96376 - Philosophy and Musical Aesthetics. Fundamentals (1) (C.I.) (A-L)

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Docente: Maria Semi
  • Credits: 6
  • Language: Italian
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Drama, Art and Music Studies (cod. 5821)

    Also valid for First cycle degree programme (L) in Drama, Art and Music Studies (cod. 0956)

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course the student: knows on a general basis the problems and challenges that music, understood as a science and as an art, as abstract form and signifying medium, posed to Western philosophical thought; is introduced to concepts and periods of crucial relevance to the history of musical aesthetics; is able to place in time and space some of the major questions that haunted the discipline.

Course contents

Music and sounds in the contemporary world

This unit's focus is on the uses of music and sound in the societies we live in. First we will introduce several concepts, developed by philosophers, that will become our tools to interpret the world we live in: in particular we will deal with the 'aestheticisation of the world', with 'aesthetic capitalism'(Gernot Böhme) and with 'everyday aesthetics' (Yuriko Saito). Secondly we will try to understand how these tools can be used in order to explain phenomena regarding the world of music or of sound, and we will do it by examining some theories developed by two ethnomusicologists: Thomas Turino and Philip Bohlman.

Our aim is to develop a critical awareness to phenomena that regard our everyday lives (with a particular focus on the sonic environment), and that often go utterly unnoticed.


1. Franco Fabbri, Il suono in cui viviamo, Il Saggiatore, 2008, pp.19-66 (the pages correspond to the two book chapters:”Musiche nel Novecento” and “Musiche nel XXI secolo”)

2. Elisabetta di Stefano, Che cos’è l’estetica quotidiana? (Carocci 2017, 2019)

3. Additional material uploaded in Virtuale.

4. Philip V. Bohlman, World Music. Una breve introduzione, Torino, EDT, 2006.


[International students can ask for a different bibliography with books in English. The exam will nonetheless be performed in Italian]

Teaching methods

Lecturing, discussion, group work

Assessment methods

As long as classes will be taught in a blended mode (both in presence and in remote), the students will be able to choose between an ORAL REMOTE EXAM (using the software Teams), or a WRITTEN EXAM IN PRESENCE.


3 open questions relating to the bibliography, 2 hours time to answer

[on that same day the student will hand to the professor his assigned paper]


The discussion will start with the presentation and discussion of the topic chosen for the laboratory. The teacher will then ask some questions relating to the bibliography. (Total exam duration: approx. 20 minutes. The individual presentation should not exceed 10 minutes)

Teaching tools

Audio, video, materials shared on Virtuale

Office hours

See the website of Maria Semi


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This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.