1st Edition

Music Psychology

Edited By Daphne Tan, Ernst Kurth Copyright 2022
    306 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    306 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The first edition of Ernst Kurth’s Musikpsychologie appeared in 1931, and was regarded by contemporaneous psychologists as no less than the foundation for a new systematic approach to the perception and cognition of music. 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. Daphne Tan and Christoph 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 also 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 20th century.


    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



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