On Music and Memory through Μνήµη and Ἀνάµνησις

In: Research in Phenomenology
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  • 1 Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, and Duquesne University

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Memory plays an integral role in music listening and music performance. But what specific memory structures do we employ when we engage with music? Taking Aristotle’s De memoria et reminiscentia as principle guide, I aim to press upon a matter of central interest to the phenomenologist of music, focusing on the relation between memory proper [µνήµη] and recollection [ἀνάµνησις]. Drawing upon Physics IV and De anima III, I clarify a two-fold temporal structure—a structure comprised of sensation and flowing continuity—at work in the experience of remembering. Finally, I claim that music, through the ordered expression of its successive sensations, pertains directly to ἀνάµνησις but supports access to µνήµη, as well.

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