The scholarly literature on conceptual blending and emotion is very scant. One exception is a short section in Fauconnier and Turner (2002) focused on the emotion of anger. Fauconnier and Turner refer to the cross-cultural research of Lakoff and Kövecses (1987) on the anger script. My talk takes the dialogue on anger as a starting-point to develop two separate yet interlinked matters. First, to open up a perspective on emotion from the standpoint of conceptual blending; second, to apply this perspective to the analysis of music’s structural features. I begin by reviewing Juslin and Timmers’ (2010) model of the expressive character of acoustic features and proceed to assess Lakoff and Kövecses’s theory of emotion as cognitive metaphor. Reconciling the cognitive metaphor of anger with the theory of conceptual blending allows us to analyze anger in two pieces, respectively by Vivaldi and Haydn. The analysis throws into relief issues which arise when we apply conceptual blending to aesthetic objects in general, and musical works in particular. One key concept here is Fauconnier and Turner’s notion of time compression. Finally, I examine Brandt’s (2006) useful ideas on blending in art as a way of further clarifying the special status of emotion in music, as distinct from utilitarian emotion in everyday life. I conclude that a synthesis of conceptual blending and cognitive metaphor provides a useful tool for analyzing musical emotion.
Michael Spitzer is Professor of Music at the University of Liverpool. Chair of the Editorial Board of Music Analysis, he is a past President of the Society for Music Analysis. His many publications explore the interactions between music theory, philosophy, and psychology. He has published two monographs: Metaphor and Musical Thought (Chicago, 2004); and Music as Philosophy: Adorno and Beethoven’s Late Style (Indiana, 2006). He inaugurated the series of International Conferences on Music and Emotion at Durham in 2009; and co-organized the International Conference on the Analysis of Popular Music (Liverpool, 2013). He is currently writing a history of emotion in Western music. His most recent publication is on Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane over the Sea.
University of Liverpool United KingdomMichael.firstname.lastname@example.org