"Music Theory in the Scottish Enlightenment"

This book project focuses on the emergence of a proto-cognitivist strain of music theory in late eighteenth-century Scotland. It examines theories of music advanced by John Holden (1729-1771) and Walter Young (1745-1814), as well as engagements with related subjects by figures including Adam Smith (1723-1790), Thomas Robertson (†1799) and Anne Young (1756-1827). Considered as a group —and viewed against the backdrop of contemporaneous Scottish philosophical approaches to perception— these works make a powerful case for the existence of a distinctly Scottish music-theoretical tradition characterized by a sophisticated approach to the role of specific mental faculties in the perception of music.


Related publications:

Carmel Raz, “‘To ‘Fill Up, Completely, the Whole Capacity of the Mind’: Listening with Attention in Late Eighteenth-Century Scotland.” Forthcoming, Music Theory Spectrum 44.1 (2022).      Link

Carmel Raz, “Music of the Squares: David Ramsay Hay and the Reinvention of Pythagorean Aesthetics,” Public Domain Review, May 16, 2019.   Link

Carmel Raz, “An Eighteenth-Century Theory of Musical Cognition? John Holden’s Essay Toward a Rational System of Music (1770),” Journal of Music Theory 62.2 (October, 2018): 205–248.        Link

Carmel Raz, “Anne Young’s Introduction to Music (1803): Pedagogical, Speculative, and Ludic Music Theory,” SMT-V: Videocast Journal of the Society for Music Theory 4.3 (October, 2018).       Link

Carmel Raz, “Anne Young’s Musical Games (1801): Music Theory, Gender, and Game Design,” SMT-V: Videocast Journal of the Society for Music Theory 4.2 (September, 2018).      Link



Listen to a BBC Radio 3 feature about the project here (the segment starts about 11 minutes in).