The continuum of music—what is it, what does it do, how does it do it—has taxed countless philosophers over recorded time, and even the verb for what it does (express? arouse? evoke? symbolize? embody?) meets with no universal agreement. Not always is music admired: in the Book of Ezekiel, the prophet likens the skilled musician to an ineffectual preacher.
Richard Elfyn Jones brings new ideas to the conundrum by taking up certain philosophers not usually cited in connection with music, in particular Alfred North Whitehead and the classical Greek notion of
process (as opposed to
event), and thus of
process theology. The book opens up an original approach to the transcendent and, to many, the sacred quality heard in music, drawing both upon authorities concerned with the numinous (that feeling of awe and attraction behind religious experience) and upon his own lifelong engagement with music as scholar, teacher and composer.
– Peter Williams, former Dean of Music,
University of Edinburgh
Chapter 1: The Transcendental and Rational Discourse
Chapter 2: Music as Sublime Organism
Chapter 3: Process Philosophy
Chapter 4: Music and Process
Chapter 5: A Whiteheadian Aesthetic and a Musical Paradigm
Chapter 6: Music, the Other Arts and Process