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"Are you tootling or going for a walk?"
A trip to the in between of music and psyche

Event: VIENNA, 11.-13.11.2016: 8. Symposium der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Psychoanalyse und Musik
Author: Ulrich Vogl


Psychoanalyst or musicologist? The question of whom one is dealing with is not always easy to answer at the Symposium of the Deutschen Gesellschaft für Psychoanalyse und Musik [the German Society for Psychoanalysis and Music]. And presumably, that´s the point. When a voice in the audience begins to defend the father figure in Schubert´s Erlkönig and receives applause from some corners of the hall, certain conclusions can nevertheless be drawn about the distribution of the professional groups.

The theme, based on which the connection between music and psyche as part of this year´s 8th Symposium is to be illuminated, bears a certain element in itself: In between. The pause in music and psychoanalysis. But what is this "in between"?

To fathom this, they discuss and explain, play music and listen, laugh, and keep silent, and occasionally roll their eyes. Equally varied is the result. We learn about the deliberate setting of pauses in the compositions of Beethoven as an expression of the inner turmoil of a terminally ill patient. About the pause as a defense and restlessness, even of the pause as a total silence. We listen to the pause at Schönberg as a sign of homelessness, as ignorance, wherever one belongs. We understand the pause as an expression of satisfaction or disbelief, the pause as astonishment, as a gesture of compassion and expression of fright.

I do not seem to be the only person in the room who is easily...

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