Now available in paperback, this is perhaps the first comprehensive account of the nature and significance of of music from the perspective of modern philosophy, and the only treatment of the subject which is properly illustrated with musical examples. The book starts from the metaphysics of sound, and distinguishes sound from tone, analyses rhythm, melody, and harmony, and develops a novel account of music, as the intentional object of imaginative perception. The argument explores the various dimensions of musical organisation and musical meaning, and shows exactly how and why music is an expressive medium.
The Aesthetics of Music explains and criticises many fashionable theories in the philosophy and theory of music, and mounts a case for the moral significance of music, its place in our culture, and the need for taste and discrimination in both performer and listener. The various schools of musical analysis are subjected to a critical examination, and recent criticisms of tonality, as the foundation of musical order, are rehearsed and rejected. Scruton defends the objectivity of aesthetic values, lays down principles of criticism, and ends with an energetic critique of modern popular music.