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Master's Dissertation
DOI
10.11606/D.8.2017.tde-03052017-085304
Document
Author
Full name
Lucas Carpinelli Nogueira da Silva
E-mail
Institute/School/College
Knowledge Area
Date of Defense
Published
São Paulo, 2017
Supervisor
Committee
Pessoa Junior, Osvaldo Frota (President)
Bezerra, Valter Alnis
Carneiro, Silvio Ricardo Gomes
Title in Portuguese
Fascínio e repulsa por sereias de metal: determinantes acústicas, psíquicas e biográfico-culturais - ou, necessidade e contigência - na musicologia de Hermann von Helmholtz
Keywords in Portuguese
Epistemologia
Helmholtz
Imperialismo cultural
Música
Percepção
Abstract in Portuguese
Entre 1855 e 1862 o físico e fisiologista Hermann von Helmholtz dedicou-se primariamente a questões relativas à física e fisiologia acústicas, e à aplicação dos resultados obtidos à epistemologia da música e à estética musical. Ainda que tais investigações tenham sido desenvolvidas por período restrito, seus principais frutos cuja apresentação mais completa se encontra na obra de 1863 Die Lehre von den Tonempfindungen als physiologische Grundlage für die Theorie der Musik (que traduziríamos por A doutrina das sensações tonais como uma base fisiológica para a teoria da música) tiveram impacto imediato e duradouro sobre a musicologia ocidental. Em um primeiro momento, o presente trabalho objetiva analisar os antecedentes filosófico-científicos que orientaram tal empreitada, bem como a metodologia empregada na mesma; isso a fim de podermos, em um segundo momento, abordar criticamente a forma como Helmholtz aplica seus resultados ao âmbito da estética musical. Afinal, ao fixar deterministicamente causas físicas e fisiológicas para noções eurocêntricas de musicalidade, não estaria Helmholtz operando certa naturalização dos sistemas de organização tonal imperantes em sua conjuntura histórico-cultural em detrimento de sistemas oriundos de outros períodos e culturas, amiúde dotados de critérios distintos de ordenação sonora? O trabalho proposto ganha em complexidade na medida em que a musicologia de Helmholtz, particularmente em sua dimensão epistemológica, não se mostra inteiramente insensível a riscos dessa espécie. Assim, figura entre nossos objetivos avaliarmos em que medida tal musicologia, de grande rigor científico, é capaz de coexistir com sistemas musicais que escapem às diretrizes estéticas que busca naturalizar. Seríamos mesmo racionalmente compelidos a adotar, como parece tacitamente sugerir a obra de Helmholtz, uma espécie de hierarquia valorativa no que toca aos sistemas musicais de diferentes períodos e culturas? Dentre tais sistemas, seriam alguns verdadeiramente mais aptos que os demais em plasmar uma suposta musicalidade universal? Acreditamos que, por meio de investigação renovada do nó epistêmico presente na percepção musical na qual se veem entretecidas considerações de natureza física, fisiológica, psicológica e filosófica , algumas distinções possam ser esboçadas entre fatores determinantes necessários (físicos e fisiológicos e, portanto, transculturais) e contingentes (biográfico-culturais) da mesma, e o problema devidamente atacado.
Title in English
On metal sirens, their allure and horror: necessary and contingent determinants of the musicological thought of Hermann von Helmholtz
Keywords in English
Cultural imperialism
Epistemology
Helmholtz
Music
Perception
Abstract in English
In the second half of the nineteenth century, German physicist and physiologist Hermann von Helmholtz devoted himself to the investigation of questions pertaining to physical and physiological acoustics, and to the application of the results of said research to the epistemology of music and musical aesthetics. While such endeavors represent a relatively brief part of his career, the chief innovations they brought forth the most thorough presentation of which may be found in On the Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music (originally published in 1863) have had a lasting impact on the whole of Western musicology. An analysis of the philosophical and scientific foundations and methodological principles his investigations rested upon occupies the opening chapters of the present work. Subsequent chapters present, in addition, a critical assessment of the scientists problematic attempt to extend the reach of his results to the sphere of musical aesthetics. The following two questions are central to our efforts: by establishing material and physiological traits as an ultimate, deterministic ground for the criteria for sound classification and ordering prevalent in nineteenth-century European art music, was Helmholtz not arguing for the naturalization of the musical systems prevalent in his own historical and cultural juncture? And, should this indeed be the case, would such a naturalization not be accomplished to the detriment of musical systems employed in other cultures and/or historical periods, often based on distinct modes of classification and ordering? Ultimately, then, the central aim of the present work is to evaluate and discuss to what an extent the rigorous scientific component of a musicology such as Helmholtzs is able to coexist with musical systems that obey aesthetic principles other than the ones said musicology espouses. Are we indeed rationally compelled to adopt a value-based hierarchy in regards to the systems of different cultures and/or historical periods, as the scientists work appears to suggest? Are certain musical systems indeed more apt than others to actualize human musicality? We believe an investigation of the epistemic knot which characterizes musical perception a phenomenon in which physical, physiological, psychological and philosophical strands are intricately intertwined may allow us to advance a few preliminary distinctions between its necessary (physical and physiological, which is to say transcultural) and its contingent (cultural and biographical) determinants, and thus properly attack the problem.
 
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Publishing Date
2017-05-03
 
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