Shared Musical Experiences

British Journal of Aesthetics 59 (4):429-447 (2019)
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In ‘Listening to Music Together’, Nick Zangwill offers three arguments which aim to establish that listening to music can never be a joint activity. If any of these arguments were sound, then our experiences of music, qua object of aesthetic attention, would be essentially private. In this paper, I argue that Zangwill’s arguments are unsound and I develop an account of shared musical experience that defends three main conclusions. First, joint listening is not merely possible but a common feature of our socially situated experiences of music. Second, when listening with others our experience of the music and our sense of community with our fellow listeners often reciprocally enhance one another. Third, how deeply and intimately we share a musical experience with others depends upon such factors as our respective backgrounds, interests, and levels of expertise.



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Brandon Polite
Knox College

Citations of this work

Toward a Communitarian Theory of Aesthetic Value.Nick Riggle - 2022 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 80 (1):16-30.
The aesthetics of country music.John Dyck - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (5):e12729.
Legislating Taste.Kenneth Walden - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (4):1256-1280.
The Art of Immoral Artists.Shen-yi Liao - 2024 - In Carl Fox & Joe Saunders (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Media Ethics. Routledge. pp. 193-204.
Aesthetic Experience as Interaction.Bence Nanay - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-13.

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References found in this work

Objects: Nothing Out of the Ordinary.Daniel Z. Korman - 2015 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press UK. Edited by Dana Zemack.
Categories of Art.Kendall L. Walton - 1970 - Philosophical Review 79 (3):334-367.
Walking Together: A Paradigmatic Social Phenomenon.Margaret Gilbert - 1990 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 15 (1):1-14.

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