|Special Topics in Aesthetics: Music & Meaning
Philosophy 112. Special Topics in Aesthetics: Music and Meaning
Instructors: Hannah Ginsborg (Philosophy), Mary Ann Smart (Music).
This course will explore the question of whether music has meaning, and if so, what kind. Can music represent, say, birdsong, or the sea, or merely imitate? If music expresses emotions, then whose–those of the listener? the composer? the performer? We will consider parallels and contrasts between linguistic and musical meaning, theories of how music can be expressive, and the question of whether music can convey political meaning. The course will be taught as a seminar, and students will be expected to participate actively. Each week’s discussion will be structured around the interaction between musical excerpts and readings, drawn from historical and contemporary literature in philosophy, musicology, and the psychology of music. Requirements will include several short papers, a class presentation, and a final paper. Please note that this course is being taught as part of the “Big Ideas” breadth program; for details of the program, see http://bigideascourses.berkeley.edu/. It is also being taught under the title Music 128P: Music and Meaning.
Enrollment in the course is limited and by instructor approval only. If you are interested in enrolling, please send an email, with “Music and Meaning” in the subject line, to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. One of the instructors will get back to you with details of the enrollment procedure.