2022-02Thematic Section
The Singing Voice’s Charms: Aesthetic and Transformative Aspects of Singing in Literature, Art, and Philosophy


Music, as sung and listened to, has been described in many a tale as powerful and transformative. Yet, the important question is not so much if that claim is true or whether it may be verified, but what kind of power and transformation are alluded to in those mythical and literary sources? Taking these symbolic claims and elaborating on their possible meaning, alongside thinkers such as Carolyne Abbate or Roland Barthes, proceeds to find ways in which these claims may suggest different roles that music and singing play in human lives. As much as current musicological and anthropological academic narratives point to the power and its negotiation in society, there is more to singing voices’ charms than this. The author points to an important transformation that happens when the human existential qualities found in the voice’s imperfections (its materiality) are matched with the music’s aesthetic qualities (its beauty, sublimity, its symmetry, its impression) to transform the listener and make her listen.


voice, singing, music aesthetics, Carolyn Abbate, Theodor Adorno

How to cite:

Szyszkowska, Małgorzata A. “The Singing Voice’s Charms: Aesthetic and Transformative Aspects of Singing in Literature, Art, and Philosophy.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 6, no. 2 (2022):  26-36. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2022.0013.


Małgorzata A. Szyszkowska
Chopin University of Music
Okólnik 2, 00-368 Warsaw, Poland


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