New Directions in Philosophy and Cognitive Science

A Phenomenology of Musical Absorption

Authors: Høffding, Simon

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  • Lays out the conditions and essential structures of musical absorption
  • Engages and challenges core ideas in phenomenology, philosophy of mind, enactivism, expertise studies, musical psychology, flow theory, aesthetics, dream and sleep studies, psychopathology and social ontology
  • Proposes a method that integrates phenomenology and cognitive science
  • Debunks the myth that experts cannot reflect while performing
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-00659-4
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Hardcover $109.99
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About this book

This book presents a detailed analysis of what it means to be absorbed in playing music. Based on interviews with one of the world’s leading classical ensembles, “The Danish String Quartet” (DSQ), it debunks the myth that experts cannot reflect while performing, but also shows that intense absorption is not something that can be achieved through will, intention, prediction or planning – it remains something individuals have to be receptive to. Based in the phenomenological tradition of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty as well as of Dan Zahavi and Shaun Gallagher, it lays out the conditions and essential structures of musical absorption. Employing the lived experience of the DSQ members, it also engages and challenges core ideas in phenomenology, philosophy of mind, enactivism, expertise studies, musical psychology, flow theory, aesthetics, dream and sleep studies, psychopathology and social ontology, and proposes a method that integrates phenomenology and cognitive science.

About the authors

Simon Høffding is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Musicology, University of Oslo, Norway. He obtained his PhD in 2015 at the Centre for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and has since held positions at the Interactive Minds Centre, University of Aarhus, and at the Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen. His interests span phenomenology, philosophy of mind, enactivism, music, self-awareness, bodily awareness, expertise, aesthetics and cross-disciplinary methodologies. His work has been published in Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Musicae Scientiae and Topoi as well as in The Oxford Handbook of Western Music and Philosophy.

Reviews

“Simon Høffding asks what it is like for elite musicians to play together. Examining skilled performance in all its fascinating and mysterious intensity, Høffding really listens to his informants, developing exciting novel methods for interdisciplinary research on expertise. In a precise analysis of the full range of experiences in performance, from frustration to euphoric joy, he offers rich and rigorous discussions of immersion and ‘flow’ experience, and a striking critique of existing accounts of skillful coping. This study of musical collaboration, powerfully integrating philosophy and cognitive theory, will appeal to all interested in music, aesthetics, and the psychology of performance.” (John Sutton, Professor of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)
“In this carefully crafted and insightful study, Høffding elegantly combines several disciplines in his quest to get to the heart of musical absorption. A valuable addition to the growing field of music and philosophy, the results are as fascinating as they are enlightening, and would be of interest to anyone seeking to explore the rich complexity of musical experience and the ways in which it is possible – and indeed desirable – to understand ourselves through it.” (Nanette Nielsen, Associate Professor, University of Oslo, Norway) 

“Høffding gives us an extremely rich account of musical performance, clarifying issues that pertain to phenomenology and expertise. This is a study conducted from the inside out – starting inside the masterful musical performances of the Danish String Quartet, explicated in a detailed set of interviews with the musicians. It’s an extensive exploration of the lived experiences of one of the finest musical groups performing today. Høffding brings the latest developments in phenomenology and cognitive science to bear on these issues, and creates one of the rare places where expertise in phenomenology meets expertise in musical performance – an overall performance not to be missed.” (Shaun Gallagher, Lillian and Morrie Moss Chair of Excellence in Philosophy, University of Memphis, USA)

Table of contents (12 chapters)

Table of contents (12 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $84.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-00659-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $109.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-00658-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
A Phenomenology of Musical Absorption
Authors
Series Title
New Directions in Philosophy and Cognitive Science
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-00659-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-00659-4
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-00658-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXII, 282
Number of Illustrations
9 b/w illustrations, 2 illustrations in colour
Topics