Per una teoria warburghiana dell’ascolto musicale. Sopravvivenze e anacronismi tra Procol Harum e Bach PDF Print Email

Alessandro Alfieri


Aby Warburg’s theory of image is one of the most important of the Twentieth Century, and concepts such as Survival and Ancient Present have strongly influenced modern culture. We try to apply this theory to music, in order to release the ideas of «repetition» and «resemblance», often condemned as «plagiarism» or «copy»; that was Adorno’s accusation to popular music, for which the German philosopher adopted concepts such as «plugging» and «standardization». In our research, we refer to a 1967 song, A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum, and we show the correspondences between that song and other musical pieces and its internal historicity as well. This hypothetical warburghian «table» opens up a game of unpredictable and surprising relations, from Bach and Albinoni to popular music. In this way the sense of time becomes anachronic.


Alessandro Alfieri is Assistant Lecturer in Aesthetics at University of Rome “Sapienza”; he achieved a PhD in Philosophical and Social Sciences at University of Rome “Tor Vergata”. He collaborated with a lot of magazines writing about film studies, social phenomena and arts. In addition to many essays in specialized journals, among his publications there are Vita e tensione dell’immagine. Saggio su Warburg, il cinema e l’arte contemporanea, Edimond, Città di Castello 2010 and Vasco, il Male. Il trionfo della logica dell’identico, Mimesis, Milano 2012.


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