "purposiveness" and suggests that we
we take the pleasure we have in the object to be take the object to be purposive for our mental ca-
one that should be felt by all judgers and is de- pacities, that is, for bringing about free play in us.20
manded of any judger: "If [someone] pronounces Now, according to Kant, it is, in particular, the ob-
that something is beautiful, then he expects the ject's form that we judge to be purposive: "The
very same satisfaction of others: he judges not judgment of taste has nothing but the form of the
merely for himself, but for everyone, and speaks purposiveness of an object ... as its ground."21
of beauty as if it were a property of things."15 While what exactly Kant means by a "form of
Kant elaborates on the nature of this sharable purposiveness" is a vexed issue that we cannot
pleasure by arguing that it has a unique prove- address fully here; for our purposes, I want to fo-
nance: it is grounded in the "free play" or "har-cus on the connection Kant appears to draw in the
Third Moment between the form of purposiveness
mony" of our cognitive capacities, specifically, our
imagination (our capacity for spatially and tem- and the formal properties of a work of art.22 Hav-
porally organizing what we intuit) and under- ing introduced his general conception of a form
standing (our capacity for thought). In ordinary of purposiveness in §§12-13, in §14 Kant offers an
cognition, Kant maintains that the imagination "Elucidation
is by means of examples."23 It is this
"constrained" by the understanding: it organizes section, in particular, that suggests Kant takes the
our intuitions in such a way that the understand-form of purposiveness to be related to the formal
ing can apply concepts to them.16 By contrast, features
in of a work of art because he argues that
judgments of taste, Kant suggests that this con- "what constitutes the ground of all arrangements
for taste is . . . what pleases through its form."24
straint can be lifted, and our imagination and un-
derstanding can engage in "free play." On my With in- painting, for example, he maintains that in
order to judge it to be beautiful, we must focus
terpretation, free play involves, on the one hand,
our imagination being free to organize what on we the formal arrangement of its lines, that is, its
underlying "drawing," and its shapes.25 He makes
perceive into a variety of spatial or temporal pat-
terns. For example, I can see Botticelli's Venus a similar claim about music: in order to judge a
piece of music to be beautiful, what we must at-
organized according to a threefold structure, fore-
ground and background structure, and so on. tend On to is the formal composition [Komposition]
the other hand, our understanding no longer of hasthe piece, that is, its melody, harmony, rhythm,
to apply a single concept to what we perceive;and it so on.26 Summing up this line of thought, he
asserts that " drawing in [painting] and composi-
is free to think of different themes that unify this
tion in [music] constitute the proper object of the
representation. For example, is it ethereal beauty,
tranquility, or the meeting of heaven and earth pure judgment of taste."27
that dominates Botticelli's Venus ?17 And when Even if there is more to the form of purposive-
ness than the formal features of an object, Kant
both the imagination and understanding operate

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132 The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

passage from §14he

emphasizes the latter because that seems
takesso damning is not form o
about emotion
an object to be something in general ,regardless
that, but rather about the of ou
personal preferences, very
can specific type of emotion
bring involved in being
about free play
stirred. In fact,
and disinterested pleasure inKant continuesand
any in the Third Mo-
every sub
ment Kant
ject. To make this point, by arguing that it is not our judgmentssensitivity
contrasts about
to form with sensitivity to buttwo
about thesubjectively
sublime that involve being contin-
stirred: sublimity is thatof
gent aspects of our experience "with an
which the feel-
object. Th
ing of
first of these is 'charm' being stirred A
[Reiz]. [das Gefühl
charm,der Rührung] is
for Kant
is a sensation that pleases
combined."32 our senses,
A more circumspect readingforof §14 exam-
ple, when you find the wouldsound
then suggest that
of Kantahasviolin
ruled out the particu
larly pleasing.28 He argues that
possibility that since
the specific what
emotion, being stirred, pleases
our senses is dependentcan upon
be involved in our judgments of taste
personal about
charm cannot ground a judgment
music; of
however, he has not yet ruledthe beautifu
out the pos-
sibility that other
but only of the agreeable.29 types of emotions
Form, by orcontrast,
perhaps i
something we can all be sensitive
another to, might
way of relating to emotions Kant play a thinks
regardless of our sensible penchants.
role in those judgments. Indeed, it is this possibil-
The second subjectively
ity that hecontingent item
takes up later in the third Critique in that
his so-called "Doctrine
can interfere with judgments ofof Fine
theArt." beautiful i
what Kant calls Rührung , a term often translate
as 'emotion': " Emotion [Rührung], a sensation in
which agreeableness is produced
of a momentary inhibition followed by a stronge
outpouring of the vital force,
In §§51-53 of the does not belong
third Critique , Kant, as wast
beauty at all."30 The translation
mon practice in the of ' Rührung
eighteenth century, 'ofa
'emotion' is a bit misleading.
system of theFor, fine arts as the Künste)
{schönen passage in
indicates, Kant is not hetalking
divides andabout ranks various emotionsart forms, sp in
general ; rather, he has in mind
cally, the artsaofvery
speech, specific type
like poetry and ora
of emotion associated with a feeling
the pictorial of tension
arts, like painting be
and sculpture
ing followed by an intense
the arts offeeling
the "play of of animation
sensations," like m
or, perhaps, 'being alive.'
and theGiven this, Kant
"art of colors."33 it would
suggests web
better to translate Rührung
art forms stirred,'
according to thea
I shall do in this article. Kant's point in this pas
pressive' characteristics: "Thus if we wish to
sage is that if being stirred grounds
the beautiful arts, we can,your
at least likin
as an ex
for the object, then youment,cannot make
choose no easier a judgmen
principle than the an
of the beautiful about ofit, only
art with the a judgment
kind of th
of expression [Ausdruck
agreeable. Instead, you should
people be attuned
use in speaking to the
in order to communica
form as a source of pleasure that
each other."34 is nottosubjectivel
According Kant, when we
contingent. municate with one another, we rely not only o
Of course, when this claim about Rührung gets words but also on our gestures and the tone o
applied to Kant's analysis of music, commentators voices to express ourselves.35 Though ordin
are encouraged to think that Kant is a strict for- all three features are present in conversatio
malist, that is, he holds the view that the only aes- claims that each art form highlights one of
thetically relevant properties of a piece of music the arts of speech highlight words, pictoria
are its formal properties.31 Indeed, on this read- highlight gesture, and music highlights tone.
ing, the Third Moment of Taste seems to suggest Tone, for Kant, is the vehicle through w
that if emotion plays any role in our experience we communicate how we feel about what we are
of music, it is only to get in the way of our ability saying. Given that how we feel contributes to
to judge music as beautiful. However, we should what we are trying to express, failing to grasp a
resist concluding that in the Third Moment, Kant speaker's tone amounts to failing to fully under-
dismisses emotion outright as relevant to aesthetic stand her. As Kant describes the role of tone in
judgments about music. For, as noted above, the communication,

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Matherne Kanťs Expressive Theory of Music 133

Every expression of language has, "he feels asa if
in context, his entire
tone that happiness were
lost."46that this tone more
is appropriate to its sense [Sinne];
Following the
or less designates [bezeichnet] an affect Scottish physician
[Affekt] of theJohn Brown,
Kant further
speaker and conversely also produces onedivides
in theaffectshearer,
into two subspecies:
which then in turn arouses in the affects, which
latter the involve
idea excitation,
[Idee] and
that is expressed in the language byaffects,
means which of
involve debilitation
such a or
tone.36 weakening.47 He claims that whereas sthenic
or 'masculine' affects come "from strength [aus
Indeed, he claims that our ability to communicate Stärke] and "excite [erregenden] the vital force,"
with one another depends on the "language of asthenic or 'feminine' affects come "from weak-
affects," something he thinks is "universally com- ness [aus Schwäche ]" and "relax [abspannenden]
prehensible to every human being."37 the vital force."48 He draws the same distinction,
It is worth dwelling on the notion of an 'affect' albeit with different labels, in the third Critique ,
because it will help clarify Kant's view of emo- where he argues that an affect can be of the
tions more generally as well as the role he sees "courageous sort," in which case it "arouses the
them playing in music. Kant tends to divide emo- consciousness of our powers to overcome any re-
tions into two species: passions and affects.38 Pas- sistance {animi strenui )" or it can be of the "yield-
sions, on his view, are emotions connected to the ing kind," in which case it "makes the effort at
faculty of desire and some end we have a "sen- resistance itself into an object of displeasure (ani-
sible desire" or "inclination" for.39 For example, mum languidum)."49 Affects such as grief, feeling
your passion for revenge is connected to your de- shy, or feeling cowardly would fall in the asthenic
sire to take vengeance on a particular person.40 category, whereas affects like courage, joy, and
Given that passions are connected to practical (presumably) being stirred [Rührung] would fall
reason in this sense, Kant thinks that they tend in the sthenic.50
to develop over time, as we reflect on what we With this picture of affects in place, we can now
desire: "[Passion] takes its time and reflects, no return to the third Critique. As we saw above, Kant
matter how fierce it may be, in order to reach its argues that in ordinary conversation, we must be
end."41 An affect, by contrast, is the kind of emo- sensitive to what affects are being communicated
tion that is connected to our feelings of pleasure through someone's tone in order to fully under-
and displeasure and, for this reason, tends to arise stand what she is saying. And he sees music as
"quickly" or "rashly" in response to a situation we the art form that is most closely connected to this
presently find ourselves in, for example, a sudden feature of communication. Summarizing his view
feeling of joy.42 As Kant sometimes puts it, af- in the Anthropology , Kant claims that "sounds [in
fects involve "surprise through sensations."43 Un- music] are tones , ... a communication of feel-
like passions which are borne of reflection, Kant ings [Gefühle] at a distance to all present within
suggests that affects "make reflection impossible" the surrounding space."51 More specifically, in the
and are, therefore, "imprudent [ unbesonnen ]."44 third Critique , Kant argues that in a piece of mu-
We must be careful at this point, however, for al- sic, a composer "puts [the] language [of affects]
though unbesonnen is translated as 'thoughtless,' into practice for itself alone, in all its force."52 Typ-
Kant's point is not that affects are necessarily dis- ically, when we listen to someone, we use her tone
connected from thought altogether. Rather, his as a means to understand the thought she is trying
point is that they arise suddenly, and this prohibits to convey. By contrast, in music, Kant suggests a
a certain type of reflection, namely, "the lack in composer calls attention to those affectively laced
reflection in comparing this feeling with the sum tones themselves, focusing on them for their own
of all feelings (of pleasure and displeasure)."45 sake.53 For example, whereas in conversation my
As we might make this point, when we are in lamenting tone might communicate my sadness at
the grips of an affect, we lose perspective as to not being able to drink this champagne, a com-
whether the intensity of that affect is appropriate. poser can put that lamenting tone on display for
To use Kant's example, when a servant breaks a itself, say, through a blaring tuba, without neces-
rich man's "beautiful and rare crystal goblet," the sarily using it to express any further thought.
rich man becomes irate and is not able to consider However, given the intimate connection Kant
that, on the whole, the loss is of little significance;describes between music and emotions in these

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134 The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

later sections, how are we we to reconcile

saw above, these
there can be no single ex-
pressive claims with his tionearlier
of the piece'sformalist claims?
aesthetic idea that will exhaust
While we might be tempted to claim,
it. This latter regard his
in fact, is expres-
of special interest
sive commitments as in conflict with his formal- in our discussion of music, for there is an extra
ist commitments, in what follows I suggest thatlayer of interpretation involved here that is not
Kant, instead, advocates for a position we might at work in many other art forms, namely, the in-
call 'expressive formalism,' according to which ourterpretation of the piece by the performer. When
appreciation of the formal structures of a piece of we hear a piece of music, we do not just hear the
music must be guided by our appreciation of how score; we hear how that score is interpreted by
those structures express affects. the performer. As a result, our interpretation of
The best place to begin our discussion of Kant's the piece is dependent upon the prior interpre-
expressive formalism is with his theory of aesthetictation of the performer. With music, then, there
ideas. At the most basic level, an aesthetic idea are two dimensions in which aesthetic ideas out-
is, for Kant, the idea an artist expresses through strip a single interpretation: neither the audience
a work of art.54 More specifically, he character-nor the performer need be confined to a single
izes these ideas as representations of the imag-interpretation of that aesthetic idea.
ination, which the artist, in turn, executes in her However, it is crucial to see that not only does
preferred medium.55 In addition to aesthetic ideasKant think aesthetic ideas are central to music,
being imaginative representations, Kant claimsbut also that he sees them as connected to musical
they contain a wealth of meaning; indeed, so muchform:
so that they are simply too rich to ever be exhaus-
tively described: "by an aesthetic idea ... I meanSince [musical] aesthetic ideas are not concepts nor de-
a representation of the imagination that occasionsterminate thoughts, the form of the composition [Zusam-
much thinking though without it being possible formensetzung] of these sensations (harmony and melody)
any determinate thought, i.e., concept , to be ade-
serves only, instead of the form of language, to express ,
quate to it, which, consequently, no language fully
by means of a proportionate disposition [Stimmung] of
attains or can make intelligible."56 As we might them ... the aesthetic ideas of a coherent whole ... of
make this point, there is no paraphrase we could thought.58
give of a great novel or symphony which would
fully capture the imaginative world it contains.I take this to be the key to Kant's expressive for-
Likewise, although we can come up with inter- malism: it is through the formal features of a piece
pretations of such a work of art, insofar as the(for example, harmony, melody, key, rhythm) that
work always remains open to new ways of under-a composer is able to communicate her aesthetic
standing it, no single interpretation can exhaustidea and its dominant affect.59 If the composer
it. wants to convey a sense of joy, perhaps she will
Kant suggests that there is a specific type of choose a major key, or if she wants to convey grief,
aesthetic idea music expresses, which he connects perhaps she will choose largo. This, in turn, means
to the "dominant affect" of a piece: "[Music in- that in order for the audience to grasp the aes-
volves] the aesthetic ideas of a coherent whole thetic idea of the piece, we have to be attuned to
[eines zusammenhängenden Ganzen ] of an un- how it is expressed through musical form.60
utterable fullness of thought [einer unnennbaren Let's now consider what implications this has
Gedankenfülle ], corresponding to a certain theme, for how we understand judgments of the beautiful
which constitutes the dominant affect in the in relation to music. This is an especially pressing
piece."57 For example, we might say Duke Elling- issue because it has been argued that, for Kant,
ton's "Mood Indigo" involves an aesthetic idea the emotive character of music is 'extra-aesthetic,'
that expresses the dominant affect of an indigo that is, music is not relevant to our judgments of
mood or a slightly dreamy feeling of the blues. beauty. Here is Schueller again:
Yet, as with other aesthetic ideas, by simply say-
ing this piece is about an indigo mood, we have If it is true that the origin and appeal of music lie in its
not yet captured the surplus of meaning present likeness to language, then music must be expressive. But
in it, for it also involves "a coherent whole ofsuch anexpressiveness is probably not aesthetic in Kant's
unutterable fullness of thought." Furthermore, as . . . Pure aesthetic judgment [of beauty] exists, but

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Matherne Kanťs Expressive Theory of Music 135

in actual practice it is supplemented

play. But as aby
of mere pleasure music is not a fine
art.65 expressive.61
considerations, one of which is the

Indeed, Schueller, among others, has

Taking a slightly argued
different tack, Kivythat
claims that
emotions, in fact, detract from our ideas
the aesthetic experience
involved in music of"do not en-
music as beautiful: "If the source of music is ingage the free play of the cognitive faculties," but
the emotional, to the degree to which it contin- instead "only have a bodily payoff: a sense of bod-
ues to appeal to the emotional it is so much lessily well-being."66 For this reason, Kivy suggests
beautiful."62 There are, at least, two reasons one
that "music fails to fully qualify as fine art."67 So
might be tempted to think the emotive character understood, we could rephrase the worry about
of music is extra-aesthetic. First, as we saw above,
music being unable to stimulate free play as a
given Kant's comments in the Third Moment worry of about whether music is merely an agree-
able art. It is to this vexed issue we shall now
Taste, we might think it is only form, not emotion,
that matters for judgments of taste. Yet in light turn.

of the narrow scope of Kanťs claims in §14 and

the expressive formalism he argues for in these
later sections, this does not seem like the right IV. in-MUSIC AS THE LOWEST FORM OF ART?
terpretation. To be sure, in these later sections he
avers the relevance of musical form to judgments At times, Kant suggests that music is a beauti-
of taste: ful art. He, for example, defines music as the
" beautiful play of sensations" and describes instru-
On this mathematical [that is, musical] form . . . depends mental music as a "free beauty."68 However, at
the satisfaction that the mere reflection on such a mul- other times, Kant appears to maintain the oppo-
titude of sensations accompanying or following one an-site, for example, when he says, "music deserves
other connects with this play of them as a condition of itsto be counted as agreeable rather than as beauti-
beauty valid for everyone; and it is in accordance with itful art."69 Commentators have interpreted these
alone that taste may claim for itself a right to pronounce seemingly contradictory claims in different ways:
beforehand about the judgment of everyone.63 commentators like Arden Reed have argued, for
Kant, "music is in some way undecidable, situated
However, he makes these claims about musical in the gap between the beautiful and agreeable."70
form immediately after his claim that musical formOthers, meanwhile, have made sense of this ten-
is that through which aesthetic ideas are com-sion by suggesting that Kant's account is incoher-
municated. In which case, far from emotion be-ent: while he begins by suggesting that music can
ing 'extra-aesthetic,' our ability to judge music as be beautiful, in the later sections, he, as Kivy puts
beautiful depends upon our appreciation of form it, "backslides" into the view that music is merely
as expressive of an affect. an agreeable art, like jokes.71
Nonetheless, there is a second reason the emo- The ambiguity over music's status stems, in part,
tive character of music might be dismissed as from Kant's ranking of the various art forms. No-
'extra-aesthetic': it is claimed that the affects ex- toriously, in Kant's ranking, music occupies the
pressed in music cannot solicit the required free lowest place.72 In §53, Kant claims that if what is at
play of our cognitive capacities.64 As Christelissue in our ranking is the cultural value of a work
Fricke argues, for Kant, only form can prompt of art, then music falls to the bottom: "If . . . one
free play: estimates the value of the beautiful arts in terms
of the culture that they provide for the mind . . .
On the one hand, [Kant] accords to music the status of then to that extent music occupies the lowest place
a fine [beautiful] art, whose works engage our cognitive among the beautiful arts . . . because it merely
powers. This he does by emphasizing the structural, for- plays with sensations."73 On Kant's quite spe-
mal aspects of musical sensations. On the other hand, he cific understanding, something is culturally valu-
understands music as the expression and trigger of emo- able if it contributes to the "enlargement [Er-
tions and thus as something that is more likely to allow weiterung] of the faculties that must join together
us to experience feelings of pleasure [of the agreeable] in the power of judgment for the sake of cogni-
than to stimulate our cognitive powers to engage in free tion," that is, if it contributes to the expansion or

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136 The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

development of our cognitive capacities

overall well-being (sensi-
or health.83 When listening to
bility, imagination, and a understanding).74
joke, for example, Kant thinks that asKant
we laugh,
thinks the pictorial arts, for
tension example,
in our body relaxes and clearly
we have a sense
contribute to this because they
of well-being.84 But itappeal tothat
is not only jokes and
strengthen our cognitive thiscapacities;
bodily cathartic effect:for example,
"Music and material
insofar as a painting like Paul
for laughter Cézanne
. . . can 's Still
gratify merely through their
Life with Apples (1890) change,
depicts objects famil-
and nevertheless do so in a lively fash-
iar to us from everyday ion; experience,
by which they make it fairly it will en-
evident that the
gage the capacities typically
animationat work
in both cases isin everyday
merely corporeal, al-
experience.75 Music, by though
it is aroused by "merely plays
ideas of the mind."85 Kant
with sensations," or, as then
Kantmakes aputs it elsewhere,
striking suggestion: a joke "like mu-
music "speaks through mere
sic deservessensations without
to be counted as agreeable rather than
concepts" and, as a result, "does
as beautiful art."86not . .swoop,
In one fell . leaveKant seems
behind something for reflection [ entirely
to relegate music Nachdenken ]."76
to the category of agree-
This is due in large partable
to art.what he describes
As Kivy (colorfully) as
describes this move,
the 'transitory' nature ofKant
music, thatinto
seems to descend is, the
"the rapid
abysmal depths
and constant changes in of the notes.77
a conclusion Although
that makes no more of our en-
we may be quite moved joyment
by aofparticular
the expressive in music series of
than an aid to
notes, this experience is digestion:
"only thetemporary,"
sonic counterpart of Turns as for
we the
are already inundated with the next series.78 This
seems very different from, say,
This, of course, reading
conflicts a novel
with Kant's earlier de-
like Anna Karenina where there is much fodder scriptions of music as beautiful. However, the am-
for reflection. Since, however, the cultural valuebiguity about music's status appears to be some-
of a piece depends on it being able to appeal to all
thing he might acknowledge and embrace. For at
our cognitive capacities, music's lack of obviousthe end of §51, he claims: "one cannot say with cer-
engagement with the understanding results in itstainty whether a color or a tone (sound) is merely
low ranking in Kant's eyes.79 agreeable sensations or is in itself already a beau-
This being said, Kant does claim that if we usedtiful play of sensations, which as such involves a
a different metric for ranking the arts, namely, satisfaction in the form in aesthetic judging."88 It
what involves charm or movement of the mind is this claim that has led commentators like Reed
[i Gemütsbewegung ], then music would outrank po-to suggest that Kant was simply undecided about
etry and the pictorial arts. However, this is faint the status of music. Yet, upon closer inspection,
praise, another way to emphasize its inferior sta- we should note that in this passage, Kant is not
tus. For this way of ranking the arts does not rank making a claim about an entire piece of music but
them as beautiful arts, but as agreeable arts. Hence,
rather about a single tone. Given Kant's claims
his claim is that music "occupies perhaps the high- about the importance of the formal composition
est place among those [arts] that are estimatedof the piece in our judgments of taste, it stands to
according to their agreeableness."80 reason that he (like Webb before him) does not
Yet, if music is the highest ranking agreeablethink a single tone, in isolation from its relation
art, in what sense does it still count as a beauti- to other notes, can ground either a judgment of
ful art? Indeed, one begins to worry that in spitethe beautiful or agreeable.89 Read in this way, the
of his initial claims to the contrary, Kant regardspassage need not indicate that Kant was ultimately
music wholly as an agreeable art. This, in fact,undecided about the status of music; his point is
appears to be the view he puts forth in §54, a sec-that no single tone can be judged as beautiful or
tion that has led many to agree with Kivy's claim:agreeable.
"Kant opts unequivocally, in §54, for music as an But this claim about a single note is not, in fact,
agreeable art tout court ."81 Here, Kant discusses his primary concern in this passage; what he is re-
a particular type of bodily pleasure that he calls ally interested in is how we can judge a series of
'gratification' [Vergnügen].82 On his view, when notes to be beautiful or agreeable. For he imme-
we undergo certain "changing free play of sensa- diately goes on to argue that even if we cannot
tions," we will also experience a distinctive feeling
judge a single tone to be beautiful or agreeable,
of bodily pleasure, which he describes as a sense ofnevertheless we can judge a series of tones in one

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Matherne Kanťs Expressive Theory of Music 137

of two ways: either "as agreeable sensations"

this case, could or the piece as
you not experience
as "the beautiful play of sensations."90 This claim,
I take it, holds the key for reconciling the
Delineating these twoappar-
ways of experiencing mu-
ent tensions in Kant's view: sicmusic can
is, in fact, be what
precisely expe-Kant endeavors to do
rienced as either agreeable or at the end of §51. Independ-
beautiful one vein, indeed, the vein he
ing upon the attitude we takepicks toward
up on init.
§54,In which
Kant argues that if our judg-
case, Kant's seemingly contradictory ment of a piece of music is grounded in bodily
of music's status are best read as clarifying
gratification, then we judge the
it as agreeable. On his
nature of either one or the other of these attitudes. view, music produces vibrations in the air, which,
To see this let's return to §54. As I suggest in turn, impact our bodies.93 He argues that the
above, some commentators have taken this sec- form of the vibrations in the air is simply too
tion to reveal that, in the end, Kant thinks music fine-grained for us to be able to judge; instead,
is merely an agreeable art. However, this does not he claims we are aware of those vibrations only
follow from the text. Kant does compare music to through "the effect of these vibrations on the elas-
jokes insofar as they produce bodily gratification tic parts of our body."94 Since we are not percep-
in us; yet, he does not say that this is the only re- tually acute enough to grasp the form of vibra-
sponse we have to music. Rather, at the outset of tions in the air, our judgment of the piece will be
the section, echoing the First Moment of Taste, he grounded solely in the bodily effect it has on us,
claims that "between that which pleases merely in in which case, we will judge the piece in terms of
the judging [Beurtheilung' and that which gratifies what pleases our senses, hence, as agreeable.
(pleases in the sensation) there is, as we have of- However, Kant goes on to say that this does
ten shown, an essential difference."91 His ensuing not exhaust the nature of our response to musi-
discussion of jokes and music is then offered as an cal tones. Echoing claims we have already seen,
analysis of gratification and, implicitly, judgments he maintains that rather than attending solely to
of the agreeable, in which case, I take Kant's claim how music pleases our ears, we could consider
that a joke "like music deserves to be counted as the form of the piece.95 When we do this, Kant
agreeable rather than beautiful art" to amount claims in §14 that "the mind does not merely per-
to the claim that if the determining ground of our ceive, by sense, their [that is, tones'] effect on the
judgments about music or jokes is bodily gratifica- animation of the organ, but also, through reflec-
tion, then we are judging both wholly as agreeable tion , perceives the regular play of the impressions
art. (hence the form in the combination of different
Yet the fact that I can judge music to be agree- representations)."96 This means if we are reflec-
able does not preclude the possibility that I could tively attuned to the formal features (of course, as
also judge it to be beautiful. Indeed, the possibility expressive of an aesthetic idea), then we can judge
of judging something to be agreeable or beautiful the music to be beautiful: "Then . . . tones would
seems to be built into the various ways we can not be mere sensations, but would already be a
approach any work of art. Just as I could judge formal determination of the unity of a manifold
Claude Monet's Haystacks (1890-1891) as agree- of them, and in that case could also be counted as
able if his palette pleases my eyes or as beautiful if beauties in themselves."97 In this case, the upshot
the experience involves free play and disinterested of §51 is that, on Kant's view, it is open to us to ex-
pleasure, should we not expect the same experien- perience music either as agreeable or as beautiful
tial possibilities to be built into our experience of depending upon the attitude we take toward it.
music? Consider one of Kant's own examples of There are a couple of questions that this dis-
dinner guests vaguely listening to background 'ta- cussion raises. First, we may wonder about how
ble music': "[the table music] sustains the mood we enact one or the other of these possibilities.
of joyfulness merely as an agreeable noise, and Suppose I happen to like Duke Ellington's sound.
encourage [s] the free conversation of one neigh- Could I ever be in a position to judge "Mood In-
bor with another without anyone paying the least digo" as beautiful? The First Moment of Taste
attention to its composition [Komposition]."92 indicates that the judgments we make depend on
Suppose, however, you sneak off into the cor- the mindset we have with regard to a piece. If our
ner and listen to the composition of the piece, attention to and pleasure in a piece is guided by
contemplate its dominant affect, and so on. In some interest we have in it, then we will judge it as

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138 The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

agreeable; if, by contrast, iteven
isif we can never beby
guided sure what
free ex- pla
and reflective contemplation, then
actly motivates us, Kant we we
clearly thinks cannever- judg
theless have
it as beautiful. Frequently wean obligation
do not to try and fulfill our thes
moral duty. Likewise
mindsets; we are unconsciously in the aesthetic into
shunted case, eventhem
However, according tothoughKant, we may webe uncertain
canas switch
to the ultimate from
a judgment of the agreeable
source of our pleasure
to ain judgment
a piece of music, we can of th
beautiful if we rely on nevertheless make an attempt to judge it from a
less egocentric perspective.
a faculty forjudging that in Itits
is at reflection
this point that I wish to return
takes to the
account {a
role of of
priori) of everyone else's way free representing
play in musical experience.
in Since
Kant clearly
in order as it were to hold its maintains
judgmentwe can experience
up to musichuma
reason as a whole. ... Nowas beautiful,
this then he must, pace by
happens Kivy, think
one music
his judgment up not so can much
induce freeto
play the actual
in us. I wish to suggestas
thatto th
merely possible judgmentsKant's
of expressive
others, formalism
andis putting
the key to seeing
how thiselse,
into the position of everyone is possible. It is perhaps fairly
merely by straight-
from the limitations that forward how music might engage
contingently attachthe freeto
play our
of ow
judging.98 our imagination: the formal features of the piece
present us with material we can organize and re-
Kant's language in this passage indicates that there organize as we listen, for example, hearing strings
is something we can do to change how we judge a of notes as melody lines, hearing resolution from
work of art: through a reflective effort, we can try a minor to a major chord, holding temporally dis-
and step back from our own personal proclivities tant parts of the piece together, and so on. The
and look at the piece from a more impartial point real problem appears to arise when we ask how
of view. This appears to be a matter of choosing music can appeal to the understanding. Since mu-
to adopt one mindset over another." sic, Kant thinks, "speaks through mere sensations
However, this raises a second question: are we without concepts" and "does not . . . leave be-
ever in a position to know whether we are judging hind something for reflection," how could it ever
a piece to be beautiful or agreeable? This worry engage our understanding?102
about uncertainty is one that Allison, for exam- In the first place, it should be noted that the fact
ple, has emphasized: "Even though [Kant] does that music speaks without concepts is not necessar-
not say it in so many words, the clear implica- ily a problem within the Kantian framework. For,
tion of Kant's analysis is that we can never be on Kant's view, "that is beautiful which pleases
certain in any instance that we have made the cor- universally without a concept."103 That is to say,
rect subsumption, that is, that one's judgment is in pure judgments of taste, our judgment is not
based solely on the relation of the faculties in free grounded in a concept but in sharable pleasure,
play."100 It may be right that, on Kant's view, we that is, "universal satisfaction."104 Even so, there
are not able to know exactly what motivates us is nevertheless a difference between representa-
when we judge a work of art; however, I take this tional works of art, that is, works of art that repre-
to be a problem not particular to judgments of sent concepts we are familiar with, and music. For
taste, but rather to judgments about our motives. music, according to Kant, relies primarily on for-
For we find Kant raising a similar problem in the mally structured tones (sensations), not concepts,
Groundwork , where he argues that we cannot ever to communicate to us. However, even if the vehicle
be certain whether our motives for an action stem of communication is not conceptual, the content of
from duty or self-love: what is communicated, namely, an aesthetic idea,
still engages our understanding. For, as we saw
For at times it is indeed the case that with the acutest self- above, musical aesthetic ideas involve a "coherent
examination we find nothing whatsoever that- besides whole of an unutterable fullness of thought." So
the moral ground of duty- could have been powerful even if music does not speak through concepts, it,
enough to move us to this or that good action, . . . but nevertheless, presents us with a wealth of thought,
from this it cannot be inferred with certainty that the real in which case, music can stimulate our understand-
determining cause of the will was not actually a covert ing, and, thus, the worry that it cannot elicit free
impulse of self-love.101 play should be removed. And, once again, we find

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Matherne Kant's Expressive Theory of Music 139

that on Kant's view the emotive character of music Even still, one might worry that even if Kant
is not 'extra-aesthetic'; to the contrary, our ability is not committed to the view that music moves us
to experience free play and so make judgments of in the way specific to being stirred, nevertheless
taste about music depends upon our appreciation he would endorse the view that whatever affect is
of musical form as expressive of emotion. expressed will be aroused in the listener; for ex-
ample, if the music is sad, I will feel sad. A closer
look, however, reveals that Kant, in fact, offers us
V. KANT AND CONTEMPORARY THEORIES OF MUSICAL an alternative to such an arousal theory. To see
EXPRESSION this, we need to remind ourselves of the reflective
nature of judgments of the beautiful. As we saw
In this article, I tried to demonstrate, first, that
above, in
unlike judgments of the agreeable or good
spite of what seem like contradictions in thathis ac- desire, judgments of the beautiful are
count, Kant does have a coherent theory contemplative
of music. and involve reflection. And it is in
Second, I have argued that we can appreciate theof reflection that our cognitive capac-
this space
coherence of his view only if we recognize
ities are
thatable to engage in the free play, which,
expression is not ancillary but central to in turn,
his produces sharable pleasure in us. Apply-
By way of conclusion, I want to consider ingwhere
this to music, rather than claiming that mu-
sic merely arouses emotions in us, Kant should
Kant's views should be situated within contempo-
rary approaches to musical expression and say that
what our judgments of music involve reflec-
distinctive contribution he can make. Intion and the free play of our cognitive capacities.
lar, I want to discuss Kant's relation to three Indeed, he should say that when we experience
lar views of expression in music: the arousal music as beautiful, we fruitfully contemplate how
the persona projection view, and the resemblance an aesthetic idea of a dominant affect is expressed
view. through the formal properties of a piece. For ex-
Let us begin with the arousal theory, according ample, I can listen to Chopin's so-called "Sadness"
to which a piece of music expresses anÉtude emotion
in E major without myself feeling sad, but
only if that emotion is aroused in the listener.105 instead noticing how he uses the melody, harmony,
This is the view that has been most often attributed rhythm, dynamics, and so on, to convey this af-
to Kant.106 Kivy has been most explicit about this, fect. When we understand Kant's view in this light,
arguing that Kant uncritically buys into the vari- we find that far from endorsing the arousal the-
ety of the arousal theory popular in the eighteenth ory, Kant offers a compelling reflective alternative
century referred to as the ' Affektenlehre ': "It was to it.
natural, though regrettable, that Kant should ac- Another popular view I believe Kant would re-
quiesce in the old and familiar doctrine that music ject is what we could call the 'persona projection'
arouses the emotions through its representations theory, according to which we experience a piece
of the passionate accents of the human speak- of music as expressive of an emotion because we
ing voice."107 Yet it is not clear that Kant buys project a persona behind the piece who is express-
into this view wholesale. To be sure, Kant agrees ing that emotion.108 One of the main motivations
with other eighteenth-century thinkers who sug- for this theory is the claim that we take emotions
gest that music communicates emotions through to be something a being with a psychological state
tones. And, as we saw in our discussion of §14, expresses; for example, the sounds of your voice
he thinks it is possible for music to arouse a feel- express your delight or the bark of a dog expresses
ing of being stirred in us. However, we need not its fright. It has seemed to some natural to apply
read Kant as committed to the view that music this model of emotional expression to music, in
always arouses this emotion of being stirred. which
On case in order to experience music as ex-
his view, music expresses affects in general , that pressing an emotion, we must think that there is
is, both sthenic and asthenic affects. Given someone that (either the composer or some imaginary
being stirred is but one sthenic affect, therepersona) is a who is expressing herself through the
whole suite of other affects that could be at work music.

in a piece of music that need not stir us in the way I do not believe Kant would endorse such a
view. Recall that Kant claims music takes the lan-
Kant thinks is inappropriate in judgments of the
beautiful. guage of affects that normally underwrites our

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140 The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

conversations and "puts that language

distinctive kindinto prac-
of pleasur
tice for itself alone, in can
all share
itswith force."109
others. I take this
to mean that while ordinarily the oftones
Given the distinctiveness of
Kant's approach to our
speech express the affects
expressionwe feel,
in music the
on these two composer
fronts, it recom-
can bracket this, and, instead,
mends itself as a focus on tones
promising account, one that de- and
affects for their own sake. A scrutiny
serves closer composer, for
in the future. For now, exam-
ple, can explore how joy sounds
ever, perhaps it is enoughwithout
to simply suggest neces-
sarily having to explore
Kant what
may have hadhe or ofsomeone
a glimmer the sort of insight else
might be joyful about, Marcel
in which case,
Proust attributes to Swannwe need
in Swann's Way :not
see the rules of expression
"He knew that that ... thegovern
field open to the ordinary
speech as operating theis notsame a miserable way scale ofin sevenmusic.
notes, but an im-
The final theory I want measurable keyboard ... on which
to consider is the ... a few're-
semblance' theory.110 On this
the millions of keystheory,
of tenderness, music
of passion, ofcan
be expressive of emotionscourage, in virtue
of serenity of
. . . compose possessing
features that resemble how emotion is expressed
in ordinary contexts.111 SAMANTHA There MATHERNE are two dominant
versions of this theory.Philosophy
First,Department there is the behav-
ioral version, according University
to which of British music
Columbia resembles
the ordinary expression of BCemotion
Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z4 in virtue of
sharing behavioral features with it; for example,
the fast pace of someone who is angry can be mir-
rored in the fast pace of several notes.112 The sec-
ond speech-based, theory, by contrast, emphasizes
1 . The following formulation of the problem of expres-
that music expresses emotion by presentation
sion draws on the standard echoing certain
of it in Stephen
features of our expressive speech;
Davies, Musical Meaning and for example,
Expression (Cornell Univer- the
sity Press,
sadness in a lover's voice can 1994),
bep. x, and Themes in the Philosophy
echoed by of Music
the sad
tones of a violin.113 (Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 169; Peter Kivy, Sound
Sentiment: An Essay on Musical Emotions (Temple Univer-
On my reading, Kant's theory
sity Press, 1989), p. 6; and Saarnwould be best
Trivedi, "Expressiveness as
categorized as a speech-based
a Property of the Music resemblance
Itself," The Journal of Aesthetics the-
ory. However, I see Kant's view
and Art Criticism as
59 (2001): distinctive
411-420, at p. 411, and "Resem- on,
blance Theories,"
at least, two fronts. First, Kant in The Routledge
does Companion
notto think Philos- a
ophy and Music , ed. Theodore Gracyk and Andrew Kania
piece of music simply imitates tones and affects
(London and New York: Routledge, 2011), pp. 223-232, at
from ordinary speech;p. 223.
rather, he argues that in
a piece of music, familiar affects
2. In this article, and
I restrict my analysis to Westerntones
in- are
strumental music,
enriched with an aesthetic leaving aside non-
idea. As Western music, vocal says of
music, and music in nature (such as the song of a bird).
aesthetic ideas more generally, they can "aesthet-
3. Davies, Musical Meaning and Expression , p. x.
ically enlarge" and add "much that is unnamable"
4. In Section V, I return to contemporary solutions to
to what ordinary feature ofof expression
the problem our inworld more detail. is presented
through them.114 When 5. Seewe understand
Herbert M. music in
Schueller, "'Imitation' and 'Expres-
sion' in British
this light, we should be led to Music
thinkCriticism in the 18th Century,"
that, The
for Kant,
Musical Quarterly 34 (1948): 544-566; Peter Kivy, "Thomas
far from simply imitating emotions, a piece of mu-
Reid and the Expression Theory of Art," The Monist
sic can develop those emotions beyond
61 (1978): 167-183; Arno Forchert, their
"Vom 'Ausdruck der or-
dinary bounds. Second, Empfindung'
and in relatedly, Kant
der Musik," in Das musikalische Kunstwerk , offers
ed. Hermann
a compelling analysis of the Danuserphenomenology
(Laaber: Laaber Verlag 1988); and of
Jeanette Bicknell, "The Early Modern Period," in The Rout-
our experience of emotion in music. As we just
ledge Companion to Philosophy and Music, pp. 273-283. I
saw, he rejects the claim
turn to thethat
Affektenlehre our
in more detailonly
below. access to
emotion in music is through arousal.
6. References to Immanuel Kant, CritiqueButof the Kant
also eschews the view that our
Power of Judgment, experience
trans. Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews turns
on simply identifying(Cambridge
emotion. Press, 2002), are provided as sec-
Instead, our
tion numbers, followed by volume and page number
experience of emotion in music is a reflective one,
of the Akademie edition {Kants gesammelte Schriften ,
characterized by the free play
ed. Königlichen of[later
Preußischen our cognitive
Deutschen] Akademie ca-
pacities, and it is one that ultimately
der Wissenschaften [Berlin: Georg Reimer (later produces
Walter a

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Matherne Kanťs Expressive Theory of Music 141

De Gruyter), 1900]), followed by tion, page

accordingnumber in
to which there this
is no concept involved. See
translation. References to Kant, Critique Dieter Henrich,of "Kant's
Pure Explanation
Reason of ,Aesthetic Judg-
trans. Paul Guyer and Allen Wood (Cambridge
ment," University
in Aesthetic Judgment and the Moral Image of the
Press, 1998), are to the section number World: Studies
and in Kant
A and
B pagi-
University Press, 1992),
nation of the first and second editions. pp. 29-56; Donald W. Crawford, Kanťs Aesthetic Theory
All other references to Kant are to the volume and page (University of Wisconsin Press, 1974); Paul Guyer, Kant
of the Akademie edition (KGS) volume, as appropriate, asand the Claims of Taste (Cambridge University Press, 1979),
follows: GW (KGS 4): Groundwork of the Metaphysics ofchanged in 2nd ed. (1997); Hannah Ginsborg, "Lawful-
Morals , trans. Mary Gregor and rev. Jens Timmerman (Cam-ness without a Law: Kant on the Free Play of Imagina-
bridge University Press, 2012); MS (KGS 6): Metaphysics oftion and Understanding," Philosophical Topics 25 (1997):
Morals , in Practical Philosophy, trans. Mary Gregor (Cam- 37-81; Ralf Meerbote, "Reflection on Beauty," in Essays
bridge University Press, 1996); Anthro (KGS 7): Anthropol- in Kanťs Aesthetics, ed. Paul Guyer and Ted Cohen (Uni-
ogy from a Pragmatic Point of View , trans. Robert Louden versity of Chicago Press, 1982), pp. 55-86; and Rudolph
(Cambridge University Press, 2006); Opus Postumum (KGSMakkreel, Imagination and Interpretation in Kant (Univer-
22), trans. Eckhart Förster and Michael Rosen (Cambridgesity of Chicago Press, 1990). The multi-cognitive interpreta-
University Press, 1993). tion is also distinct from Guyer's 'metacognitive' approach,
7. Kant, KU §53, 5:328, p. 206. according to which we experience a feeling of unity that
8. Herbert Schueller, "Immanuel Kant and the Aes- " goes beyond anything required for or dictated by satis-
thetics of Music," The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criti- faction of the determinate concept ... on which the mere
cism 14 (1955): 218-247, at p. 224. He continues by saying, identification of the object depends" ("The Harmony of the
"The judgment of music must be something else if only be- Faculties Revisited," p. 99). I opt for the multi-cognitive in-
cause, like Plato, Kant held the emotions in low esteem" terpretation because I read Kant's analysis of free play in
(pp. 224-225). light of his discussion of aesthetic ideas (Kant, KU §49).
9. Peter Kivy, "Kant and the Affektenlehre : What He On Kant's view, aesthetic ideas are involved in anything we
Said, and What I Wish He Had Said," in The Fine Art of judge as beautiful: "Beauty (whether it be beauty of nature
Repetition: Essays in the Philosophy of Music (Cambridge or art) can in general be called the expression [Ausdruck]
University Press, 1993), pp. 250-264, at p. 252. of aesthetic ideas" (KU §51, 5:320, p. 197). I find particu-
10. Carl Dahlhaus, "Zu Kants Musikästhetik," Archiv larly instructive Kant's claims that aesthetic ideas are rep-
für Musikwissenschaft 10 (1953): 338-347, at p. 346, my trans- resentations that "occasion much thinking though without
lation. More recently, Hannah Ginsborg has presented the it being possible for any determinate thought, i.e., concept,
outline of a Kantian view of music built more on the basis to be adequate to [them]" (KU §49, 5:314, p. 192), "let one
think more than one can express in a concept determined by
of the Analytic of the Beautiful than his explicit character-
ization of music ("Kant," in The Routledge Companionwords" to (KU §49, 5:315, p. 193), and "really animate the mind
Philosophy and Music , pp. 328-338, at p. 337). by opening up for it the prospect of an immeasurable field
11. As Kant makes this point, "The judgment of taste is of related representations" (KU §49, 5:315, p. 193). These
therefore not a cognitive judgment, hence not a logical one,
passages indicate that rather than free play being prior to or
but is rather aesthetic, by which is understood one whose devoid of thought, it is in fact overflowing with it. To be sure,
determining ground cannot be other than subjective " (Kant,Kant emphasizes that in pure judgments of taste, we cannot
KU §1, 5:203, p. 89). allow a specific concept of how the object should be deter-
12. Kant, KU §3, 5:205, p. 91; KU §4, 5:207, p. 92. mine our relation to it; however, this does not preclude us
13. Kant, KU §2, 5:205, pp. 90-91. exploring multiple conceptual possibilities in the free play
14. Kant, KU §5, 5:209, p. 95. occasioned by the object.
15. Kant, KU §7, 5:212, p. 98 (my emphasis). Kant's 18. Kant, KU §21, 5:238, p. 123.
qualification that we speak of beauty "as if" it were a prop- 19. Though I cannot pursue this thorny topic here, in
erty of things is crucial, since he does not take beauty Kant,
to KU §§9, 21, and the Deduction (KU §38), Kant argues
actually be an objective property of things (see KU §§1,that 2, insofar as pleasure in the free play of our cognitive ca-
5:203-205, pp. 89-91). pacities is grounded in something we all share, then pleasure
16. Kant, KU §49, 5:316, p. 194. resulting from the free play of those capacities is something
17. In this regard, I am more sympathetic to what Paul we could all share as well.
Guyer has called a "multi-cognitive" approach to free play, 20. Of course, Kant suggests that this is a "purposive-
according to which there is an "indeterminate or open- ness without a purpose," by which he means the purposive-
ended manifold of concepts" involved ("The Harmony ness of we experience in the object is not mediated by a further
thought of an actual or objective purpose of the object (KU
the Faculties Revisited," in Values of Beauty: Historical Es-
says in Aesthetics [Cambridge University Press, 2005], pp. §§10-11, 5:219-221, pp. 105-106).
77-109, at p. 84). See also Gerhard Seel, "Über den Grund21. Kant, KU §11, 5:221, p. 106.
der Lust an schönen Gegenständen: Kritische Fragen an die 22. For a detailed analysis of what Kant means by a
Ästhetik Kants," in Kant: Anlysen- Probleme- Kritik, ed. "form of purposiveness," see Guyer, Kant and the Claims of
Hariolf Oberer and Gerhard Seel (Würzburg: Königshausen Taste, chap. 6, and Allison, Kanťs Theory of Taste, chap. 6.
and Neumann, 1988), pp. 317-356; Fred L. Rush Jr., "The Although in the ensuing paragraphs I explore the connec-
Harmony of the Faculties," Kant-Studien 92 (2001): 38-61; tion between the form of purposiveness and formal features
and Henry E. Allison, Kanťs Theory of Taste: A Readingofofa work of art, I take this to be but one aspect of Kant's
the Critique of Aesthetic Judgment (Cambridge University more complicated analysis of the form of purposiveness.
Press, 2001). This is opposed to the precognitive interpreta- 23. Kant, KU §14, 5:223, p. 108.

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142 The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

24. Kant, KU §14, 5:225, p.38.110. See Kant, Anthro §§73-88; KU §29, 5:272-274, pp.
25. Kant, KU §14, 5:225, p. 154-156; MS 6:407-408, and Immanuel Kant, "On Philoso-
26. Kant, KU §14, 5:225, phers'
p. Medicine
110. Kant
of the mentions
Body," in Kant's Latin Writings: har-
mony and melody at KU §53, Translations,
p. and Notes , trans.
206, and Mary Gre-
alludes to
gor, ed. Lewis
rhythm [Tact] in music at Anthro White Beck and
7:248, (New York: Peter Lang, 1986),
Reflexionen , ed.
pp. 228-243 (originally
Benno Erdmann (Leipzig: Fues's Verlag, published 1882),
1786). For a further
p. dis-
618 (KGS
cussion ofthat
15:266). Although it is not clear emotions inKant
Kant, see Maria
was Borges, "What Can
familiar with
the more modern conception KantofTeach form,
Us about Emotions?"
for The example,
Journal of Philoso- sonata
form, I agree with Kivy, who phy 101 (2004): 140-158, and
suggests "Physiology
that and Controlling
Kant's notion of
'composition' can accommodate of Affects in Kant's conception
this Philosophy," Kantian Reviewof13 (2008):
form: "If
composition in music is being 46-66. analogized to design in paint-
ing, then what Kant is referring 39. Kant, to Anthro
are 7:251.
the larger outlines of
musical form, sonata, theme-and-variations, 40. Kant, Anthro 7:270-271. rondo, and so
forth, even though he probably 41. Kant,hadAnthro no7:252; see also Anthro 7:267.
specific knowledge
of the particulars of musical forms, 42. Kant, KUand §29, 5:272
what n., p. 154 n.; Anthro
they are 7:251; MS
("Designs á la Grecque," in Antithetical 6:407. Arts: On the Ancient
Quarrel Between Literature and 43. Kant, Music
Anthro 7:252.[Oxford University
Press, 2009], pp. 29-52, at p. 43). 44. Kant, Anthro 7:252, translation modified.
27. Kant, KU §14, 5:225, p.45.110. Kant, Anthro 7:254.
28. Kant, KU §14, 5:224, p. 46. Kant,
108. Anthro By 7:254. 'sensation,' here,
Kant has in mind what he earlier 47. Kant, Anthro 7:355. See Johnas
defines Brown,
an Theobjective
sensation, that is, a sensation of Medicine,
thatVolume is of I (London:
a sensible
J. Johnson, 1788),quality
sections of
an object, for example, color, LXVI-LXVIII.
texture, Brown offers a system of
sound, anddiseases,so and on
his (KU
§3, 5:206, p. 92). principle of organization stems from the distinction between
29. As Kant makes this point, two kinds "the
of affectsquality
in our bodies. More
of specifically,
the sensa- he ar-
tions [for example, of green guesor thatthe
all diseases fall in one oftone]
violin's two categories:
cannoteither be
assumed to be in accord in all they subjects,
are the result of overexcitation,
and it that is, 'sthenic' easily
cannot af-
be assumed that the agreeableness fects, or the result of of a one
lack of excitation
color or debilitation,
in prefer-
ence to another or of the tone of one musical instrument that is, 'asthenic' affects. Although a publication of this text
in preference to another will be judged in the same waywasby not available in Germany until 1794, Brown's ideas
everyone" (Kant, KU §14, 5:224, p. 109). were already in circulation and it appears Kant was fa-
30. Kant, KU §14, 5:226, p. 111. miliar with them either by 1786 or 1788, for he employs
31. This is the sort of formalism attributed to the a 'Brunonian' analysis of affects in his lecture "On Philoso-
nineteenth-century philosopher of music, Eduard Hanslick phers' Medicine of the Body" (which has been traced to
(see Thomas Grey, "Hanslick," in The Routledge Compan- either one of these dates). In addition to citing Brown in
ion to Philosophy and Music , pp. 360-370). the Anthropology and the "Medicine" lecture, he discusses
32. Kant, KU §14, 5:226, p. Ill, translation modified.
Brown at MS 6:207; Opus Postumum 22:300, 407; and Re-
As he makes this point in the Analytic of the Sublime, "the p. 1539 (KGS 15:963). For more on the relation-
ship between
feeling [Gefühl] of a momentary inhibition of the vital pow- Kant and Brown, see Gregor's introduction to
ers and the immediately following and all the more pow-
the "Medicine" lecture {Kant's Latin Writings, pp. 217-225);
Factual Note 65 at the end of Opus Postumum (22:270-271);
erful outpouring of them; hence as being stirred [Rührung]
it seems to be not play but something serious" (KU and §23,
Susan Shell, The Embodiment of Reason (University
5:245, pp. 128-129, translation modified). See also ofAnthro
Chicago Press, 1996), p. 369, n. 65. For more on the in-
7:243: "The sublime is therefore not an object for taste, butof Brown in Germany, especially after Kant, see
Nelly Tsouyopoulos, "The Influence of John Brown's Ideas
rather an object for the feeling of being stirred [Rührung]"
(translation modified). in Germany," Medical History 32, Supplement 8 (1988):
63-74. to
33. According to Schueller, the 'art of colors' refers
"non-representation pieces as created by the color 48. Kant. Anthro 7:255-256.
. . . best known in Kant's day as emanating from the Abbé49. Kant, KU §29, 5:272, pp. 154-155.
Castel's color piano" ("Immanuel Kant and the Aesthetics 50. Insofar as being stirred involves a feeling of inhibi-
of Music," p. 218). tion followed by the outpouring of the vital force, it will ul-
34. Kant, KU §51, 5:320, p. 198. Kant, in fact, thinks
timately produce excitation and, therefore, is sthenic. How-
of the expression at stake here as the expressionever, of aes-
it should also be clear that being stirred by no means
thetic ideas (a topic we come to shortly): "The reader
exhaustsis all sthenic affects. Consider the phenomenological
to judge this only as an attempt to judge of the combina-
difference between being stirred and other sthenic affects,
tion of the beautiful arts under one principle, whichsuch as courage which involves "composure of the mind
in this
case is to be that of the expression of aesthetic ideas
to take (inon fear with reflection," hope which involves "the
accordance with the analogy of language)" (KU §51, 5:323,
unexpected offering of the prospect of immeasurable good
p. 200 n.). fortune," exuberant joy "which is tempered by no concern
35. Kant, KU §51, 5:320, p. 198. about pain," or feeling puzzled which involves the mind be-
36. Kant, KU §53, 5:328, pp. 205-206. ing "arouse[d] to collect itself for reflection" (Kant, Anthro
37. Kant, KU §53, 5:328, p. 206. 7:256, 255).

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Matherne Kanťs Expressive Theory of Music 143

51. Kant, Anthro 7:155. 65. Fricke, "Kant," p. 38.

52. Kant, KU §53, 5:328, p. 206, my 66. Kivy, "Designs á la Grecque," pp. 42, 41. See also
53. As Kant says rather suggestively Kivy, "Kantinand the Anthropol-
the Affektenlehre ," pp. 256, 262.
ogy , whereas an "experienced person" 67. Kivy, "Designs á la
might notGrecque,"
bep. easily
42. See also his ear-
astonished, surprised, or startled, "it lier
is claim:
proper"Insofar for
as [music]
art is expressive
[Kunst] [it is] an agree-
to represent the usual from a point able ofrather
view than athat
fine art"will
("Kant and the Affektenlehre
make it ,"
startling" (. Anthro 7:255). p. 259).
54. For more on this interpretation 68. Kant,
ofKU §51, 5:324, p. 201,ideas,
aesthetic and §16, 5:229, p. 114,
see Samantha Matherne, "The Inclusive Interpretation
respectively. This also conflicts with his claims ofthat music
Kant's Aesthetic Ideas," British Journal ofideas
expresses aesthetic Aesthetics
and that "beauty . . . 53can in general
(2013): 21-39. be called the expression of aesthetic ideas" (KU §51, 5:320,
55. For example, from a Kantianp. perspective,
197). we could
say the aesthetic idea behind Ernest69.Hemingway's
Kant, KU §54, 5:332, p. 209. Although
The Sun in the orig-
inal this section is representation
Also Rises (1926) is a complex, imaginative not labeled §54, it is preceded by §53
of the characters, the plot, what and it followed
means by § As such,
be I thewill follow
"lostthe practice of
generation," and so on, that he wants to the Remark asthrough
to present §54. the
words on the page. 70. Arden Reed, "The Debt of Disinterest: Kant's Cri-
56. Kant, KU §49, 5:314, p. 192. tique of Music," Modern Language Notes 95 (1980): 563-
57. Kant, KU §53, 5:329, p. 206. 584,
In atwhat
p. 569. Parret makes the same
follows, I claim
will about music's
describe the emotion expressed through music ("Kant on
in Music,"
fairlyp. 254). sim-
plistic terms; however, I see no reason 71. Kivy,
why "Kant and the would
Kant Affektenlehre not," p. 258. See
also Martinto
allow for the dominant affect of a piece Weatherston,
be quite "Kant'scomplex
Assessment of Music in
and difficult to articulate. the Critique of Judgment''' British Journal of Aesthetics 36
58. Kant, KU §53, 5:329, p. 206, my emphasis. As has (1996): 56-65, at p. 60; Ginsborg, "Kant," pp. 336-337.
been noted, Kant talks about the form of the piece not only 72. For an alternative analysis of Kant's low ranking
in terms of its composition but also in terms of the form of music, see Parret, "Kant on Music." As will become ap-
of vibrations in the air that result from instruments being parent, I disagree with Parret's claim that the tension is
played, for example, in KU §§14 and 51. I return to this generated by Kant's official doctrine of musical as beautiful
latter notion of form below. and unofficial doctrine of music as cathartic.
59. Christian Friedrich Michaelis, who was inspired by 73. Kant, KU §53, 5:329, p. 206.
Kant and Schiller, captures this view of expressive formalism 74. Kant, KU §53, 5:329, p. 206.
when he writes in On the Spirit of Music, with Respect to 75. Kant, KU §53, 5:329, p. 206: "The pictorial arts . . .
Kanťs Critique of Aesthetic Judgment (1800): " Composition conduct a business by bringing about a product that serves
is now, as it were, the form of a language, through which the concepts of the understanding as an enduring and self-
the aesthetic idea of the whole of an indescribable wealth recommending vehicle for its unification with sensibility and
of ideas is expressed in accordance with a specific theme thus
, as it were for promoting the urbanity of the higher
which dominates in the piece" (quoted by Christel Fricke, powers of cognition."
"Kant," in Music in German Philosophy: An Introduction , 76. Kant, KU §53, 5:328, p. 205.
ed. Stefan Lorenz Sorgner and Oliver Fiirbeth [University 77. Kant claims that "[music involves] only a transitory
of Chicago Press, 2010], pp. 27-46, at p. 42). For more on[impression]" and that these impressions tend to be "either
the relationship between Kant and Michaelis, see Hermanentirely extinguished, or if they are involuntarily recalled by
Parret, "Kant on Music and the Hierarchy of the Arts," The the imagination, are burdensome rather than agreeable to
Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (1998): 251-264, us" (KU §53, 5:330, p. 207).
at pp. 258-259. 78. Kant, KU §53, 5:329, p. 206.
60. This being said, it is important to note that Kant 79. He also criticizes music for a lack of 'urbanity' be-
does not require that we be able to explicitly identify thesecause it can impose itself on people who do not want to listen
formal structures; as he puts it, this mathematical form needto it (Kant, KU §53, 5:330, p. 207). Apparently, Kant found
"not [be] represented by determinate concepts" (Kant, KUit difficult to work when people in a nearby prison would
§53, 5:329, p. 206). So, even if you do not know what the keysing spirituals (KU §53, 5:330 n., p. 207 n.).
of B sounds like or what a rondo is, I take Kant's point to be 80. Kant, KU §53, 5:329, p. 206.
that you will be aurally sensitive to how emotion is expressed 81. Kivy, "Kant and the Affektenlehre ," p. 260. See also
through those forms of the piece, even if you do not or, pp. 258-260, 262-263, and Reed, "The Debt of Disinterest,"
perhaps, cannot reflectively represent these structures to p. 570; Weatherson, "Kant's Assessment of Music," p. 63;
yourself in a determinate fashion (for example, on a musicalGinsborg "Kant," pp. 336-337.
score, in conversation, and so on). 82. Kant, KU §54, 5:331, p. 207.
61. Schueller, "Immanuel Kant and the Aesthetics of 83. Kant, KU §54, 5:331 , 5:332, pp. 207, 208-209.
Music," p. 232. 84. "In the joke . . . since the understanding, in this
62. Schueller, "Immanuel Kant and the Aesthetics of presentation in which it does not find what was expected,
Music," p. 233. See also Kivy, "Kant and the Affektenlehre ," suddenly relaxes, one feels the effect of this relaxation in the
p. 259. body through the oscillation of the organs, which promotes
63. Kant, KU §53, 5:329, p. 206. the restoration of their balance and has a beneficial influence
64. See, by contrast, Guyer's claim that in virtue of hav- on health" (Kant, KU §54, 5:332, p. 209).
ing no concept, music is the paradigmatic case of free play 85. Kant, KU §54, 5:332, p. 208.
(Kant and the Claims of Taste , 2nd ed., p. 82). 86. Kant, KU §54, 5:332, p. 209.

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144 The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

100. Allison, Kant's Theory

87. Kivy, "Kant and the Affektenlehre ," of
259.p. 178.Parret,
101. GW
by contrast, praises this feature of 4:407.
Kant's account, heralding
it as Kant's "repressed official 102. doctrine"
Kant, KU §53, 5:328, p. 205.
(Parret, "Kant on
Music," pp. 256, 259). 103. Kant, KU §9, 5:219, p. 104.
88. Kant, KU §51, 5:324, p. 202. 104. "§6. The beautiful is that which, without concepts,
89. For an argument alongis these represented lines,as the object
see of a universal
Daniel satisfaction"
Observations on the Correspondence (Kant, KU §6, 5:211, p. 96). As KantPoetry
Between makes this pointand in
Music (New York: Garland, 1970; §16, "In originally
the judging of a free beauty (according
published 1769, to mere
German trans. 1771). Webb form) argues the judgmentthat of ittasteis only
is pure. a succes-
No concept of any end
sion of sounds, not a single sound, for which that the manifold canshould influenceserve the given how object
we and
feel: "No sound, therefore, thus can which act the as lattera should
single represent impression,
is presupposed, by
since we cannot have a feeling whichof the itimagination,
but in which is as it were at play of
consequence in theaob
succession of impressions" (p. servation
3). For of the this shape, wouldreason, merely be restricted"
Webb (Kant,
phasizes the role of movement KU §16, in5:229-230,
music. p. 114).
For a discussion of
Webb, see Edward Lippman, A 105. History
For example, see of AaronWesternRidley, Music, Value and
Aesthetics (University of Nebraska the PassionsPress, (Cornell University
1992), Press, pp. 1995); Derek Ma-
and Bicknell, "The Early Modern travers, ArtPeriod," and Emotion (Oxford: pp. 278-279. Clarendon Press, 1998)
90. Kant, KU §51, 5:324, p. Jenefer
202. Robinson, Deeper Than Reason: Emotion and Its
91 . Kant, KU §54, 5:330, p. Role207. in Literature, Music, and Art (Oxford: Clarendon
92. Kant, KU §44, 5:305, pp. 184-185.
Press, 2005); and Charles Nussbaum, The Musical Repre-
93. Kant, KU §51, 5:325, p. sentation:
202. Meaning, Kant Ontology, suggests and Emotion
that(MIT if Press
we apply Euler's theory of colors 2007). as vibrations of the air to
sound, we find that "tones are106. vibrations of the
Dahlhaus, "Zu Kants Musikästhetik," air
p. 346; Kivy, disturbed
by sound" (Kant, KU §14, 5:224, p. 109).
"Kant and the Affektenlehre"-, Kivy, "Designs á la Grecque";
94. Kant, KU §51, 5:325, p. Fricke,
202. "Kant," According
p. 38; Schueller, "Immanuel to Kant and the
Kant, the
"rapidity of the vibrations ... of
Aesthetics the
of Music," p. 233. air ... probably far
exceeds all our capacity for judging 107. Kivy, "Kant immediately
and the Affektenlehre ," p. 257. in See percep-
tion the proportion of the division also pp. 252-253, and of
Kivy, "Designs
time á la Grecque,"
... by p. 37. means of
them" (Kant, KU §51, 5:324-325). 108. See R. G. Collingwood, The Principles of Art
95. As Kant puts it, we could (Oxford: Clarendonconsider
Press, 1963); Jerrold"what
Levinson, "Mu- can be
said mathematically about the sical Expressiveness,"
proportion in The Pleasuresof of Aesthetics
the (Cor- oscillations
in music" (Kant, KU §51, 5:325, nell University
p. Press,
202). 1996), pp. 90-125, and "Musical
96. Kant, KU §14, 5:224, Expressiveness p. 109, my emphasis.
as Hearability-as-Expression," in Contem- There
is some debate about how to porary Debates in Aesthetics and
translate thisthe Philosophy
passage,of Art , for he
includes a parenthetical remark ed. Matthew Kieran
at (Oxford:
the Blackwell,
end 2006), pp. 192-
qualifying the
claim that we can perceive the 204; Jenefer
form Robinson, in"Can Music
the Function as a Metaphor
combination of
different representations. In of Emotional
the Life?" first in Philosophers
and on Music:
second Experience, editions,
the text reads, "I very muchMeaning, doubt" and Work , (this
ed. Kathleen Stock
claim (Oxford University
about form),
and in the third edition, it reads, Press, 2007), pp. "about
149-177; and Jenefer
which Robinson, "Expres-
I have very
little doubt." Kivy argues that sion Theories,"
we should in The Routledgeaccept
Companion to Philosophy
the first and
second editions as the canonical text because he reads the and Music , pp. 201-211.
'form' at stake here to be the form of the vibrations in the 109. Kant, KU §53, 5:328, p. 206.
air, which it seems we most likely cannot perceive ("Designs 110. Also called the 'contour' and 'appearance' theory.
á la Grecque," pp. 45-46). I, however, take the form to be See Davies, Musical Meaning and Expression (2003), and
at stake in this passage to be the mathematical form of the Stephen Davies, "Artistic Expression and the Hard Case of
musical piece, which as our discussion of §53 revealed, is Pure Music," in Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics , pp.
something we are sensitive to in our judgments of beauty 179-191. See also Kivy, Sound Sentiment ; he has subse-
in music. Weatherston, for one, has denied that Kant thinks quently eschewed this view ( Introduction to a Philosophy
we can grasp mathematical form ("Kant's Assessment ofof Music [Oxford: Clarendon, 2002]). For criticism of this
Music"). However, on my reading, it is the form of vibrations view, see Roger Scruton, The Aesthetics of Music (Oxford:
in the air that we cannot grasp, not the mathematical formClarendon Press, 1997), pp. 146-148.
of the piece, even if we cannot fully articulate it to ourselves 111. For these theorists, it is important to draw a distinc-
(Kant, KU §53, 5:329, p. 206). tion between something expressing an emotion and some-
97. Kant, KU §14, 5:224, p. 109, my emphasis. thing being expressive of an emotion. Whereas a persona-
98. Kant, KU §40, 5:293-294, pp. 173-174. In this pas- projection theorist assumes music can express an emotion
sage, Kant is discussing the sensus communis, which I cannotonly if there is some persona who is expressing it, resem-
pursue further here. blance theorists argue that it is possible for something to be
99. Admittedly, there might be cases in which we are expressive of an emotion even if there is no one who is ac-
simply unable to make this choice. If, for example, your tually doing the expressing. (See, for example, Kivy, Sound
liking for an artist or a style is so entrenched that you areSentiment, chap. 2.) Just as we can see a 'weeping willow'
simply unable to divorce yourself from it, you may not be without taking the willow to actually be sad, so too can we
able to adopt the mindset required to judge something ashear a piece of music to be sad without presupposing there
beautiful. is someone who is expressing that sadness.

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Matherne Kant's Expressive Theory of Music 145

a talent
112. For example, see Davies, Musical for art,
Meaning and[genius]
Ex- presupposes a
pression , and Kivy, Sound Sentiment. cept of the product, as an end" (Kan
p. 195).
113. This is a core thesis of the Affektenlehre .
114. Kant, KU §49, 5:315, 5:316, 115.
pp. Marcel Proust,194.
193, Swann's Way
While, trans. Lydia Davis
(New York:
in these passages Kant claims that Penguin Books,
aesthetic 2002), pp.con-
ideas 362-363. I would
tribute to an enlargement of the like to thank Karl at
concept Ameriks, John A. Fisher,
stake, he Pierre
is Keller,
Lara Ostaric,
using the term 'concept' in a broad sense Peterto
Thielke, Joseph Tinguely,
refer not Clinton
to Tolley,
Reed Winegar,but
a representation of the understanding, Melissa to
Zinkin, and two
the anonymous referees
the artist wants to bring about through
for helpful feedbackthe piece: "As
on this article.

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