Rhetoric of Philosophical Discourse
108 | CCN: 77908
“Music to Hear”: On the Philosophy of Music
Instructor: Ramona Naddaff
Date / Time: TuTh 330-5P, 223 DWINELLE
Thinking about the intellectual, affective and neurological experiences, the meaning and value, and the aesthetics of music has occupied an important position in modern and contemporary philosophical writings. Central to the philosophy of music is a questioning of what music is insofar as it is an art form and practice, akin to but different from other arts, such as drama, literature, painting, sculpture, to name but a few examples. Claims have been made, in fact, that music’s effect, when created, performed and listened to, surpasses those of the other arts because of its abstract purity, its universality, and its singular capacity to express, represent and incite emotions. This course will explore such issues in 19th-21st century philosophy. We will begin with introductory readings on the field and discipline of the philosophy of music. We will read—among other philosophers, critics and musicologists—Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Adorno, and Barthes’ philosophical writings on music. Finally, we will have the occasion to listen to specific musicians, both high and low, and explore the contexts of their work, concentrating on the historical and political dimensions of the practice, performance and art of making music. Students’ active participation in the course is essential to both the course’s success and their grades. The course will include not only written work, oral group participations but also weekly blog postings combining image, music and words.