Inherited from Romantic metaphysics, the musical ineffable is a contested category; denoting something in musical experience that largely escapes verbal articulation, it also leads to diverse philosophical assessments of its validity as an analytic category. Its contested status, however, can be given clearer, historically embedded contours if it is related to Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic register of the Real across historically changing modes of media-technological reproducibility. This connection gives us new insights into the interface between sensuous immediacy, verbal articulation, and sonic media characteristic of the auditory imagination.
The Musical Ineffable Revisited: Hermeneutics, Psychoanalysis, and Media-Technological Reproducibility
Rolf J. Goebel is distinguished professor of German, emeritus, at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. His current research areas include intersections among music, philosophy, and literary aesthetics. His most recent monograph is Klang im Zeitalter technischer Medien: Eine Einführung (2017).
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Rolf J. Goebel; The Musical Ineffable Revisited: Hermeneutics, Psychoanalysis, and Media-Technological Reproducibility. Journal of Musicology 1 October 2021; 38 (4): 419–435. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jm.2021.38.4.419
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