SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Listening to music: a unique active experience
(Philosophy of Mind, )

A In philosophy of auditory perception, taxonomic works such as O'Callaghan's (2020) and O'Callaghan and Nudds' (2009) present the musical case as a specific auditory experience. Even though philosophers have considered the musical case as special despite being so common in our everyday lives, few contributions have tried to analyse it from a perceptual point of view (Scruton 1997, Hamilton 2009). Following Crowther (2009b) and O'Shaughnessy (2000), I will consider listening as a mental action carried out by perceivers who are not mere passive entities. After a brief definition of the act of listening, I will then move to the analysis of the musical case. I will argue that listening to music is a joint activity that requires the efforts of both perceivers and musicians, at least in the case of tonal music. On one side, perceivers draw and keep their attention on music, being led by the expectations generated by musical structures. On the other side, musicians lead listeners' attention to the most relevant elements in each musical bit. Even if music structures present synchronous sounds, perceivers do not experience difficulties in grasping what are the most relevant components in a specific passage. I will support my statements in two moves. Firstly, I will compare the experience of listening to a piece of music from a tradition that we are familiar with and the experience of listening to a piece of music that is completely alien to our ears. I will notice as, in the second case, we cannot create expectations. Secondly, I will analyse the case of virtual a-synchronous recordings. Where, the impossibility to rehearse together eliminates the opportunity for musicians to listen to each other and the hierarchy of priority among the elements of the musical structures goes missing.

Chair: Martin Niederl
Time: 18:10-18:40, 09 September 2021 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.005
Remark: (Online Talk)

Giulia Lorenzi  
(University of Warwick, )



Testability and Meaning deco