2.1 The sensible body

For centuries, and well into the early modern period, sense experience, including seeing, hearing and touching, as well as bodily movement, had been explained according to the precepts of Galenic physiology – that is, as the result of the action of animal spirits flowing along the nerves between the brain and the periphery. Nerves were understood as hollow ducts that distributed animal spirits to sustain sensation and motion. In his groundbreaking model of the body as a machine, Descartes r
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1 Imagination

Imagination, a licentious and vagrant faculty, unsusceptible of limitations and impatient of restraint, has always endeavoured to baffle the logician, to perplex the confines of distinction, and burst the enclosures of regularity.

(Samuel Johnson, Rambler, no. 125, 28 May 1751)

In much of western thought, the imagination has an ambiguous status, seemingly poised between spirit and nature, m
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4.3 Voice and accompaniment

One thing that is clear from the Lieder we have already considered is that Schubert's writing for the piano is a crucial element of his skill as a songwriter. Sometimes, and throughout his career, he wrote very simple accompaniments, as in ‘Heidenröslein’ – the approach favoured by Goethe and many other writers of the time, who considered that the German Lied should not overload the poem with too much elaboration. Schubert's later version of the ‘Harper's Song’ is more complex, wit
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2.2.1 The recordings

Click 'play' to listen to the interview with Sorley MacLean (Part 1, 7 minutes).

Download this audio clip.