Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Christoffer Vilhelm Kinnerup Sennels
4. term, Applied Philosophy, Master (Master Programme)
This assignment aims to examine jazz music and successful jazz concerts through the theories of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Hans-Georg Gadamer. First, the assignment will treat jazz as a genre and provide a brief overview of its history to establish a foundational understanding of the subject matter. For Wittgenstein's theory, the assignment takes its starting point from 'Philosophical Investigations,' and for Gadamer, the starting point is 'Truth and Method.' These theories will first be explained and then applied to jazz as a genre, and subsequently to the situation of the jazz concert. From an analysis using Wittgenstein's theories about language games, it is clear how the understanding of music depends on the application of rules, which are understood through their use, and therefore, through the activity. In addition, this provides an understanding of how the music itself is conditioned by its rules, rule-following, and rule-breaking. Furthermore, Wittgenstein demonstrates how the language surrounding music is problematic based on the impossibility of private language. From Gadamer's theories, which are based on our starting point for understanding, it becomes clear that people's understanding is conditioned by our prejudices and history. Following this, Gadamer also treats the artwork as a subject, which is also conditioned by its history. To understand the music, we must therefore be aware of our pre-understanding, so we can approach the artwork, and therefore the music, on a higher level. For Gadamer, this requires an awareness of one's prejudices in order to see beyond them. Gadamer describes the subject's understanding and possibility for recognition as a horizon, and in understanding with another subject, a fusion of horizons occurs, which makes the understanding a part of oneself and thus transforms the subject. Since the piece of music can also be seen as a subject, we must approach it from this premise. This gives us an understanding of what it means to understand and our prerequisites for understanding. The successful jazz concert must be conditioned by such an understanding and thus a fusion of horizons where one is transformed by the concert. Jazz music is largely conditioned by its improvisation and is therefore created in the moment, which creates a special form of dynamics between the music and those who experience the music. From the examination of the theories, it also becomes clear that both musicians, audience, the space, and the music itself play a role in relation to understanding and experiencing. Therefore, one must be aware of all these parameters in the desire to create conditions that presuppose the understanding of jazz and thus the successful concert.
Publication date1 Jun 2023
Number of pages50
ID: 532545377