Sound Figures of Modernity: German Music and Philosophy

The rich conceptual and experiential relays between music and philosophy - echoes of what Theodor W. Adorno once called Klangfiguren, or sound figures - resonate with heightened intensity during the period of modernity that extends from early German Idealism to the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. This volume traces the political, historical, and philosophical trajectories of a specifically German tradition in which thinkers take recourse to music, both as an aesthetic practice and as the object of their speculative work. The contributors examine the texts of such highly influential writers and thinkers as Schelling, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bloch, Mann, Adorno, and Lukacs in relation to individual composers including Beethoven, Wagner, Schonberg, and Eisler. Their explorations of the complexities that arise in conceptualizing music as a mode of representation and philosophy as a mode of aesthetic practice thematize the ways in which the fields of music and philosophy are altered when either attempts to express itself in terms defined by the other.