Music Psychology  book cover
1st Edition

Music Psychology

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 15, 2022
ISBN 9781138234093
March 15, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
360 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The first edition of Ernst Kurth’s Musikpsychologie appeared in 1931, and was regarded as no less than the foundation for a new ‘systematic’ music psychology (Wellek 1933). Time has hardly diminished Kurth’s standing as an original scholar with a distinctive point of view. Music theorists, both in Europe and North America, regard him as an important figure in the history of music theory. Tan and Neidhöfer’s first full translation provides English-speaking theorists the opportunity to delve deeper into his ideas. Indeed, Kurth’s concerns – listening habits and habituation, metaphorical language, the limits of memory, and the role of the body in music experience, to name a few – are shared by many in the field today, especially scholars who work at the intersections of music theory, psychology, linguistics, and related disciplines. And while Kurth’s approach lacks the scientific rigour of modern-day empirical musicology, Musikpsychologie nevertheless presents a source of testable hypotheses for those working in the area of music perception and cognition. This translation of Musikpsychologie has the potential to inspire a new generation of composers, especially through the topics in the second section (energy, force, space, and matter) and, given the inherently interdisciplinary nature of this book and the number of philosophical and scientific sources Kurth incorporates, it will appeal to those interested in the history of science and particularly in the emergence of psychology as an academic discipline in the early twentieth century.

Table of Contents


Section 1. Tone Psychology and Music Psychology

Chapter 1. Initial consideration: the phenomenon of tone

Chapter 2. The structure of the experiences of tone

Chapter 3. Areas and boundaries of music psychology


Section 2. Force, Space, Matter

Chapter 1. Energy from a psychological perspective

Chapter 2. The problem of the image of motion [Bewegungsbild]

Chapter 3. Psychic and physical energy

Chapter 4. The musical phenomenon of space

Chapter 5. The matter-illusion


Section 3. Phenomenal Forms of Sonic Material

Chapter 1. Harmony [Zusammenklang]

Chapter 2. The Dynamism of Sound

Chapter 3. Chordal Motion


Section 4. Phenomenal Forms of Movement

Chapter 1. On the psychology of the concept of form

Chapter 2. Basic psychic functions in melodic formation

Chapter 3. Rhythmic continuous forms


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Ernst Kurth (1 June 1886, in Vienna – 2 August 1946, in Bern) was a Swiss music theorist of Austrian origin.