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Research interests


Current research

The purpose of my doctoral research is to give an account of the ontology and the aesthetics of tonal harmony. Correspondingly, my thesis contains two main parts, the first of which is concerned with the ontology of chords. After rejecting the view that sounds are properties, I propose a reconciliation between the fundamentals of wave-based and event theories of sound. This includes an analysis of its identity, individuation and persistence conditions. It is in view of this proposal that I defend my account of the ontology of chords.

The second part of my thesis concerns the aesthetics of chords. After considering the problem of consonance, I propose a way to reconcile the psychoacoustic component with the distinctively musical aspect of chord perception. To that end, I offer an analysis of the metaphysics of tonal harmony that accounts for the dual phenomenology of consonance and dissonance.  The second part of my thesis also includes an assessment of the implications of different forms of tuning and temperament for the aesthetics of chords.



Thesis title: The Metaphysics of Tonal Harmony

My doctoral research is aimed at providing a philosophical account of chords. Although the philosophy of music has recently seen a surge in publications, much of what has been written on musical ontology and aesthetics focuses on works of music and performances thereof. Conversely, little has been said of the metaphysics of harmony – i.e. of the ‘vertical structure’ of music. My motivation in pursuing this topic at doctoral level is to bridge that gap in the literature. The aim of my thesis is thus to account for the ontology and the aesthetics of tonal harmony by: (1) providing an analysis of the nature of chords qua sounds; (2) proposing an account of the phenomenology of chord perception; (3) offering a metaphysical view on the relationship between the psychoacoustics and aesthetics of chords; and by (4) discussing the implications of different forms of tuning and temperament for an assessment of the metaphysics of tonal harmony.



  • Dr David Liggins
  • Prof James Garratt
  • Dr Emily Caddick Bourne


Research interests

Philosophy of Music; Metaphysics; Aesthetics



  • PHIL10622 Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology


  • PHIL10041 Critical Thinking
  • PHIL10622 Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology

Further information

My research is generously funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council via the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership.

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Arts, MA Philosophy, Heythrop College (University of London)

Sept 2014Jun 2017

Award Date: 12 Dec 2017

Postgraduate Certificate in Education, University of Cumbria (Lancaster Campus)

Sept 2009Jul 2010

Award Date: 8 Jul 2010

Bachelor of Social Science, Social Sciences, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)

Feb 2003Aug 2006

Award Date: 26 Oct 2007

Bachelor of Arts, BA History, Universidade Federal Fluminense

Feb 2003Aug 2006

Award Date: 10 Oct 2006

External positions

Teacher, St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College

Aug 2012Aug 2018

Teacher, Barlow RC High School

Apr 2012Aug 2012

Teacher, Loreto High School

Sept 2011Apr 2012

Teacher, St Mary's College

Dec 2010Jul 2011


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