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Abstract

According to the acousmatic thesis defended by Roger Scruton and others, to hear sounds as music is to divorce them from the source or cause of their production. Non-acousmatic experience involves attending to the worldly cause of the sound; in acousmatic experience, sound is detached from that cause. The acousmatic concept originates with Pythagoras, and was developed in the work of 20th century musique concrète composers such as Pierre Schaeffer. The concept yields important insights into the nature of musical experience, but Scruton's version of the acousmatic thesis cannot overcome objections arising from timbral and spatial aspects of music, which seem to relate sounds to the circumstances of their production. These objections arise in part from music's status as a performing art rooted in human gesture and behaviour. Hence I defend a two-fold thesis of "hearing-in", which parallels Richard Wollheim's concept of "seeing-in": both acousmatic and..

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