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Hutton Honors College

 — Indiana University


MUS-T 418: Music and Ideas
Professor Marianne Kielian-Gilbert*
Section 7309 MWF 10:10-11:00am MAC 036

--- Meets with MUS-T 410 ---

An introduction to the philosophy of music and problems of music aesthetics. Can music express ideas? Can music express emotions? If so, how? This course brings together work on music philosophy and aesthetics, cultural theory, and music analysis to explore connections between music and ideas, experience and performance in contemporary culture. Performance studies challenge listeners to think about what music does as much as what it is: how do the dramatic character of music, movement and the use of the body, experiential aspects of myth and everyday life, and material dimensions of context become tangibly present in music & music experience?

Selected Topics:

  • interactions of aesthetic beauty (affect, emotion) and social function
  • changing music receptions and modes of perception
  • roles of the listener and particular listening practices
  • musical temporality: continuity and discontinuity in a musical work
  • intertextuality and composer's relationships to musical tradition and history
  • meaning and subjectivity, the portrayal of voice, character, and drama (film, opera, musical theater, popular music)
  • music and the body; dance, movement, performativity and performance


  • Readings, music: in the spirit of a seminar based on listening, reading, analysis and discussion from different points of view, and music from classical to popular (including multimedia and interart settings - film, opera, dance, & multimedia).

    Selections from such texts as: Edward T. Cone, A View from Delft (1989); John Berger, Ways of Seeing (1972); Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind (2014); Peter Szendy. Listen: A History of Our Ears (2007)

    Section 4371
    Section 4371