(2016) Human Studies 39 (4).

Rethinking the body and space in Alfred Schutz's phenomenology of music

Rhonda Siu

pp. 533-546

What is initially striking about Alfred Schutz's phenomenological account of the musical experience, which encompasses both the performance and reception of music, is his apparent dismissal of the corporeal and spatial aspects of that experience. The paper argues that this is largely a product of his wider understanding of temporality wherein the mind and time are privileged over the body and space, respectively. While acknowledging that Schutz's explicit or stated view is that the body and space are relatively insignificant to his account, the paper reveals how they actually feature significantly in the latter, but in ways that remain largely implicit. First, the analysis demonstrates that the mental and temporal aspects of Schutz's phenomenology of the musical experience cannot be considered independently of their interrelations with the equally important, albeit under-examined, corporeal, and spatial aspects. Concepts from Nietzsche's early aesthetics are recruited to fulfil this task. Second, the analysis challenges Schutz's dismissal of space in his theory of music perception. Lastly, it reveals the crucial, yet implicit, role of the body and space in his key examination of the intersubjective phenomenon he terms "making music together". By presenting the above arguments, the paper aims to draw out the implicit dimensions of Schutz's phenomenology of music and thereby enrich his influential account.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s10746-016-9399-z

Full citation:

Siu, R. (2016). Rethinking the body and space in Alfred Schutz's phenomenology of music. Human Studies 39 (4), pp. 533-546.

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