doctrine of the affections

doctrine of the affections
German Affektenlehre

Aesthetic theory of music in the Baroque period.

Under the influence of Classical rhetoric, late Baroque theorists and composers held that music is capable of arousing a variety of specific emotions in the listener, and that, by employing the proper musical procedure or device, the composer could produce a particular involuntary emotional response in his audience. By the end of the 17th century, individual movements were customarily organized around a single emotion, resulting in the lack of strong contrasts and the repetitive rhythms characteristic of Baroque music. Several attempts at systematic lists of the emotional effects of different scales and figures were made, but to no general agreement.

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Universalium. 2010.

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