The Musician as Philosopher

The Musician as Philosopher
An insightful look at how avant-garde musicians of the postwar period in New York explored the philosophical dimensions of music's ineffability.

The Musician as Philosopher explores the philosophical thought of avant-garde musicians in postwar New York: David Tudor, Ornette Coleman, the Velvet Underground, Alice Coltrane, Patti Smith, and Richard Hell. It contends that these musicians--all of whom are understudied and none of whom are traditionally taken to be composers--not only challenged the rules by which music is written and practiced but also confounded and reconfigured gendered and racialized expectations for what critics took to be legitimate forms of musical sound. From a broad historical perspective, their arresting music electrified a widely recognized social tendency of the 1960s: a simultaneous affirmation and crisis of the modern self.

Publication Date: 
March 15, 2024

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