Contemporary Music: Theoretical and Philosophical Perspectives

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In his book How the Mind Works , Steven Pinker dubbed music "auditory cheesecake", [5] a phrase that in the years since has served as a challenge to the musicologists and psychologists who believe otherwise. In the pre-modern tradition, the aesthetics of music or musical aesthetics explored the mathematical and cosmological dimensions of rhythmic and harmonic organization. In the eighteenth century, focus shifted to the experience of hearing music, and thus to questions about its beauty and human enjoyment plaisir and jouissance of music.

The origin of this philosophic shift is sometimes attributed to Baumgarten in the 18th century, followed by Kant. Through their writing, the ancient term aesthetics , meaning sensory perception, received its present-day connotation. In recent decades philosophers have tended to emphasize issues besides beauty and enjoyment. For example, music's capacity to express emotion has been a central issue.

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Aesthetics is a sub-discipline of philosophy. However, many musicians, music critics , and other non-philosophers have contributed to the aesthetics of music.

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In the 19th century, a significant debate arose between Eduard Hanslick , a music critic and musicologist, and composer Richard Wagner. Harry Partch and some other musicologists , such as Kyle Gann , have studied and tried to popularize microtonal music and the usage of alternate musical scales. Also, many modern composers like La Monte Young , Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca paid much attention to a system of tuning called just intonation. There has been a strong tendency in the aesthetics of music to emphasize the paramount importance of compositional structure; however, other issues concerning the aesthetics of music include lyricism , harmony , hypnotism , emotiveness , temporal dynamics , resonance , playfulness, and color see also musical development.

It is often thought that music has the ability to affect our emotions , intellect , and psychology ; it can assuage our loneliness or incite our passions. The philosopher Plato suggests in the Republic that music has a direct effect on the soul. Therefore, he proposes that in the ideal regime music would be closely regulated by the state Book VII. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Some basic questions in the philosophy of music are: What is the definition of music? What is the relationship between music and mind? What is the relationship between music and language? What does musical history reveal to us about the world? What is the connection between music and emotions? Plato Kant Nietzsche. Buddha Confucius Averroes.

Main article: Definition of music. Main articles: Absolute music and Program music. Main article: Aesthetics of music. Music portal Philosophy portal. Horowitz ed. John Dewey. Scott Goble. Randall Everett Allsup. Stephanie Pitts. David Hargreaves.

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Philip Ball. Scott Wilson. Bruno Nettl. Nate Chinen. Mark Tanner. Julian Horton. Paul Harris. Lisa Giombini. Val Wilmer. Contributions with a theoretical emphasis consider the historical rationalization of music and technology, new approaches to the theorization of atonal harmony in the wake of Spectralism, debates on the 'new complexity', the heterogeneity, pluralism and stylistic omnivorousness that characterizes music in our time, and the characterization of twentieth-century and contemporary music as a 'search for lost harmony'.

The philosophical contributions examine concepts of totality and inclusivity in new music, raising questions as to what might be expected from an autonomous contemporary musical logic, and considering the problem of the survival of the avant-garde in the context of postmodernist relativism. As well as analytic philosophy and cognitive psychology, critical theory features prominently, with theories of social mediation in music, new perspectives on the concept of musical material in Adorno's late aesthetic theory, and a call for 'an aesthetics of risk' in contemporary art as a means 'to reassert the essential role of criticism, of judgment, and of evaluation as necessary conditions to bring about a real public debate on the art of today'.

Theoretical Perspectives and Retrospectives.