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Description "J. His ideas on the art and about the art are fertile, inexhaustible. This graceful translation remedies both those failings by bringing together the Essay, which John T. Scott says"most clearly displays the juncture between Rousseau's musical theory and his major philosophical works," with a comprehensive selection of the musical writings.

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Many of the latter are responses to authors like Rameau, Grimm, and Raynal, and a unique feature of this edition is the inclusion of writings by these authors to help establish the historical and ideological contexts of Rousseau's writings and the intellectual exchanges of which they are a part. With an introduction that provides historical background, traces the development of Rousseau's musical theory, and shows that these writings are not an isolated part of his oeuvre but instead are animated by the same"system," this volume fashions a much-needed portal through which literary scholars, musicologists, historians, and political theorists can enter into an important but hitherto overlooked chamber of Rousseau's vast intellectual palace.

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Emile Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The Law of the United Nations. Review quote "The volume shows that his work on music is not a by-way but belongs to the mainstream of his thought. For Rousseau, the volume shows, music is inseparable from the distinctive expressions of different human cultures and gives voice to the moral passions of the people. A brief but informative survey of the writings provides an excellent introduction to the substance of the volume Invaluable to all serious students of Rousseau.

Rating details. For Knepler, both language and music contain cognitive and emotive elements but each places greater weight on one of these two elements. Even if music communicates primarily by means of emotive sign systems, Knepler insists that its development and meaning is intrinsically connected with the external world and with rational thinking. It is possible, he maintains, to grasp the one and the same event by two distinct modes of thinking and action: a cognitive-rational and emotional-aesthetic. This is shown, for instance, in ancient poems that celebrate a successful hunting.

Knepler hypothesized that the very act of writing such poems—under primitive conditions—must have necessitated a great effort and time investment and therefore had its rational justification.

This reality was shaped not only by the forces of nature, but also by his own actions. The new experiences and challenges necessitated, in turn, new forms of articulation. In this historical stage, language evolved as a medium for the communication of complex cognitive processes. In order to achieve this aim, it had to shed itself of the unnecessary repetitions and lavish movements of musical expression.

The concept of labour was bound to have special meaning for materialist thinkers such as Knepler. Labour is a central category in the writings of Marx and Engels and the key, in their view, for the understanding of human history. Some form of acoustic communication, he argued, existed before the Homo sapiens had walked the earth and therefore preceded human labour. Knepler stressed the importance of physical work and cooperation in generating new social formations through the use of tools.

In the dialectical scenario he sketched, acoustic communication was connected with new psychological needs resulting from changes in society and in material conditions through human activities. The importance Knepler placed on the category of labour discloses another dimension that distinguishes his Marxism from neo-Marxist cultural analyses, a dimension that is connected with his understanding of realism in music.

Hypothesis and Theory ARTICLE

Adorno, as is well known, was openly hostile towards music reminiscent of physical activity such as jazz. This antagonism was extended to any form of incidental music whose real function, he believed, was to provide a conforming distraction in the wake of late capitalism and the cultural industry. His understanding of music as a form of communication enunciates, by definition, its functionality within the context of objective social and economic relations. Viewed from this perspective, one may argue that detaching music from the reality of concrete social function, as Adorno does, is tantamount to denying that music responds to the need of man as a species.

Since acting in the world, ideally in a beneficial way, is not a matter of choice but a necessity, Knepler was interested in revealing the primordial conditions that made aesthetic distinctions possible in the first place. There is, he argued, a specifically human need that allows for specifically human forms of satisfaction.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel had done so already in his lectures and writings on aesthetics. It is striking, however, that one of his very few references to music in a philosophical text concerns not its ideological character but rather its anthropogenic significance. Musical listening, in this view, is a specifically human mode of perception that evolved, together with the rest of the senses, in the process of becoming human. He endorsed the notion that the ability of a musical system to function as a medium of collective experience depends on a system of signifier-signified relations, which, in turn, are also products of social circumstances; certain forms of music are considered appropriate for some occasions such as festive events , while other forms are excluded as inappropriate.

On this general level, his program of a new kind of music scholarship resembles the assumptions underlying the work of New Musicologists during the s. But Knepler, as we saw, was quite critical of the attempt to deal with music in purely historical terms.

Moreover, as an advocate of a historical-materialist conception of progress, he objected to the relativist ideas and philosophies associated with postmodernism. The latter were fundamental to the development of more recent models of critical musicology.

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As Anne C. Shreffler noted, New Musicology was informed by the critical theories coming from France rather than Germany. As several scholars have noted, classical music was appropriated in the GDR as an element of the German humanist heritage. Knepler not only endorsed this line of thought but in fact enhanced it.

A good example of this is his high opinion of Gustav Mahler for his apparent sympathy for the proletariat or, alternatively, his positive appraisal of the early revolutionary Richard Wagner. In his studies of music history and aesthetics, Knepler both followed and modified this thread. His ideas, which resonated with the language of Soviet cultural functionaries, were almost indispensable for anyone in East Germany writing on the arts and aesthetics, including Knepler.

Translated into the practice of musical composition, this meant two things: first, broad accessibility and, second, the writing of program and vocal music with socialist revolutionary content. This goal was important to Knepler not only as a music scholar but also as an exponent of Marxism as a universal science. At the same time, he was equally critical of the neo-Marxist and post-structuralist models that later exerted their influence on New Musicology.

His ideas are best understood in view of nineteenth-century historical materialism and some of the threads of cybernetics and modernized Marxism of the GDR. For Knepler, Marxism meant, in the first place, a scientific worldview that involved recognizing the evolutionary and anthropological foundations that made music an effective system of aesthetic communication.

On this basis, he hoped to attain a holistic viewpoint on the overall development of music that would match his definition of art as a composite of biological, aesthetic and historical factors. This by no means renders his basic approach obsolete. As a matter of fact, the time has never been more appropriate for reconsideration of his work, and not only because of the growing interest in the music history of the GDR.

His concern with anthropology and anthropogenesis resonates with some recent projects and new fields of inquiry within cultural musicology. The essay is part of a larger research project dealing with music and aesthetic culture in the German Democratic Republic.

I am grateful to the Royal Society and the British Academy for their generous support of the project in years in my capacity as a Newton International Fellow at the University of Cambridge. I would like to thank Nicholas Cook for his support and mentoring of the project. I also would like to express my gratitude to John Knepler for reading and commenting on the essay and for providing me with photos of his father. The essay is dedicated to the memory of Christian Kaden who first introduced me to the work and ideas of Georg Knepler.

All translations in this essay are mine unless otherwise indicated. Version: 1. Abstract The Viennese-born musicologist Georg Knepler was one of the most important music scholars of the twentieth-century. According to Plekhanov, The sense of beauty is inherent to human beings as much as to many animals. But [the question] of which things and phenomena create this pleasure depends on the conditions under which they [i.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The human nature is such that it can possess aesthetic feelings and concepts. The surrounding conditions bring in its wake the transition from this possibility to reality; this explains why a certain social human being i. In this context, he opposes the uncritical appropriation of biological concepts typical of positivist musicology for dissociating music from its real social and natural sources: Music is indeed not a product of nature but a social [product]. However, one of its roots reaches back to the natural history of man and it [also] possesses biological components.