Deleuze’s Syntheses of Time and Its Aesthetic Prolongations: Form, Style and Achievement. Can Philosophy Tell Something to Musicians?

Jean-Marc Chouvel

conference: DARE 2017: aberrant nuptials
date: November 22, 2017
venue: Orpheus Institute, Concert Hall
format: keynote
keywords: What is Philosophy?

abstract about the author(s)


It is well known that music for a very long time has been a central subject of  thought for philosophers. Even if Deleuze did not release a book specifically on music, as he did on painting or films, it is significant that one can find allusions to music or to sound in nearly all his philosophical texts. This can be related to the central place of his philosophy of time, and its close relation to the necessity of depicting mental processes leading to ideas and the creation of concepts. This necessity, and the investigation of the relation between time and mental processes, is today shared with considerations developed for both musical analysis and composition. Even if they are less evident and widespread than the influential models of rhizome, multiplicity, or the well-known opposition between ritournelle and galop, Deleuze’s propositions for a comprehensive philosophy of time have much to say to musicologists and composers, and imply a truly innovative way of thinking musical experience.

I will try to give some evidence for this strong relationship, first on the central theme of musical form, which shows that my own proposition for cognitive analysis is contemporary with the lectures in Difference and Repetition, and then by trying to get through the whole aesthetic ambitus of Deleuze’s philosophy, dealing with a truly challenging conception of style and artistic achievement.

about the author(s)

Jean-Marc Chouvel

While he was learning composition with the most important musicians of the twentieth century, Jean-Marc Chouvel developed a theoretical approach that led him to reconsider the main notions of music writing. Taking up the contribution of phenomenology and cognitive sciences, his work on temporal forms has been published in two books: Esquisses pour une pensée musicale and Analyse musicale, sémiologie et cognition des formes temporelles. He also proposed a complete theory of the harmonic phenomena, which allowed him to explore the broad universe of micro-intervals, among other things. Since his studies in Spain with Francisco Guerrero, he has written more than thirty pieces for instruments and electroacoustics. He participated in founding the instrumental ensemble l’Instant donné as well as the reviews Filigrane and Musimediane.

List of publications:

info & contact


Institut de recherche en Musicologie, Paris University of Paris IV-Sorbonne, FR


jeanmarc.chouvel [AT]