Humanities and Music

  • Jurij Snoj
Keywords: history of music, deconstruction, classical music, musicology, humanities


The postmodern discourse has challenged some basic concepts of music history: by denying the existence of deep-laid laws that govern the purportedly organic development of music, deconstruction questioned the allegedly inherent absolute values of classical music works. It is not a mere coincidence, however, that the deconstruction of music history appeared at a time when due to highly specialized studies the knowledge of music in various historical environments grew to such an extent that it became hardly possible for the history of music to be interpreted by any single concept. Judging from this viewpoint, deconstruction seems to have liberated the study of music from preconceived and inherited theoretical notions and systems of values together with their ideological implications. Due to the postmodern deconstructive critique, history of music seems to have been liberated from conceptual and ideological bonds; as such, it may still be understood as a vast body of knowledge and interpretations of music from ancient times up to the present, offering a relevant starting point for as good as any new musicological study or approach. As for the nature of musicology, it is highly significant that theories and approaches from various areas of the humanities prove applicable to music. This fact may be explained by the hypothesis that music – although seemingly without content – does not come into being independently of its environment; rather, it is deeply rooted in its contexts, the same that give rise also to other manifestations of the human spirit, eo ipso being subjects of the humaninities. Since concepts from other aerias of the humanities may be applied to its subject, musicology in a broader sense of the word may be understood as humanistic discourse on music.


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How to Cite
SnojJ. (2003). Humanities and Music. Musicological Annual, 39(1), 9-17.