Interesting. A composer finds the methods amenable to him, and then the work exists, in some ways apart from many of the ideas that went into it.
I'm intellectually curious as to whether music can be "emotionless" . . . even if that is one of the composer's aims, how would he consider himself to have succeeded, how will he determine that? And, even if he should succeed, how can he be sure that the listener will not attach emotional content to the music?
Interesting question. By the same token, we could ask whether music can actually have emotion, since some listener may not
attach emotional content to the music. We could ask the same question about "merit." Some listener may attach no merit to the work--some may attach much. But I cling to the belief that music's qualities exist independently of subjective appraisals.
My hunch is that the way to judge music's qualities, and thus determine whether it has emotion, et al, is to ask not what every person might possibly feel about it, but rather to judge what the typical reasonable listener would get from it. Some people may, for instance, find Pierrot Lunaire
to be a frightful disorganized mess, but I don't think we need to worry about their opinions.
By that standard, I think it's perfectly possible that music can be emotionless. However, certain dissonances and consonances, certain rhythms and silences, all can inspire twinges of emotion. Perhaps a good analogy is temperature: we can make things very close to absolute zero, but never achieve it. Such may be the case with emotion in music--we can drain most of it, but not all of it.