The underlying claim of this article is that phenomenology is well situated to reorient the philosophy of music, a discipline too often concerned with logical wrangling over the ontology of musical works. By starting with the experience of music itself in its many forms, we can see how both work music and non-work music come to have sense for us. Specifically, I contend that Maurice Merleau-Ponty's notion that sense develops through what he calls “institution” accurately describes the sense of music, and I attempt to bear this out through careful description of multiple modes of musical experience.

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