Philosophy of Music
An Introduction
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Author(s): R. A. Sharpe  
ISBN: 1844650014
ISBN-13: 9781844650019
Publication Date: 31/10/2004
Pages: 196 (216 x 138mm)
Format: Paperback
Published Price: £16.99
Discount Price: £13.59
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Philosophy of Music is for anyone who has ever wondered whether or not music means anything or why some music is thought to be more significant than other music. It is a lively and lucid introduction to the aesthetics of music and to the issues that illuminate musical listening, understanding and practice. The book assumes no philosophical training on the part of its readers, only an interest in music and our reactions to it. It provides an authoritative analysis of the central issues, enlivened with a real sense of enthusiasm for the subject and its importance.

At the heart of the book lie three key questions: What is the work of music? Can it have meaning? Can music have value? R. A. Sharpe guides the reader through the philosophical arguments and conceptual debates surrounding these questions while anchoring the discussion throughout to instances and examples from Western classical music and jazz. Unlike some other accounts of the philosophy of music, which view music as a branch of metaphysics, raising questions about sounds, tones and musical movement, Sharpe's approach is problem-orientated and the questions he raises are predominantly questions about the value of music, about the individuality of our assessments and about the way in which we prize music for its power to move us. He argues persuasively, and controversially for a philosopher, that when it comes to music philosophical analysis has its limitations and that one should not be surprised that the aesthetics of music can harbour contradictions and that our judgement of the value of music may be impossible to make internally consistent.

This engaging and stimulating book will be of wide interest to music-lovers, critics, practitioners alike as well as students of aesthetics looking for a non-technical treatment of the subject.


"Anyone who cares about music and philosophizing about it will find Sharpe's book a pleasure to read. Its wealth of examples gives it a juciness lacking in much analytic philosophy. And its personal tone is refreshing." – Philosophical Books

"Sharpe writes engagingly about meaning and value in music. After reading this book, you won't be able to prove that Schubert is profound or that Britten is better than Tippett; but Sharpe shows that the failure of such proofs reflects the humanism and individuality for which we value the arts most highly." – The Guardian

R. A. Sharpe was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wales, Lampeter.

1. Overture and beginnings
2. The work of music
3. Meaning
4. Value
Bibliography and discography

Also available in Hardback (1844650006), priced 50.00

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