Beat logo

What Is 'Music Philosophy?' What Makes It Special?

by John Marvin Scott 2 years ago in humanity

Defining the Big Question

Quote from Ludwig Van Beethoven on Music

Alright, for those of you who saw my latest post, you'll know that I'm going on this journey to dive into what music philosophy is. My main goal is to attempt to understand what the philosophy of music is, and why it is important. Sounds interesting, right? I hope so.

I find that a lot of musicians I surround myself with tend not to explore this topic. I'm not entirely sure why, but that is just how it is. Why not explore why people create music? What is it? Why do we enjoy it? Is it ingrained in human society? Who knows? I'm here to go on a self-driven journey to find out.

First of all, we must define what "Music Philosophy" is. In simple terms, it is the philosophy of music! But wait, there must be more. Since music is an art form, it has connections to aesthetics and art philosophy.

What is "aesthetics"? In a more strict sense, aesthetics is the philosophy of beauty and taste. Wait for a second... that has nothing to do with music. THAT'S WHERE YOU'RE WRONG! I thought so as well. Turns out, aesthetics and philosophy or art are not the same thing. The philosophy of art is concerned with the nature of art, and the concepts on which it is evaluated.

So... they're sort of related to music, sort of. Turns out music can apply to both of these categories because we are able to talk about the beautiful characteristics of music, as well as the way it has been interpreted. Pretty neat, hey? But then where does the term "music philosophy" come into play?

Well, it turns out that is an entirely different topic (yay!). By definition, music philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature and value of music. There we go! That is what I've been looking for. Yes, we kind of went on a detour through aesthetics and art philosophy, but I think we need to understand these terms in order the truly understand what we're diving into. What I'm going to be diving into will be questions like this: What is the definition of music? How does music relate to human experience? Is music considered a language?

Alright, so since we have established where music fits into the spectrum of art philosophy, and what I should be talking about, we should probably ask ourselves the big question that began this entire post.

"What makes music philosophy special?"

I'm glad you asked, and I'm even more stoked to answer it for you. I have to start by saying this: Music is art and all art IS subjective. What does this mean? Well... it means that you could really enjoy power metal, but the person next to you could absolutely despise Dragonforce (but why would they...?). It really means that all art is created out of the emotions we stumble upon from what we experience as humans. Humans are actually extraordinary in that way. We are able to experience things, take those experiences, remember how they made us feel, and then translate that emotion and feeling into music. Isn't that wild? I think so.

I'm really excited to start explaining why I think that music philosophy is important. Remember that this is a new topic for me to cover and that my views and opinions will probably change from now to the next time that I write. But as of right now, here is why I think music philosophy is important:

I truly believe that music is fundamental to human experience. That being said, if the study of music philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of music, then it should be clear as to why I think it is important! It really comes down to that fact that most modern-day musicians don't understand that the music that they know and love only comes from one area of the world, and they aren't even looking back 100 years in music history. The people who are musicians, but have no understanding of the history of the art form they are adding to are a part of why the concept of why art and music is important is dying. I think that the more we can educate people on this history, concept, theory, and philosophy of not just music, but of art, the world will be a better place. And I will do all that I can to do that.

'Til next time.

John Marvin Scott
John Marvin Scott
Read next: Jay Z: From Worst to Best
John Marvin Scott

Musician/Composer writing about my experiences in the world of music.

See all posts by John Marvin Scott

Find us on socal media

Miscellaneous links