Antithetical Arts constitutes a defence of musical formalism against those who would put literary interpretations on the absolute music canon. In Part I, the historical origins of both the literary interpretation of absolute music and musical formalism are laid out. In Part II, specific attempts to put literary interpretations on various works of the absolute music canon are examined and criticized. Finally, in Part III, the question is raised as to what the human significance of absolute music is, if it does not lie in its representational or narrative content. The answer is that, as yet, philosophy has no answer, and that the question should be considered an important one for philosophers of art to consider, and to try to answer without appeal to representational or narrative content.
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