As part of the course on aesthetics that he taught for the fourth and last time at the University of Berlin during the winter semester 1828/1829, Hegel devotes seven one-hour lessons to music. The chapter on music is situated, in 1829, in the third part of the Aesthetics Courses. After having dealt with the concepts of the beautiful and the ideal in a «general part», after having traced their different moments – symbolic, classical, romantic – in a second «particular part», Hegel presents the different «forms of art» in the last part.
Music, the art of sounds and interiority, has a place, as is well known, between the plastic arts, sculpture and painting, whose object is volume and surface, which thus have a spatial objectivity, and poetry, which likewise has sound as material, but sound as sign, an interiority that is thus related to objectivity.
The problem then lies in knowing what artistic value music can have; as an art of pure interiority, it is at the summit of Romantic art, but in the absence of objective content it can in no way, according to Hegel, attain the absolute of art. The Romantic conception, as we find it in Hoffmann or Schopenhauer, which sees in music as the art of the ineffable the highest revelation, enters into complete contradiction with Hegel’s aesthetic and philosophical presuppositions: for him objective thought in language is the highest manifestation of the spirit. The «musical thought» in the Phenomenology of Spirit is nothing but an indeterminate thought, which does not reach the concept.
There he commented: «The still one-outside-the-other was the element of the arts hitherto considered. Insofar as it appears, vibration, movement is produced. This occurs for hearing. Hearing and sight are ideal senses. The appearing of movement is to disappear immediately. One passes here to interiority. Sound is then something interior, so that, if one wants to speak in this case of a determined mode, one must necessarily pass to the technically well determined. The very nature of the element itself implies that the less determined in general can be indicated».
I invite everyone to read Matias’ post with the topic of the day