The purpose of my doctoral thesis is to provide a comprehensive philosophical account of our experience of harmony. Although the philosophy of music has recently seen a surge in publications, much of what has been written on musical ontology and aesthetics focuses on works of music, performances and musical traditions. Conversely, little has been said of the ontology and aesthetics of harmony – the vertically represented structure of music. My ambition in pursuing this topic at research degree level stems from the contribution that it will make to the study of both philosophy and music, in that it couples contemporary metaphysics with musicology in an attempt to construct a philosophical theory of harmony that is also imbued with a detailed understanding of both music theory and acoustics. The current project is thus not solely original in its philosophical subject matter but also distinctive in its musicological approach; its main aim is to investigate the ontological and aesthetic nature of harmony by seeking to: (1) give a detailed account of the ontology of chords qua sounds; (2) illuminate the debate around the perceptual nature of chords; (3) offer an explanation of the putative metaphysical ties between the acoustics of sound and the aesthetics of harmony; and (4) provide a comprehensive survey of different traditions in tonal harmony and incorporate issues around different tuning and temperament methods into my assessment of the aesthetic nature of harmony.
- Dr David Liggins
- Dr James Garratt
- Dr Emily Caddick Bourne
Philosophy of Music; Metaphysics; Aesthetics; Philosophy of Perception