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It’s Not Just Us Saying It

The seldom-boring Peter Leithart did not write an entire review of Daniel Albright’s Panaesthetics, but he culled a familiar theme from a very few pages of it. We intuit the meanings of physical gestures; we also intuit the meanings of musical gestures. A sample, with a page number corresponding to Albright’s work:

The analogy with “musical gestures” is quite direct: “The mere physiological tension involved in making very loud and rapid strokes with a bow or in hitting a very high note with a trumpet entails a certain urgency, and will tend to specify a certain range of meanings – arousal, agitation, assertion, and so forth. The opposite meanings tend to cluster around gestures produced with little effort” (155).

Albright’s book deserves further consideration.

First Things | Music and the Body

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About Christopher Ames

Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Boyceville, Wisconsin. Bicycle owner and operator. I used to play in a Campus Crusade band.

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" It is possible to intend one meaning and yet convey a very different one."

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