Composing as a Way of Doing Philosophy

January 01, 2014 · Book-chapter

Cover of Artistic Experimentation in Music An Anthology


Between 2005 and 2009, I devised strategies for creating new musical works by investigating the conventions and practices of classical music in relation to wider themes in philosophy. Accordingly, these musical works were rooted in a process of thinking about music as an activity, situated in a particular culture, rather than direct experimentation with sound itself. I was interested in seeing whether the act of composing could be reframed as a way of understanding what it is we do when we “do” music and how musical experiences affect and help us as we move through our daily lives.

This article comprises an account of two processes of thought concerning classical music and its conventions that led to the creation of new work. There are two, core statements on issues in the philosophy of music. These are interlaced with italicised statements on particular works, which are offered as dialectical responses to the core statements.

‘Composing as a Way of Doing Philosophy’ by Nicholas Brown is published in Artistic Experimentation in Music: An Anthology, (Leuven University Press, Orpheus Institute Series) 2014