The Uncanny Kingdom—Perspectives on Classical Music as a (Wholesomely) Disturbing Experience

Emanuele Ferrari
2014 Journal of Literature and Art Studies  
The purpose of the present paper is to suggest an uncommon perspective on the artistic heritage usually called "classical music". The large prestige of this repertoire, in fact, often goes along with a distorted perception of a number of very important features that tend to be underrated, discarded or not taken in the due consideration by the public. Only recently has musicology paid attention to the danger of this stereotyped vision of classical music, regarded as a sort of temple of
more » ... s, or as a kingdom where an alleged harmony reigns unchallenged. The topic of this article is precisely the other side of classical music, which also turns out to be a world torn by conflict and filled with artistic tension, where things do not always add up. To support this standpoint, a number of very well-known pieces are considered, paying attention to their less reassuring features. Thus, compositions that seemed to be familiar show a complex and disturbing expressive texture. As a result, a widespread listening attitude finds reasonable grounds for being changed: Instead of languidly leaning back into the armchair with closed eyes, the unbiased listener is requested by the music itself to keep its eyes wide open.
doi:10.17265/2159-5836/2014.07.008 fatcat:u73mhsbj3fcmzfgo4xqiy57x4q