Third: Music Theory and Ethno/Musicology separate out analysis (the purview of “theory”) from history and ethnography. That’s more or less parallel to mainstream philosophy’s separation of analysis (mainstream analytic philosophy) from history and ethnography and practical philosophy. I suspect that this structural and intellectual separation of analysis from everything else is an important factor in both fields’ demographic problem. This separation allows analysis to be something of an epistemology of ignorance, a theoretical practice that naturalizes the commonsense intuitions of the most privileged members of society as “objective” knowledge.
Fourth: Mainstream analytic philosophy and music theory/composition share a route out of McCarthyism and through the postwar academic industrial complex. Both fields presented themselves as specialist practices modeled on the sciences. These specialist practices had nothing to say to or about politics or public affairs. Just read Babbitt’s “Who Cares If You Listen?” with McCumber’s “Time In The Ditch”–you can’t miss the similarities. (Even Babbitt’s discussion of the “efficiency” of post-tonal musical languages echoes analytics’ obsession with so-called “clarity.” And, if you look at the bottom of page 3 of “Who Cares,” you’ll see Babbitt dig at “nonanalytic” philosophers and implicitly identify himself with midcentury analytic philosophy.)
Read More | “What we can learn about Philosophy’s diversity problems by comparing ourselves to Music Theory” | Robin James | It’s Her Factory