Pub Date2019
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Enacting Musical Time: On the Bodily Experience of New Music

Mariusz Kozak
Oxford University Press

What is musical time? Where is it manifested? How does it enter into our experience, and how do we capture it in our analyses? A compelling approach among works on temporality, phenomenology, and the ecologies of the new sound worlds, Enacting Musical Time argues that musical time is itself the site of the interaction between musical sounds and a situated, embodied listener, created by the moving bodies of participants engaged in musical activities. Author Mariusz Kozak describes musical time as something that emerges when the listener enacts her implicit knowledge about “how music goes,” from deliberate inactivity, to such simple actions as tapping her foot in time with the beat, to dancing in a way that engages her entire body.

Kozak explores this idea in the context of modernist and postmodernist musical styles, where composers create unfamiliar and idiosyncratic temporal experiences, blur the line between spectatorship and participation, and challenge conventional notions of form. Basing his discussion on the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty and on the ecological psychology of J. J. Gibson, Kozak examines different aspects of musical structure through the lens of embodied cognition and what phenomenologists call “lived time.” A bold new theory derived from an unprecedented fusion of research perspectives, Enacting Musical Time will engage scholars across a range of disciplines, from music theory, music cognition, cognitive science, continental philosophy, and social anthropology.