18 Jun 2009

Husserl, para 5, Supplementary B1 to: On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time

[The following is summary. My commentary is in brackets.]

Edmund Husserl

On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time

B: Supplementary Texts

I "On the Introduction of the Essential Distinction between 'Fresh' Memory and 'Full' Recollection and about the Change in Content and Differences in Apprehension in the Consciousness of Time"

No. 1 "How Does the Unity of a Process of Change that Continues for an Extended Period of Time Come to Be Represented?
Intuition and Re-presentation"

Paragraph 5

Consider. We are listening to a melody. Or perhaps we are imagining the melody playing in our minds. There will be a continuous appearance of new notes or “tonal forms.” These will then pass-away or “run-off” as new notes replace them. But so long as we are perceiving the continuousness of the melody, we will not expect it to end in the next moment. Presume we are in fact listening to the melody. But it breaks-off for some reason (perhaps the power cuts the stereo player off). Despite the melody halting, it might continue in our phantasy. So for one period of time we heard the melody. Then after a particular point we were just imagining it but no longer hearing it. The imagined part is not as aesthetically full and rich as the perceived part. So despite the sense of the melody continuing, we can tell as soon as our imagination takes-over that the musician (or stereo player) has broken-off in the middle.

We still might be able to determine that the melody has stopped in the middle, even if our imaginations do not carry it on in our phantasy. Composers and musicians create a work with formal features that imply the music’s stage of development. Often we can feel a piece as it nears its completion. So if the music ends before we have that feeling, we might be astonished and dissatisfied. [144d]

Now imagine that we are the musician playing. We are in the middle, but we must stop to answer the door. We will not be surprised when we halt abruptly. But we will be dissatisfied.

These feelings are the basis for our sensing the melody’s continuity. [144a]

Husserl, Edmund. On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time (1893-1917). Vol 4 of Edmund Husserl: Collected Works. Ed. Rudolf Bernet. Trans. John Barnett Brough. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991.

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