Philosophy of Music

Philosophy of music is a branch of philosophy that explores the fundamental questions of music, including the nature of its experience and its relation to aesthetics and metaphysics. Among other subjects, philosophy of music explores questions related to the relationship between music and aesthetics, as well as the role of art in society and culture. Several examples of major philosophers who study music include Nageli, Schopenhauer, and Heidegger. This article will discuss some of these ideas and how they are relevant to music philosophy.


One of the central questions of the theory of expressiveness in music is how does a piece of music express emotion? Plato, of course, first proposed the theory, but later writers like Kivy and Davies have taken it further and detach it from human emotional states. Regardless of how they interpret the phenomenon, they do offer an insightful explanation of why some pieces are more expressive than others. Here are some examples of the resemblance between music and human expression.

In order to understand the phenomenon of resemblance, we must first define what a resemblance is. What makes two things similar? The similarities between the two are, in general, mutual and unifying. In the case of depiction, the two items share three features, such as size and shape. In each case, the degree of similarity diminishes as distance increases. On the other hand, in the case of an ordered family, the resemblance is constant but in a different way: the two items are not the same.

Blumson takes an entirely different approach. He argues that resemblance is superior to depiction. The key point is that resemblance allows for a richer analysis of musical representation. This approach has its limits, but it’s worth considering. It’s hard to argue against its benefits! In this way, it’s easier to understand how expressive music can inspire us. When we listen to a song and recognize it as an imitation of another piece of music, we can appreciate its expressive power.


Davies, who studied metaphysics, presents competing ontologies of musical works. According to nominalists, all musical work information is contained within the performance and the work’s title. This argument fails to account for the fact that musical works have an ambiguous relationship with the metaphysical world. Ontological categories are useful for categorizing musical works in different ways. The following is an analysis of the various ontologies of musical works.

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A second view of arousal, derived from Kant, argues that music expresses emotional states. This view is widely held as a standard in contemporary analytic philosophy of music, though some people feel that it does not address some of the problems inherent in cruder theories of arousal. Justine Kingsbury points out, however, that we rarely run together expression and arousal. For example, we may be saddened by someone else’s joy or upset by their anger. We may also feel Schadenfreude when we see someone else’s distress. These concepts are commonplace in human behavior and can be layered.

A second objection concerns Kivy’s definition of profundity. Kivy maintains that music is not profound if it does not display an impressive level of ingenuity. Kivy compares this view to the story of the man who told children not to stick beans up their noses. Philosophers of art have attempted to demonstrate that music can be profound. However, Kivy remains unconvinced by Davies’ definition of profundity.


The philosophical concept of’music’ in Schopenhauer’s writings is that it is an expression of the will. Music, according to Schopenhauer, is the direct representation of the Wille, the metaphysical principle of everything. In this sense, Schopenhauer’s philosophy is a continuation of Kant’s ‘thing-in-itself’ philosophy. It essentially says that each piece of music is the expression of a driving spirit, which is experienced by the composer and the listener alike.

In Schopenhauer’s philosophy, artists were regarded as geniuses, separated from the rest of humanity by their unique vision. Their purpose, Schopenhauer argued, was to reveal the inner nature of things. This, in turn, compelled them to create art. But this was not the only purpose of art. It was also a burden. In this sense, artists’ work has become more aesthetically pleasing in recent years.

The will to live is the source of all suffering, according to Schopenhauer. Aesthetic contemplation is one way to escape pain. By moving away from ordinary cognizance of individual things and toward Platonic ideas, aesthetic contemplation removes the separation between the perceiver and the perception. Instead, it fills the entire consciousness with a single perceptual image. Therefore, art is the best therapy for the soul.

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Hans-Georg Nageli was an early proponent of formalist views of music. The philosopher asserted that music lacks content and emotional character. Whether or not music elicits an emotional response is debatable. But one thing is certain: music must be aesthetically beautiful in order to be good. And music must have some kind of emotional character. But defining the emotional content of music is not an easy task.


The interest in psychology that prompted Spencer’s work was his desire to establish the universal validity of natural law. In addition to the importance of nature, Spencer believed that people and societies can develop their minds and bodies in parallel. This idea conflicted with the theological worldview of his time. For this reason, he developed a mechanistic view of the human mind. But what exactly were his philosophical ideas? We’ll discuss some of them below.

Herbert Spencer was an influential American writer and philosopher. His works were widely read, and he was able to support himself solely from book sales and Victorian periodicals. His work was published in three volumes, collected into his Essays, and translated into many languages. His philosophy and writings won him many awards and honours in Europe and North America. Despite the challenges of his life, Spencer’s philosophy continues to influence society today.

In his essays, Herbert Spencer outlined his theories on the origin of music. He suggested that it was the result of evolution and reflected the same principles of natural law as biological organisms. Furthermore, he thought that society was independent of external control and that the same principles apply to humans. Thus, Spencer’s theory of evolution held that societies evolved from simpler to more complex states through time. However, he failed to identify fundamental differences between higher and lower levels of social organization.


If you are interested in learning more about the philosophy of evolution, Darwin’s theory is a great place to start. It was Darwin who first realized that the creative process occurs without conscious thought. While the theory isn’t entirely new, a lot of modern music does have a Darwinian bent. In his 1844 essay, he wrote “On the Origin of Species,” which was read by the undersecretary of the society, George Busk.

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Darwin believed that song was a biological feature and that it evolved along with human communicative capabilities. As such, he believed that song was developed prior to language and had a purpose beyond mere communication. Darwin’s theory also supported the view that humans developed a sophisticated musical ability and that song was a result of sexual selection and natural selection. This is still a controversial view, but it is possible that music evolved before language in order to impress potential mates.

While Einhorn’s musical tribute to Darwin uses a variety of materials, he has no idea who first wrote or recorded it. He used Darwin’s autobiography, “transmutation notebooks” and letters in the composition of the music. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education and member of the international advisory board of the Darwin Day Celebration, said that she’d never heard of anyone setting Darwin’s writings to music.


The music of Jessie J Domino is currently at number five in the UK charts, and its lyrics and melody are immediately recognisable and familiar. But Adorno sees these songs as merely generic and conform to the rules of standardised popular music. He argues that music possesses the power to convey information about society, but this power is based on the illusion of individuality, which is a false assumption that must be rejected.

The philosopher argues that meaningful forms are achieved by a clear articulation of tension and contrast. As a result, a piece of music can only be said to be a meaningful work of art if the tension between its various elements is emphasized. This tension is what makes music so evocative. Ultimately, Adorno’s ideas about music are grounded in his thoughts on art in general.

While a philosopher of art, Adorno has specialized in aesthetics. His aesthetic writings trace work-internal tensions and connect these tensions to sociohistorical conflicts. At the third reflections of Aesthetic Theory, Adorno evaluates the categories of art and criticism. He elaborates these categories as dialectical pairs. These categories represent two different modalities, which Adorno uses to analyze and compare different works of art.

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