Music—Psychoanalysis—Musicology

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

Music—Psychoanalysis—Musicology (Hardback) book cover

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.

I have also contributed a chapter, ‘Does the Psychoanalysis of Music Have a “Subject”?’. A summary of the chapter is as follows:

In this chapter Samuel Wilson explores who or what provides the musical ‘subject’ that is interpreted psychoanalytically. Through a critical reading of a number of historic and contemporary sources, the author highlights perspectival and theoretical connections between psychoanalytic and musicological literatures. Three common trends are identified through the terms tangible, fictional, and fictive. These identities are considered in their interrelation (through acts of identification, for example). The author then problematises these terms in reference to the transindividual themes and processes that are foregrounded in some recent psychoanalytic and musicological writing.

A full list of my publications can be found here.

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