Music – Psychoanalysis – Musicology. Edited by Samuel Wilson. London and New York: Routledge, 2018.


There is a growing interest in what psychoanalytic theory brings to studying and researching music. Bringing together established scholars within the field, as well as emerging voices, this collection outlines and advances psychoanalytic approaches to our understanding of a range of musics—from the romantic and the modernist to the contemporary popular. Drawing on the work of Freud, Lacan, Jung, Žižek, Barthes, and others, it demonstrates the efficacy of psychoanalytic theories in fields such as music analysis, music and culture, and musical improvisation. It engages debates about both the methods through which music is understood and the situations in which it is experienced, including those of performance and listening. This collection is an invaluable resource for students, lecturers, researchers, and anyone else interested in the intersections between music, psychoanalysis, and musicology.

The collection includes an introduction in which I outline some historical and theoretical connections between music, psychoanalysis, and musicology. The introduction is freely available on the publisher’s website [pdf]

Contents page:

Introduction Samuel Wilson

Part I: Psychoanalysis, musical analysis, and method  

1. Speaking of the voice in psychoanalysis and music David Bard-Schwarz  

2. Parallels between Schoenberg and Freud Alexander Carpenter  

3. The psychodynamics of neo-Riemannian theory Kenneth M. Smith  

4. Schubert, music theory, and Lacanian fantasy Christopher Tarrant  

5. Subjective and objective violence in Taylor Swift’s ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ Alexi Vellianitis  

Part II: Situating music and psychoanalysis  

6. Does the psychoanalysis of music have a ‘subject’? Samuel Wilson  

7. Jung and the transcendent function in music therapy Rachel Darnley-Smith  

8. Symbolic listening: the resistance of enjoyment and the enjoyment of resistance Jun Zubillaga-Pow  

9. Masochism and sentimentality: Barthes’s Schumann and Schumann’s Chopin Stephen Downes

A full list of my publications can be found here.

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