The electives in which I am participating are:

  1. French Chamber Music in the 19th Century (togerther with Egbert Jan Louwerse)
  2. Music Philosophy and Aesthetics

This elective is scheduled for the second semester 2019-2020. 

Teachers: Egbert Jan Louwerse & Wiebe Buis.


A lot of things were going on in France in the 19th century. Paris could be seen as the centre of cultural life in Europe for a long time. Political events had major consequences on cultural life. It is very interesting to see how these events have influenced the development of chamber music through the 19th century and how some composers may have been forgotten.

This Elective is divided into 2 “blocks” of 5 lessons each. In the first block we dive into the historical /contextual part of this elective. What has happened, why and by whom? We talk about revolutions, opera, chamber music, the conservatoires, the world exhibitions, the famous société’s and salons. You yourself will also try to find some answers and will discover composers and pieces that are new to you.

The second block of 5 rehearsals is about playing the pieces you have found, with colleagues inside or outside this elective. Together we rehearse, demonstrate, teach and get taught. We try to discover why the way of playing of this music is so French. Or...is it?

We finish this elective by combining all our pieces into a concert. You, as an expert on your piece, will write the program notes and introduce the music of your choice to the audience.

Egbert Jan Louwerse is an expert in the field of French flute and chamber music. He graduated for his Master degree conducting research on “Phrasing slurs in French Chamber music for flute and piano from 1871”, an effort in understanding the multi-implication of long phrasing slurs on performance practice in French chamber music for flute from 1871, focusing on the influence of Paul Taffanel.

In 2015 he was awarded a silver medal by the French Société Académique "Arts-Sciences-Lettres" in Paris: "Diplome de Medaille d'Argent" for his contribution to French Music during his career. And of course he was added to the Hanze "Walk of Fame"!


Philosophy and Aesthetics of Music

"Beauty is in the ear of the listener and the eye of the beholder".


In the musical discourse there is no lack of personal (and often strong) opinions.

Opinions are freely expressed about music itself, performances, performers, composers and so on. Often these opinions take the form of (subjective) judgement and criticism.

Judging and assessing is of course unavoidable for example in the case of competitions and/or auditions.  Also numerous recordings and performances are reviewed in papers, journals and on the internet. The giving of "stars" (1-5) is nowadays a current technique of giving a mark. No underpinning, reasoning or argumentation required. The same goes for voting via the internet in television competitions. Vox populi vox Dei?

If we think we have to form an opinion about music and related aspects, we should be aware of the fundaments on which we build our opinions. If we are not aware of those fundaments we should start searching for them. If you think you don't need those fundaments because you are convinced of your personal pure and exquisite taste and intuition, PLEASE stay away from this elective...  thank you.

Our main activities in this elective will be

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Thinking
  • Talking

about Music focused on topics like

  • Aesthetics  (what is beauty or: the good the bad and the ugly in music)
  • Perception (what do we listen and look for in music and why and how do we do it)
  • Evaluation, opinions and criticism (finding the appropriate words or other ways of communicating)
  • Hermeneutics aiming at the (deeper) shared understanding and appreciation of music

Our textbooks will be:

scruton understandingScruton, R. (2016). Understanding Music: Philosophy and Interpretation. Bloomsbury. (Kindle € 13,06      
Paperback € 17,20)







scruton beautyScruton, Roger, S. (2011). Beauty: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Free on ebooks Hanze.nl)







The article from GROVE (Oxford Music Online) about aesthetics from 1750-2000 in Philosophy of Music part III:


Additional background reading about hermeneutics:

 caputo hermeneutics