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Thread: any music philosopher recommendations?

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    Default any music philosopher recommendations?

    i am already familiarized with scriabin and love his work dearly; however, i was wondering if there were any classical music philosophers or classical musicians who wrote on music (other than wagner). thanks !

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    Jonathan Harvey.

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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Jonathan Harvey.

    ...the question is, do you believe in Angels? He did.
    Last edited by mikeh375; Jul-17-2021 at 09:56.

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    So did Bach, probably. Would you not listen to his music for that reason? Do you watch movies with scientologist actors?
    Unless Harvey is using angels for essential arguments about music, this should not be a big deal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kreisler jr View Post
    So did Bach, probably. Would you not listen to his music for that reason? Do you watch movies with scientologist actors?
    Unless Harvey is using angels for essential arguments about music, this should not be a big deal.
    The comment was harmless enough, no need to sweat it.

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    The OP started off by mentioning Scriabin -- fanboi of Madame Blavatsky. Bloody hell, if Scriabin's counted as a philosopher, then I think it's anti British to exclude Jonathan Harvey.

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    Here's some songs by Nietzsche -- nice!


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    Rousseau's Le Divan de Village was first performed on 18 October 1752 before the royal court at Fontainebleau, and for the public, on 1 March 1753 at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris. King Louis XV loved the piece so much that he offered Rousseau the great honor of a life pension. Rousseau refused the honor. However, the opera became one of the most popular of its day and brought him both wealth and fame. The opera was also performed at the wedding of the future Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.


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    John Cage was a composer who many see as a philosopher.

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    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Roger Scruton. Took up composition late in life.

    His book 'Music As An Art' is excellent in my opinion, as is his book on Wagner's Ring. He wrote many books on philosophy, politics, religion, Aesthetics &cetera.

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    Senior Member norman bates's Avatar
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    About philosophers, Theodor Adorno wrote a lot about music and he also took music lessons from Schoenberg (if I remember correctly) and also wrote music, altough I confess I never listened to it.

    Debussy wasn't a philosopher as far as I know but a well known critic, as Virgil Thomson and René Leibowitz (altough the latter was the guy who said that Sibelius was the worst composer ever or something like that). Gunther Schuller wrote many books about both classical and jazz music (his history of jazz is one of the most important works about the genre and the Compleat conductor analyzed the work of classical music directors). Alec Wilder wrote what's considered the bible about the Great american songbook. Ned Rorem is a quite gifted writer for what I've read.
    What time is the next swan?

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    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    There have been some long threads here about philosophers who tackled the question of aesthetics, including music. The most important modern ones, imo, start with David Hume, especially his 1760 essay Of the Standard of Taste, and include John Dewey, especially his classic 1934 book Art as Experience. More recent philosophers, who in some cases also are musicologists and musicians, have built on Dewey's ideas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryPenfold View Post
    Roger Scruton. Took up composition late in life.

    His book 'Music As An Art' is excellent in my opinion, as is his book on Wagner's Ring. He wrote many books on philosophy, politics, religion, Aesthetics &cetera.
    I can second this. His ideas are rather unpopular right now and out of vogue, but are very interesting and often convincing.

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Eduard Hanslick — The Beautiful in Music (Vom Musikalisch-Schönen) A classic treatise about the limits and possibilities of musical expression.

    Edward T. Cone — The Composer’s Voice — About the relationship between composers and that which their music expresses.

    Jerrold Levinson, especially his Music, Art, and Metaphysics. Challenging essays on many fundamental questions in musical aesthetics.

    Peter Kivy — The Corded Shell, A theory of musical expression.

    Jenefer Robinson (editor) — Music and Meaning, a collection of essays by philosophers, musicologists, music theorists, and performers, many concerned with the philosophy of musical narrative theory.

    Robert Hatten — Musical Meaning in Beethoven. On the semiotic interpretation of Beethoven's music, written by a music theorist.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Jul-18-2021 at 23:41.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    When a true genius appears on the earth, you may know him by this sign, that all of the dunces are in confederacy against him.
    — Jonathan Swift

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    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Speaking of successors to Dewey, I should have mentioned Leonard B. Meyer and his Emotion and Meaning in Music (1956) and Music, the Arts and Ideas (1967). Thanks to Strange Magic who has mentioned Meyer and his work in a number of threads here. Meyer's work is dense and slow going, but thoughtful and interesting.
    Though he is more concerned with a critical history of aesthetics rather than philosophy, at least directly, and discusses the arts generally rather than focusing solely on music, I highly recommend Walter Jackson Bate's From Classic to Romantic: Premises of Taste in Eighteenth-century England (1946).
    Finally, though he certainly is more a musicologist and historian than an aesthetic philosopher, Charles Rosen's method of analysis, as in The Classical Style, The Romantic Generation and Arnold Schoenberg, his approach certainly reflects a philosophical approach based, imo, in the pragmatism of Dewey et al.
    All of these writers have to deal with questions like, What is music, and what is its purpose? at least indirectly, to establish their own premises.

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