La musique instrumentale : des ‹ sons › ou du ‹ sens › ? Un bref parcours à travers l’esthétique rationaliste, romantique et symboliste

Felix Michel


From the 18th to the 20th century, the problem of meaning is raised in music. Can music, devoid of words, only ‹ run after them › or unite itself with them? Momigny first attempted to prove that music, too, has a grammar and, like poetry, a logic, and composers of the Viennese classic era such as Haydn serve to demonstrate his claim. Wagner, as theorist, reversed the problem: Music proceeds from poetry, but the latter could accomplish what is impossible for the former. It was able to reactivate the alliance of idea and sensation, lost in language, and surpassing all logic, shed light on the mystery of the world. Debussy, for his part, following in Mallarmé’s footsteps, would like for his grammar to be more temporal
and inconclusive.



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