Philosophy of Music Essay example

713 Words May 12th, 2014 3 Pages
Philosophy of Music
The philosophy of music involves a study of basic questions regarding music, such as what music really is, what are the conditions that classify something as music (as opposed to noise, for example), how does culture influence music, how music is perceived as pleasurable and what is the relationship between music and emotions.
While music has been defined as organized sound, many people maintain that this definition is too broad, as human speech and the noise produced by machinery are also organized sounds. Music can refer to a printed piece of paper, sound waves traveling through the air to reach the listener's ear, magnetic tape or a CD (the physical object the music is recorded on), the electrochemical changes
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The general emotional associations that people feel when listening to certain types of music can be functions of the music itself or due to how they were culturally conditioned.
William Butler Yeats claimed that you cannot separate a dancer from the dance, and there are those who maintain that you cannot separate the musician from the music, and that the composer and the player of the instrument that provides music both draw out from their own being and infuse the composition with a part of themselves. Whether instrumental music can have meaning behind it is open to dispute, but when music is called the "universal language" it supposes that music can refer to concepts other than itself. Even when composers title a piece with a number (for example, Brahms' Symphony No. 1), audiences attempt to give the piece a literary name, perhaps to force meaning into the piece.
Some philosophers look at music as having the power to arouse and express emotions. This arousal or expression of feelings could be the goal of music, as well as most of the arts, with the musician or composer communicating his or her feelings through the music, fulfilling their social role or connecting with their audience. Through listening to music, people are sometimes better able to understand their emotions, and according to Leonard B. Meyer, a music philosopher, music is not directed to the senses. Rather, it is directed through the senses to the mind.
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