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Attuning with the Artwork - Theodor Lipps' Concept of Aesthetische Einfühlung and the Case of Mediatized Music
Zitatschlüssel lepa_Lepa20110
Autor Lepa, Steffen
Buchtitel Stimmungen - Climates - Moods - Atmospheres
Jahr 2011
Adresse Edinburgh (UK)
Institution German Studies DAAD Summer School for Postgraduates
Zusammenfassung The writings of early German Psychologist Theodor Lipps (1851 - 1914) regarding the phenomenon of “Einfühlung” (later translated as “empathy” by Edward Titchener) have lately gained a new interest in the light of neuroscientific findings on “emotional contagion” - our organism’s (suppressible) tendency of creating corresponding autonomic and somatic responses when directly confronted with emotional gestures of other people (Preston & de Waal, 2002) - an idea that was already postulated by Lipps at the beginning of the 20th century. Additionally, his theoretical approach stresses a certain similarity of the cognitive mechanism for empathy towards persons and the mechanism for empathy towards aesthetic objects like visual artworks and music. The most outstanding aspect of his work from the viewpoint of current aesthetics might be that it is on the one hand based on a naturalistic ontology with postulating basic psychological laws of aesthetic apperception, while on the other hand it is not running into the trap of proposing aesthetic universals unlike the theories of many of Lipps’s contemporaries. In the centre of his theory on Aesthetische Einfühlung, Lipps (1900) also employs the concept of “Stimmung” which denotes a kind of “inner attunement” that he sees as a necessary condition for “sympathetic empathy”: Just when there is an “Einklang” (unison) between the conditions and dispositions of the observer and the conditions of experience embodied by the Gestalt of the perceived object, aesthetic enjoyment of the artwork gets possible. The way he uses the term “Stimmung” therefore employs the concept of acoustic resonance developed by psychophysicist Hermann von Helmholtz to create a naturalistic metaphor of aesthetic experience. My presentation deals with the attempt to transfer these ideas to nowadays practices of “deep listening” (Krueger, 2009) to mediatized music.
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