The formulation of a common vocabulary of music . . . would require: a
translation of the musical experience, the inner experience, into conceptual
terms; an explanation of why certain sounds strike us a certain way; a
definition of the axioms of musical perception, from which the appropriate
esthetic principles could be derived, which would serve as a base for the
objective validation of esthetic judgments . . . .
Until a conceptual vocabulary is discovered and defined, no objectively valid
criterion of esthetic judgment is possible in the field of music . . .
No one, therefore, can claim the objective superiority of his choices over
the choices of others. Where no objective proof is available, it’s every man
for himself—and only for himself.
The nature of musical perception has not been discovered because the key to the
secret of music is physiological—it lies in the nature of the process by
which man perceives sounds—and the answer would require the joint effort of a
physiologist, a psychologist and a philosopher (an esthetician).
The start of a scientific approach to this problem and the lead to an answer
were provided by Helmholtz, the great physiologist of the nineteenth century.