Music, Texts, Photography, Video
Gerard Pape, psychoanalyst

Psychoanalysis and Music

"I studied as an undergraduate at Columbia College from 1973 to 1976 and then as a graduate student at the University of Michigan from 1976 to 1982. At Columbia, I studied philosophy, psychology and music. At the University of Michigan, I did my doctoral studies in Clinical Psychology.

When I compose, I forget about my work as psychoanalyst, and I forget about my work as composer when I work as psychoanalyst. I keep them very separated. Nonetheless, I cannot deny that there is of course a deep relation between composing music and psychoanalysis, even if, superficially, they would seem very different.

Both are methods of treating the Real, that is, both are ways of treating the 'excess' that was mentioned before. (Here I make reference to my personal experience of psychoanalysis, not my practice as psychoanalyst which is quite another matter). In this respect, one may say that composing music and undergoing psychoanalysis are both ways for subjects to create "sinthômes" for themselves. For Lacan, the construction by a subject of a "sinthôme", as opposed to a symptom, involves the creation of an original and somewhat efficacious way to treat the Real that determines them. Another way to put this is as Scelsi did, that is, composing and undergoing psychoanalysis are both possible 'paths towards transcendence'."

The text is taken from the book "MusiPoeSci" where Gerard answers questions from the musicologist Leopoldo Siano.


"Quo Vadis Psychoanalysis?" (Re)-turn: A Journal of Lacanian Studies, Volume 2, Spring 2005 (publication in english)

"Lalangue et la musique" Horizon n° 59 Octobre 2014 (publication in french)

"Lalangue and music" (publication in english)

"Йазык и музыка" - Лаканалия №18 "Голос", 2015 (publication in russian)

"Между звуками сексуальных отношений не существует" - Лаканалия №20 "Психоз", 2016 (publication in russian)

"Il n’y a pas de rapport sexuel entre les sons" - L'Hebdo-Blog N°61/ECF & ACF & CPCT (publication in french)

Lalangue and Music

Gerard Pape was specially invited by Viktor Mazin to Freud's Dream Museum in Saint-Petersburg in 2014 to give a lecture on "Lalangue and Music" which was on the topic of "Psychoanalysis and Music". The hall was completely full, and the audience included psychoanalysts as well as musicians and other people. The lecture is in english with russian translation, starting at 30 minutes on this video.

Freud's Museum in Saint-Petersburg