Thinking of Music
An approach along a parallel path
Today's composers are preoccupied first and foremost with exploring the possibilities of producing new and hitherto unheard-of kinds of different-sounding music. In particular, they employ advanced, mainly electronic, technologies, or invent new musical instruments that break the mould of traditional music-making, thus introducing new sounds to music. On this front there are exciting, creative developments for those willing to open their ears. These contemporary composers also often take a piece of literature, an art work, a landscape or an historical event for extraneous orientation. The traditional understanding of music, especially of Western music, based as it is on harmony and wedded to aesthetic theory, has long since been burst. The beginning of the twentieth century heralded already a break-out into the realm of sounds beyond those well-defined, pure, rational tones produced by specially designed instruments. The advent of electricity and electronics exploded conceptions of music tied to venerated traditions, particularly in European music. Do these new kinds of music come about simply because of advances in technology that composers and musicians licentiously and creatively appropriate for their own music-making purposes? Or does their thinking need to dig deeper philosophically to gain another orientation and attunement?
There is a dearth of philosophical thinking on music nowadays, which invariably remains dedicated either to aesthetic theory or social critique, or to a blend of both. The present study offers an alternative approach to thinking on music along a path that leads from... via... to music and is parallel to the way from... via... to language.
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