Naturalism and the Empfindsamerstil in 18th-Century Europe

Dean Whiteside


C.P.E. Bach was the most notable composer of the empfindsamerstil, an 18th-century musical style in Germany that highlights an important change in the production and reception of music. This change is seen in the aesthetic philosophy of this period, which reflects a conflict between old forms of naturalism and a new modality of taste, in which subjective avowals of like or dislike become the criteria for aesthetic judgment. This paper addresses the interrelationship of the empfindsamerstil and aesthetics of its period, providing an account of this conflict between old forms of objective musical codification and a wholly modern account of subjective pleasure.


Empfindsamerstil; Naturalism;

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