Music and the Ineffable

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9780691090474: Music and the Ineffable

Vladimir Jankélévitch left behind a remarkable œuvre steeped as much in philosophy as in music. His writings on moral quandaries reflect a lifelong devotion to music and performance, and, as a counterpoint, he wrote on music aesthetics and on modernist composers such as Fauré, Debussy, and Ravel. Music and the Ineffable brings together these two threads, the philosophical and the musical, as an extraordinary quintessence of his thought. Jankélévitch deals with classical issues in the philosophy of music, including metaphysics and ontology. These are a point of departure for a sustained examination and dismantling of the idea of musical hermeneutics in its conventional sense.


Music, Jankélévitch argues, is not a hieroglyph, not a language or sign system; nor does it express emotions, depict landscapes or cultures, or narrate. On the other hand, music cannot be imprisoned within the icy, morbid notion of pure structure or autonomous discourse. Yet if musical works are not a cipher awaiting the decoder, music is nonetheless entwined with human experience, and with the physical, material reality of music in performance. Music is "ineffable," as Jankélévitch puts it, because it cannot be pinned down, and has a capacity to engender limitless resonance in several domains. Jankélévitch's singular work on music was central to such figures as Roland Barthes and Catherine Clément, and the complex textures and rhythms of his lyrical prose sound a unique note, until recently seldom heard outside the francophone world.

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From the Back Cover:

"Imagine! A philosopher who meditates on listening to music, not its ontology; who does not cast composers as heroes and villains; who does not expect music to prophesy the future, or tell us how to live, or solve our political problems; who is allergic to gassy Teutonic grandiloquence (indeed, to Germans tout court). Welcome the anti-Adorno; he has been too long coming to English. And thank Carolyn Abbate for bringing him to us in such excellent shape."--Richard Taruskin, Class of 1955 Professor of Music, University of California, Berkeley

About the Author:

Vladimir Jankélévitch (1903-1985), a critical figure in twentieth-century French philosophy, held the Chair in Moral Philosophy at the Sorbonne from 1951 to 1978. He was the author of more than twenty books on philosophy, as well as a number of books on music. Carolyn Abbate is Professor of Music at Princeton University. She is the author of In Search of Opera (Princeton) and the translator of Jean-Jaques Nattiez's Music and Discourse.

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Vladimir Jankelevitch
Published by Princeton University Press, United States (2003)
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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2003. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Vladimir Jankelevitch left behind a remarkable ?uvre steeped as much in philosophy as in music. His writings on moral quandaries reflect a lifelong devotion to music and performance, and, as a counterpoint, he wrote on music aesthetics and on modernist composers such as Faure, Debussy, and Ravel. Music and the Ineffable brings together these two threads, the philosophical and the musical, as an extraordinary quintessence of his thought. Jankelevitch deals with classical issues in the philosophy of music, including metaphysics and ontology. These are a point of departure for a sustained examination and dismantling of the idea of musical hermeneutics in its conventional sense. Music, Jankelevitch argues, is not a hieroglyph, not a language or sign system; nor does it express emotions, depict landscapes or cultures, or narrate. On the other hand, music cannot be imprisoned within the icy, morbid notion of pure structure or autonomous discourse. Yet if musical works are not a cipher awaiting the decoder, music is nonetheless entwined with human experience, and with the physical, material reality of music in performance. Music is ineffable, as Jankelevitch puts it, because it cannot be pinned down, and has a capacity to engender limitless resonance in several domains. Jankelevitch s singular work on music was central to such figures as Roland Barthes and Catherine Clement, and the complex textures and rhythms of his lyrical prose sound a unique note, until recently seldom heard outside the francophone world. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780691090474

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Vladimir Jankelevitch
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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2003. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Vladimir Jankelevitch left behind a remarkable ?uvre steeped as much in philosophy as in music. His writings on moral quandaries reflect a lifelong devotion to music and performance, and, as a counterpoint, he wrote on music aesthetics and on modernist composers such as Faure, Debussy, and Ravel. Music and the Ineffable brings together these two threads, the philosophical and the musical, as an extraordinary quintessence of his thought. Jankelevitch deals with classical issues in the philosophy of music, including metaphysics and ontology. These are a point of departure for a sustained examination and dismantling of the idea of musical hermeneutics in its conventional sense. Music, Jankelevitch argues, is not a hieroglyph, not a language or sign system; nor does it express emotions, depict landscapes or cultures, or narrate. On the other hand, music cannot be imprisoned within the icy, morbid notion of pure structure or autonomous discourse. Yet if musical works are not a cipher awaiting the decoder, music is nonetheless entwined with human experience, and with the physical, material reality of music in performance. Music is ineffable, as Jankelevitch puts it, because it cannot be pinned down, and has a capacity to engender limitless resonance in several domains. Jankelevitch s singular work on music was central to such figures as Roland Barthes and Catherine Clement, and the complex textures and rhythms of his lyrical prose sound a unique note, until recently seldom heard outside the francophone world. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780691090474

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Vladimir Jankélévitch (author), Carolyn Abbate (translator)
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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2003. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Vladimir Jankelevitch left behind a remarkable ?uvre steeped as much in philosophy as in music. His writings on moral quandaries reflect a lifelong devotion to music and performance, and, as a counterpoint, he wrote on music aesthetics and on modernist composers such as Faure, Debussy, and Ravel. Music and the Ineffable brings together these two threads, the philosophical and the musical, as an extraordinary quintessence of his thought. Jankelevitch deals with classical issues in the philosophy of music, including metaphysics and ontology. These are a point of departure for a sustained examination and dismantling of the idea of musical hermeneutics in its conventional sense. Music, Jankelevitch argues, is not a hieroglyph, not a language or sign system; nor does it express emotions, depict landscapes or cultures, or narrate. On the other hand, music cannot be imprisoned within the icy, morbid notion of pure structure or autonomous discourse. Yet if musical works are not a cipher awaiting the decoder, music is nonetheless entwined with human experience, and with the physical, material reality of music in performance. Music is ineffable, as Jankelevitch puts it, because it cannot be pinned down, and has a capacity to engender limitless resonance in several domains. Jankelevitch s singular work on music was central to such figures as Roland Barthes and Catherine Clement, and the complex textures and rhythms of his lyrical prose sound a unique note, until recently seldom heard outside the francophone world. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780691090474

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