Can music express the world-view (Weltanschauung) of a certain composer, or of a certain historical era – and how? In 19th Century, the wide-ranging philosophical implications of this question raised an intriguing quarrel between the formalists’ scepticism as to this point and their various opponents. Starting from the case study of the German psychologist and philosopher of music Georg Anschütz (1886-1953), it is argued that allowing for a systematic link of music and the world-views easily turns into the far more demanding (and occasionally ambiguous) claim that music is the best and perhaps the only way to express them properly. In turn, this attitude sits well with the tendency to think of music hearing as a disembodied process, hinting at the deep dimension of synesthesia rather than to that of music as a cultural phenomenon, in Erich Hornbostel’s sense.
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