The course hitherto pursued in musical aesthetics has nearly always been hampered by the false assumption that the object was not so much to inquire into what is beautiful in music as to describe the feelings which music awakens.— Eduard Hanslick
The most professional Eduard Hanslick quotes that are little-known but priceless
An art aims, above all, at producing something beautiful which affects not our feelings but the organ of pure contemplation, our imagination.
The Prelude to Tristan and Isolde reminds me of the old Italian painting of a martyr whose intestines are slowly unwound from his body on a reel.
Grant that the true organ with which the beautiful is apprehended is the imagination, and it follows that all arts are likely to affect the feelings indirectly.
Music has no subject beyond the combinations of notes we hear, for music speaks not only by means of sounds, it speaks nothing but sound.
Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto gives us for the first time the hideous notion that there can be music that stinks to the ear.
On the one hand it is said that the aim and object of music is to excite emotions, i.e., pleasurable emotions; on the other hand, the emotions are said to be the subject matter which musical works are intended to illustrate. Both propositions are alike in this, that one is as false as the other.
You cannot imagine the wild enthusiasm that these two men created in Vienna.
Newspapers went into raptures over each new waltz, and innumerable articles appeared about Lanner and Strauss.
So long as we refuse to include lottery tickets among the symphonies, or medical bulletins among the overtures, we must refrain from treating the emotions as an aesthetic monopoly of music in general or a certain piece of music in particular.
That the sweetly intoxicating three-four rhythm which took hold of hand & foot, necessarily eclipsed great & serious music & made the audience unfit for any intellectual effort goes without saying.
The beautiful is and remains beautiful though it arouse no emotion whatever, and though there be no one to look at it. In other words, although the beautiful exists for the gratification of an observer, it is independent of him. In this sense music, too, has no aim (object), and the mere fact that this particular art is so closely bound up with our feelings by no means justifies the assumption that its aesthetic principles depend on this union.