The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Sven Bjerstedt

Sven Bjerstedt

Associate professor

Sven Bjerstedt

The musical present: A polyphonic philosophical investigation


  • Sven Bjerstedt
  • Hanne Fossum
  • Susanna Leijonhufvud
  • Lia Lonnert

Summary, in English

How can music education be enriched by the concept of time? This article is based on the assumption that the present moment, the musical ‘now’, is of the utmost importance not only to the musical performer or listener but to the musical learner and teacher as well. It aims at a philosophical discussion and conceptual clarification of a number of issues of time that are considered to be crucial to music education through a presentation and discussion of thoughts and concepts put forward by four selected philosophers: Augustine, Edmund Husserl, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Paul Ricoeur. It is suggested that reflecting upon time may significantly challenge and develop students’ ways of thinking about music connected to different actions within several fields of music education. For instance, Augustine’s analysis of time offers important perspectives on practising, remembering, and performing music. Husserl’s philosophy of time constitutes the stream of consciousness, which leads to an understanding of the comprehension of tonality. Discussions of Bakhtin’s concepts of utterance and chronotope demonstrate that the need for experiencing and understanding music arguably poses a challenge for current music education in schools with regard to its predominant ways of dealing with time. With reference to Ricoeur’s analysis of time and narrative, it is suggested that musicians’ need for multi-directedness in the musical present calls for a rich learning ecology framework. In conclusion, it is argued that reflection on musical practice in general would benefit from taking the shape of polyphonic philosophical investigations.


  • Teachers (Malmö Theatre Academy)
  • Malmö Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts
  • Teachers (Malmö Academy of Music)

Publishing year







Nordisk Musikkpedagogisk Forskning: Årbok



Document type

Journal article


  • Music
  • Educational Sciences


  • Music education
  • philosophy of time
  • the musical present
  • time in music




  • ISSN: 1504-5021