“Absolute music” names an idea, an aesthetic concept, a regulative construct, a repertoire, and an aspiration. The term also engages a range of broader claims about aesthetic autonomy, or the possibility of aesthetic experience more generally. This chapter investigates how and why the aspiration towards autonomy has seemed so necessary—and so powerfully subversive—for musical thinkers at certain times in history. It traces the entanglements and misalignments of the various meanings and uses of these ideas, and brings these insights into the remit of contemporary debates about music’s ineffability, and its capacity to facilitate resistance and political agency.
|Title of host publication||The Oxford Handbook of Western Music and Philosophy|
|Editors||Jerrold Levinson, Tomas McAuley, Nanette Nielsen|
|Place of Publication||UK|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|