Enacting musical emotions. sense-making, dynamic systems, and the embodied mind
Andrea Schiavio, Dylan van der Schyff, Julian Cespedes-Guevara, Mark Reybrouck
The subject of musical emotions has emerged only recently as a major area of research. While much work in this area offers fascinating insights to musicological research, assumptions about the nature of emotional experience seem to remain committed to appraisal, representations, and a rule-based or information-processing model of cognition. Over the past three decades alternative ‘embodied’ and ‘enactive’ models of mind have challenged this approach by emphasising the self-organising aspects of cognition, often describing it as an ongoing process of dynamic interactivity between an organism and its environment. More recently, this perspective has been applied to the study of emotion in general, opening up interesting new possibilities for theory and research. This new approach, however, has received rather limited attention in musical contexts. With this in mind, we critically review the history of music and emotion studies, arguing that many existing theories offer only limited views of what musical-emotional experience entails. We then attempt to provide preliminary grounding for an alternative perspective on music and emotion based on the enactive/dynamic systems approach to the study of mind.
Uncommon Grounds: Preparing Students in Higher Music Education for the Unpredictable
This article considers the contribution that Jacques Derrida’s work Of Hospitality might make to higher music education as it unsettles the usual ascription of normative value to learning and teaching music at the university. Along these lines, what is most at issue in the encounter with Derrida’s thinking is the concomitant notion of forms of temporality—unpredictability, slowability, immeasurability, anticipation, serendipity, and surprise. Higher music education is seen as the practice of social transformation through the realization of the notion of unpredictability of the “oral” being-together with and through music educational interactions that are not sacrificed to economically driven performance indicators and measurable outcomes. Furthermore, the article draws on the learning and teaching practices of de-familiarization of educational spaces and pedagogical responsibility to the others as ways to disrupt students’ fixed expectations about what good music teaching and mastery are. Overall, this article is a call to see unpredictability as another framework through which higher music education can seek to re-invent theoretical concepts as well as codes and conventions of teaching and learning practices by inviting us to contemplate their own insufficiency, incompleteness, and discontent