PHIL408F     Topics in Contemporary Philosophy: Philosophy of Song
Semester:Fall 2015
Instructor: Jerrold Levinson
Room:SKN 1115
Meeting Times:MW 2:00pm - 3:15pm

This course considers the phenomenon of song from a philosophical point of view, asking questions such as these: What is distinctive about song as a kind of music? Are there any general principles governing goodness in songs? How do the lyrics of songs differ from poems? What accounts for the special power of songs? Why do songs play such an important role in human life? What are the strengths and weaknesses of particular modes or genres of song? What does interpretation of a song by a singer involve? What does such an interpretation convey to a listener? What principles might govern evaluation of different versions of a song?  We will try to address these and other questions by examination and analysis of songs of many genres, though these genres will be foremost among them: classical or art songs; musical theater songs; jazz standards; bossa nova; blues; classic and contemporary rock.