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Philosophical Perspectives on Music

Wayne D. Bowman

Publication Date - March 1998

ISBN: 9780195112962

496 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


Designed to introduce music students and musicians to the vitality of music philosophical discourse, Philosophical Perspectives on Music explores diverse accounts of the nature and value of music. It offers an accessible, even-handed consideration of philosophical orientations without advocating any single one, demonstrating that there are a number of ways in which music may reasonably be understood. This unique approach examines the strengths and advantages of each perspective as well as its inevitable shortcomings.
From the pre-Socratic Greeks to idealism, through phenomenology, and on to contemporary socio-cultural critiques, this wide-ranging survey examines the views of selected influential thinkers in sufficient detail to permit their voices to be personally and meaningfully experienced. Striving to portray philosophy as an intriguing dialogue rather than a dogmatic source of definitive answers, it invites readers to become full participants in an ongoing process of philosophical debate with vital contemporary relevance and extensive practical significance. Examining what music is, how it works, and what music is good for, this book encourages musicians to join in important conversations that shape both the ways they practice their art and the ways in which they and others understand it.
Accessible to students with little or no background in music philosophy, Philosophical Perspectives on Music provides the foundation for applied or professional philosophies while also introducing readers to the richness of the philosophical quest. Ideal for philosophy of music and philosophy of music education courses, it is also enlightening reading for students of musicology, music theory, and music performance. Featuring interdisciplinary dialogue, this insightful text addresses issues common to the concerns of all musicians.

Table of Contents

    1. Music and Philosophy
    Aims and Assumptions
    Characteristic Concerns of Philosophical Discourse
    The Value of Music Philosophy to the Musician
    Music from Divergent Perspectives
    Perspectivism Versus the God's-eye View
    2. Music as Imitation
    Appearance and Reality, Deception and Truth: Plato's Music Philosophy
    The Continuing Greek Legacy: Aristotle
    Neoplatonic Elaborations
    3. Music as Idea
    Rationalism and Empiricism
    Kant: 'Aesthetic' Experience, Beauty, and Taste
    Schiller: 'Aesthetic' Education
    Hegel: The Ascent Toward Absolute Idea
    Schopenhauer: Lifting the Rational Veil
    4. Music as Autonomous Form
    Ancient Precursors: Aristoxenus, Phildemus, Sextus
    Hanslick: Tonally Moving Forms
    Gurney: The Power of Sound
    Leonard B. Myer: Expectation, Emotion, and Musical Meaning
    5. Music as Symbol
    Langer: Conceiving the Patterns of Sentience
    Goodman: Music and World Making
    Nattiez: Signs, Reference, and Infinite Musical Interpretants
    6. Music as Experienced
    Phenomenology: Origins and Assumptions
    Merleau-Ponty: The Bodily Basis of Knowing and Being
    Dufrenne: The Musical 'Quasi-Subject'
    Clifton: The Geometry of Musical Experience
    Burrows: Sonorously Experiencing the World
    Stubley: The Transformative Power of Musical Performance
    Music as Embodied Experience: The Body in the Mind
    7. Music as Social and Political Force
    Adorno: The Critical Social Function of Music
    Attali: The Political Economy of Music
    8. Contemporary Pluralist Perspectives
    Feminist Perspectives
    Music from Feminist Perspectives
    The Postmodern Ethos
    Subject Index
    Name Index