Music Is About Possible Goal Achievement

15 October, 2019
Music is about goals, and about considering, in an imagined situation, the possibility or probability of achieving those goals.

The Goal Achievement Hypothesis

Hypothesis: Music alters the listener's perception of an imagined situation, which involves:

The Meanings of Specific Items of Music

Different items of music have different meanings in as much as they emphasize some of the considerations listed but not others.

The number of dimensions of musical meaning will not be exactly equal to the number of items in the list, for the following reasons:

Taking into account these caveats, we might suppose that the dimensionality of musical meaning is a small finite number, probably at least 3, and unlikely to be much larger than 12.

The Definition of the Imaginary Situation

Music motivates a change in the listener's perception of an imaginary situation, but, for most people, it does not motivate the act of imagining the initial version of the situation.

Therefore, something else has to motivate the listener's imagination.

Such as:

The Self-Referentiality of (Some) Music

The imaginary situation that music acts on will include goals and possible consideration of action taken in order to achieve those goals.

In some cases the action taken is the performance of the music itself.

For example, the lyrics of a song might describe the action taken to achieve a goal, or they might actually be the action taken to achieve a goal.

For a particular song, the goal might be to break up with you, my unsatisfactory lover, and I am telling you, in the lyrics, what it is that makes you so unsatisfactory.

In this case, me telling you what is wrong with you is the action I am taking in order to achieve the goal of breaking up with you.