Thoughts on philoSOPHIA 2011: #1, Music and Affect
Cynthia Willett’s paper continually drew relationships between the affective and the musical. Her paper was primarily on affect, “affective attunement,” and cross-sensory perception/communication. However, she continually used musical language (e.g., tones and rhythms, attunement, etc.) to describe the phenomena she labeled “affective. This is really interesting to me because my current manuscript-in-process thinks about both music and affect as alternatives to the visual. I hadn’t thought about the possibility that we use musical terms to describe/theorize affect, but this is something I think I need to pursue. Perhaps because music is the one non-visual art form for which we have an extremely extensive technical vocabulary, we turn to it when trying to describe non-visual affective experiences? But why music and not dance or athletics or medicine—all of which more directly concern themselves with felt bodily experience?
The first part of my book discusses postcolonial theroists’, feminist theorists,’ and European political philosophers’ use of music as an example of embodied social inequality—but it doesn’t talk about “embodied social inequality” in terms of “affect theory” or the Rancierian “sensible”. What’s new about the new manuscript is precisely this framing of the issue as one of affect or sensibility. So I need to think not of sound on the one hand, and sensibility on the other, but how sound is used as a metaphor for or example of the sensible, and vice versa. (Deleuze seems like the obvious place to turn, at least in terms of European philosophy. But what about feminist/queer/critical race/poco work? If you all have any suggestions, I’d be really interested in what you recommend!).
Great to see that continental philosophy is also a matter of concern at the other side of the atlantic.
I think your interest touch very closely upon my current research focus, that is ‘new materialist’ musicology. It draws upon a.o. feminist, poststructuralist, Spinozist, and Deleuzian philosophies. For example Rosi Braidotti, Moira Gatens, Elizabeth Grosz, and others.
Concerning affect, in practicular, you might be interested to read Clare Hemmings ‘Invoking affect'(2005) as well as Brian Massumi’s Parables of the Virtual.
Besides that, you might find inspiration in “The Transversality of new materialism” an article by Iris van der Tuin and Rick Dolphijn (2010), which gives an excellent overview of the boundary crossing Deleuzian feminist/cultural scholarship that is going on under the name of new materialism.
Also Milla Tiainen’s “Corporeal voices,sexual differentiations” (2007) works with notions related to affect and bodily/musical intra-actions with socio-cultural constructions of difference.
Best wishes from Utrecht, the Netherlands,
p.s. very welcome to have a look at my blog: http://anonymousmusicologistsassociation.blogspot.com
Great suggestions in comment one. To these I would add Steven Shaviro’s The Cinematic Body, and Anahid Kassabian’s work on haptic and ubiquitos listening (some info for the latter here: http://blahfeme.typepad.com/blahfeme/2007/01/when_the_music_.html).
Thanks for the suggestions! I’ve been butting up against Massumi and Grosz for a while now, so I guess it’s time to dive in. Tiainen’s work sounds particularly interesting, so I’ll have to check it out. And, FyMi, you’re already on my blog reader 🙂
Music has a inspirational effect on each and every person. It can change the life of a non music lover also.