Tag Archives: Philosophy

Thoreau’s ear

Henry David Thoreau was the only nineteenth-century American writer of the very first rank who paid prolonged and intense attention to sound-worlds, particularly non-human ones. As a naturalist, his fieldwork involved not only botany but also sound-collecting.

Thoreau’s writings illuminate how he understood music as sound. He discussed ambient sound and animal sound communication in acoustic ecological niches; he understood that sound announces presence and enables co-presence; and he developed a relational epistemology and alternative economy based in sound. His responses to the vibrations of the environment through prolonged and deep listening make him valuable for sound studies today.

This according to “Thoreau’s ear” by Jeff Todd Titon (Sound studies I/1 [2015] pp. 144–54).

Today is Thoreau’s 200th birthday! Below, one of Charles Ives’s meditations on the man and his work.

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Evental aesthetics

eventual aesthetics

Launched in 2012, Evental aesthetics is an independent, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to philosophical perspectives on art and aesthetics.

Publishing three times each year, the journal invites experimental and traditional philosophical ideas on questions pertaining to every form of art, as well as to aesthetic issues in the non-artworld, such as everyday aesthetics and environmental aesthetics.  Each installment of the journal reflects on specific, but broadly defined, aesthetic issues.

This publication is entirely independent and unaffiliated with any institution, and therefore is unimpeded by political or financial agendas. As a non-profit organization, Evental aesthetics operates completely without funding or advertising. The journal is open-access, available for download free of charge.

The first issue includes the music-related article “Hegel’s being-fluid in Corregidora, blues, and (post-) black aesthetics” by Mandy-Suzanne Wong; the full text is here.

Below, John Lee Hooker presents a fine example of blues philosophy.

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James Brown’s Deleuzian idiocy

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James Brown’s public acclaim as a musical visionary was often counterpointed by the private disdain of many of the trained musicians in his bands, who scorned his musical illiteracy.

An unorthodox valorization of Brown’s approach to composition is suggested by Deleuze’s account, in Différence et répétition, of the idiot as the pedant’s polar opposite. As a musical idiot, Brown’s naive immunity to conceptual rules or institutionally dominant forms of thinking—his capacity, in other words, for thought without presupposition—enabled modes of conceptual originality that evaded the musically trained.

This according to “James Brown: The illogic of innovation” by John Scannell (New formations: A journal of culture/theory/politics 66 [spring 2009] pp. 118–133). Today would have been Brown’s 80th birthday! Below, the Godfather of Soul defies logic in his heyday.

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Filed under Curiosities, Popular music

Musica humana

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Musica humana (ISSN 2092-4828), a refereed journal that explicitly invites interdisciplinary work, was launched in 2009. Its first issue (spring 2009) included research in therapy, performance practice, pedagogy, and cognitive psychology, giving a glimpse of its intended scope—which, according to their website, also includes “linguistics and semiotics, sociology and anthropology, intellectual history and cultural theory, as well as aesthetics and philosophy.” The journal is published by the Korean Institute for Musicology.

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Filed under New periodicals