Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

October 5, 2016
by Aesthetics for Birds
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The Philosophy of Jazz

What is the philosophy of jazz? In a sort of order of strength of the foundational questions philosophers of jazz often research and pursue we have: What is jazz? Can it be defined?  Does it have a musical essence? Are there necessary and sufficient conditions for a musical performance to be jazz? How does one determine if free jazz, or jazz-rock fusion is jazz?  Was the movement to free jazz inevitable? Could Martians who know nothing about music on planet Earth play jazz? Why or why not? What is improvisation? Why is improvisation important to jazz?  Can improvisation be taught?  Are improvised (spontaneously composed) works inherently inferior aesthetically to pre-composed ones? What is a musical work? Does jazz have musical works?  Can an improvised jazz performance be a musical work? What does the ideal jazz musician need to know? Why? How does the brain and mind work when playing and … Continue reading

November 21, 2013
by Aesthetics for Birds

Punk Music and the Ontology of Rock Recordings

What follows is a guest post by Christopher Bartel. The standard view of the ontology of musical works in the Western classical tradition holds that musical works are some kind of abstract entity and they are intended to be instantiated in live performances. I take it that this is the typical starting point for the debate. Disagreements arise over the kind of abstract entity that a musical work might be, and over how works are to be individuated. I have some skepticism toward these latter ontological projects (Bartel, 2011). But, I am not thereby opposed to other kinds of ontological projects. Actually, I think some do rather helpfully clarify exactly what is going on in our musical practices.