The Basis of Johann Mattheson’s Musical Aesthetics


  • Dr Yoh Murakami Shinshu University


Johann Mattheson, rhetoric, Affektenlehre, Baroque music, aesthetics


This paper aims to capture the overview of Johann Mattheson's musical aesthetics. Mattheson's writings have often been cited in studies on music in the eighteenth century. Any particular topic, such as performance practice, musical rhetoric, acoustic sensationalism, Incisionlehre, Melodienlehre, has been given a wide range of interpretations. As a consequence, his own musical aesthetics have rarely been discussed. His public image, moreover, as a relentless Enlightenment disputant was so widely disseminated that his musical thought has often been viewed from rather biased perspectives. For example, his religious aspect has been unduly downplayed. As a result, these partial views have led to narrow if not completely wrong interpretations of his musical thought. The author elucidates selected key concepts, with some misleading views corrected, to show consistent interrelations between them and to show that Mattheson's musical ideas can form a consistent and coherent system of musical aesthetics in the age of classicism, even though he never articulated his views in a fully systematic manner. The author also argues that the idea of heavenly music in Lutheranism must have played a pivotal role in integrating Mattheson's musical ideas into the system.

Author Biography

Dr Yoh Murakami, Shinshu University

Assistant Professor in aeronautical systems




How to Cite

Murakami, Y. (2024). The Basis of Johann Mattheson’s Musical Aesthetics. Journal of Music Research Online, (14). Retrieved from