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Music expresses and causes tension, strain, yearning, through its inner, its absolute” nature. But it does more; it satisfies these yearnings. It not only creates an expectation to satisfy it, but the expectation itself is of a poignant, emotional, personal character. What is the emotion that is aroused by such a satisfaction ?
The answer to this question takes us back again to that old picturesque theory of Schopenhauer — that music is the objectification of the will. Schopenhauer meant this in a metaphysical, and to us an inadmissible sense; but I believe that the psychological analysis of the musical experience which we have just completed shows that there is another sense in which it is absolutely true.
The best psychological theory of the experience of volition makes it the imaging of a movement or action, followed by feelings of strain, and then of the movement carried out. The anticipation is the essential. Without anticipation, as in the reflex, winking, the action appears involuntary. Without the feeling of effort or strain, as in simply raising the empty hand, the self-feeling is weaker. When all these three elements, image, effort, success, are present most vividly, the feeling is of triumphant volition. Now my thesis is — the thesis toward which every thought of the preceding has pointed
that the fundamental facts of the musical experience are supremely fitted to bring about the illusion and the exaltation of the triumphant will. The image, dimly foreshadowed, is given in the half-consciousness of each note as it appears, and in that sense of coming integration already recognized. The proof is the shock and disappointment when the wrong note is sounded; if we had not some anticipation of the right, the wrong one would not shock. The strain we have in the effort of the organism to reach the note, the tendency to which is implicit in the preceding. The success is given in the coming of the note itself.
All this is no less true of rhythm — but there the expectation is more mechanical, less conscious, as has been fully shown. The more beautiful, that is, the more inevitably, irresistibly right the music, the more powerful the influence to this illusion of the triumphant will. The exaltation of musical emotion is thus the direct measure of the perfection of the relations — the beauty of the music.
. This, then, is the only intimate, immediate, intrinsic emotion of music — the illusion of the triumphant will!
One word more on the interpretation of music in general æsthetic terms. All that has been said goes to show that music possesses to the very highest degree the power of stimulation. Can we attribute to it repose any other
sense than that of satisfying a desire that it arouses? We can do so in pointing out that music ever returns upon itself - that its motion is cyclic. Music is the art of auditory implications; but more than this, its
last note returns to its first. It is as truly a unity as if it were static. We may say that the beauty of a picture is only entered into when the eye has roved over the whole canvas, and holds all the elements indirectly while it is fixated upon one point. In exactly the same way music is not beauty unless it is all there; at every point a fusion of the heard tone with the once heard tones in the order of their hearing. The melody, as a set of implications, is as essentially timeless as the picture. By melody too, then, is given the perfect moment, the moment of unity and completeness, of stimulation and repose.
The æsthetic emotion for music is then the favorable stimulation of the sense of hearing and those other senses that are bound up with it, together with the repose of perfect unity. It has a richer color, a more intense exaltation in the illusion of the triumphant will, which is indeed the peculiar mark of the perfect moment for the self in action.