Since von Ehrenfels' essay 1890 "On Gestalt Qualities" [Über
Gestaltqualitäten] musicology has been an important issue for
theory and research in Gestalt theoretical movements and developments.
In the beginning the movement was philosophical in nature. Ehrenfels'
essay enjoyed a powerful position in the philosophy and psychology
of the first half of the twentieth century, and does so again
more recently in the area of modern cognitive science.
In philosophy, the early Gestalt movement is identified with
the Austrian School (Ehrenfels), which focused on Gestalt quality.
The Austrian Gestalt school is related to the work on formal ontology
of early Husserl, according to which our experience is structured
by "Gestalt qualities" of complexes of data given in experience.
Each such quality is determined by, and is existentially dependent
on, the constituent elements of the complex with which it is associated.
The later Berlin school of Gestalt theory (Wertheimer, Köhler,
Koffka) focused on Gestalt as a dynamic whole and modified the
assumptions of the early Gestalt school: Interrelated data constituing
a whole do not have a Gestalt but rather are a Gestalt,
"a whole whose parts are themselves determined as being such
that they can exist only as parts of a whole of this given kind".
In cognitive musicology, Gestalt ideas were re-discovered and
used for the study of auditory phenomena. These approaches focus,
for example, on the perception of rhythm and pitch, melody, consonance,
timbre, structural organization of musical space as well as directional
hearing. Modern cognitive musicology encompasses various branches
of research, from data analysis, sound synthesis, simulation of
processes of perception, to the production of music for which
computers have became an important tool. Gestalt concepts have
often been lauded for their ability to describe things in terms
of intuitive human experience and closeness to the real world.
Gestalt concepts play a central role also in aesthetic theories
that focus on the interplay between ratio and affect.
The purpose of our "Gestalt Theory and Musicology"
pages is manifold: To provide useful resources, to connect people
active in this field, to advance discussion and research in Gestalt
theory application in musicology. You are invited to join this
endeavour and to contribute to our pages.
Organizer of the "Gestalt Theory and Musicology" pages
[Author of "Gestalt
music analysis Philosophical theory, method, and analysis of Iegor