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The doctrine of the affections, also known as the doctrine of affects, doctrine of the passions, theory of the affects, or by the German term Affektenlehre (after the German Affekt; plural Affekte) was a theory in musical aesthetics popular in the Baroque era (1600–1750).[citation needed] It derived from ancient theories of rhetoric and oratory (Buelow 2001), and was widely accepted by late-Baroque theorists and composers.[citation needed] The essential idea is that just one unified and "rationalized" Affekt should be aimed at by any single piece or movement of music, and that to attempt more was to risk confusion and disorder.[citation needed]

According to one version of the theory there are three pairs of opposing emotions that make six "affects" all together: love/hate, joy/sorrow, wonder/desire.[citation needed] Another authority also mentions sadness, anger, and jealousy (Buelow 2001).

Lorenzo Giacomini (1552–1598) in his Orationi e discorsi (1597) defined an affection as "a spiritual movement or operation of the mind in which it is attracted or repelled by an object it has come to know as a result of an imbalance in the animal spirits and vapours that flow continually throughout the body" (Giacomini 1597, Template:Page needed).

The doctrine fell out of use in the Classical era, when composers and theorists began to find it excessively mechanical and unnatural.[citation needed]

"Affections are not the same as emotions; however, they are a spiritual movement of the mind" (Palisca 1991, 3).

A prominent Baroque proponent of the Doctrine of the Affections was Johann Mattheson (Poultney 1996, 107).

See also[edit | edit source]

  • Affect [for links to articles dealing with related applications of the same general notion]

References[edit | edit source]

  • Buelow, George J. 2001. "Affects, Theory of the". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
  • Giacomini Tebalducci Malespini, Lorenzo. 1597. Orationi e discorsi. Florence: Ne le case de Sermartelli.
  • Palisca, Claude V. 1991. Baroque Music, 3rd ed. Prentice Hall History of Music Series. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0130584967.
  • Poultney, David. 1996. Studying Music History: Learning, Reasoning, and Writing about Music History and Literature, second edition. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0131902245.

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Eusterschulte, Anne. 1999. "'Effetti maravigliosi': Ethos und Affektenlehre in Musiktraktaten des 16. Jahrhunderts". Musiktheorie 14, no. 3:195–212.
  • Manika, Jügen. 1989. "Anthanasius Kirchers Exemplifizierungen zur Affektenlehre: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Musikpsychologie". Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft 31, no. 1:81–94.
  • Mattheson, Johann. 1981. Johann Mattheson's Der vollkommene Capellmeister, a revised translation with critical commentary by Ernest Charles Harriss. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press. ISBN 083571134X.
  • Thieme, Ulrich. 1984. Die Affektenlehre im philosophischen und musikalischen Denken des Barock: Vorgeschichte, Ästhetik, Physiologie. Celle: Moeck Verlag. ISBN 3875490215.
  • Watts, Isaac. 1770. The Doctrine of the Passions Explain'd and Improv'd or, a Brief and Comprehensive Scheme of the Natural Affections of Mankind; With an Account of Their Names, Nature, Appearances, Effects, and Different Uses in Human Life; To Which Are Subjoin'd Moral and Divine Rules, fifth edition, corrected and enlarged. London: Printed for J. Buckland, and T. Longman; E. and C. Dilly; and T. Field.
  • Wiegmann, Hermann. 1987. Die Ästhetische Leidenschaft: Texte zur Affektenlehre im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert. Germanistische Texte und Studien 27. Hildesheim and New York: G. Olms. ISBN 3487078406.

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