Philosophy of Music

Philosophy of Music

Philosophy of music is the study of “fundamental questions about the nature of music and our experience of it”. Philosophy of music encompasses all theorizing about music that arises within philosophy. It makes attempts to answer questions concerning the nature and value of musical practices. Some basic questions in the philosophy of music are:

  1. What is the definition of music?

Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societies.

  1. What is the relationship between music and mind?

Music is a product of the mind. The vibrational elements of frequency, form, amplitude, and duration are not music to the human until they are neurologically transformed to, and interpreted by the brain as pitch, timbre, loudness, and time.

  1. What is the relationship between music and language?

Music can be used to help us remember words. It has been shown that words are better recalled when they are learned as a song rather than speech in particular conditions. Melody is what is important.

  1. What does music history reveal to us about the world?

Music is found in every known society, past and present, and is considered to be a cultural universal. Since all people of the world, including the most isolated tribal groups, have a form of music, it may be concluded that music is likely to have been present in the ancestral population prior to the dispersal of humans around the world.

  1. What is the connection between music and emotions?

Music has the ability to evoke powerful emotional responses in listeners. Positive emotions dominate in musical experiences. Pleasurable music may lead to the release of neurotransmitters associated with reward, such as dopamine.


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