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Song Loves the MassesHerder on Music and Nationalism$
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Johann Gottfried Herder and Philip V. Bohlman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520234949

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520234949.001.0001

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Music Transcendent and Sublime

Music Transcendent and Sublime

Herder’s “Von Musik” (1800)

(p.246) 9. Music Transcendent and Sublime
Song Loves the Masses

Philip V. Bohlman

University of California Press

The translations in Song Loves the Masses close with Herder’s final large-scale essay on music, published in 1800 as a chapter in Kalligone, the culmination of his aesthetic work. With this late essay Herder, a polemic against his former teacher, Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), reveals the extent to which he has moved into a fully aesthetic domain in his concern for the universal history of humanity. Embodying the subjectivity of song and singing, music acquires the force of transcendence, and it therefore aspires to the Enlightenment ideals of the sublime. In Herder’s “On Music,” human beings are endowed with a degree of understanding that allows them to perceive the traits that make music unlike any other form of expression.

Keywords:   Aesthetics, Enlightenment, Idealism, Immanuel Kant, Philosophy, Subjectivity, The sublime, Transcendence, Universal history of humanity

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