Formalism and Expressionism in the Aesthetics of European Music
AbstractFormalism can be defined as a conception which negates any possibility of expressing the contents which are outside the fields of music, by music. Expressionism can be defined as a conception which considers music capable of expressing definite contents outside the fields of music. Individual authors give very different definitions of the one and the other conception which range from extremism to an attempt to find a synthesis and a moderate solution. Radical formalism and expressionism cannot be justified simply by the irrefutable fact that there exists a pure and an expressive music. Expression is not to be attributed by generalisation to compositions which do not contain modes of expression. However, it must be recognised when and where it exists. Expressive music is not connected exclusively with romanticism though during this period it was developed to its greatest extent. The specific in music and its autonomy as an art on the aesthetic level was emphasized during the post-romantic period and corresponds to the growth of independence of music on a social level and its defunctionalisation. The term »form« denotes aesthetically formed musical elements; the term »musical form« describes the structure of the work. These terms have nothing in common with »formalism« which represents an aesthetic conception and attitude. A more exact differentiation between »programme« and »absolute« music is necessary. Programme music is a special kind of expressive music, while the term absolute music is not appropriate because »absolute« is considered as the opposite of »relative«. However, we cannot speak about relative music just as we can in no way consider it as absolute. Moreover pure music is an expression of creative personality from the onthological viewpoint and not from the phenomenal viewpoint. However, this premise depends on the composition being not merely an exercise nor must it have an artificial, cerebral, technical structure. A deeper analysis of musical works proves that the principles of form and expression do not conflict but on the contrary, they can coexist, as they did so successfully in Bach's works.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 1967 Ivo Supičić
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors are confirming that they are the authors of the submitting article, which will be published (print and online) in journal Musicological Annual by Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Aškerčeva 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia). Author’s name will be evident in the article in journal. All decisions regarding layout and distribution of the work are in hands of the publisher.
- Authors guarantee that the work is their own original creation and does not infringe any statutory or common-law copyright or any proprietary right of any third party. In case of claims by third parties, authors commit their self to defend the interests of the publisher, and shall cover any potential costs.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.