Bach and the dance of humankind

Butt, J. (2020) Bach and the dance of humankind. In: Caddy, D. and Clark, M. (eds.) Musicology and Dance: Historical and Critical Perspectives. Cambridge University Press: New York, pp. 19-48. ISBN 9781108476188 (doi:10.1017/9781108567947.002)

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John Butt raises questions about J. S. Bach and his relationship to dance. As Butt describes it, the standard musicological way of thinking about Bach and his music turns on ideas of compositional authority and control, aesthetic abstraction and religiosity, and a music-stylistic complexity that betrays the composer engaged in intricate motivic working-out. Butt steers away from the mental or cerebral sphere towards the physical, the material and the bodily. Drawing on the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty, he ponders the applicability of the notion of embodiment to Bach’s music, not only to pieces labelled ‘bourée’ or ‘gigue’, but also to music with more oblique dance associations. His chapter suggests that there is no mental sphere without the physical, no music without dance.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Butt, Professor John
Authors: Butt, J.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Music
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Published Online:09 September 2020
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