Melissa West

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Music Criticism


Susan Fast




Until recently, musicology has overlooked the role of the body in musical understanding, preferring to think of music as a matter of the mind. However, musicologists such as David Lidov, Robert Walser, Susan McClary, and Suzanne Cusick have discussed the mind/body split which exists in musicology at great length and have suggested several solutions to the problem. And Peter Kivy, however, has invoked the body by suggesting that the shape of the musical line is the same as the shape of a human body when expressing an emotion. I was intrigued by Kivy's ideas and started searching for a general theory of understanding which involved the role of the body. This search led me to the theories of George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. Lakoff and Johnson suggest that the body is the essence of human understanding. They propose that we understand our world through metaphorical projections of our physical relationship to it. After an indepth look at music and emotions as separate entities, it will be shown that music is not a metaphor for emotions, in the traditional sense, but that both music and emotions are understood through the same recurring physical body-patterns. Using the theories of Lakoff and Johnson as a model, an analysis of the music of the fIlm Glory will be undertaken. This analysis is designed to demonstrate how music can be expressive of several emotions including sadness, happiness, love, and pride.

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