Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 22 October 2020

Philosophy of musiclocked

  • Lydia Goehr,
  • F.E. Sparshott,
  • Andrew Bowie
  •  and Stephen Davies


Short and long discussions of music saturate the history of Western philosophy. Similar discussions of philosophy saturate the history of Western music. Yet referring to ‘the philosophy of music’ often surprises academics and laypersons alike. Some declare they did not know there was such a subject; perhaps that is because there have been few devoted philosophers of music. If one were to list known philosophers solely devoted to music, or known musicians devoted to philosophy (a devotion that in much earlier times would still have kept them in the class of musicians), one might not come up with a single name. However, were one to name philosophers and musicians who have contributed to the subject, one could produce a seemingly unending list and a list of the greatest names: Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Boethius and so on through to the present. Most philosophical engagement with music has taken place in the context of (...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.

G. Reese: Music in the Renaissance (New York, 1954, 2/1959)
M. Mersenne: Harmonie universelle
H. Riemann: Geschichte der Musiktheorie im IX.-XIX. Jahrhundert (Berlin, 2/1921/R; Eng. trans. of pts i-ii, 1962/R, and pt iii, 1977)
Journal of Music Theory
Jahrbuch der Musikbibliothek Peters
C.-E.-H. de Coussemaker: Scriptorum de musica medii aevi nova series (Paris, 1864-76/R, 2/1908, ed. U. Moser)
O. Strunk: Source Readings in Music History (New York, 1950/R)
M. Gerbert: Scriptores ecclesiastici de musica sacra potissimum (St Blasien, 1784/R, 3/1931)
G. Reese: Music in the Middle Ages (New York, 1940)
Patrologiae cursus completus, ii: Series graeca, ed. J.-P. Migne (Paris, 1857-1912)