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Spitz, E.H. (1987). Separation-Individuation in a Cycle of Songs—George Crumb's Ancient Voices of Children. Psychoanal. St. Child, 42:531-543.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 42:531-543

Separation-Individuation in a Cycle of Songs—George Crumb's Ancient Voices of Children

Ellen Handler Spitz, Ph.D.

Consciousness of self and absorption without awareness of self are the two polarities between which we move, with varying ease and with varying degrees of alternation or simultaneity.

… gradual growing away from the maternal state of symbiosis, of one-ness with the mother … is a lifelong mourning process.
—MARGARET S. MAHLER (1972p. 333)

IT HAS BEEN REMARKED THAT WITHIN THE BODY OF PSYCHOanalytic writing the art of music has received scant attention. What has been said falls more or less into the category of pathography or psychobiography. The thorny problems with that general approach are well known and have been extensively discussed by contemporary aestheticians, including Bouwsma (1954), Tormey (1971), and Kivy (1980). It is my purpose here to

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Special member, the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine; adjunct assistant professor, Educational Psychology, New York University; Visting lecturer of aesthetics in psychiatry at Cornell University Medical College.

I wish to thank the following persons for their valuable comments: Maureen Buja, Murray Dineen, James E. Gorney, Nathaniel Geoffrey Lew, Mitchell B. Morris, and Brian Seirup. Special appreciation is due to soprano Barbara Martin for her inspired performances of this piece at Juilliard under the auspices of the Lincoln Center Institute.

A version of this essay, prepared for nonpsychoanalytic readers, will appear in Current Musicology.

1 For some fine examples of this general approach, see Feder (1978), (1980), (1981), (1984).

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