“What is Music?” Research diary


I found this website a great help in starting my essay and structuring my introductory section. It mentions in passing the semiotics of giving music a definition that is different to sound. It also gives a reference list of plenty of philosophers I could use for further reading and research.


From the aforementioned list of references in the first article I read, I did a google search of Eduard Hanslick, who was a German musicologist in the late 1800’s. I found a great quote of his I wish to use; 

Music has no subject beyond the combinations of notes we hear, for music speaks not only by means of sounds, it speaks nothing but sound.”.

I’ve been unable to find a credible source for it though, besides somewhere it was quoted on this Wikipedia page. I like this quote because it puts plainly the fact that even though music and sound are not recognised as being the same thing, you cannot have music without sound. I’m hoping to write this essay with the slant that the word “music” can define anything someone wants it to be, so I’m looking for good sources to back this idea up.


This is a fairly useful site I used to research a bit of the development of musical systems and theory. Although the dates and time periods aren’t the ones I’m interested in for my essay, I still found this information quite handy.


The continued reading on this site goes a bit more into the periods I’m looking for.  It also features a great quote;

“… there is music wherever there is harmony, order or proportion.”
—Sir Thomas Bow

but it doesn’t have a proper source for it.


This is a really helpful source for my section on dadaism. This is an important piece of history to write about and is fundamental to help my point that any sound can be deemed as music.


This piece has loads of great quotes from John Cage. It’s hard to find any source-able biographies on Cage but as this one has already sources for every quote then I’ll double-check them and add them to my references.

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