We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

Musical value in the jazz tradition of the 20th century

MARLOW-STEVENS, ELLIOT,JASPER (2023) Musical value in the jazz tradition of the 20th century. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF - Accepted Version


This thesis analyses the aesthetic principles of jazz, with the underlying motivation being the question of how different cultural perspectives regarding music and art, and their boundaries and definitions, are combined. It is fundamentally interdisciplinary – a synthesis of musicology and aesthetics that analyses the development of jazz’s aesthetic values, and their relationship with social and cultural influences. This approach serves as a corrective to the musicological exploration of creative socio-cultural phenomenon, which, while insightful, has lacked the inclusion of contemporary aesthetic analysis.

In exploring questions of the philosophy of music, traditional aesthetic issues such as representation, authenticity, and expression in music are confronted. As this is developed, broader philosophical topics such as ontology, artistic virtue, and culture and appropriation are discussed, with jazz’s unique aesthetic values at the centre.

In building an appropriate ethical and musicological framework, this thesis posits questions regarding the reliability of Western aesthetic theory when understanding diaspora culture, particularly the view of non-Western aesthetic principles as ancillary to the development of contemporary musical aesthetics. This informs an examination of the art vs entertainment dichotomy, and an assessment of the aesthetic legacy of modernism.

This thesis emphasises the importance of the synthesis of philosophical aesthetics and musicology, and in understanding jazz’s aesthetic values we see the influence of the African American creative movements of the early 20th century, the role of factors such as social status, class, race, and economics, and how strict categories such as art and entertainment overlook unique creative values.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:music, aesthetics, jazz, modernism, critical theory, Coltrane, Parker, Zappa, Adorno
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Philosophy, Department of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Oct 2023 09:40

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter