Ineffabilities of Making Music: An Exploratory Study

in Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
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Some facets of making music are explored by combining arguments of Raffman's cognitivist explanation of ineffability with Merleau-Ponty's view of embodied perception. Behnke's approach to a phenomenology of playing a musical instrument serves as a further source. Focusing on the skilled performer-listener, several types of ineffable knowledge of performing music are identified: gesture feeling ineffability—the performer's sensorimotor knowledge of the gestures necessary to produce instrumental sounds is not exhaustively communicable via language; gesture nuance ineffability—the performer is aware of nuances of instrumental gestures, e.g., micro-variations of intensity or duration of musical gestures, but cannot perceptually, and consequently conceptually, categorize those fine-grained variations; and ineffabilities of inter-subjectivity—the non-verbal interaction between performers that makes a performance a vibrant dialogue is similarly incommunicable. An attempt to identify some of the ineffable dimensions of this dialogue is proposed. Further ineffabilities relating the acoustical embedding of performing are identified.

Ineffabilities of Making Music: An Exploratory Study

in Journal of Phenomenological Psychology

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