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Introduction: Philosophical And Cultural Theories Of Music

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Chapter Summary

Music does what all creative media do. It translates one idiom into another. That is what philosophy and religion also do. This is the introduction chapter of the book, which reflects on the structural parallels between music and religion. Some of the most powerful interpretations of music are philosophical interpretations. What makes philosophical interpretations of music so powerful is that they are translations. It points out that music is an art of space. Musical performance and the acoustic physics of music all manifest their key characteristics in space. In addition to broaching these universal philosophical themes, the book tackles the question of how musical meaning and value are formed in specific times and places. Due to its peculiar connotative powers, music is able to perform a range of cultural functions: it can be used to reinforce identity or challenge it, and maximize social status or subvert it.

Keywords: art of space; cultural theories; music; musical performance; philosophical interpretations; religion



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