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date: 28 February 2021

Hermeneutics (Ger. Hermeneutik)locked

  • Ian D. Bent


(Ger. Hermeneutik)

The discovery of meaning in a text by way of understanding, i.e. by an approach to a text that is empathetic rather than empirically verifiable. This approach is applicable particularly where a text appears at first sight to have no meaning, or where its meaning is remote or opaque, or where there may be another meaning or meanings than those that are immediately accessible. It has sometimes been considered as an actual practice, and sometimes as the theory, lying behind the practice of interpretation. In the later 19th century it acquired the status of a methodology for the historical and social sciences, in contrast to scientific method.

‘Texts’, in the above definition, may be restricted to written texts, or taken also to embrace spoken utterances, and may be expanded to include works of art. This expansion makes way for its application to music, whether composed or improvised. Hermeneutics came to prominence in writing about music implicitly in the 19th century and explicitly in the early 20th, and has undergone a resurgence since ...

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