World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Leonard Meyer

Article Id: WHEBN0008227078
Reproduction Date:

Title: Leonard Meyer  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Metaphor, Minimal music, Music semiology, Hirajōshi scale, Musikalisches Würfelspiel, Ralph Shapey
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Leonard Meyer

Leonard B. Meyer (January 12, 1918 – December 30, 2007) was a composer, author, and philosopher. He contributed major works in the fields of aesthetic theory in Music, and compositional analysis.


Meyer studied at Columbia University, where he received both a B.A. in Philosophy, and an M.A. in Music. He continued on to study at University of Chicago, where he was awarded a [Ph.D.] in History of Culture in 1954. As a composer, he studied under Stefan Wolpe, Otto Luening, and Aaron Copland. In 1946, he became a member of the music department at the University of Chicago, in 1961 he was appointed professor of music at the University of Chicago and in 1975 professor of music and the humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. He became professor emeritus at Pennsylvania in 1988.

His most influential work, Emotion and Meaning in Music (1957), combined Gestalt Theory and theories by Pragmatists Charles Sanders Peirce and John Dewey to try to explain the existence of emotion in music. Peirce had suggested that any regular response to an event developed alongside the understanding of that event's consequences, its 'meaning'. Dewey extended this to explain that, if the response was stopped by an unexpected event, then an emotional response would occur over the event's 'meaning'. Meyer used this basis to form a theory about music, combining musical expectations in a specific cultural context with emotion and meaning elicited. His work went on to influence theorists both in and outside music, as well as providing a basis for cognitive psychology research into music and our responses to it.

Meyer's 1967 work "Music, the Arts, and Ideas," was influential in defining the transition to postmodernism in light of new works such as George Rochberg's Music for the Magic Theater, which was premiered at the University of Chicago in 1967.[1]

Other major written works include, The Rhythmic Structure of Music (with Grosvenor Cooper, 1960), "Some Remarks on Value and Greatness in Music" (1959), Music, the Arts, and Ideas (1967), Explaining Music (1973), and Style and Music: Theory, History, and Ideology (1989; paperback reprint ed., 1997).

See also


Further reading

  • F.E. Sparshott and N. Cumming: 'Meyer, Leonard B.', Grove music online ed. L. Macy (accessed 24 May 2008),

External links

  • Obituary

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.