Music's Function in Literature
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There has been a long history of writers who have attempted the task of describing music in their writing. It has proven to be quite a difficult task to accurately describe sounds through words because it is the act of trying to convert the sense of hearing into a written form. Despite its difficulties, many writers incorporate music in their writing somehow benefit the concept of their story or ideas.
An article in The Independentdescribes many different writers and the ways in which they use music as a device to convey certain aspects of their writing. For instance, writer Leo Tolstoy incorporates descriptions of Beethoven sonatas in his story The Kreutzer Sonata, to reveal the sexual power of music. The article explains how, “The force of Beethoven comes to symbolize the physical passion that the husband both craves and loathes, and from the musical incarnation of which he is permanently excluded.” Tolstoy utilizes the sonatas of Beethoven to benefit the concept of physical passion in his story.
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Another writer uses music in his literature for quite a different purpose. Ivan Turgenev, writer of The Song of Triumphant Love, uses music to benefit the concept of black magic in his story. The article states that “his peculiar short story presented music as black magic in a love triangle that offers disturbing resonances with his situation.” These are two of the countless ways in which music has been used as a device to somehow benefit literature. Music has the power to convey moods, meanings, and ideas through its descriptions in writing.