Music 128P / Philosophy C112
Music and Meaning
Arts and Literature; Philosophy and Values
This course will explore the question of whether music has meaning, and if so, what kind. Can music represent, say, birdsong, or the sea, or merely imitate? If music expresses emotions, then whose — those of the listener? the composer? the performer? We will consider parallels and contrasts between linguistic and musical meaning, theories of how music can be expressive, and the question of whether music can convey political meaning. The course will be taught as a seminar, and students will be expected to participate actively. Each week’s discussion will be structured around the interaction between musical excerpts and readings, drawn from historical and contemporary literature in philosophy, musicology, and the psychology of music. Requirements will include several short papers, a class presentation, and a final paper.
- Fall 2013
- Spring 2013