Music alone by Peter Kivy

Music alone by Peter Kivy Essay example
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To understand Kivy’s work, one has to understand the roots of his representational theory. The element of cognition lies in the fact that music paves way for the listener to view the world through the perspective of another individual.


Taking the example of sad music, it can be said that music is sad in its quality of having sadness as a solid property just like an egg has an oval shape and white color as apparent properties. This approach gives emotions a defined function. Hence, this essay tends to highlight how Kivy shows that music doesn’t arouse emotions rather it defines them i.e. what type of emotions does music make us experience. On pg 40-41, the stimulation model is not embraced by Kivy as it doesn’t account for the mental aspect of listening to music or relating to it. It can be understood from how Kivy illustrates though Tibby’s addiction and arousal. It is limited to arousal and feelings where as Kivy rightly believes that the mind is equally active while music listening. Arousal occurs like a sort of pleasure that is experienced with sugar or favorite foods or as Kivy says on p.40 “as drugs stimulate euphoria”. This does not answer the artistic or moral sense of suitability which makes it seem morally fitting that we hear serious music when serious while lighthearted music when lighthearted. If we look it through the perspective of Kivy, it is explained that the listeners and individuals say emotional utterances, such as "How amazing" or show movements like Mrs Munt taps her feet, but it is undoubtedly not these responses to music that the listeners are observing and analyzing in their minds. This does not occur “mindlessly”. These descriptions of music are cognitive but not emotive. For instance, a popular quote from Kivy is,
"Sadness is a quality of the music, not a power of the music to do things to the listener"
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