Review of Andy Hamilton. 2007. Aesthetics and Music. London and New York: Continuum.
Andy Hamilton's Aesthetics and Music is an unusual concoction: one part history of the aesthetics of music, one part review of recent work in the Analytic philosophy of music, and one part original contribution to musical aesthetics. Published as part of Continuums's new series of introductory texts on art and aesthetics, Hamilton's book is more than a student text and less than a specialist's essay. Three historical chapters-which quickly survey the musical aesthetics of ancient Greece, Kant and the nineteenth century, and Adorno and modernism- alternate with philosophical chapters that treat some recalcitrant problems in a more sustained manner.Hamilton seeks to overturn the kind of thinking which dismisses the genetic role of improvisation in the overall aesthetic effect of the music. In other words, he confronts the claim that improvisation is essentially musically extrinsic- that the only thing that matters is the musical result, regardless of whether the music is or is not improvised.
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- October 14, 2014