Stanley Cavell's thinking on music may appear an odd theme for a special issue of the Journal of Music Theory. According to Cavell, “although I have written very little explicitly about music... something I have demanded from philosophy has been an understanding precisely of what I had sought in music.” In this introduction, a brief history behind the issue is presented and a comparison is drawn between the tasks of music theory and Cavell's “demands” upon philosophy. By glossing Cavell's notion of the “scene of instruction,” questions of teaching, epistemic justification, intersubjective acknowledgment, and personal responsibility over one's critical language are introduced as central themes. One of Cavell's “scenes” involves David Lewin, and the friendship of these two figures is subsequently discussed. Lastly, these themes are related to the various articles in the issue, which are quickly introduced and loosely organized in groups for the benefit of the reader.
Brian Kane is assistant professor of music at Yale University.