affects not only the musical material itself but also the manner in which the listener perceives the material. According to Mahnkopf, polyphony forces the listener towards two phenomenological states: positively, the listener enters a state of diagonal listening as a form of ‘mental compromise’, because the ear cannot simultaneously grasp a synchronic layering and diachronic unfolding of such detail and complexity. Negatively, the listener experiences an apperceptive overload where the ear discovers a quality of ‘too-muchness’, an excess of musical relationships that reach sublime proportions. And like the classical sublime, apperceptive overload reveals the limits
of the subject’s capacities, a limit which both reasserts the power and domain of both the interiority of subject and the externality of nature, its other.”
— Aspect and Ascription in the Music of Mathias Spahlinger, Brian Kane.
Published in Contemporary Music Review 27(6): 595-610, ©2008 Taylor & Francis.