JackDaydream wrote: ↑December 2nd, 2021, 3:26 pm
Thank you for your reply and I don't believe that I have ever interacted before on the forum. I am sure that you come from such a different background to me and I am not even a musician. However, music plays such a central part in my life, which is why I have begun a thread on it. I find that music is bound up with the search for meaning, like reading philosophy. I can remember even going to shops and exchanging CDs for different ones a a teenager because I didn't agree with the lyrics. It may have bordered a bit onto the 'neurotic' and I don't analyse lyrics in that way any longer. However, I see music as being so interconnected with inspiration states of consciousness and peak experiences and inspiration. Ideally, I would like this thread to open up discussion with people with various music tastes, including those with classical tastes and, even musicians on the site, because I think that music and consciousness may be worthy of philosophy discussion. Music is a language which may communicate what cannot be expressed in words.
Hi JackDaydream, yes, I think we've haven't interacted before. I have not posted much on the forum over the past six months as I've had some things going on that have limited my free time. And as you maybe see here, I'm often not quick to respond anyway as it takes me time to compose my thoughts and put together a post, and the threads tend to move on to other things before I can get in an answer! But I'm hoping to start becoming more active again.
There's a phrase that's heard often in music circles which is relevant to this discussion: "De gustibus non est disputandum
" - there a Wikipedia article on this that summarizes it well so I won't attempt a translation here. I bring it up here as I think it's important to avoid letting a philosophical discussion devolve into a discussion about tastes - in my experience that usually won't yield many insights. Knowing what a particular person likes or dislikes might be of use to me as it may help establish a connection of a common interest, or if I know that a person and I have similar tastes they may be more likely to give me recommendations for things I'm likely to enjoy - but it doesn't offer me much beyond that.
Although I do also play and listen to music for enjoyment and don't want to discount the importance of that, I know that it's possible to go beyond this and to experience music at a more conscious level where can listen not just for enjoyment but also for understanding - in other words, to not just consider how the music makes us feel, but to understand what the composer or musician is saying - why did they make the choices they made, what musical tradition are they writing from and how are they responding to it and why do others who hear it respond the way they do. To be able to do this requires an investment of time and effort to not just listen, but also study and understand the traditions and conventions involved a particular music or type of music, and this brings a whole new level of appreciation, in my experience. I think when it's we bring the conscious faculties of our mind to the listening experience that we begin to understand what is meant by the aesthetic of the music. And this is really true for all of the arts, not just music.
I'll keep my response short for now, but will wrap up here with a quote from the Wikipedia article on Kant that I think is insightful and very thought-provoking:
In the chapter "Analytic of the Beautiful" in the Critique of Judgment, Kant states that beauty is not a property of an artwork or natural phenomenon, but is instead consciousness of the pleasure that attends the 'free play' of the imagination and the understanding. Even though it appears that we are using reason to decide what is beautiful, the judgment is not a cognitive judgment, "and is consequently not logical, but aesthetical". A pure judgement of taste is subjective since it refers to the emotional response of the subject and is based upon nothing but esteem for an object itself: it is a disinterested pleasure, and we feel that pure judgements of taste (i.e. judgements of beauty), lay claim to universal validity. It is important to note that this universal validity is not derived from a determinate concept of beauty but from common sense.
I think it's related to this 'common sense' of beauty that music is a language and form of communication. Just as a language works for communication when there is a shared understanding of the meanings of the words, music successfully communicates beauty when there is a shared understanding of the meanings of the underlying sounds, whether that understanding be conscious or subconscious.