Definition and background:
Excessive preoccupation with a fixed idea or an unwanted feeling or emotion. A compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion. Whenever an artist works on a piece or a body of work that involves an impressive accumulation or production of material, marks, or gestures, a critic might characterize the artist or the work as obsessive. A psychologist might call this obsessive-compulsive behavior. Anything that involves highly repetitive movements, takes a long time, is highly stylized, took stupendous energy or craftsmanship to produce could be interpreted as having been the product of obsessive behavior. Many of the greatest works of art took a long time to produce. Unless it is truly deranged or mindless (monotonous), such work might also be described as showing the extent to which the artist can focus his energy. Consider animated filmmaking and art lexicography, for instance. Nevertheless, works by folk, self-taught, mentally ill, and other outsider artists have often been noted as resulting from obsessive behaviors such as seen in horror vacui, and many critics have made powerful cases in support of such work. Quote: ?Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.? Claude Monet (1840-1926), French Impressionist painter. See color. Also see Aboriginal art, achievement, art brut, attention, attitude, bias, Collyers' Mansion, effort, expression, expressive qualities, focus, gestalt, meaning, memory, monotony, motivation, naive, paint-by-number, pattern, perception, pique assiette (also called picassiette), point of view, primitive, rhythm, Stendhal syndrome, and stylize.
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary