RIP Leonard B. Meyer

Yesterday, I read on the AMS listserv that Leonard B. Meyer, prolific and influential music cognition, theorist, aesthetician and philosopher had passed away. I read Emotion and Meaning in Music during my first term as a master's student at Oxford, and have subsequently read Style and Music: Theory, History and Ideology, The Rhythmic Structure of Music, Explaining Music: Essays and Explorations, Music, the Arts and Ideas (his book on 20thC music), and The Spheres of Music as a master's and doctoral student. My own ideology of music and cultural studies has diverged quite a bit from Meyer's views, but nevertheless he has had an impact on how I think about music, and on many others in the musicological and aesthetician world (Peter Kivy dedicated his book Music, Language and Cognition to Meyer).


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Paul Kenyon said…
As a graduate student in music during the 1980's Leonard Meyer's books appeared frequently on our reading lists. In particular, his ideas about a listener's expectations and their role in shaping affective experience were deeply influential to me as a young performer. It may be that his ideas lacked the support of the kinds empirical evidence that would be expected today, still his conceptual world was formative for many of many of my generation. Thanks for bringing the news of his passing to my attention.

Paul Kenyon
San Diego

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