Friday, June 15, 8723

Adam Smith (1723-1790) - Philosophy of Music

Adam Smith (c. June 15, 1723 - July 17, 1790) was a Scottish moral philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. The latter, usually abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. Adam Smith is widely cited as the father of modern economics.

Smith studied moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow and Oxford University. After graduating he delivered a successful series of public lectures at Edinburgh, leading him to collaborate with David Hume during the Scottish Enlightenment. Smith obtained a professorship at Glasgow teaching moral philosophy, and during this time wrote and published The Theory of Moral Sentiments. In his later life he took a tutoring position which allowed him to travel throughout Europe where he met other intellectual leaders of his day. Smith returned home and spent the next ten years writing The Wealth of Nations (mainly from his lecture notes) which was published in 1776.

Related Reading:

Piero Weiss and Richard Taruskin
Music in the Western World: A History in Documents
Adam Smith
Essays on Philosophical Subjects (published posthumously, in 1795)
(Pages 295-297)


An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is Smith's clearly-written account of economics at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, as well as a rhetorical piece written for the generally educated individual of the 18th century -- advocating a free market economy as more productive and more beneficial to society.

The work is credited as a watershed in history and economics due to its comprehensive, largely accurate characterization of economic mechanisms that survive in modern economics; and also for its effective use of rhetorical technique, including structuring the work to contrast real world examples of free and fettered markets.


[Gin Lane, London (c. 1700)]

Capitalism is an economic system in which wealth, and the means of producing wealth, are privately owned and controlled rather than publicly or state-owned and controlled.

In capitalism, the land, labor, and capital are owned, operated and traded by private individuals or corporations, and where investments, distribution, income, production, pricing and supply of goods, commodities and services are primarily determined by private decision in a market economy largely free of government intervention.

A distinguishing feature of capitalism is that each person owns his or her own labor and therefore is allowed to sell the use of it to employers.

In capitalism, private rights and property relations are protected by the rule of law of a limited regulatory framework.

In the modern capitalist state, legislative action is confined to defining and enforcing the basic rules of the market,] though the state may provide some public goods and infrastructure.

Some consider laissez-faire to be "pure capitalism" Laissez-faire (French, "let it be"), signifies a policy of only minimal intervention by the state in the economy, with the state confined mostly to protecting property rights rather than exercising control over the means of production. This has never existed.

Another approach that draws largely on Austrian economics, anarcho-capitalism, would eliminate the state and replace it entirely by market processes and private enterprise. However, because all large economies today have a mixture of private and public ownership and control, some feel that the term "mixed economies" more precisely describes most contemporary economies.

In the "capitalist mixed economy," the state intervenes in market activity and provides many services.

During the 20th Century, capitalism was often contrasted with centrally planned economies.

The central axiom of Capitalism is that the best allocation of resources is achieved through consumers having free choice, and producers responding accordingly to meet collective consumer demand. This contrasts with planned economies in which the state directs what shall be produced. A consequence is the belief that privatization of previously state-provided services will tend to achieve a more efficient delivery thereof. Further implications are usually in favor of free trade, and abolishment of subsidies. Although individuals and groups must act rationally in any society for their own good, the consequences of both rational and irrational actions are said to be more readily apparent in a capitalist society.

Capitalistic economic practices have incrementally become institutionalized in England between the 16th and 19th centuries, although some features of capitalist organization existed in the ancient world, and early aspects of merchant capitalism flourished during the Late Middle Ages.

Capitalism has been dominant in the Western world since the end of feudalism.

From Britain, it gradually spread throughout Europe, across political and cultural frontiers. In the 19th and 20th centuries, capitalism provided the main, but not exclusive, means of industrialization throughout much of the world.

The classical school economic thought emerged in Britain in the late 18th century. The classical political economists Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Jean-Baptiste Say, and John Stuart Mill published analyses of the production, distribution and exchange of goods in a market that have since formed the basis of study for most contemporary economists.

Contributions to this tradition are also found in the earlier work of David Hume, and the physiocrats in mid-18th century France who promoted free trade and their conception that wealth originated from land. Physiocrats like François Quesnay, who published Tableau Économique (1759), first analytically described the economy, laid the foundation of the Physiocrats economic theory, and Anne Robert Jacques Turgot who opposed the tariff and customs duties, advocated free trade. Richard Cantillon defined long-run equilibrium as the balance of flows of income, argued how land influence prices, and described the supply and demand mechanism influences short-term prices.

Adam Smith's attack on mercantilism and his reasoning for "the system of natural liberty" in The Wealth of Nations (1776) are usually taken as the beginning of classical political economy. Smith devised a set of concepts that remain strongly associated with capitalism today, particularly his theory of the "invisible hand" of the market, through which the pursuit of individual self-interest unintentionally produces a collective good for society. It was necessary for Smith to be so forceful in his argument in favor of free markets because he had to overcome the popular mercantilist sentiment of the time period.

He criticized monopolies, tariffs, duties, and other state enforced restrictions of his time and believed that the market is the most fair and efficient arbitrator of resources. This view was shared by David Ricardo, second most important of the classical political economists and one of the most influential economists of modern times.


Paul-Henri Thiry, baron d'Holbach (1723–1789) was a French-German author, philosopher, and encyclopedist. He was born Paul Heinrich Dietrich in Edesheim, Germany but lived and worked mainly in Paris. He is most famous for being one of the first self-described atheists in Europe.

Related Reading:

Piero Weiss and Richard Taruskin
Music in the Western World: A History in Documents
Baron d'Holbach
Letter to a Lady of a Certain Age,
on the Present State of the Opera (Pages 280-282)


Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724, Konigsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia) - February 12, 1804) is regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of modern Europe and of the late Enlightenment.

His most important work is the Critique of Pure Reason, a critical investigation of reason itself.

It encompasses an attack on traditional metaphysics and epistemology, and highlights Kant's own contribution to these areas. The other main works of his maturity are the Critique of Practical Reason, which concentrates on ethics, and the Critique of Judgement, which investigates aesthetics and teleology.

Pursuing metaphysics involves asking questions about the ultimate nature of reality. Kant suggested that metaphysics can be reformed through epistemology.

He suggested that by understanding the sources and limits of human knowledge we can ask fruitful metaphysical questions. He asked if an object can be known to have certain properties prior to the experience of that object. He concluded that all objects that the mind can think about must conform to its manner of thought. Therefore, if the mind can think only in terms of causality -- which he concluded it does -- then we can know, prior to experiencing them, that all objects we experience must either be a cause or an effect. However, it follows from this that it is possible that there are objects of such a nature that the mind cannot think of them, and so the principle of causality, for instance, cannot be applied outside of experience: hence we cannot know, for example, whether the world always existed or if it had a cause. And so the grand questions of speculative metaphysics are off limits, but the sciences are firmly grounded in laws of the mind.

Kant believed himself to be creating a compromise between the empiricists and the rationalists.

The empiricists believed that knowledge is acquired through experience alone, but the rationalists maintained that such knowledge is open to Cartesian doubt and that reason alone provides us with knowledge. Kant argues, however, that using reason without applying it to experience will only lead to illusions, while experience will be purely subjective without first being subsumed under pure reason.

Kant’s thought was very influential in Germany during his lifetime, moving philosophy beyond the debate between the rationalists and empiricists. The philosophers Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, and Schopenhauer saw themselves as correcting and expanding the Kantian system, thus bringing about various forms of German Idealism. Kant continues to be a major influence on philosophy to this day, influencing both Analytic and Continental philosophy.

Related Reading:

Piero Weiss and Richard Taruskin
Music in the Western World: A History in Documents
Immanuel Kant
Critique of Judgment (1790) (Pages 297-298)


Charles Burney (April 7, 1726 - April 12, 1814) was an English music historian and father of author Frances Burney.

Charles Burney was born at Shrewsbury, and educated at Shrewsbury School. He was later sent to the public school at Chester, where his first music master was Edmund Baker, organist of the cathedral and a pupil of John Blow. Returning to Shrewsbury at 15, Burney continued his musical studies for three years under his half-brother, James, organist of St. Mary's church, and was then sent to London as a pupil of Thomas Arne for three years.

Burney wrote some music for Thomson's Alfred, which was produced at Drury Lane theatre on March 30, 1745. In 1749 he was appointed organist of St Dionis-Backchurch, Fenchurch Street, with a salary of £30 a year; and he was also engaged to take the harpsichord in the "New Concerts" then recently established at the King's Arms, Cornhill. In that year he married Esther Sleepe.

It was for his health that he went in 1751 to Lynn in Norfolk, where he was elected organist, with an annual salary of £100, and lived for nine years. During that time he began to entertain the idea of writing a general history of music. His Ode for St Cecilia's Day was performed at Ranelagh Gardens in 1759; and in 1760 he returned to London in good health and with a young family; the eldest child, a girl of eight, surprised the public by her attainments as a harpsichord player. The concertos for harpsichord which Burney published soon after his return to London were much admired. Amidst such triumphs, tragedy struck the next year with the death of his wife.

In 1766 he produced, at Drury Lane, a translation and adaptation of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's opera Le Devin du Village, under the title of The Cunning Man.

The University of Oxford honoured Burney, on June 23, 1769, with the degrees of Bachelor and Doctor of Music, and performances of his works: an anthem, with an overture, solos, recitatives and choruses, accompanied by instruments.

In that same year, he married Mrs. Stephen Allen of Lynn, and published An Essay towards a History of Comets. Amidst his various professional avocations, Burney never lost sight of his main project -- a History of Music -- and decided to travel abroad to collect materials.

He left London in June 1770, carrying numerous letters of introduction, and travelled to Paris, Geneva, Turin, Milan, Padua, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples. The results of his observations were published in The Present State of Music in France and Italy (1771). Dr. Johnson thought so well of this that, alluding to his own Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, he said, "I had that clever dog Burney's Musical Tour in my eye." In July 1772 Burney again visited the continent, to do further research, and, after his return to London, published his tour under the title of The Present State of Music in Germany, the Netherlands, and United Provinces in 1773, the year in which was designated a fellow of the Royal Society.

In 1776, the first volume (in quarto) of his long-projected History of Music appeared. A second volume followed in 1782; and a third and fourth in 1789. Though criticized by Forkel in Germany and by the Spanish ex-Jesuit, Requeno, who, in his Saggj sul Ristabilimento dell' Arte Armonica de' Greci e Romani Canton (Parma, 1798), attacks Burney's account of ancient Greek music, and calls him "lo scompigliato Burney," the History of Music was generally well-received. The fourth volume is considered the least successful, in its treatment of Handel and Bach.

Burney's first tour was translated into German by Ebeling (1772); and his second by Bode (1773), both in Hamburg. A Dutch version of the latter, with notes by J. W. Lustig, organist at Groningen, was issued in 1786. The Dissertation on the Music of the Ancients, in the first volume of History, was set to German by Johann Joachim Eschenburg (Leipzig, 1781). Burney derived much aid from the first two volumes of Padre Martini's very learned Storia della Musica (Bologna, 1757-1770).

In 1784, he published, with an Italian title-page, the music annually performed in the pope's chapel at Rome during Passion Week, and the next year issued, for the benefit of the Musical Fund, an account of the first commemoration of George Friedrich Handel in Westminster Abbey in the preceding season, with a fine account of the composer's life. His Memoirs and Letters of Metastasio followed in 1796.

In addition to above-mentioned work, Burney's known compositions consist of:

Six Sonatas for the harpsichord

Two Sonatas for the harp or piano, with accompaniments for violin and violoncello

Sonatas for two violins and a bass: two sets

Six Lessons for the harpsichord

Six Duets for two German flutes

Three Concertos for the harpsichord

Six concert pieces with an introduction and fugue for the organ

Six Concertos for the violin, etc., in eight parts

Two Sonatas for pianoforte, violin and violoncello

A Cantata


Canzonetti a due voci in Canone, poesia deli' Abate Metastasio.

Related Reading:

Piero Weiss and Richard Taruskin
Music in the Western World: A History in Documents
Charles Burney
Dr. Burney's Musical Tours of Europe (Pages 222-227, 304-306)
A General History of Music (228-229, 234-235, 302-304)


Johann Adam Hiller (December 25, 1728, Wendisch-Ossig, Germany - June 16, 1804) was a German composer, conductor and writer on music, regarded as the creator of the Singspiel, an early form of German opera. In many of these operas he collaborated with the poet Christian Felix Weisse. Furthermore, Hiller was a teacher who encouraged musical education for women, his pupils including Elisabeth Mara and Corona Schröter.

Hiller learned the basics of music from a school master in his home town.

From 1740 to 1745 he was a student at the Gymnasium in Görlitz, and in 1746 he went to study at the famous Kreuzschule in Dresden. There he took keyboard and basso continuo lessons with Gottfried August Homilius. In 1751 he moved to Leipzig where he enrolled in the university to study law. Hiller immersed himself in the rich musical life of the town and took an active role in the Grosses Concert, which was the leading concert undertaking in Leipzig. During that time he wrote several symphonies, church cantatas, and arias, as well as a fragmentary Singspiel entitled Das Orackle. Hiller also published an essay on the Mimesis of Nature in Music (Abhandlung über die Nachahmung der Natur in der Musik) in 1754, the year he became steward to Count Brühl in Dresden. He remained in that position until 1760 when health problems (depression) forced him to resign.

Moving back to Leipzig, Hiller became the director of the Grosse Concert, a position he held until 1771. Four years later, Hiller founded his own concert society, the Musikübende Gesellschaft. In Leipzig he also founded a school in which he trained young musicians in singing and playing instruments. Two of his most famous students were Corona Schröter and Gertrud Elisabeth Mara née Schmeling, both acclaimed vocalists. In 1778 Hiller was appointed music director at the Paulinerkirche, the church that belonged to Leipzig University. During that time he also organized Concerts spirituels for lent.

In the 1780's he acquired new positions with increased alacrity. In 1781 he became conductor of the Gewandhaus concerts. During the same year he visited the court of Duke of Courland in Mitau, a journey that resulted in Hiller's appointment as Kapellmeister there four years later. In addition to his posts at the Gewandhaus and the Paulinerkirche, in 1783 he also became the music director of the Neukirche which made him a top authority on music in Leipzig. However when taking up his new job in Mitau in 1785 he resigned all his posts in Leipzig. Due to the instable political situation at the court of Courland he resigned from his position there after only one year. Since he no longer had any occupation in Leipzig he had to organize concerts to earn his living, but fortunately he was able to secure for himself the post of music director of the city of Breslau in 1787. He spent two years in Breslau and returned to Leipzig in 1789 to become cantor at the Thomaskirche, a position once filled by Johann Sebastian Bach. Hiller held it until 1800 when he resigned due to his age. He died in Leipzig.

He is not related to the composer and conductor Ferdinand Hiller.

Hiller's major contribution in this field include the Wöchentliche Nachrichten, a music journal in which he published reviews of performances, new music publications, and essays on various music related topics. From his articles in this journal it becomes clear that Hiller was open to new trends in music, and that he preferred Hasse over J. S. Bach and Gluck.

Hiller's aesthetical writings include the Abhandlung über die Nachahmung der Natur in der Musik (1754) and Über die Musik und deren Wirkungen (1781), which is a translation from Chabanon’s Observations sur la musique.

As a historian Hiller published a series of anecdotes and biographies, the Anecdoten zur Lebensgeschichte grosser Regenten und berühmter Staatsmänner, Lebensbeschreibungen berühmter Musikgelehrten und Tonkünstler neuerer Zeit, and the Lebensbeschreibungen berühmter Musikgelehrten und Tonkünstler neuerer Zeit.

The majority of his writings concern pedagogy. In these publications Hiller presents himself as a highly competent teacher who regarded knowledge of music an essential part of everyone's education.

Related Reading:

Piero Weiss and Richard Taruskin
Music in the Western World: A History in Documents
Johann Adam Hiller
The Rise of the Italian Comic Opera Style (Pages 282-283)

[8731 Afganistan / 8723 A. Smith / 8717 J. Stamitz]