[Carl Jung on Music and the Collective Unconscious]

To Serge Moreux

Dear M. Moreux, 20 January 1950

While I thank you for your kind letter, I must tell you that unfortunately I am obliged to limit my activity for reasons of age and health, and so it will not be possible for me to write an article for the projected number of Polyphonie.

Music certainly has to do with the collective unconscious-as the drama does too; this is evident in Wagner, for example.

Music expresses, in some way, the movement of the feelings (or emotional values) that cling to the unconscious processes.

The nature of what happens in the collective unconscious is archetypal, and archetypes always have a numinous quality that expresses itself in emotional stress.

Music expresses in sounds what fantasies and visions express in visual images.

I am not a musician and would not be able to develop these ideas for you in detail.

I can only draw your attention to the fact that music represents the movement, development, and transformation of motifs of the collective unconscious.

In Wagner this is very clear and also in Beethoven, but one finds it equally in Bach’s “Kunst der Fuge.”

The circular character of the unconscious processes is expressed in the musical form; as for example in the sonata’s four movements, or the perfect circular arrangement of the “Kunst der Fuge,” etc.

I am with best regards,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Page 542.

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