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Rosenbaum, J.B. (1963). Songs of the Transference. Am. Imago, 20(3):257-269.

(1963). American Imago, 20(3):257-269

Songs of the Transference

Jean B. Rosenbaum, M.D.

Since the beginning of civilization, as we know it, music in one form or another has served a purpose for man. From primitive tribal chant to modern opera, the combination of words with melody has played a role in every culture and in most people's experience. An ancient and serious work, The Bible, acknowledges the importance of this kind of expression in the Song of Solomon, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine” and “a bundle of myrrh is my well beloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts. — Behold, thou are fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast dove's eyes”(1).

It has been said of man “music furnishes them with a medium for expressing themselves, for exhibiting their joy in living, their aspirations for the future, their nostalgia for the past, their desire for freedom, their love of action”(8). Popular songs evolved by people out of a need to express feelings and interests have been common through history. In this group of songs are found the major preoccupations of mankind: love, hate, sacrifice, revenge, religion, patriotism, drinking and funerals.

A great deal has been said of music in general in analytic literature. Michel has broadly applied the psychoanalytic method to the understanding of musical phenomena. He analytically studied the works of certain composers and considered the nature of musical sublimination(7).

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