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3 Bergsonism and Unmeasurable Time

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Chapter Summary

Music is temporal for us in exactly the same way that everything else we perceive is temporal. Here, music simply takes place in time. Joan Stambaugh insists that music is not a structure in time, but is itself a temporal structure. Henri Bergson's philosophy of time begins with a critique of the objective, commonsense concept of time which is informed by the physical sciences. Victor Zuckerkandl's distinctive thinking is most overtly and consciously Bergsonian in his explanation of motion in music. For if the time of music is measured, it cannot be the same time as the unmeasureable flux of life and of the universe. Zuckerkandl's unorthodox Bergsonism by contrast allows him to argue that what are generally taken as instances of temporal measure within music - pulse and meter - are nothing of the kind, but are instead a form of tensing of the temporal flux itself.

Keywords: Bergsonism; commonsense concept of time; Joan Stambaugh; music; philosophy of time; Victor Zuckerkandl

10.1163/9789004242944_005
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