Rhetorical Analysis of Aesthetic Power—in Music and Oratory

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The article attempts to make non-trivial statements about properties of great music that help make it “great.”Theexamples are two movements by J.S. Bach. The approach is “rhetorical” in that it not only involves close scrutiny of the music itself, but also consideration of the impact that properties of the music may have on listeners. Phenomena like expectation, fulfilment, deferral, frustration and surprise are crucial here–all generated by the ways specific properties of the music may interact with an attentive listener. My analysis, I suggest, parallels St. Augustine’s analyses of how selected biblical passages achieve great rhetorical impact.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRigour and Reason : Essays in Honour of Hans Vilhelm Hansen
EditorsJ. Anthony Blair, Christopher Tindale
Number of pages23
Publication date6 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2020
SeriesWindsor Studies in Argumentation

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