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That bodily feel is thus more than a form of embodied knowledge, which conveys something to us about the localization of our body in musical time: it is also the central aspect of the aesthetic appreciation of groove music.

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The book concludes with a few considerations on the ontology of music. If grooves -- and other musical nuances -- are such an important part of our musical experience, how does this reflect on our ontology of musical works? In the case of classical music, where musical works are generally thought of as abstract types Dodd , Roholt argues that nuance types could be constitutive properties of the works, along with pitch classes, relative durations, instrumental timbres, etc.

To my mind, this is just another way to say that performing practices in which the composition takes place are part of the identity of the works themselves see Davies ; indeed, these performance practices typically establish rules and norms in the use of musical nuances e. In the case of popular music, where musical works are generally considered to be the recordings themselves Gracyk , Roholt argues that our ontology should include not only musical nuances which are preserved by the recording technology but also the effects of such nuances.

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This leads him to suggest an idealist ontology, inspired by Roman Ingarden's view of literary works, where musical works are intentional objects, requiring a certain kind of active perception from the listener to exist in their complete, non-schematic form. This view is certainly interesting, but its presentation here is too sketchy to be anything else than programmatic.

It would need much more careful argumentation in order to overcome the traditional objections that can be made against this kind of position, for example, that such a view does not allow us to distinguish between the work and the subjective experience one has of the work, or that it transforms an object which is intrinsically public, with a certain number of objective properties, into something private and, at least partially, non-shareable. For other objections that can be made against idealism in music ontology, see Levinson With its many thoroughly discussed examples, Roholt's account of groove is very engaging, and I find much to agree with.


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Merleau-Ponty's concept of motor-intentionality is indeed a stimulating one, and can certainly help us to understand the fundamental role played by the body in any musical experience, beyond the single case of groove music. As Roholt rightly puts it, the relation between the music and our bodies is not unidirectional.


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Sure, our body moves to the music, and music elicits a wide range of corporeal responses, from exuberant dancing to slight moves of the hands or fingers. But it is also important to stress that music's meaning -- for example its emotional content -- is also at least partially constructed through our body, and that the understanding of music requires a bodily exploration of the numerous movements of tension and relaxation -- be they melodic, harmonic or rhythmic -- that are at the center of the vast majority of the music in the world. The one major regret I have is that throughout his book Roholt seems to entertain a slightly caricatural vision of empirical and analytical research on groove.

If some studies on expressiveness indeed ask their subjects to focus on micro-timing nuances, in order to measure their level of precision in the detection of such musical nuances see Clarke , the majority of empirical studies dedicated to the phenomenon of groove are rather concerned with determining the musical features that can induce for the listener the groove feeling, by typically asking listeners to rate this feeling while listening to different musical samples see Ashley for a recent literature review.

There is no reason to assume that such studies are driven by an underlying operationalism, where the very concept of groove would be defined by a certain number of acoustical parameters. It is rather a matter of finding the acoustical and musical foundations that allow the experience of groove to emerge -- the set of acoustical and musical properties on which the phenomenon of groove supervenes, to put it otherwise, as it should be clear to everyone that only certain kinds of music are able to induce a groove experience.

As I see it, the phenomenological approach championed by Roholt, aiming at clarifying what really constitutes the groove experience, is thus fully compatible with the approaches of empirical musicologists or psychologists, which aim at clarifying the acoustical and musical conditions allowing for such an experience. The Negritude circulate offers readers with not just an highbrow historical past of the Negritude circulation but additionally its prehistory W.

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