Philosophers/Composers (II)


So apparently composer and pianist Michaël Levinas who studied music together with people like Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail and participated in projects such as Ensemble l’Itinéraire is the son of Emmanuel Levinas. I have never heard any of his recordings, but judging by his affiliations, I’d say it’s probably something “spectral”…

In related news, Boethius wrote an influential (and unfinished) book on music theory – De institutione musica libri quinque – that became controversial during the time of “tuning wars” since it apparently defended Pythagorus’ theories (as it should have since it was long before the debates).

Marin Mersenne, a friend of Descartes who assisted in dissemination of the first draft of Meditations and collected the resulting Objections, later wrote a huge two-volume work on musical theory and everything music-related (including such oddities as organs with 19 keys per an octave) called Harmonie universelle, contenant la théorie et la pratique de la musique.

I’m still looking for an awesome story or two about someone like Leibniz penning a sonata or two. Or someone like Kant expressing an opinion (a positive opinion) on anything music-related.

4 thoughts on “Philosophers/Composers (II)

  1. Kant does compare music to gambling and jokes in the Third Critique, each as the free play of sensations. But it’s true, he doesn’t discuss any specific works. He does provide some of his favorite jokes, though. Have you heard the one about the Indian and the beer bottle?

  2. I did and it’s lame. I think people should not really share their favorite jokes publicly, since it might very well turn out that their favorite jokes are not funny…

    Kant’s basically dismissive toward music/art, it seems.

  3. Schopenhauer is always championed by musicians. Did he write anything himself?

    Find out anything about Cicero?

    • Nope, got distracted – Rameau vs. Rousseau is a pretty interesting debate and I’m yet to see one philosophical study of it (I’m sure there’s a good one out there), mostly it’s musicologists, which is fine but they don’t go “there” – Rameau=music is rational and rule-governed, Rousseau=music is sensual/sensation-governed. I’m very close to just reading Rameau’s Theory of Harmony – resisting the temptation.

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