Philosophy of music

Course Dates: 06/07/21 - 22/07/21
Time: 14:00 - 16:00
Location: Online
Tutors: 
What is music? Does it consist of sounds, scores or something else? Is it a language? Can it express emotions? Or be objectively beautiful? Why do we value it? Can we always differentiate between music and other sounds?
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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SKU
175408
Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £60.00

Course Code: HP192

Tue+Thu, day, 06 Jul - 22 Jul '21

Duration: 5 sessions (over 3 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This course offers an introduction to the philosophy of music by considering several key themes that continue to interest contemporary thinkers. The questions we ask have no settled answers, but generate lively debate and open up onto themes in other areas of philosophy. We focus on music without words and inform our discussion with historical perspectives where appropriate.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

• The distinction between “beautiful” and “sublime”.
• What is music and how does it differ from noise?
• Various approaches to describing music as a language, or means of communication. What, and how, does it communicate, if at all?
• Historical and contemporary attempts to describe the relationship between music and emotion.
• Different modern accounts of the distinctions between composition, performance, recording and so on.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Describe the founding ideas of eighteenth century aesthetics, especially the “beautiful” and “sublime” and the key problem of “value”.
• Assess approaches to distinguishing music from other kinds of sound.
• Discuss positions on music’s language-like qualities, if it has any.
• Take a view on the relationship between music and emotion.
• Understand the ontological problems different musical practices pose.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an introductory course and the only prerequisite is English language skills to enable participation in class discussions. No prior knowledge of philosophy or music is expected, and in particular you need not be a musician, have a “good ear” or be able to read musical notation.

5. How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
These classes use a mixture of lecture, structured discussion-based activities and directed listening to extracts from recordings. Some optional material may be provided for reading between classes.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

These classes use a mixture of lecture, structured discussion-based activities and directed listening to extracts from recordings. Some optional material may be provided for reading between classes.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No equipment is required.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Please see the City Lit website for full listing of courses in philosophy.

Rich Cochrane

Rich is a programmer, writer and educator with a particular interest in creative practice. In his previous career he worked as a software developer in the CIty, first at a dot-com startup and later at a top-tier investment bank where he worked mostly on trading floor systems and got to play with a wide range of languages and technologies. He now teaches coding and maths-related courses full time. Besides his work at City Lit he also teaches at Central Saint Martins, the Architecture Association and the Photographer's Gallery and is the author of two books about mathematics. His technical collaborations with artists have been shown at, among others, the Hayward gallery, the V&A, the ICA and Camden Arts Centre. He has a BSc in Mathematics from the Open University. He also has a BA in English Literature and a PhD in philosophy (both from Cardiff). He continues to teach a little philosophy and literature, especially as they intersect with his other interests, and as a partner in Minimum Labyrinth he has brought these ideas to wider audiences in collaboration with the Museum of London, the Barbican and various private sponsors.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.