This chapter places the recent turn to affect into conversation with a parallel movement that took place in eighteenth-century music theory. Because theorists in that period struggled to explain how music functioned as a sign, they began to propose an alternative, materialist theory of vibrational attunement in order to account for music’s affective power. The chapter demonstrates the similarities between eighteenth-century attunement theories and contemporary affect theory, explaining how the peculiar problems of theorizing affect generate repeating patterns in the historical evolution of the concept. It also includes a discussion of the book’s methodology and a brief sketch of its contents.
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