39438 - Philosophy and Musical Aesthetics (M-Z)

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Course contents

The course aims to offer students some keys to understanding the varied musical experiences included in the period from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day. It will deal with issues relating to the history of contemporary music, in its intertwining with political and cultural ideologies, aesthetic thought and other artistic manifestations. In the first part of the course, students will be able to understand and recognise the main features of the musical languages, compositional techniques and, therefore, the relative aesthetics of composers such as Claude Debussy, Arnold Schönberg, and others: Claude Debussy, Arnold Schönberg, Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinskij, Karlheinz Stockhausen. The second part will focus on the relationship between music and multimedia, with particular attention to some recent sound art productions.

At the end of the course, students will be able to identify the historical period, the geographical context and the type of musical language used in some of the most important contemporary musical manifestations.


  1. Enrico Fubini, Il pensiero musicale del Novecento, Pisa, Edizioni ETS, 2007 (chapters: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16)
  2. Alessandro Arbo, Il suono instabile. Saggi sulla filosofia della musica nel Novecento, Roma, NeoClassica, 2016 (three essays of your choice).

Teaching methods

Lecturing, group work.

Assessment methods

The test will consist of a written exam in presence (two questions on Fubini, one question regarding an essay of Arbo's choice, one question on a musicological initiative you have recently followed). If the student is unable to take the exam in presence, he/she will agree with the professor for an oral question (which will always consist of two questions on Fubini, a question concerning an essay of Arbo's choice, a question on a musicological initiative you have recently attended). In relation to the second module (Laboratory), the thesis referred to may be replaced by a classroom exercise during the lessons of the second module. Alternatively, the thesis (on a subject to be agreed upon with the teacher) must be sent via e-mail two days before the chosen call.

The programme is the same for attendees and non-attendees.

Teaching tools

Audio, video, materials shared on Virtuale.

Office hours

See the website of Anna Scalfaro