Crossmodal Aesthetics: How Music and Dance Can Match (Aasen 2020)

A new paper entitled ‘Crossmodal Aesthetics: How Music and Dance Can Match’ by Solveig Aasen is published in The Philosophical Quarterly, and is available open access.

Image may contain: Text, Font, Document, Paper, Line.


The relationship between music and dance can sometimes be a ‘match’, a remarkable fit between the audible manifestation that music is and the visual or kinaesthetic manifestation that dance is. A match between two things seems to require a common measure with respect to which the match obtains. What can this be for two so different phenomena as music and dance?

I argue that the most promising answer is: movement. This answer will not be satisfactory unless the movement of music and the movement of dance are the same on some level. I suggest that they are: there are qualities of movement that guide both dancers and musicians when producing dance and music as perceptible phenomena. But the match in qualities is elusive, since the qualities are instantiated in different ways in music and dance, respectively.

Aasen, S. (2020). ‘Crossmodal Aesthetics: How Music and Dance Can Match’. The Philosophical Quarterly. DOI: 10.1093/pq/pqaa049. (Open Access)

Published Nov. 17, 2020 12:11 PM - Last modified July 7, 2021 3:45 PM