The Department of Music has held a seminar presentation on Wednesday, 4th May,

2016 on the topic ‘Afro-Cuban Jazz Grooves: Towards an Empirical Understanding of

Musical Aesthetics’.


The Presenter, Dr. Kjetil Klette-Boehler, is a Research Fellow at NOVA, Norway and a

Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Oslo.


In his presentation, he argued that Herder’s aesthetic theory provides a conceptual

apparatus for empirical research on aesthetic expressions across cultural contexts and

historical epochs. Contrary to common approaches to understanding aesthetics as

“a theory of beauty” – that can be traced back to Kant’s idea of the dis-interested and

Hegel’s notion of fine arts– Herder’s focus on aesthetic pleasure and his idea of aesthetics

as an empirical discipline can enrich our understanding of music as an aesthetic



By recognising all music as aesthetic phenomena, Herder provides the basis for a more

democratic and sensitive understanding of music aesthetics. The arguments presented

in this presentation suggest that Herder’s overall emphasis on pleasure in the aesthetic

experience resonates well with Cuban jazz musicians’ understanding of sabor 

(musical flavour, often related to expressivity and rhythms) and bomba 

(referring to rhythmic beauty and intensity).


The analyses further suggest that these aesthetic pleasures are sonically constructed in

specific groove-structures. By examining elements of musical structure, such as timelines,

I propose that aesthetic pleasure can be defined in specific musical terms.



Dr. Kjetil Klette Boehle’s research focuses on Latin American (particularly Cuban) popular

dance music, politics, and aesthetics. He has published several articles in journals in Norway

and Denmark and also extensively on a variety of topics in social sciences including youth,

culture and politics.


The function was chaired by Dr. Juan Diego M.



Article Type: