The article attempts to analyse the problem of response to music in the context of phenomenological analysis of the act of perception, undertaken by Maurice Merleau-Ponty in his 'Phenomenology of Perception'. Such a perspective allows to go beyond the framework of artistic and aesthetic analysis in exploring music perception, by making it possible to examine the situation of response to music ('experience of music') as an act of existential significance. According to Merleau-Ponty, the fundamental feature of perceptual relation is that it is rooted in the perceiving subject's body, and its involvement in the situation. Phenomenology regards the act of perception of music in its situational aspect, defined by, among others, such conditions as: space, movement, events, attitude and mood, and also the cultural context. Analysis of perception then proceeds by examining the problems of subjective 'sense experience' (responsive, experiencing aspect) and 'behaviour' (active, expressive aspect). Perception of music, in the perspective defined by Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of perception, turns out to be a complex human experience, which cannot be contained in a one-directional model of response, aimed at constituting a musical work or other aesthetic object. It is an active experience, which involves the subject wholly (bodily, mentally, emotionally) and is integrally conditioned by the situation. In the context of this analysis, the perceptual situation (musical situation) reveals a reciprocal relationship, a relationship of mutual influence of music and percipient. In this manner the existential aspect of musical perception (as understood by Merleau-Ponty) is revealed: music, by releasing the bodily physicality of the subject, which manifests itself in the sense experience and motor gesture, reveals to him/her his own being-in-the-world, a being situationally defined. In the act of response to music the percipient recognises the world as described and defined by music, and recognises him/herself as a participant in that world.
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