The field of musical aesthetics clearly
depends on the conception of music as an art: this in turn is connected with
the modern notion of art in general. . . . Although the arts are even older
than the liberal arts, before the Renaissance they were devoted more to their
use and the role in social life than to beauty and expressiveness for their own
Music, among other things,
is a form of activity: a practice. If we take it in these terms, we should be
able to understand it less as an attempt to say something than as an attempt to do something. As a practice, music should be
subject to the same kinds of rigorous interpretations that we customarily apply
to other cultural practices . . . .
aesthetic theory has posited an account of music, and the other arts, as
autonomous of social meanings, relevance, and conditions. In the case of music,
“absolute music” is sequestered from social and other roots that bring music
into being in the first place. The typical claim, thus, is that classical music
is music for its own sake, divorced from the many and highly evident social
dimensions that it serves. It ignores all other genres of music, most of which
are more appreciated than can be accounted for by the theory of autonomania. This
aesthetic theory of music, one of many theories, is unconvincing in history,
and discourse of the broader philosophy of music, and a praxial theory of music
is offered here in contradiction. The implications for music education should
be clear, that the autonomy of music and music education from society is a
troublesome and misleading contention.
absolute music, aesthetics, music, philosophy of music, praxis, praxial music education
From the beginning of human time,
the role of music was thoroughly praxial; a social practice in which various
uses of music and music of many kinds were vital to the experience and conduct
of daily life. Thus it was not contemplated in rarefied moments of leisure. Rather,
as John Dewey wrote in Art as Experience,
music and the other arts “were enhancements of the processes of everyday life”
and thus “had no peculiar connection with theaters, galleries, museums [or
concert halls]. They were part of the significant life of an organized
community.” The modernist “museum conception of art,” as Dewey called it, and
the concert hall as “the museum of imaginary musical works” are both, for Dewey,
the result of certain “extraneous conditions” that have given rise to “theories
which isolate art and its appreciation by placing them in a realm of their own,
disconnected from other modes of experiencing.”,,
Aaron Ridley, in The Philosophy of Music
(2004), characterizes this syndrome of compartmentalizing music from its social
roots and contexts of praxis as autonomania.
There is something very odd, after
all, about the way in which so much philosophy of music has so often been done.
To try to isolate music entirely, to try to leech or prise out of it its
context-laden character, and indeed the very nature of one’s own context-laden
engagement with it, is rather like trying to pretend that music had come from
Mars—that it has suddenly appeared on one’s desk from nowhere, a perfectly
formed but wholly mysterious phenomenon of which one knew precisely nothing. Which,
as I say, is odd, given how far from the truth that picture is.
Before the "gulf" or "chasm"
that had isolated art into an putatively autonomous realm of its own according
to speculative rational claims for a unique ontology of experience that is
thoroughly distanced from, that is, not just different from but somehow
elevated above, the experiences of daily life, music
was central to and was experienced as religion, ceremony, celebration, ritual,
dance, politics, recreation, self-expression, personal praxis, and a host of
other praxies too ubiquitous to list here.
[Until] the final years of the eighteenth
century all music remained bound to the functions [that] today we call
occasional music. Judged according to its social function, it served to enhance
the sanctity and dignity of worship, the glamour of the festivities at court,
and the overall splendor of ceremony.
Considered as praxis,
religious music, for example, is not simply music used in a worship service as
a momentary respite from or mere adornment of ritual and sermonizing. Praxially,
it is worship, a type of prayer and
an essential part of the religious ceremony. In the same ways that dance is
inseparable from its music, religious music is not something added but instead is
central to religious praxis.
This is also the case for
all other forms of musical praxis. Music is fundamental to each socio-musical
doing (praxis) that brings it into being to begin with and not simply an
accompaniment that can be eliminated without significantly influencing the
nature and experience of the event. As anthropologist Ellen Dissanayake has
persuasively demonstrated, music is key to “making special” the many personal
and social practices that have led to its creation and performance and that
continue to invite its use. Without
the music, such occasions are radically altered and something vitally significant is lost. Consider,
for example, a wedding without music. In other words, music exists to meet the
many human needs and benefits that it was originally created to serve. The very
existence of this or that music is evidence of its praxial relevance to humans
being human. As with other aspects of human’s creating meaning, there would be
no music or art if it didn’t serve the interests that brought it into being in
the first place.
In fact, music is so aligned
with its various praxial uses that music, as a noun, is now understood as the
totality of the activity by which people, individually and collaboratively,
explore, define, celebrate, and intertwine their social identities, not just
the organized sound-forms of the moment, as is conventionally understood. In the
praxial view, the sociality of the entire occasion is the music. Thus, properly
and profoundly, Small coined the gerund “musicking” to stress this socially
dynamic and holistic role for music, against music as a noun, as though an
The act of musicking establishes in the place
where it is happening a set of relationships, and it is in those relationships
that the meaning of the act lies. They are to be found not only between those
organized sounds which are conventionally thought of as being the stuff of
musical meaning but also between the people who are taking part, in whatever
capacity, in the performance; and they model, or stand as metaphor for, ideal
relationships as the participants in the performance imagine them to be:
relationships between person and person, between individual and society,
between humanity and the natural world and even perhaps the supernatural world.
The resulting sociality is
no less true of Western classical music than of any other musics. In
particular, the rise of the public concert in the eighteenth century was “a
musical performance that clearly distinguishes between performers and audience
and that admits an anonymous public upon payment of an entrance fee,” and
involves a social history closely wed to the rise of the middle class.
Chopin resisted the temptation for public adoration in favor of more private
and intimate aristocratic audiences with whom he felt he could communicate: “Concerts
never create real music, they are a form which one has to renounce in order to
be able to hear what is most beautiful in art” because he “could not
communicate with an indiscriminate audience . . .” in comparison to the salons
of chamber musicing to which he was therefore attracted increasingly. This
set him apart from his contemporary and friend Liszt, who, we learn from
history, had the opposite ethos. Glory and showmanship were his ideal. Yet, he
considered Chopin to be his superior as an artist.
The social nature of such
concerts and, later, solo recitals is less noted because of the rites of
concert etiquette, the requirements of silent and solemn social demeanor that,
as a result of what might be called audience training, were central in the sacralization
of music and the other arts into the quasi-religious, almost sacred experience that
Shiner calls “the apotheosis of art,” with art becoming spiritually
“redemptive” for audiences and a “sacred calling” for artists.,
“As music was sacralized and placed on an altar, so were its creators elevated
to become high priests of this secularized religion.” Thus, under the aegis of
this “sacral purpose,” for
composers have an aura of divinely
inspired genius, virtuosi are worshiped as gods on earth, and a reverential
faith in the mysteries of aesthetic claims for music give it a certain
cult-like sanctity. Music theory becomes theology, the score a holy text, the
concert a ceremony, the performer the high priest, and the congregation of audience
members seeks cultural salvation from the base temptations of praxial and
easily accessible musics. It is not surprising, then, that we think music is
some special, almost holy deliverance from the spirit world.
As part of this process of
the social transformation of music into a sacred realm, champions of so-called
high culture, typically representatives of good taste from the upper, wealthy, “classy”
echelons of society, felt their social responsibility was not merely to
transform “the audiences in the opera houses, theaters, symphonic halls,
museums, and parks” . . . , it was the entire society” that needed such cultivation., These
patrons of the arts “were convinced that maintaining and disseminating pure
art, music, literature, and drama” provided for “the higher wants of civilized
life” needed to morally educate the working classes.  Thus,
once artistic canons had been established
that identified the legitimate forms of
drama, music, and art and the valid modes of performing and displaying them,
the arbiters of culture turned their attention to establishing appropriate
means of receiving culture. The authority that they first established over
theaters, actors, orchestras, musicians, and art museums, they now extended to the
audience. Their general success in disciplining and training audiences constitutes one of those cultural
transformations that have been almost totally ignored by historians.
That these forms of the arts
have been legitimatized, as opposed to others, has itself been the result of
interlocking ideological, social, economic, and political processes, practices,
and contexts that decidedly influenced the resources locally available to
artists, and, in the case of music, musical instruments, and that result in
music and arts of different peoples and ages are recognizably distinct.
As a result of the many and
significant and supposedly extra-musical variables, most of which are intentionally
left out of conventional histories of music, attending concerts and recitals of
classical music is a thoroughgoing social act that is no less dependent on and
as comprehensively imbued with sociality and social relationships as any other socio-cultural
custom. The semiotics of the space of a concert hall or art gallery, for
example, are thus implicated in the social meanings experienced there.
A church, for example, is associated with
certain religious texts as well as with different ceremonies and rituals
performed by people coming to the place and behaving in appropriate ways. An
art gallery or a concert hall is interpreted to be not only a specific place
for exhibiting and performing works of art but also a place associated with
various cultural practices, conventions and conceptions, . . . Museums and
galleries are the places where paintings and other objects can be experienced
in an impersonal environment not too closely connected to the pleasures and
sorrows of practical, everyday life. Similarly, musical scholarship suggests
that the idea of concert halls as places where musical ‘works’ could be
completed [sic; contemplated?] apart from everyday matters developed along the
same lines and for the same reasons as museums and galleries. In this way the
environment can be seen as a system of signs, a sort of spatial code,
interpreted with linguistic and other meaningful practices.
Thus the semiotic meanings
of concert halls as places for contemplating music apart from everyday uses are
thoroughly implicated in the many “socially constructed meanings” experienced
Musical meaning does not exist objectively in
the work—or even in its composer’s intentions. It resides in the particular
moment of reception, one shaped by dominant aesthetic [viz., taste publics] and
social expectations that are themselves historically structured. ... Beyond the
particular negotiation between the listener and the music, it also implies a
performance space, with its own particular personality, and a unique historical
moment, with its styles of expression and political preoccupations. All public expression of musical
response—even silence—is inevitably social. Public expression, although
freely chosen, is drawn from a finite number of behaviors and styles of discourse
shaped by the culture.
Thus, hearing religious
choral music in a concert hall and in a church used as a concert venue can have
considerably different meanings as a result of the social practices, behaviors,
meanings, and semiotic significations attached to or associated with these
quite different spaces and their usual purposes. In general, moving religious
music to the concert hall has secularized it, thus helping create the
misimpression of its autonomy as purely music. Similarly, hearing jazz
performed on a proscenium or concert stage. as a concert, with formal audience
demeanor, or in a church as a concert venue, seated in pews, and surrounded by
religious artifacts and symbols, leads to a quite different socio-musical
experience than experiencing it in the informal atmosphere of a club or pub. Johnson,
for example, argues,
that we value music for what it does for us and that our musical choices
reflect these values. Individually, we often make different musical choices in
different social contexts, because we expect music to fulfill a range of functions
for us in those contexts. Our judgment about the same piece of music can change
completely depending on its context.
Accordingly, sociologists of
music study and account for the important social contexts and functions of
music typically overlooked or studiously ignored by music theorists and
traditional musicologists, as do cultural theorists and cultural historians.,,
As one music historian writes, “on the largest scale, structures of
society—monarchical, aristocratic, meritocratic, democratic—produce patterns of
behavior that underlie everyday interactions”—patterns that can “influence how
the music is heard.”
Indeed, social psychologists of music empirically confirm that “everyday
listening contexts can influence responses to music, and music can influence
responses to everyday listening contexts.”
As a result, the reception and meaning of music cannot be studied in a
sociocultural vacuum, devoid of the details of a praxis as proposed by the
leading partisans of autonomania: music theorists, traditional musicologists
and, of course aestheticians and aesthetes.
Scholars in other
disciplines also increasingly point to particular socially constructed meanings
in relation to music and its various practices. For example, music in
connection with ethnicity and identity, gender, race; and participatory values
provide comparative ethnomusicological studies of “music as social life.” , And
under the heading of “musicking the world,” social psychologist Benzon explains
music as, for example, “coupled sociality,” ritual, a source of healing, and as
a primary source of cultural cohesion, all of which involve the mind attuning
itself socially and affectively to others through music. 
All such socially
constructed and influenced meanings are also implicated even while listening to
recordings, alone or with others. In fact, the very existence of recordings and
their various uses are also distinct musical practices and offer “good-fors”
and key types of sociality that are not available in connection with live
music. For example, recordings have facilitated the creation of “taste publics
and taste cultures,” and have led to personally recorded play-lists and sound
tracks, the use of music in various commercial contexts, like film, TV, and advertising,
the creation of “mass art,” the “social uses of background music for personal
enhancement,” and musical file-sharing, collecting, and
And, to be sure, mobile listening, wherever one might be, seems to be taking
command, though what is being listened to and to what effect remains unknown.
Contrary to the claims of orthodox rationalist-speculative aesthetics that music’s connection
with such functions and meanings somehow demeans its value is the empirical
evidence from, for example, sociology, anthropology, cultural psychology,
ethnomusicology, cultural history, and so on, of music’s absolutely central,
and pivotal praxial role in social and cultural life, and that without it, the
events in which it plays such a consequential role would be so radically
altered that daily life would become “humdrum,” as Dewey stated. Thus,
“there is nothing ‘natural’ or self-evident about the aesthetic claim that
music is autonomous: there had been music for centuries before anyone got round
to having the idea, and there is no reason at all to suppose that every piece
of responsible thinking about music must be conducted in its terms.”
The historical and empirical
evidence of music’s praxial importance and value is abundantly clear. “[M]usic is inevitably a social practice.” Likewise,
discussions, including music criticism but also the dialog and jargon of
musicians and the informal commentary of non-musicians and critics, and
analyses of music, including scholarship like the philosophy of music, are also
conditioned by an endless variety of central and continually shifting social
categories that make music and discourse about it interdependent.
So definitely have both the repertoire and
the discourse of German-speaking Europe in the late eighteenth and early
nineteenth centuries shaped our own sense of what a culture of art music is,
that perhaps only recently, as other forms of musical expression have begun to
undergo long-overdue study, have we been able to recognize the impact of this
culture and study it rather than frame our studies under its influence.
Overlooked by autonomania,
then, is that discourse about music, whether aesthetic, philosophical, or
journalistic, is itself decidedly social in its origins and audiences and has
and continues to have an inescapable impact on the reception and status of
music in society and culture.
The economic and historical
influences that led to the sacralization and aestheticizing of the arts and to the
theory of music’s autonomy from its praxial contributions to daily life and
culture have continued to the present.
That account begins with the Renaissance and its precedents in ancient Greece,
and the subsequent evolution of thought about music and the arts that led,
during the Enlightenment, and particularly in German philosophy and other arts
discourse, to the rise of aesthetics and to the creation of the concept of fine
art as asocial and autonomous. The
plentiful evidence from history and various cultural studies provides a
deconstruction of the aesthetic ideology, the grand narrative or totalizing
discourse of aesthetics that supports various bourgeois ideological influences,
and the power they have held over other accounts of musical value in the over
250 years or so since the invention of aesthetic theory. However, unlike
typical postmodern deconstruction, this unpacking of analytic aesthetics sets
the stage for an alternate, praxial account of music and musical value.
The aestheticizing of musical praxis
Among the “historic reasons
for the rise of the compartmental conception of fine art” are the various
philosophical precedents from Plato and Aristotle that began to be applied to
the arts in the mid-fifteenth to sixteenth centuries, the period in cultural
and intellectual history known as the Renaissance. The age was characterized by
a revival, a so-called re-birth (from the Latin renascens, “to be born again”), of classical Greek learning that
replaced the religious sobriety and scholastic philosophy of the late Middle
Ages in favor of a humanist ideal of the full development and flourishing of
individual potentiality. For such humanism, “man is the measure of all things,” and thus
that each man is a measure for
himself. The tag word is “individualism”—these
men [sic] were great individualists as opposed to the timid conformists of the
monkish Middle Ages; they were men who dared to be themselves, because they
trusted in their own natural power, in something inside themselves.
As a result, people
increasingly started to think of themselves as more fully responsible for their
own accomplishments and destinies.
With this resurgence of
emphasis on human worth and dignity, the idea of the individual as a highly individual,
cerebral, and atomic self slowly gained credence. Renaissance
artists, authors, and composers no longer labored as anonymous artisans and
began taking personal credit for their creations by signing them. All of the
arts of the time, however, continued to be praxial, in that they continued to
be intimately connected with the Roman Church, and, following the Protestant
Reformation, with most of the Protestant and Orthodox denominations, and with
advancing the social, political, and economic interests and status of the
royalty. In fact, the Renaissance music recounted in today’s music history
books was so inextricably wed to its critical role in both religion and the
lives of the courtiers and aristocracy that “the average person scarcely had
any opportunity to hear music except in church or noble society.” As
medieval polyphony, with its multiple voices singing the same or sometimes
different texts gave way to homophony, texts became more comprehensible and the
music could be wed to textual meaning and the affective impact calculated. This
trend was central to the beginnings of opera, itself a result of the attempt to
recreate what the Camerata, an influential group of Renaissance musicians,
noblemen, and antiquarian intellectuals, (mis)believed to be the expressive
power of music in ancient Greek drama.
In addition, the courtly
love of the Middle Ages, as recounted in the troubadour songs of the time,
predicated on the ideal of a knight serving his courtly lady, evolved into the
typically sentimental love themes of Renaissance madrigals under the influence
of the Neo-Platonist concept of Platonic Love advanced by Marsilo Ficcino, the
leader of the Platonic Academy of Florence.
This music helped the social development of our modern concept of romantic love,
a relatively new idea, one that was also tied to the evolving concept of the individual
and the states of mind experienced by individuals.
Similarly, there was new
interest in nature as a result of the reappraisal of Aristotle’s writings,
whose realism took an active interest in the external world and thus acknowledged
empirical knowledge gained via the senses. Important roots in the history of
science also stem from this period, for example, in the works of Andreas
Vesalius, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, and Francis Bacon. Artists then
began to include nature as an important subject of its own, not just as a
background for religious themes or portraits of important figures, and themes
from nature also entered the madrigal literature, including in the new solo
madrigal of the seventeenth century, and, along with love, eventually became a
staple of the canon of art song, canozone,
and lied. Aside from the important
fact that such music depends on words that unavoidably have extra-musical and
thus social meaning, the rise of focus on the individual increasingly led to
states of mind that experienced both the themes of love and nature in new and
important arts-related ways.
The very topic of love is social in essence and effect.
In particular, certain
psychological language regarding expressive or affective aspects of an
individual’s artistic experience increasingly came into use, in addition to the
ongoing recognition of the praxial nature of the arts.,
Thus, by the late Renaissance, the idea of the fine arts began to take shape
and “the art of music began to free
itself from any rigid or absolute social
function,” as musicologist Charles Rosen approvingly describes the
beginnings of the aestheticizing of music as an emancipation from the supposedly
prosaic life lived more fully through music.,
By the eighteenth century,
intellectual currents in Europe associated with the Zeitgeist of the Enlightenment, particularly in Germany but also in
France, coalesced the long history of philosophical theorizing about music, an
intellectual history that is altogether distinct from the praxial purposes
actually served by music throughout history, into an aesthetic theory of the
fine arts that sought not only to replace the universal praxialism of previous
centuries but to altogether reject it.,
Importantly, “the concept of musical autonomy became voguish at precisely the
point and for many of the reasons that art as a whole was increasingly being
rethought (i.e., that the fine arts were being Romanticized [in the 19th
century])” in purely aesthetic terms. Notice,
for example, that Rosen, quoted above, writes that music had to “free itself”
from, what, the burden its many praxial functions?—as though these social
conditions and functions that occasion music in the first place were somehow impure,
debasing, or limiting.
Thus arises the idea of
music as “immaculate, disembodied and cut off from the rest of the world,” from
the social practices in which music is always rooted, and the conception of
music as thoroughly, and properly, divorced from the extra-musical relations,
contexts, and functions that always have characterized it. It
is known today as absolute music, although what its absolutism consists of is neither
apparent nor convincing.
Once one has decided that pieces of music are
most illuminatingly to be seen as pure sound-structures, disembodied and
self-sufficient, very few options remain. One is obliged either to deny that these
alleged extra-musical relations are real; or to admit that they’re real, but to
deny that they’re important; or, darkly suspecting them to be both real and
important, one is obliged to square the circle and show how something can be
essentially related to the world at the same time as it is essentially autonomous.
And these alternatives have indeed absorbed a non-negligible proportion of the
philosophical energies that music has attracted, with expectedly drab results.
The rise of this autonomania
was directly abetted by the rationalism the eighteenth-century Enlightenment
inherited from the seventeenth century. Yet in its zeal for advancing the new
scientific method, the Enlightenment also championed empiricism, which naturally
contradicts rationalism by asserting that sensory experience (aisthesis), not reason (rationality), is the source of truth and knowledge. Aesthetic theorizing has
since struggled mightily to reconcile the sensory and affective bases of
artistic responding with the supposed faculty of reason venerated by
Enlightenment philosophers and philosophes.
and music theorists have claimed to follow a scientific (positivist) model in
their study of music. Since “a scientifically objective finding” is “maximally
independent of the vagaries of time and place, . . . and, above all, of what
one might term the human element—prejudices, feelings, wants, needs,” they have
attempted to account rationally for musical works as though free-standing
stimulus objects that carry intrinsic and thus timeless, placeless, and
faceless aesthetic meanings, values, and truths.
This objectification of
musical “works” was originally given impetus early in the Renaissance by the
invention in 1501 of music printing.
The expansion of commercial music printing
for a growing market of amateur performers fundamentally altered the way music
was conceived. Prior to that, the performances would have been thought of
primarily as music making—as a social
practice [praxis] attached to social gatherings . . . . Since many musicians
played or directed performances of their works, music had a very limited life
beyond live performance. The widespread printing of sheet music and musical
scores allowed music to become a tangible object [a ‘work’] like a book and
thus a commodity whose use extended far beyond the sway of the composer.
In the debates inherited
from the Greeks, of particular interest for the arts, and for the history of
science, have been the continuous attempts of philosophers to account rationally
for knowledge gained through the senses, the original Greek meaning of the term
aisthesis from which aesthetics had
been mistakenly derived. Differences between Aristotle and Plato on this topic
were decisive. “For Aristotle, aisthesis
was not a form of episteme or
intellectual knowledge (in this, he followed Plato), but it did nonetheless
involve a judgment of sense.” However, unlike Plato, who notoriously distrusted
the senses, Aristotle did attribute
“an independent non-intellectual cognitive value to the senses.” To
account for this non-intellectual but nonetheless important and often striking
cognitive knowledge provided by the senses, neo-Aristotelian thinkers hypothesized
various theories of common sense that proposed internal organs or sixth-sense
faculties by which the diverse and supposedly inchoate input of the senses
was synthesized for further rational
However, aisthesis, as the judgment of the senses,
was not accorded fully rational or trustworthy status, in large part because it
dwelled on the unique particulars of an individual’s sensory experience rather
than on the abstract universals that the supposedly higher faculty of reason
was believed to reveal. Ideas
concerning a synthesizing “common sense survived and flourished” and served as
“the intuitive bases of Enlightenment rationalism” and for subsequent
rationalist claims in support of a view from nowhere reachable by pure, socially
disembodied and subjectively detached reason., Nonetheless, the psychological language of
inward sensibility that had accompanied discussions of aisthesis since Plato and Aristotle was increasingly used in
reference to art and music, and eventually led to the concept of a taste for
beauty that would be enshrined in post-Kantian and
analytic aesthetic theory as the aesthetic theory of art, one among other
theories of art.
In particular, it led to the
attempts of German philosopher Alexander Baumgarten’s attempt to legitimate
judgments of sense regarding art in terms more favorable to the prevailing
rationalism of the Enlightenment. However, Baumgarten’s first and groundbreaking
treatise deals entirely with poetry. Of
this, Osborne observes: “It is ironic . . . that both the philosophical concept
of aesthetics (in Baumgarten) and the modern philosophical concept of art (in
the early German Romantics) should have been based on the generalization of a
literary model” to all the arts. Thus,
following his Aesthetica of 1750,
Baumgarten’s original claims for poetry were indiscriminately applied to the
other arts, despite the obviously major differences in media and artistic
praxis, gave the new philosophical discipline its name, and provided the
philosophical and rational foundations for the concept of fine art that
survives to this day.
In his treatise, Baumgarten
worried that “sensate representations,” as he called the sensations resulting
from aisthesis, “were representations
received through the lower part of
the cognitive faculty,” and thus were “confused.” From the Greeks to the Enlightenment, in
attempting to reconcile the particulars revealed by sense with the universals
reached by reason,
the movement of thought was always assumed to
be upward, at once toward the mental
[i.e., rational] and the more real. The
“confused” as the merely sensed was
also potentially intelligible, and was at
the bottom of the ladder of human knowledge. From such a standpoint the “confused”
world was literally inarticulate, awaiting translation to a plane of a truer distinctness.
Baumgarten’s “new science of
aesthetics” thus, “was to be to sensuous
knowledge, or to the lower part of
the cognitive faculty, as logic is to intellectual knowledge,” that is, “his
‘aesthetics’ was thus a science of the ‘perfection of sense,’ to be achieved by
the analysis of what pleased and displeased sense.”
In inventing the term
“aesthetic” (aesthetica in the Latin)
to denote the science of sensory knowledge of beauty—“perfection of
sense”—Baumgarten was deploying a broadly Aristotelian conception of aisthesis to counter the shortcomings of
the Platonic inheritance of Leibnizian rationalism in matters of taste: its
derogatory, or at best contradictory estimation of the senses.
Baumgarten’s intent, then,
was to make the “prerational sensate judgment” of aisthesis more “distinct,” or clear, and thus more acceptably
rational to those in the tradition of Plato, who continued to distrust the
following the influence of seventeenth-century arch-rationalist Leibniz, who staunchly
maintained the separation of mind and body, in the hands of the Enlightenment
philosophers such “distinctness thus presupposes analysis and definition.”
line with the Enlightenment’s paradigm that to know is to analyze, define, and
label, the discourse of traditional aesthetics, other disciplines, and art and
music critics thus increasingly rationalized the arts.,
Accordingly, the idea of appreciating the arts was made dependent on
intellectual analysis, dissection, autonomania, and analysis of works (viz., scores) as though they were scientific objects that needed detailed study, even
dissection, in order to be known. This led directly to
the rise of a new, positivist style of
musical analysis, one that could “claim to be ‘enlightened’ and therefore
uninfluenced by ‘external’—sociological, political, and historical—considerations."
Once it had been decided that pieces of music were essentially autonomous
structures of sound, after all, it seemed evident that the analysis of those
structures would reveal the innermost truths about music; and it seemed,
moreover, that if one got one’s analysis right, those truths should be
As a result, such analysis
was of musical works as pure and autonomous sound structures and, in
consequence, of strictly internal and supposedly intrinsic features and
relations. Consequently, appreciation was seen as a matter of the cognitive and
intellectual understanding of works in rational terms that must be studied,
learned, and refined. “Culture required training” and thus proper comprehension
and the necessary background knowledge depended on a regimen of connoisseurship
required to develop refined and discriminating taste. The social connection with fine art and refinement
was made abundantly clear, and the relation between high culture and cultivation
(even cult) was solidified.
attempts to make aisthesic
sensibility more rational, the Cartesian mind-body split and the inherent
contradictions between rationalism and empiricism were not resolved by the new
aesthetic theory proposed by Baumgarten.,
In fact, from the very beginning, controversy and inconsistency reigned. To
start with, Kant quickly “rejected Baumgarten’s notion of a pure sensory
knowledge.” Thus, “declarations
of the impropriety of the word ‘aesthetic’ accompanied the rise of aesthetic
thought itself. The aesthetic regime of
thought did not begin with the book by Baumgarten that invented aesthetics. . .
. It began with Kant’s little note
challenging that invention.”
This “little note” is Kant’s
footnote to his 1787 Critique of Pure
The Germans are the
only people who currently make use of the word ‘aesthetic’ to signify what others
call the critique of taste. This
usage originated in the abortive attempt made by Baumgarten . . . to bring the
critical treatment of the beautiful under rational principles, and so to raise
its rules to the rank of a science. But such endeavors are fruitless.
among German philosophers, the word “aesthetics”
was more precisely defined in August W.
Schlegel’s Lessons in Aesthetics,
which open with the assertion that it is time to get rid of this notion of
aesthetics, a veritable qualitas occulta.
It was stabilized in Hegel’s Lectures on
Aesthetics, which rapidly tabled the question: The word “aesthetics,” Hegel
said, is improper to designate the philosophy of beautiful art. But usage has
imposed the word and it can be adopted, he continues, on the condition that one
recognizes that the concept of the beautiful is exactly the opposite of what is
expressed by the word aesthetics.
However, by 1790, forty
years after Baumgarten’s Aesthetica,
“Kant radically altered his skeptical view of aesthetics as a philosophical
discipline” and, as a lesser part of his overall Critique of Judgment, his theory of free and universal judgments of
beauty and the sublime were mistakenly turned
by aesthetic philosophers into an aesthetic theory of art.,
“[N]amely, that works of art are things that have been designed for the purpose
of bringing about aesthetic responses of the sort characterized in Kant’s theory
of (free) beauty.” In
fact, Kant found art to be inferior to natural beauty because nature is free of
human impurities. He
thought that wallpaper using nature themes was beautiful.
Accordingly, “Kant’s theory
is not a theory of art” but an analysis of “free (rather than ‘dependent’)
beauty,” in particular judgments about beauty in
Kant wants to offer an account of
the way in which such judgements can be universal and necessary even though
they are based solely on our subjective feeling of pleasure when we see something
like a stunning sunset. Put crudely, Kant wants to explain how, on the basis of
my subjective experience alone, I can justifiably expect everyone else to
assent to my judgement that ‘this sunset is beautiful.’
“To this end, Kant develops
and elaborates a theory of authentic judgements of taste” that distinguishes
between “the ‘agreeable arts’ of amusement that serve purposes of distraction
and entertainment, and the ‘fine arts’ which are their own purpose.” Thus
was established the disdain for entertainment in connection with the fine arts
that has since existed in aesthetic theorizing and classical music circles. For
Kant, again, the “purposiveness without purpose” that distanced the “agreeable arts”
from the “fine arts” depends on “disinterestedness” as a condition of the what
later aestheticians consider to be the “aesthetic attitude” one should bring to
works of art:,
That our state of mind is
disinterested—unconcerned with the practical consequences, advantages,
disadvantages, and purport of the objects of attention—is thought to factor out
all those interests in the object that might be suspected of making us judge
the object differently from others. Thus the judgement is made on the basis of
what everyone has in common . . . without the interference of any idiosyncratic
interests (such as practical or political utility, the prospect of personal
gain, etc.) that might skew our judgement.
This notion of an aesthetic
attitude of disinterestedness was transformed by subsequent philosophers and
art critics “into the idea that the work of art itself is autonomous, i.e.,
independent of ulterior cognitive and/or utilitarian purposes. And, of course,
these two views can be connected by suggesting that it is the absence of
utilitarian [viz., praxial] concerns in the object that is conducive to our disinterested
response to it.” The
resulting conclusion is that any such praxial concerns, including entertainment
values, introduce subjective pleasures and interests and other practically “dependent”
or merely “agreeable” variables into what should be a pure and purifying
Meanwhile, Kant’s theory of
disinterested judgments of pure beauty, the staple paradigm of aesthetics became
“the definitive Enlightenment version of orthodox ‘aesthetics’, revolving around
an ideal of pure contemplation distinguished from and raised above sensory
pleasure” and praxis and, as has been mentioned
already, was rendered into a mistaken aesthetic theory of art that has
continued to be promulgated, and supposedly clarified, by various strains of
analytic aesthetics, countless monographs, and shelves of reference books (obscurum per obscuris?). From
this point in history, art was no longer in the service of the activities of
daily life but was said to exist to create a rarefied and unique experience of
its own to be savored on rare and special occasions that thereby are thought to
be raised above the mundane world and are thus elevating. In consequence,
“released from its functions . . . , art became an object of free choice and of
changing preference,” thus rapidly creating a new taste public for the
contemplation of works of art and music, the latter through the new institution
of the public concert and the corresponding invention of classical music as we
know it today.,
The practice of
contemplating music as though for its own sake was decidedly advanced by the developing
institution of the public concert, or vice versa. Music quickly became a
bourgeois “commodity, a package of culture to be acquired through sheet music
and concert-going.” With
the rise of this new market for music, the number of concerts grew rapidly and
the consequent competition for audiences created a need to advertise. As the
public gained access to “culture” in concert halls, theaters, and museums,
journals of art and cultural criticism began to appear in large numbers in the
public sphere. Through
these and the proliferation of aesthetic writings by philosophers in the nineteenth
century, most of whom felt obliged to have a section on aesthetics as part of
their comprehensive theory, the new aesthetic orthodoxy of the time
“established a specious science of ‘taste,’ which still underpins all our
institutionalized and habitual thought on the subjects of art and beauty.”
The disinterestedness at the
heart of the aesthetic attitude’ thus fueled the “art for art’s sake” view of
musical value that diverted attention from the many praxial functions and values
of music described above. As a result, “that art objects properly so called are
designed in such a way as to promote intellectually engaged, contemplative
participation” has become the keynote of much orthodox aesthetic theory,
especially with regards to the idea of music being for its own sake.
Conclusions for education
The social and cultural history
presented here concerning autonomania strongly urges a rejection of the claim
of autonomy. Music and art exist and continue to be vital to the lives of millions
around the world because of their praxial benefits, and their contribution to living
the good life. Relying on the theory that music is autonomous of social
contexts is a predictable way of turning off its relevance to students and much
of society. The speculative arguments for autonomania might contribute to the
scholarly status of aestheticians in the ivory tower but, when applied to the
praxis of music education, they have had decidedly negative consequences for
its status and intended benefits. Music adrift from lived meanings and sociocultural
contexts is especially not congenial to children and adolescents, or their
parents, or to the institutional conditions of schooling.
In particular, it has led to
the problem that school music education itself is also too typically autonomous
from the rest of the music world,
especially the adult music world. Despite the prevalence of school music
ensembles, participation seems to be more as a school activity, an interest that
clearly doesn’t last beyond graduation and best used before the end of
schooling. The typical school music literature has been critiqued, especially
by aesthetes, as lightweight and not providing lasting aesthetic benefits for
Music education in schools
is thus too typically autonomous of the music going on in life around us. Its own
autonomania often ignores what most concerns people who love music, which is its
relevance to their lives, where appreciation is seen pragmatically in how and
how often musicking is included in their lives. School music proceeds with its
concerts, competitions, marching bands, show choirs, and other institutionalized
formats to the greater local glory of the directors, with typically no transfer
of meaning or affection to the lives of graduates. The teacher may be praised but,
depending on the country and curriculum, those teaching music are not always
competent musicians. Yet
music teachers, for good reasons, attempt to provide a different door to the
world of music, apart from the evident role it already plays in students’ lives.
But their efforts are too often in vain, including individual or private music
lessons, as regards making an effective difference in the lives of students, already
smothered by musics in the media and by other attractions for their time.
As a result, music education
in schools and private studios often has little or no lasting impact on
students or society. In fact, aesthetes and connoisseurs are the first to
complain about the lowly status of the public’s tastes. The autonomy of school
music and its literature and practices clearly have not convinced many
taxpayers and educational officials of its value, thus leading to a worrisome lack
of financial and administrative support. Which is very unfortunate, since music
is so important to society. It is, perhaps following only language, a major
variable in constituting contemporary sociocultural life.
The autonomania in music
theory, history, and music education is, thus, counterproductive and
self-defeating. Declining and graying audiences are the result. Schools should instead
approach music as a living praxis according to the opposite theory, that music
is a very profound medium of social meaning, cohesiveness, identity, and
harmony. Why deny that in favor of abstract and speculative autonomania? A
praxial theory of music education, that is, music as “doing” music, musicking,
in any of its many instantiations, will, instead, cement the role of music as
an absolutely major variable in society.
is, of course, not what is projected by pedagogical theories predicated on
aesthetic autonomy or by standard practices of music education in many
countries, especially since the music theory and history studies of many music
teachers only incline them to autonomania. Music is and has always been a
social praxis the value of which is the many social uses that it serves, everything
from social dancing, to religious uses, to ethnic and national solidarity, and
as a major ingredient in social gatherings of all kinds! Against the aesthetics
of musical autonomania, human engagement with the role of music in life has a
decided advantage. Autonomania clearly has already lost the debate of whether
music is connected to life rather than arriving from Mars. Yet music education
seems too often to be formally committed to autonomania and, in fact, is losing
ground regularly to music as we know it in society. Music education ought to instead
be, based on the musics and musicking encountered in the world around us, and
for its relevance throughout life to the life well-lived.
has no pragmatic ground to stand on and is clearly losing the increasing
struggle for a place for music in the curriculum. Music educators, and
aestheticians, might well consult the literature cited here in reconsidering
the importance and virtue of musica
practica. “[L]ike every art-form, music is a site where as well as the
dialogue of individual voices, competing ideologies engage in battle to express
themselves, often through a kind of artistic guerilla warfare. But this is
largely obscured by the dominant modes of public [and much scholarly]
discussion of music, which fail to see the links between music and society.” 
A. Regelski is Distinguished Professor (Emeritus), SUNY,
Fredonia NY. In addition to over a hundred journal articles and chapters, he is
author of six books. He is a docent at
Helsinki University (Finland) and lectures occasionally at the Sibelius
Published May 23, 2017.
 Top; Edward Lippman,
A History of Western Musical Aesthetics
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992),
p. 20; below; Lawrence Kramer, Music as Cultural Practice, 1800–1900.
(Berkeley: University of California Press 1990), p. xii (emphasis original).
John Dewey, Art as Experience. (New
York: Perigee/Putnam’s Sons, 1934/1980), pp. 6-7.
Lydia Goehr, The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1992).
 Dewey, Art as Experience, p. 10.
 Thomas A. Regelski, “The Aristotelian Bases
of Music and Music Education,” The
Philosophy of Music Education Review, 6, 1 (Spring 1998): 22-59.
 Aaron Ridley, The Philosophy of Music: Themes and
Variations (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004),
 Dewey, Art as Experience, p. 10.
 See, e.g., John Kaemmer,
Music in Human Life: Anthropological
Perspectives on Music (Austin: University of Texas Press. 1993); Timothy
Rice, Ethnomusicology: A Very Short
Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 2014.
 Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public
Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society (MIT Press,
1989/1962), p. 162.
 Ellen Dissanayake, What Is Art For? (Seattle: University of
Washington Press, 1991); Homo
Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why (New York: Free Press, 1992).
 Christopher Small, Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening (Hanover NH: Wesleyan
University Press, 1998). David Elliott, (Music
Matters, New York: Oxford University Press), refers to “musicing” with the
same intention of stressing music as an active practice, as against “works” as “things.”
For both Small and Elliott, musicing or musicking have the same active
relationship to music as loving does to love. And for both, music thus embraces
an endless variety of musicing/musicking, so that “musics” stand in relation to
“music” as “foods” do to “food” or that “laws” do to “law.”
 Small, Musicking, 13.
 See, e.g., Peter
Martin, Music and the Sociological Gaze (Manchester:
Manchester University Press, 2006); John Shepherd, Music as a Social Text (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001).
 Tim Blanning, The Triumph of Music The Rise of Composers,
Musicians and Their Art (Cambridge: Belknap/Harvard, 2008), pp. 85-86.
 Blanning, Triumph of Music, pp. 85-89; Judith
Flanders, Consuming Passions: Leisure and
Pleasure in Victorian Britain (New York: Harper Perrenial/HarperCollins,
 Adam Zamoyski, Chopin: Prince of the Romantics (New
York: Harper Press, 2011), p. 152.
 Lawrence W. Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow:The
Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America (Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1988), pp. 85-168; Blanning, Triumph
of Music, pp. 89-91.
 Larry Shiner, The Invention of Art: A Cultural History
(Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2001),
pp. 187-224; 189, 197.
 It is not
accidental, therefore, that audience decorum at concerts and recitals of
classical music exhibits the habitual display of ritualistic social behaviors
that signify that such music is indeed a very serious, even spiritual matter.
Audience listening is a distinct social practice of its own that typically goes
unacknowledged in accounts of the experience of supposedly autonomous music.
See Levine (Highbrow/Middlebrow, pp.
171-242) for an analysis of changes in audience behavior in relation to all the
fine arts; see, James Johnson (Listening
in Paris: A Cultural History [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1995])
for a history of audience reception in Paris from the beginnings of public
concerts there; and Judith Flanders (Consuming
Passions: Leisure and Pleasure in Victorian Britain [New York: Harper
Perennial/HarperCollins 2007], pp. 342–378) for the rise of public concerts in
 Blanning, Triumph of Music, pp. 112, 114.
 Thomas A. Regelski,
“Prolegomenon to a Praxial of Music and Music Education,” Canadian Music Educator, 38/3 (1997); p. 95.
 Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow, 171-242; Martin, Sociological Gaze, pp. 77-104.
 Parks, for example,
New York City’s Central Park, were developed not simply as “pleasure-grounds”
but as places meant to improve visitors. “This had the effect of doing for the
park what others were accomplishing for the concert hall, opera house, and art
museum: elevating it above the ordinary run of life, separating it from common
influences, marking it—as definitively as neo-classical architecture marked the
museum, opera house, and concert hall—as an oasis of order and culture”
 Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow, 200, 204.
 Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow, 184 (italics added).
Levine’s cultural history of this transformation (pp. 186–200) demonstrates the
process by which “art was becoming a one-way process: the artist communicating
and the audience receiving” (p. 195) thus resulting in the “passive politeness”
(p. 197) that characterizes concert audiences to this day.
 In the theory of
Charles Sanders Peirce, the semiotics of space involves the social and symbolic
meanings (technically, for Peirce, “signifying” processes) resulting from how
space is arranged and used. To oversimplify somewhat, spaces often signify
certain social meanings. For example, generations ago, students’ desks were
bolted to the floor in straight rows, facing the teacher’s desk. This
arrangement signified the relative social status of students and teachers, and
the accepted roles of each. Then desks became moveable, enabling group work and
signifying important social changes in school philosophy and a different
pedagogical role for teachers and students. (See Alison Lurie, “The message of
the Schoolroom,” The New York Review of
Books, 55/19 (December 4, 2008), pp. 31-33; “Do schools have to be boring?”
The New York Review of Books, 55, 20
(December 18, 2008); pp. 86-91). The spaces in which music is performed, heard,
and used also carry just such socially signified (and thus sign‑ificant) meanings. See Johnson (Listening in Paris) for specific examples from the history of
reception relative to how changes over time in concert hall design directly and
unavoidably influenced concert listening as a musical praxis of its own. And
not simply acoustics; for example, the change from proscenium stages to those
in-the-round. Johnson also demonstrates many associated and relevant social
meanings in connection with such music, such as economic, political, and so on,
and how they vary over time in influencing how music is heard, socially
constructed variables that musicologist Charles Rosen (“Beethoven’s Triumph,” The New York Review of Books (Sept. 21,
1995), pp. 52–56) is concerned to dismiss in arguing for music’s autonomy and
purity as against Johnson’s contextual analysis.
 Pentti Määttänen,
“Semiotics of space: Peirce and Lefebvre,” Semiotica,
166, (2007), p. 2.
 Small, Musicking, pp. 130-143.
 Johnson, Listening in Paris, pp. 2, 3 (italics
 Johnson, Listening in Paris, p. 33 (italics
 E.g., Martin, Music
and the Sociological Gaze; Tia DiNora, Music
in Everyday Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).
 So-called “new musicologists”
instead are concerned to study the various social ingredients, like gender or racism, of musical praxies over
history but they sometimes throw out the musical baby for the bathwater of the
social meanings they wish to recover from their theorizing against
musicological positivism and autonomania.
Derek B. Scott, ed., Music, Culture, and
Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).
 Johnson, Listening in Paris, p. 4.
 Adrian North and
David J. Hargreaves, “Experimental aesthetics and everyday music listening,” in
The Social Psychology of Music, D. J.
Hargreaves and A. C. North, eds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp.
ref. p. 99.
 For analyses of
identity, gender and race in relation to music and education, see these special
theme issues of Action, Criticism, and
Theory for Music Education, http://act.maydaygroup.org/: 3/1 (May 2004) on identity; 4/3 (September
2005) on race; 5, 1 (January 2006) on gender (accessed April 2017).
 Thomas Turino, Music as Social Life: The Politics of
Participation (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2008).
 William Benzon, Beethoven’s Anvil: Music in Mind and Culture
(New York: Basic Books, 2001), pp. 199-202, 207-210, 210-215, respectively.
 Philip A. Russell, “Musical
taste and society,” in The Psychology of
Music, D. J. Hargreaves and A. C. North, eds (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1997), 67-83.
 Nöel Carroll, A Philosophy of Mass Art (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1998).
 Steven Brown and
Töres Theorell, “The social uses of background music for personal enhancement,”
in Music and Manipulation: On the Social
Uses and Social Control of Music, S. Brown and U. Volgsten, eds (Oxford:
Berghahn Books, 2006), 126-160.
 Dewey, Art as
 Ridley, Philosophy of Music, p. 9
 David Gramit, Cultivating Music: The Aspirations,
Interests, and Limits of German Musical Culture, 1770-1848 (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 2002), p. 3.
 Gramit, Cultivating Music, p. 3.
 And, analytic
aesthetics over the last several centuries has even anaesthetized music. For example, Richard Shusterman writes:
“Rejecting what he calls the traditional ‘strong and cold’ ‘grip of
aestheticism on the philosophy of art’, [Arthur] Danto joins [Nelson] Goodman
and many others in what might be termed a radical anaestheticization of aesthetics. Felt experience is virtually
ignored and entirely subordinated to third-person semantic theories of artistic
symbolization and its interpretation, and such experience is now
‘hermenuteured.’” (Richard Shusterman, Performing
Live: Aesthetic Alternatives for the Ends of Art. [Ithaca: Cornell
University Press, 2000], pp. 31-32; italics original). Shusterman’s concept of
somaesthetics (Body Consciousness: A
Philosophy of Mindfulness and Somaesthetics. [New York: Cambridge
University Press, 2008]) reintroduces the body as central to responding, and
revives the aisthesis that was the
source of aesthetic theory until anesthetized by several centuries of
 Shiner, Invention of Art, 2001.
 This saying has been credited
to the Greek philosopher Protagoras, c. 485–c. 415 BC.
 Crane Brinton, The Shaping of the Modern Mind (New
York: New American Library/Mentor, 1956), p. 36.
 On one hand, this
was in part a result of the secularization of the Christian concept of a
personal “soul” and, on the other, was eventually reflected in the Protestant
Revolution, starting in the early sixteenth century, itself provoked by Martin
Luther’s stand against the Roman Catholic Church in favor of a priesthood of
each believer. But the Renaissance also progressively ushered in a new emphasis
on variables of personality, temperament, disposition, actions, and
accomplishment by which a person created an individuated Self, and by which
others recognized that Self. This emphasis on the individual mind, however,
obscured the fact that mind is not
equivalent to the private workings of an individual brain and is instead resolutely social, a central finding of the
 Habermas, Public Sphere, p.160.
 “The subject matter
of this poetry is closely associated with the doctrine of fin’ amor [Prov., refined love], popularly known since the 19th
century as courtly love—in which the lover’s emotions are progressively
ennobled through his subjection to the lady.” Don Michael Randel, ed. The Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and
Musicians. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1999), p. 687 (brackets original).
 Compare, for
example, the mainstream of the nineteenth-century German lied, with the canzone
napolteana (Neapolitan songs) of nineteenth-century Italy. Words complicate
the role of vocal and choral music in theories of music’s autonomy, and results
in “music alone” (Peter Kivy, Music Alone
[Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 1990]), that is, instrumental music, as “purer” than music with
words and thus higher on the musical hierarchy thus created. Nonetheless,
usually to the chagrin of composers, instrumental compositions in the nineteenth
century were often given descriptive titles or ‘programs’ by publishers,
critics, and the public. For example, Beethoven’s “Eroica” (Heroic) Symphony
No. 3, and the Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” (Op. 13) piano sonata. Schuman, with typical Romantic era enthusiasm,
wrote of Don Juan “kissing Zerlina on the D flat” of an adagio of Chopin,
causing Chopin to wonder “just what part of her anatomy her D flat might be,
etc.!” (Adam Zamoyski, p. 152.)
 Peter Osborne,
“Introduction: From an aesthetic point of view,” in From an Aesthetic Point of View, P. Osborne, ed (London: Serpent’s
Tail, 2000), pp. 1–10, ref. p. 2.
 David Summers, The Judgement of Sense: Renaissance
Naturalism and the Rise of Aesthetics (Cambridge: Cambridge University
 Paul Oscar
Kristeller, “The Modern System of the Arts,” in Renaissance Thought 1: Papers on Humanism and the Arts (New York:
Harper & Row, 1965).
 Charles Rosen, “The
future of music,” The New York Review of
Books, December 20 (2001), pp. 60-65, ref. p. 60 (italics added).
 Gramit, Cultivating Music, for Germany; Cynthia
Verba, Music and the French
Enlightenment: Reconstruction of a Dialogue 1750–1764 (Oxford: Clarendon
 Olle Edström, “A
different story of the history of western music and the aesthetic project,” Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music
Education, 2, 2 (December 2003):
http://act.maydaygroup.org/php/archives_v2.php#2_2 (accessed April 2017).
 Ridley, Philosophy of Music, p. 9.
 Lippman, Western Musical Aesthetics, 23.
 Julian Johnson, Who Needs Classical Music? (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 52 (italics original). This objectification
of music as a “thing” was given further impetus in the twentieth century by
recordings. “Sound recording literally turns music into an object, such as a
CD, but more important, it allows music to function as a thing that one possess
rather than a structured temporal event to which one must give oneself up” (p.
 Osborne, Aesthetic Point of View, p. 2.
 Summers, Judgement of Sense, pp. 71-109.
 Summers, Judgement of Sense.
 Summers, Judgement of Sense, p. 327.
 For an argument
against the “view from nowhere,” see Steven Fesmire, John Dewey and Moral Imagination (Bloomington: Indiana University
Press. 2003), 38-52.
 Summers, Judgement of Art, 103-06.
 Meditationes philosophicae de nonnullis ad poema pertinentibus,
 Osborne, Aesthetic Point of View, p. 6.
 Quoted in Summers, Judgement of Sense, p. 197 (italics
 Summers, Judgement of Sense, pp. 196-97 (italics
 Ibid., pp. 195, 196 (italics added).
 Thomas A. Regelski,
“Preserve the Music in Music Theory,” Music
Educators Journal, 68/5 (January 1982),
pp. 40–41.This paradigm became even
more pronounced in the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries as
the positivist study of the arts was taken up in earnest by what were to become
the various disciplines of modernity. See, for example, Levine, Highbrow/Middlebrow, pp. 213-219.
 Max Weber, The
Rational and Social Foundations of Music (Carbondale: Southern Illinois
University Press, 1921/1958).
 Ridley, Philosophy of Music, pp. 9-10, quoting
Goehr, Imaginary Museum, p. 6.
 Levine, Highbrow/Middlebrow, p. 213.
 Symbolist poet Paul
Valéry (Leçon inaugurale du cours de poétique au Collège de France, Variétiés [Paris: Gallimard, 1945], p. 297)
coined the word “esthesic” to distinguish the kind of aisthesis he wished to stress from its distortion into the
aesthetic theory that he wished to disavow. Similarly, I refer to aisthesic experience to emphasize the
original empirical meaning of aisthesis,
in distinction to speculations about aesthetic experience.
 Christoph Menke, “Modernity,
subjectivity and aesthetic reflection” in Osborne ed., Aesthetic Point of View, pp. 35-56, ref. 40.
 Osborne, Aesthetic Point of View, p. 3.
 Jacques Rancière,
“What aesthetics can mean,” in Osborne, Aesthetic
Point of View, pp. 13-33; ref. 18.
 Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans. N. K.
Smith. (London: MacMillan, 1787/1929), p. 66 (italics added).
 Rancière, “What
aesthetics can mean,” in Osborne, Aesthetic
Point of View, p. 18 (italics original).
 Peter Kivy,
“Introduction,” in Peter Kivy ed., The
Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), pp. 1-11; ref.
 Carroll, A Philosophy of Mass Art, pp. 92f.
 However, as
Shusterman (Surface and Depth: Dialectics
of Criticism and Culture. [Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 2002], p.
105) points out, even appreciation of nature is culturally acquired and thus is
not as free as Kant assumed.
 Carroll, A Philosophy of Mass Art, p. 91. “Judgements of dependent beauty are made relative
to concepts. Judgements that such and such is good of its kind are judgments of
dependent beauty.” (p. 101).
 Austin Harrington, Art and Social Theory (Cambridge, Polity
Press, 2004), pp. 91, 87.
 Jerome Stolnitz, “On
the Origins of ‘Aesthetic Disinterestedness,’” Journal of Aesthetics and Arts Criticism (Winter 1961); 131-43.
 “Strictly speaking,
Kant himself did not employ ‘disinterest’ to distinguish the aesthetic from the
non-aesthetic, but to distinguish, within the realm of what he called the
‘aesthetic’, judgements of beauty and sublimity from those of mere pleasantness”
(David E. Cooper, ed.. “Attitude, Aesthetic,” in David Cooper, ed., A Companion to Aesthetics (Oxford:
Blackwell 1995, 23-27; ref. 23.
 Carroll, A Philosophy of Mass Art, p. 92.
 Robert Dixon, The Baumgarten Corruption: From Sense to
Nonsense in Art and Philosophy. (New York: Pluto Press, 1993), p. 49.
 Habermas, Public Sphere, p. 161.
 Tim Blanning, The Triumph of Music: The Rise of Composers,
Musicians and Their Art. (Cambridge: Belknap/Harvard, 2008), pp. 111-14.
 Flanders, Consuming Passions, p. 346; see,
343-418, for an account of the commodification of art and music.
 Habermas, Public Sphere, pp. 161-63. Given the
fact that discourse about the arts, for example, criticism, philosophy,
treatises by artists, and so on, has an impact on how art is accessed, valued,
and even experienced brings into play the “Thomas Theorem” in sociology (“When
people define situations as real they are real in their consequences”), J.
Scott and G. Marshal, eds. A Dictionary
of Sociology [Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2005], p. 663), in this case “aesthetic experience.” Thus
people, including scholars, can identify their moments of personal delight as
 Dixon, Baumgarten Corruption, 49-50. See also,
“Of the Scandal of Taste: Social Privilege as Nature in the Aesthetics of Hume
and Kant,” Shusterman, Surface and Depth,
pp. 91-107 for a pragmatist critique of an “universal standard of taste.”
 Carroll, A Philosophy of Mass Art, p. 94.
 Donald Hodges, A Concise Survey of Music Philosophy
(New York: Routledge, 2016), pp. 95-98.
 In some countries
and local schools, lack of funding or of conviction for the importance of the
arts and music, leads Education Ministries and school administrators to
shortchange the arts, instead relying on classroom teachers, who may or may not
have any in-depth background in the arts, to occasionally insert arts-related
activities into their weekly academic plans. Typically, too, dance is entirely
 Michale Ghanan, Musica Practica: The Social Practice of
Western Music from Gregorian Chant to Postmodernism (New York: Verso, 1994), p.6.