Retrospective Reviews


Retrospective Reviews is a new series of website pieces, conceived of as concise, critically informed reviews of key texts that have influenced philosophical thought about music. ‘Philosophical’ is taken here, as elsewhere in the MPSG’s remit, in the broad sense: as well as being by philosophers of any stripe, these may be texts by musicologists, ethnomusicologists, music critics, musicians, or even by writers outside both music and philosophy, as long as the review can account for their musical and philosophical influence. How that influence is construed – positively or negatively – ultimately matters less than whether the author can prompt readers to revisit the text and reassess its significance for contemporary scholarship. Each review summarizes the key idea(s) behind a text before turning to its reception and influence.

Submit a Retrospective Review!
Subjects for review may be books or articles, and may be in any language. In the spirit of fostering dialogue between intellectual traditions, we also welcome submissions in languages other than English, in which case we will work with the author to agree a translation and present the review in a bilingual format. Since these are retrospective reviews rather than engagements with recent work, texts chosen should be at least five years old. The recommended word-length for these reviews is 1,500 – 3,000 words, and images, hyperlinks, video and audio can be embedded if desired. Reviews should be emailed as a Word document to the MPSG retrospective reviews editor, Matthew Pritchard, at
Peter Kivy, “The Corded Shell” (1980)

Derek Matravers (The Open University)
MPSG Retrospective Review No. 2020:4. Published 26. March 2020

Acoustemology: A Retrospective Glance at a 1990’s Sound-Concept

Charissa Granger (Erasmus University, Rotterdam)
MPSG Retrospective Review No. 2019:3. Published 11. July 2019

What Music? – Whose Aesthetics? Looking Back Over Edward Lippman’s History of Western Musical Aesthetics (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992)

Matthew Pritchard (University of Leeds)
MPSG Retrospective Review No. 2019:2. Published 11. July 2019

Derek Bailey, Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice in Music (1980)

Marian Jago (Reid School of Music, University of Edinburgh)
MPSG Retrospective Review No. 2019:1. Published 11. July 2019

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