The Sacred Space of Music

Some reflections on Roger Scruton on “The Sacred Space of Music“:

In The Soul of the World, Scruton observes that although Beethoven’s C-sharp Minor Quartet contains no particular story about human life, nevertheless somehow “all human life is there.” It is not merely pleasant to listen to. Rather, it addresses us with a challenge.

“There are no easy options, no fake emotions, no insincerities in this music, nor does it tolerate those things in you. In some way it is setting an example of the higher life, inviting you to live and feel in a purer way, to free yourself from everyday pretenses,” writes Scruton, “That is why it seems to speak with such authority: it is inviting you into another and higher world, a world in which life finds its fulfillment and its goal.”

Scruton notices that listening to music is in a way like dancing to it. Further, there is a difference between the dancer who understands the music, thereby translating it into expressive gestures that fit it, and “the dancer who merely dances along with it, without understanding it.”

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