Listed in: Philosophy, as PHIL-67
Joseph G. Moore (Section 01)
Music is sometimes described as a language, but what, if anything, does Charlie Parkerâ€™s â€œAh-Leu-Chaâ€ say to us? If music isnâ€™t representational, then how should we understand its connection to the various emotions that it can express and invoke? (Or maybe these arenâ€™t genuine emotions: Samuel Barberâ€™s Adagio for Strings is widely described as sad, but what exactly are we-or is it-sad about? And why would we choose to listen to Mozartâ€™s Requiem if it genuinely terrified us?) Perhaps our musical descriptions and experiences are metaphorical in some way-but how, and why? What exactly is a musical work anyway? Where, when and how do â€œSummertime,â€ or â€œStairway to Heaven,â€ or â€œShake Ya Tailfeatherâ€ exist? And what makes for a performance of one or the other (or of no work at all)? What, if anything, guides a proper â€œlisteningâ€ or understanding of a musical work? Does it require knowledge of relevant musical and cultural conventions, or of the compositionâ€™s historical context, or even of the composerâ€™s intentions and guiding aesthetic philosophy? (Think of gamelan music; think of the Sgt. Pepperâ€™s album; think of John Cage.) What determines whether a work, or a performance of it, is good? What role is played by beauty, grace, intensity and so on? And how objective are these aesthetic properties? Finally, why do we sometimes find music to be not just enjoyable, but intensely moving and even profound? Requisite: Two courses in Philosophy or consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor Moore.