Talk:Idée fixe

From Citizendium
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is developing and not approved.
Main Article
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
To learn how to update the categories for this article, see here. To update categories, edit the metadata template.
 Definition A preoccupation of mind held so firmly as to resist any attempt to modify it, a fixation [d] [e]
Checklist and Archives
 Workgroup categories Psychology, Literature and Law [Editors asked to check categories]
 Talk Archive none  English language variant American English


This article is a copy of an article of the same name written by myself for Wikipedia Sept-Oct 2010. John R. Brews 18:01, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

The term is also used in musical contexts, to refer to a recurring theme, e.g. in Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique. I don't know what the relation is between these uses. Peter Jackson 14:00, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
Hi Peter: The term idée fixe is a technical term in music. A disambiguation page could be used for the usages, but there is no page at present for the musical usage. I suppose you could draw an analogy with the mental aberration on the basis that the musical theme is continually returned to, but musically it is not so much an obsession with the theme as a use to represent a certain character as in Peter and the Wolf. John R. Brews 14:48, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
But which came first, and is one derived from the other? Peter Jackson 10:23, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
I've finally tracked this point down. According to Goldstein footnote 21, p. 155, the term originated in medicine in 1812 and was subsequently adopted by Berlioz in music. John R. Brews 18:49, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

Other usages

The use in literature goes a long way back, and I'd guess predates the musical usage, apparently which began with Berlioz (1830) as you mention as an example. It also is called a leitmotif apparently. See this. This term also shows up as a device used in poetry. However, I've made no attempt to look into the history of the musical usage. John R. Brews 13:33, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

Apparently Brahms (1833-1897) used it too, although it isn't clear that he used the term idée fixe to describe what he was doing. I believe Berlioz actually used this terminology. John R. Brews 14:07, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

The use of the term idée fixe, as opposed to the device itself, may be contemporaneous with Berlioz. See this. Maybe the Oxford Dictionary could help establish origins? John R. Brews 14:44, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

OED (online) gives only 6 illustrative quotations, none musical, the earliest 1836. In accordance with their general policy, that should be the earliest they can find. It also dates the French to 1830. As that's the date of the SF, it looks likely that Berlioz invented the phrase but it was quickly generalized out of its original musical context. Peter Jackson 10:33, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
Berlioz indeed appears to be the originator of the phrase in a musical context. The use as a pathological state of mind seems to have little connection to the musical usage, though. So Berlioz' first usage would seem a bit moot from a psychology viewpoint, although perhaps an etymological curiosity, eh? A separate article on the musical definition would seem useful. John R. Brews 15:49, 10 August 2011 (UTC)