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Robinson, Jenefer. The expression and arousal of emotion in music
1994, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 52 (1):13-22.
Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir
Abstract: This essay is about the relation between the expression and the arousal of emotion by music. I am assuming that music frequently expresses emotional qualities and qualities of human personality such as sadness, nobility, aggressiveness, tenderness, and serenity. I am also assuming that music frequently affects us emotionally: it evokes or arouses emotions in us. My question is whether there is any connection between these two facts, whether, in particular, music ever expresses emotion by virtue of arousing emotion. Of course, what it means to say that music expresses emotion is a contentious issue and I shall not be directly addressing it here, although what I say will have implications for any theory of musical expression. Nor will I be examining all the possible contexts in which music can be said to arouse emotion. My focus in this essay will be narrower. The question I shall try to answer is this: Are the grounds on which we attribute the expression of emotion to music ever to be identified with the arousal of that same emotion in listeners?


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