Philosophical Communications (2004)
The communication of emotion in music has with few exceptions, as L. B. Meyer´s Emotion and Meaning in Music (1956) and the contour theory (Kivy 1989, 2002), focused on music structure as representations of emotions. This implies a semiotic approach - the assumption that music is a kind of language that could be read and decoded. Such an approach is largely restricted to the conscious level of knowing, understanding and communication. We suggest an understanding of music and emotion based on action-perception theory - present moment perception, implicit knowledge and imitation. This theory does not demand consciousness or the use of signs. Neuroscientific findings (adaptive oscillators, mirror neurons) are in concordance with our suggestion. Recently these findings have generated articles on empathy – relevant to the understanding of music and emotion.