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Doctrine of affections [Affektenlehre] (traducido del alemán)

The theory of affects goes back to Greek antiquity and states that affects such as joy, grief or pain can be
musically expressed and the music can evoke such emotions in the listener.
The theory of affect is a field of music theory of the Baroque period , which deals with the connection
between the affect and the possibilities of representation in music. It is closely linked to the doctrine of
rhetoric based on the assumption of a common basis of language and musical language ( Musica Poetica ).

Origin of the word affect :

 lat. affectus : state, constitution, feeling, passion , desire , affection , love
 lat. afficere, affectum : treat, put into a state, stimulate the mind, vote


The theory of affect is rooted in music theory in ancient Greece (ethical evaluation of music in Plato).
In the Middle Ages , many affections are reflected in the ethos of church modes used for Gregorian chants .

Already in the Renaissance and early Baroque , the emotional content of texts is also expressed through
musical means in madrigals . These stylistic devices are also used in instrumental music and especially in
opera .

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the theory of affect in the music theory works of Michael Praetorius (
Syntagma musicum , 1619), Marin Mersenne ( harmony universal , 1636), Athanasius Kircher ( Musurgia
universalis , 1650), Johann Mattheson ( The Perfect Kapellmeister , 1739 ). A systematization and
canonization of the doctrine of affections was undertaken by Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg (1718-1795). How far
these theoretical concepts apply to the contemporary music practice is controversial and has caused
misunderstandings in older research. At that time it can not be assumed that such an intimate correlation
between theory and practice as existed in the 19th century.
The musical realization of the affects was particularly intensively pursued by Johann Sebastian Bach ( Albert
Schweitzer : Bach , 1908. Immanuel Tröster: Johann Sebastian Bach , 1984)
The doctrine of affects continues to the present day and may have had a greater impact on practice in recent
times than in the Baroque period. The pursuit of "immediate" expression since the end of the 18th century
was directed against Baroque formulas and thus also against the theory of affections and figures. On the
other hand, currents of music in the twentieth century, as well as neoclassicism , revalued the symbolic
representation of the emotions of the theory of affections in order to oppose the increased expression of late
Romanticism .

 Plato divides affects into four categories: pleasure , suffering , desire , fear .
 Aristotle characterizes eleven affects, which are nothing more than mixtures of pleasure (pain) and
suffering: desire, anger , fear , courage , envy , joy , love , hate , longing , jealousy, and compassion .
 René Descartes (1596-1650) describes in his work Traité des passions de l'âme (Paris 1649) six
basic forms of affects that can be combined into numerous intermediate forms:
1. Joy ( joie )
2. Hate
3. Love ( amour )
4. Mourning ( sadness )
5. Craving ( désir )
6. Admiration
Implementation in music

Quintilian (~ 35 to ~ 100 AD) regards vocal music as an equal discipline alongside rhetoric due to structural
similarities. He saw analogies between tone in speech and melody in music. In the Renaissance, the
appropriation of linguistic design principles in music began to support the emotional content of the text.
There are two options for this:
 The musical theory of affect
In the theory of affect of the music are assigned to the respective types of affect very specific musical
means of representation. This assignment has the character of a natural law [2] . In the baroque
period, the composer did not try to portray his own feelings, but to trigger the desired affect on the
listener in a technically perfected, deliberate and artistic way. However, this effect depends to the
same extent on the interpreter [3] .
 The musical figure theory
In the doctrine of figures , the compositional means are shown with which objectified affects can be
represented. In doing so, a text should not only be implemented musically in terms of declamation
(emphasis, uplift, reduction, length, brevity), but also clarify the affects contained in the text.

Motif and melody formation

Motifs and melodies are designed according to the affect content of the whole text or single important words
(keywords). Examples:

 Appearance of the fright by interruption of the melody line ( apocope ) in the word "fear"
 Descending tetrachord to represent mourning as in the lamento , whose best-known example is the
Lamento d'Arianna of Monteverdi .

1 Apocope in the word "dreads" in soprano I, II and tenor

1 Markus Bautsch: About the ethos of church tones , retrieved on 23 November 2014
2 According to the mechanistic conception of Descartes, there is a natural law connection between musical
and spiritual movement.
3 See Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773), attempting an instruction to play the flute , XI. Main piece From
the good lecture in singing and playing at all

 Rolf Dammann: The concept of music in German Baroque. People, Cologne 1967 (at the same time:
Freiburg, Univ., Habil.-Schr.).
 Corinna Herr: Medea's wrath. A "strong woman" in operas of the 17th and 18th centuries. Centaurus,
Herbolzheim 2000, ISBN 3-8255-0299-6 ( Contributions to the cultural and social history of music 2),
(At the same time: Bremen, Univ., Diss., 2000).
 Burkhard Meyer-Sickendiek : affect poetics. A cultural history of literary emotions. Königshausen &
Neumann, Würzburg 2005, ISBN 3-8260-3065-6 .
 Ulrich Michels: dtv atlas on music. Volume 2: Historical Part: From the Baroque to the Present.
German Taschenbuchverlag, Munich and others 1985, ISBN 3-423-03023-2 .
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Würzburg 1941 ( music and intellectual history 4, ZDB ID 528421-1 ), (at the same time: Berlin, Univ.,
Diss., 1940), (8 reprint Olms, Hildesheim et al. 2009, ISBN 978-3-487- 02308-3 ).

 Rolf Dammann: Der Musikbegriff im deutschen Barock. Volk, Köln 1967 (Zugleich: Freiburg, Univ., Habil.-Schr.).
 Corinna Herr: Medeas Zorn. Eine „starke Frau“ in Opern des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts. Centaurus, Herbolzheim
2000, ISBN 3-8255-0299-6 ( Beiträge zur Kultur- und Sozialgeschichte der Musik 2), (Zugleich: Bremen, Univ.,
Diss., 2000).
 Burkhard Meyer-Sickendiek : Affektpoetik. Eine Kulturgeschichte literarischer Emotionen. Königshausen &
Neumann, Würzburg 2005, ISBN 3-8260-3065-6 .
 Ulrich Michels: dtv-Atlas zur Musik. Band 2: Historischer Teil: Vom Barock bis zur Gegenwart. Deutscher
Taschenbuchverlag, München ua 1985, ISBN 3-423-03023-2 .
 Hans-Heinrich Unger: Die Beziehungen zwischen Musik und Rhetorik im 16.–18. Jahrhundert. Triltsch,
Würzburg 1941 ( Musik und Geistesgeschichte 4, ZDB -ID 528421-1 ), (Zugleich: Berlin, Univ., Diss., 1940), (8.
Nachdruck. Olms, Hildesheim ua 2009, ISBN 978-3-487-02308-3 ).