A great deal of thought has been given to the nature of musical experience in the past four decades, but until now no other study has attempted to survey that thinking to ascertain which features of musical experience are viewed as essential by leading scholars.
On the Nature of Musical Experience discusses the shared beliefs of twenty prominent aestheticians, composers, theorists, and educators. Among the thinkers examined in this volume are Monroe Beardsley, Nelson Goodman, Susanne K. Langer, Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Abraham Maslow, Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff, and James Mursell. Fourteen features of musical experience were identified by most of the thinkers as a widespread phenomenon. These features are: intrinsicality, affect, expectation, meaning, intelligence, listening as foundational, sensuosity, time, reference, inspiration and creativity, greatness, universals, functionality, and musicality. A separate essay examines each of these features of musical experience and offers recommendations for needed research that would help the features be better understood and more effectively integrated into music education.
Serving as both an overview of the nature of musical experience and as the product of a community of music education scholars, On the Nature of Musical Experience is unique. It is an important source of insight for all those interested in the ways human beings interact with music and how those interactions can be improved through education.