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P.S. Gurevich, E.G. Rudneva Music and ideas

Published in journal "PHILHARMONICA. International Music Journal", 2014-1 in rubric "Philosophy of Music", pages 26-33.

Resume: Almost half a century ago in Germany there appeared a book by Ulrich Dibelius. He put to the readers a number of polemically sharp questions. One of them is formulated as follows: is music composed of sounds or ideas? The author criticizes philosophers and aesthetic writers who, turning to music, try to hear in it an echo of social conflicts, political manifestos, modern mentality and illusions. The book was written in the mid-1960s, when a suspicious attitude to ideology was widespread among western writers. But now there questions remain topical, too. The authors of the article note that it would be naïve to dispute about Dibelius quite trivial idea that music is the art of sound. Certainly, far from always can we find a clear relation between music and topical political and social ideas, a realistic representation of reality. Beyond that, the article gives a wider rationale of the theme of correlation between music and ideas. The historical method is employed to compare interpretation of this problem half a century ago and nowadays. Phenomenological analysis of the problem is offered. The hermeneutic method is used to analyze a number of musical compositions. A new approach to the problem deals with dependence of music on the time period that produced it and the possibility to reexamine it under new social conditions. There should be no simplifications here. We remember that the ideologists of the Third Reich attempted to use works of Wagner and Beethoven for their anti-humanistic purposes. But this fact can also convince us that music, its place and role in society cannot be ideologically neutral, indifferent to real social dynamics, to alignment of opposing social forces.

Keywords: music, ideas, ideology, art, values, social conflicts, philosophy, ideals, worldview, tragedy

DOI: 10.7256/.2014.1.12189

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