What do we hear when we hear music?

Studia Phaenomenologica 9:269-286 (2009)
Abstract
In this contribution I want to sketch a phenomenology of music, expounding and expanding the philosophy of Michel Henry. In the work of Henry, several approaches to a phenomenology of music are made. The central question of the contribution is: “What do we hear when we hear music?” It is argued that there is an unbridgeable divide between the intentional sphere of the world and its sounds and what in Henry’s philosophy is understood as Life. Music is the language of Life itself and cannot be merely considered a composition of sound. Music does not imitate nor even represent the world, but is the inner movement of life itself. In this respect, Henry is close to Schopenhauer’s view on music, in which the Will is sharply contrasted to representation. However Schopenhauer’s thought needs a phenomenological elaboration in order to understand music as an immediate experience. In the article, music is compared to painting, since this is a recurring methodological theme in Henry’s thoughts on music
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