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Kristen Jarboe, Sandra Yang, Department of Music and Worship, Cedarville University, 251 N. Main Street, Cedarville, OH 45314
The Doctrine of Affections originated in and is interpreted into the musical realm of the Baroque Era in the music of Bach, Handel, and others. The Doctrine of Affections is a theory created in the Baroque era that seeks to explain the effect that music has on the body. It seeks to personify music, and prove that music itself has the ability to produce a particular feeling, independent of the listener. This theory assumes that music has the ability to be an emotion, and that the particular emotion is located in the properties of the music itself. Johann Mattheson, the author of the theory, drew many of his ideas from ancient Greek ideas, as well as being highly influenced by Rene Descartes, “Passions of the soul”, regarding the affections and spirits that flow through the body, which control the emotions we feel. This paper addresses the idea that it is not the composer’s role to evoke an emotion from the listener; it is instead the role of the natural sounds of the music. Though the Doctrine is most clearly present in the music of composers in the Baroque period, it has been widely accepted and has travelled through the time periods, and is still affecting musicians today. My paper intends to examine music not only in a musical sense, but also as individual sounds in the category of science and aesthetics in the area of art. The information in this paper was acquired through the study of historical documentation in the form of primary and secondary sources.