Eduard Hanslick's On the Musically Beautiful: A New Translation

ISBN : 9780190698188

Lee Rothfarb; Christoph Landerer
216 Pages
140 x 210 mm
Pub date
Aug 2018
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Eduard Hanslick's On the Musically Beautiful (Vom Musikalisch-Schönen, 1854), written and published before the author turned 30, is a watershed document in the history of aesthetics, and of thought about music generally. It defines a boundary between a heteronomic view of music, which allows for external influences in a musical work, and an autonomic view, which focuses on music's internal properties and processes. Hanslick embraces the latter view as vigorously as he dismisses the former. The notion of "absolute music," which lies at the heart of the treatise, has been, and is now more than ever at the center of discussions about music generally, particularly that of the Classic and Romantic eras. This new translation, of the 10th edition (1902), includes three introductory essays offering new perspectives on Hanslick and his treatise: on its origins, publications and translation history; its central concepts; and its philosophical underpinnings. Additional features include footnoted annotations, which clarify various issues of vocabulary, translation, and historical context; a readers' guide, which suggests shorter and longer paths through the book, depending on readers' available time and level of interest; a glossary of the treatise's important terms and concepts; and an appendix, which translates parts of chapter one of the first edition that were radically changed in subsequent ones, and also the original ending of the treatise, which Hanslick excised in later editions. The book's ideas, cogently and often wittily expressed, are mandatory reading for anyone interested in eighteenth and nineteenth-century music and its cultural and intellectual background.


Translators' Preface
Introductory Essays
1. Origins, Publication, and Translation History of the Treatise
Christoph Landerer, Alexander Wilfing, Lee Rothfarb
2. Introduction to Hanslick's Central Concepts
Christoph Landerer, Lee Rothfarb
3. Philosophical Background
Christoph Landerer, Lee Rothfarb
Readers' Guide: Alternative Routes Through the Treatise
Lee Rothfarb, Christoph Landerer
On the Musically Beautiful, 10th edition
Chapter 1, The Aesthetics of Feeling
Chapter 2, The Representation of Feelings is not the Content of Music
Chapter 3, The Musically Beautiful
Chapter 4, Analysis of the Subjective Impression of Music
Chapter 5, Aesthetic Compared to Pathological Perception of Music
Chapter 6, The Relation of Music to Nature
Chapter 7, The Concepts Content and Form in Music
Appendix: Chapter 1, 1st edition (excerpt)
Chapter 7, 1st edition, conclusion
Contextualizing Commentary
Selected Sources for Further Reading

About the author: 

Lee Rothfarb is Professor of Music Theory at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of three books, including the 1989 winner of the Society for Music Theory's Outstanding Publication Award, Ernst Kurth as Theorist and Analyst (1988). The SMT has honored him with a Lifetime Membership in recognition of his founding its electronic journal, Music Theory Online, and serving as its first editor. Christoph Landerer is Project Staff and Principal Investigator at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and author of Eduard Hanslick und Bernard Bolzano (2004). His main work areas are Hanslick, Herbart, and Nietzsche.

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