Enacting Musical Time: The Bodily Experience of New Music by Professor Mariusz Kozak is now available through Oxford University Press.
ABSTRACT: What is musical time? Where is it manifested? How does it show up in our experience, and how do we capture it in our analyses? Enacting Musical Time offers several answers to these questions by considering musical time as the form of the listener’s interaction with music. Building on evidence from music theory, phenomenology, cognitive science, and social anthropology, the author develops a philosophical and critical argument that musical time is created by the moving bodies of participants engaged in musical activities. The central thesis is that musical time describes the form of a specific kind of interaction between musical sounds and a situated, embodied listener. This musical time emerges when the listener enacts his or her implicit kinesthetic knowledge about “how music goes”—knowledge expressed in the entire spectrum of behavior, from deliberate inactivity, through the simple action of tapping one’s foot in synchrony with the beat, to dancing in a way that engages the whole body. This idea is explored in the context of recent Western classical art music, where composers create temporal experiences that might feel unfamiliar or idiosyncratic, that blur the line between spectatorship and participation, and even challenge conventional notions of musical form. Basing the discussion on the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty, and on the ecological psychology of J. J. Gibson, the author examines different aspects of musical structure through the lens of embodied cognition and what phenomenologists call “lived time,” or time as it shows up in human lives.