Philosophical Perspectives on Music


Music is an expression of the human soul, and its abstractness and expressivity have long fascinated philosophers and scientists. Despite the abstract nature of music, it can be used as a powerful medium for mythmaking and expression. Here, we explore some of the most prominent philosophical perspectives on music. The aim of this article is to introduce you to a few of these viewpoints, and hopefully help you make up your own mind about this universal form of art.

Musical experience

A contemporary composer, Roger Sessions, argues that music is shared and speaks to the listener. In this book, he explores the shifting relationship between artist and public. He challenges our tendency to treat music on a strictly ontological level and to equate it with a musical work. As a result, his writings are both provocative and optimistic. But his approach isn't without criticism. Regardless of its shortcomings, The Musical Experience offers an engaging way to explore the complex nature of music.

Abstractness of music

The apparent abstractness of music is a general feature of artistic signification. Although we often consider literature and language as objects, these are actually quite abstract. The objectlessness of music is attributed to its arbitrary structure and meanings. People with a familiarity with a song can recognize it among wildly different cover versions. The difficulty in relating music semiotics to linguistics arises from our mistaken comparison. Music is not like poetry or literature.


Expression in music can be defined as a person's personal response to music, whether through playing an instrument or singing. Musicians have varying degrees of musical expression, and each individual may express it in different ways. Here are a few tips to improve your musical expression:


The notion of music's expressivity has long fascinated ethnomusicologists. The idea of musical expression is a common one across cultures, but what makes it so different is the way in which it is perceived. It is not always obvious why this is the case, since music has distinct underlying aesthetic values and is often highly genre-specific. As such, it remains a challenge to understand and explain music's expressivity across cultures.

Influence on cognition

Researchers tested whether the presence of music can improve cognitive performance by asking students to complete a series of cognitive tasks. Music had a positive impact on students who needed to learn word pairs, but its effect faded as the difficulty increased. The presence of music may benefit students who need minimal stimulation, however. Here are some interesting findings. Read on to find out more. This study has some limitations, however. Its results are not conclusive, so more studies need to be done to determine whether music improves cognition.

Internationalization of music

The internationalization of music is a global process shaped by the changing economic and political circumstances of societies. Historically, music has been a part of the global process since ancient times, extending from the musical practices of ancient cultures to the development of modern societies. Music has also been influenced by other factors, such as global capitalism and religious movements. Here are three key examples of how music has influenced globalization. This is an overview of some of the most important developments and issues related to the internationalization of music.