Course Details

MUSC 239: The Philosophy of Music

What is Music, and what exactly is a “musical composition,” especially in the age of recorded music and sampling? Can music tell a story, express an emotion, or convey a proposition? And if music can do any of these things, how does it do it? Last but not least, how are we to judge the value of musical pieces and musical practices? Do we need to judge popular music differently from so-called “art” music?  To address these questions we will listen to a wide range of musical examples, from Bach and Mozart to the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, and we will read a wide range of writings about music, from Plato, Rousseau, and Kant to current philosophers, including Scruton, Kivy, Davies, Carroll, and Gracyk. Prerequisite: Previous music or philosophy course or instructor permission
6 credits; LA, WR2; Not offered 2021-2022