“Music and social go hand in hand”

While some of the connections between music and sexuality may seem obvious, others are less intuitive. Through a variety of approaches (feminist musicology, cognitive science, cultural sociology, etc.), musicologist Esteban Buch offers in-depth studies of this subject that is still taboo to many, or at least little understood. He covers all genres of music, including opera, “a genre that never stops talking about love and sex! » – but not only. To put this research in context, musicologists point that out “Social studies and music are big stories. The fact that music is a social fact, and therefore social science a tool for trying to understand it, has become commonplace for musicologists: if we go back, it was always there” – at least since Plato and his theories on the relationship between music, sexuality, and politics in Republic.

“Music is about the body, gendered violence, the ephemeral pleasures, the repressive dimension…”

Book title, playlist, takes its name from its shape: the sixteen essays that make up it are autonomous, like a playlist that readers can pick and choose from. From Adorno’s music theory to the use of “sex playlists” on the Internet, rereading great works like Don Giovanni, Lady Macbeth and Tristan and Isolda, the subject is many. For writers, musicology and the social sciences are not treated one after the other but are intrinsically linked: in all cases “It’s about the body, gendered violence, the ephemeral pleasures, the repressive dimension…”

What better example of this intrinsic relationship than And Giovanni of Mozart, to which Esteban Buch devotes entire chapters, and in particular to the famous aria “La ci darem la mano”? “If there’s a song in which sexuality is so obvious, it’s this: a duet of love and seduction”but also displays “power relations” between the noble Don Giovanni and the young peasant girl Zerlina: “Mozart’s art is not only to show how this gender violence can be charming, seductive, but also how it generates subjectivity, namely this subjectivity of women, who at least tries to choose.” Hence, according to musicologists, the staging diversity: sometimes brutal submission, sometimes Zerlina’s desire for affirmation. The presence of the sexual dimension everywhere And Giovanni which also inspired Pasolini, whose documentary investigation of sexuality to meet Italian men and women, was finally titled Comizi d’amore, almost bears the name of the famous womanizer and the eponymous opera.

“The musical forms in climax have a direct resonance with the forms of orgasm”

Among the “playlists” compiled or quoted by Esteban Buch is also a journalistic article on “The 10 sexiest moments in classical music”, in which we see appear not without surprises… Olivier Messiaen and his “Turangalîla-Symphony”! For Esteban Buch, the explanation of this link lies in the fact that “The instrumental form is related to the temporal form of sexuality. The musical forms in climax, including Turangalîla, have an immediate resonance with any form of orgasm, or pleasure. This is the hermeneutical key to understanding instrumental work. » Other works are more explicit, such as Sonata Erotica by Erwin Schulhoff for the female voice… supposed to mimic copulation: “It’s amazing work because it’s so literal. It works like that Sonata Erotica clarifies what the classical repertoire has always considered implicit.”

To flesh out his studies, like Pasolini, Esteban Buch also went to meet contemporary witnesses who agreed to talk about the intimate connection they perceived between music and sexuality: regardless of uses and tastes.in all of these people, sound and music are important dimensions of their sensuality. Music is a very powerful emotional operator, allowing these erotic emotions to be set in motion through a piece of music.” The erotic power that has frightened many political regimes and attracted censors to work Mrs. Macbeth by Shostakovich, banned by Stalin himself.

Under the covers

28 minutes

Forbidden beach

10 minutes

Book “

playlist. Music and Sexuality“, published in September 2022 by MF edition

Posted in Art

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