Music PhenomenologyA Tool for Describing the Listening Experience based on the applied phenomenology of Thomas Clifton, Lawrence Ferrara and Don Ihde

Chapter 2 from Music Listening, Music Therapy, Phenomenology and Neuroscience, PhD Thesis, Aalborg University 2012

Research questions

What are the basic ideas and approaches of phenomenological description of music and sound?
How is music phenomenology rooted in phenomenological philosophy?
How is phenomenological description of music applied in music therapy research?
Can the approaches of experimental phenomenology be applied in music phenomenology?


The aim of this chapter is to clarify a basis for the phenomenological description of music as heard, and to elucidate the application of phenomenological music description in music therapy research. The central sources for this investigation are the writings of Thomas Clifton, Lawrence Ferrara and Don Ihde, three scholars who, in very different manners, have yielded important contributions to the field of music phenomenology. Clifton is the enthusiastic investigator, Ferrara the pragmatic researcher, and Ihde the reflecting philosopher. This chapter will present ideas of these three pioneers stated in their early manifestos and later book publications