Mr Luiz Leal

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Thesis title: The Metaphysics of Tonal Harmony

My doctoral research is aimed at providing a philosophical account of chords. 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 and performances thereof. Conversely, little has been said of the metaphysics of harmony – i.e. of the ‘vertical structure’ of music. My motivation in pursuing this topic at doctoral level is to bridge that gap in the literature. The aim of my thesis is thus to account for the ontology and the aesthetics of tonal harmony by: (1) providing an analysis of the nature of chords qua sounds; (2) proposing an account of the phenomenology of chord perception; (3) offering a metaphysical view on the relationship between the psychoacoustics and aesthetics of chords; and by (4) discussing the implications of different forms of tuning and temperament for an assessment of the metaphysics of tonal harmony.



  • Dr David Liggins
  • Prof James Garratt
  • Dr Emily Caddick Bourne


Research interests

Philosophy of Music; Metaphysics; Aesthetics

Further information

My research is generously funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council via the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership.

External positions

Teacher, St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College

Aug 2012Aug 2018

Teacher, Barlow RC High School

Apr 2012Aug 2012

Teacher, Loreto High School

Sep 2011Apr 2012

Teacher, St Mary's College

Dec 2010Jul 2011

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2017 - Master of Arts, MA Philosophy, Heythrop College (University of London) (2014 - 2017)
  • 2010 - Postgraduate Certificate in Education, University of Cumbria (Lancaster Campus) (2009 - 2010)
  • 2007 - Bachelor of Social Science, Social Sciences, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) (2003 - 2006)
  • 2006 - Bachelor of Arts, BA History, Universidade Federal Fluminense (2003 - 2006)