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Friedrich Nietzsche

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Nietzsche is important to the analysis of music as an aesthetic form of expression primarily because of his analysis of Wagner and distinctions between Dionysian and Romantic music. In his early years Nietzsche admittedly made the mistake of confusing Wagner's Romantic music with Dionysian music. Romantic music is caused by the neurotic sickness of humankind in which we seek out the desparate because we suffer from a poverty of the spirit, a madness in which we do not allow ourselves to live. The Dionysian has an abundant life but seeks or needs a tragic view of life to understand its nature and to properly analyze one's own situation. The Romantics, accordingly, were chastised by Nietzsche approximately thirty years before the anti-Romantic movement of the 1920s. Nietzsche reportedly played the piano well, wrote compositions including choral works and piano pieces, and wrote literal works that inspired later composers: "Also sprach Zarathustra" specifically. ~ Keith Johnson

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October 15, 1844 in Röcken

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