Musica assoluta e musica dell’assoluto: Hegel e l’improvvisazione musicale


This article aims at understanding the Hegelian conception of music as expression of the inner life of human subjectivity as well as the role that music plays in Hegel’s philosophical system. I defend that much of the value of Hegel’s reflections on music is the primary role assigned to musical performance as expressive and communicative event. Therefore Hegel’s reference to virtuosity and improvisation is consistent with his general thesis that art is the «sensual manifestation of the idea». Improvisation presents the essence of music, because it shows the self-construction of musical subjectivity ‘on the stage’. It shows the unfolding of musical expressiveness, while building expressive subjectivity in real-time. Moreover, since it exhibits creativity in actu, musical improvisation also displays art as product, as connection (in the making) of form and content. However, improvisation shows art as art, that is, as only ephemeral and partial harmony between form and content, because it performs art: still better, it performs the end of art, showing its constituent possibilities and limits and making explicit that art’s relationship with real life is a constitutive element of its nature as art.