Aesthetics & Music

Immanuel Kant

Judith Butler

Jacques Derrida

Roland Barthes

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Michel Foucault

Simone de Beauvoir

These are the names of the philosophers and thinkers that have helped shape my thoughts about music and the music industry, as well as greatly impacted my everyday life in the most positive way imaginable!

The above have written some profound texts about the philosophy of art and music. Judith Butler talks about the problem of gender, which, when it is applied to music, opens up a whole new realm of questions and their many possible answers.

Here you can read my essays on the work of Kant, Derrida, Barthes and Butler.

Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from the Enlightenment period in philosophy. His Third Critique talks about judgements of taste and beauty, examining the way in which we judge objects to be beautiful.

Jacques Derrida was a famous French-Algerian post-structuralist philosopher who believed that everything in language is a system of signs – or semiotics – and so one can never be fully clear in their meaning when they try to communicate through our system of language. When considering  music notation as a language and applying Derrida‘s thoughts on semiology to it, notation can be seen as equally elusive in communicating ideas as language can.

Roland Barthes was an interesting French semioticist who wrote the essays The Grain of the Voice and The Death of the Author. They examine the way in which the voice is special as it defies the system of signs that come with notation, and talks about the apparent unimportance for the author of a piece of work to be known to all.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly to my project, there’s Judith Butler. She’s another important post-structuralist philosopher whose work was based predominantly on the problem of gender and the existence of ‘gender performance’. The image of women in music, and primarily women in rock, is my main study this year, and this essay will be posted in May!


Derrida & Barthes


Judith Butler & Gender Performance