Emotion in the German Lutheran Baroque and the development of subjective time consciousness

Butt, J. (2010) Emotion in the German Lutheran Baroque and the development of subjective time consciousness. Music Analysis, 29(1-3), pp. 19-36. (doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2249.2011.00325.x)

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This study examines some of the ways in which it was possible to understand emotion in Lutheran church music of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It suggests that emotion related to music more through association and contextual factors than through a fixed relationship, thus explaining the ways in which musical passages and techniques could be taken from a secular context to serve a sacred purpose. With these factors in mind, it is possible to suggest ways in which a listener's likely emotional association with music can be harnessed through particular compositional procedures. Schütz's setting of part of the Song of Songs may well engage with the listener's consciousness over time, stretching it and reinforcing the ‘useful’ emotional associations that the sacred context might bring. The opening aria of Bach's cantata ‘Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen’ achieves something similar over a longer span and with greater emotional intensity. Here there is the added sense of the believer finding, losing and then rediscovering the object of spiritual adoration. The music thus implies the potential alienation of the listener, something both supported and overcome through the very structuring of the music. Its repetitive ritornello process is sometimes hidden but always latent, thus playing on the potential for subconscious recognition. Together, these two examples suggest that music can be used as a powerful demonstration of the historical development of modern forms of consciousness as related to emotional states over time.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Butt, Professor John
Authors: Butt, J.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Music
Journal Name:Music Analysis
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1468-2249
Published Online:27 October 2011
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2010 Blackwell
First Published:First published in Music Analysis 29(1-3):19-36
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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