Reflections on Art and Music

Over the past few years, I’ve increasingly done work in Aesthetics. In 2014-15 I taught graduate courses in Aesthetics at the Miami International University of Art and Design. I have done various conference papers on aesthetics over the past few years. Following up on my interest in that, I will begin blogging on different aspects of aesthetics, with a focus on music. I will especially explore questions of art and music as related to technological development and social theory. For one thing, our technological developments affect the history of music-making similarly to the way that technological developments affect the history of science. The development of the piano opened possibilities for sonic experience and technical ability that the were not possible for the harpsichord. The same is true of the development of the electric guitar and it’s “ecosystem” of amps, foot pedals, strings, and so on. These all made new sonic experience possible and the development of new skills for playing necessary. They then made a new type of music possible. This is not unlike the development of the telescope, which enabled an extension of sense of sight and also required a mastery of the skill of using the new technological instruments. This all in turn made new scientific developments possible. Here, both music (of a certain sort) and science (of a certain complexity) are the children of technology. The affects of music on social and political life are another of my main interests here. These effects are fascinating, important, and undertheoretized, varying from the widespread view of ethnomusicolgists that the early development of music in part facilitated social life to the myriad of studies showing how music is taken up in subcultures, affecting group identity and emboldening social movements. Among other things, I’m looking forward to writing about these issues on this blog as it will provide me with a chance to work through some of my readings and develop reflections on these issues.

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