Music And Negative Emotion

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Music and Negative Emotion                                                                                 1 Jerrold Levinson solved the paradox of why people enjoy the negative emotions, which are generated through music. In this essay I will explain how he solved this paradox and then I will analyze his theory from a more practical point of view. The work of art used in the second part is Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

I First of all, I will explain the theory that Jerrold Levinson proposed concerning negative emotion in music. He begins by telling us that negative emotions, which are produced through listening to music, are considered by most to be a pleasurable, positive, or sought after experience. In his essay he differentiates the expression of emotion in music from the evocation of emotion by music and sets out to explain why people like the negative feelings that are the produced by listening to music.

Before explaining his theory, it is crucial for us to know what are the components of an emotion. Emotions have a cognitive element, as well as an affective element. The affective component can be expressed through the form of a desire, belief, attitude or evaluation. Some emotions may also have in addition a behavioral and a physiological element. We should also be aware that the feeling component of an emotion is made of the phenomenological and the sensational aspects of the emotion.

Levinson states that "full-fledged to be aroused by music" and he considers that a music evoked emotion is a sort of mirror of a real emotion. For example, 2 he tells us that what he has called the sadness reaction is not in truth a case of full-fledged emotion. This is mainly because music does not supply an appropriate object for an emotion to be directed to; plus it...