Music in Contemporary Philosophy
Edited by Martin Scherzinger
Routledge – 2015 – 182 pages
This book examines the functional place of music in contemporary European philosophy of the 20th and 21st centuries. The chapters explore the musical dimensions of lesser known figures as well as well-known philosophical figures in relation to their lesser-known musical dimensions. Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Jean-François Lyotard, Jacques Rancière and Alain Badiou, for example, are central figures in debates concerning phenomenology, postmodernism and political philosophy. Their musical writings, however, have been largely overlooked. Of those discussed here whose musical writings have gained some currency – Ernst Bloch, Theodor W. Adorno, Jean-Luc Nancy, Edward Said, and Slavoj Žižek – music mostly constitutes but a partial aspect of their overall philosophical output. These chapters attempt to supplement the gap, raising more prominently than hitherto the question concerning music in this philosophical milieu.
The collection represents some of the distinctive recent work of an emerging generation of American-based music scholars tackling the relationship between philosophy and music in a qualitatively new way. While this intellectual output cannot be easily summarized, one detects certain features. If what was once called "New Musicology" in the 1990s can be characterized by a turn to literary theory and philosophy – treated as sources of (mostly nonjudgmental) inspiration – we find here, instead, a new body of work that turns the tables on the relation between music and philosophy. Instead of bringing philosophy to musicology, this work critically analyzes how music inhabits philosophy itself, and then assesses the ethical and political dimensions of these philosophical positions and their relation to lived history.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Contemporary Music Review.
1. Introduction: On Sonotropism Martin Scherzinger 2. Vibrating Colors and Silent Bodies. Music, Sound and Silence in Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Critique of Dualism Amy Cimini 3. Ernst Bloch’s Utopian Ton of Hope Michael Gallope 4. Awakening Dead Time: Adorno on Husserl, Benjamin, and the Temporality of Music Stephen Decatur Smith 5. Heidegger’s Ears: Hearing, Attunement, and the Acoustic Shaping of Being and Time Jennifer L. Heuson 6. Destination Unknown: Jean-François Lyotard and Orienting Musical Affect Trent Leipert 7. Jean-Luc Nancy and the Listening Subject Brian Kane 8. Slavoj Žižek: Responding from the Void Holly Watkins 9. Wagner Redux: Badiou on Music for the Future Martin Scherzinger 10. Rancière’s Equal Music Jairo Moreno and Gavin Steingo 11. Another Music, A Time to Forget: Reflections on Edward Said’s Late Style James Currie
Martin Scherzinger is a composer and associate professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, USA. His research specializes in sound studies, music, media and politics of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a particular interest in political economy and digital sound technologies, the sensory limits of mass-mediated music, copyright and censorship, the mathematical geometries of musical time, and the history of sound in philosophy.