Who are some famous philosophers who also composed music?

I can think of one example: Boethius, one of the first music theorists / acousticians and author of Consolation of Philosophy; he composed:

  • 4
    Do you really allow list-questions here?
    – pipe
    Apr 24, 2019 at 9:55
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    @pipe This site can unfortunately be quite lax with soft questions. Apr 24, 2019 at 12:52
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    eh it's a fun question.
    – user38026
    Apr 24, 2019 at 17:51
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    By the word 'composer' do you refer to an inventor of only music, or also to the words (songwriter)? I don't see that we have evidence that Boethius composed music. The music seems to have been added to his poems later. Apr 25, 2019 at 7:26
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    @another_name Yep. A lot of questions are fun. Some will fit the Stack Exchange format. This one does not.
    – pipe
    Apr 25, 2019 at 8:13

2 Answers 2


In addition to Nietzsche:

Rousseau wrote both the music and libretto for an opera - Le Devin du Village.

Rousseau - Le Devin du Village on YouTube

Adorno was a classically trained pianist, studied composition with Berg in Vienna, and wrote piano music and a number of string quartets.

A selection of Adorno string quartets on YouTube

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    Did not know about Adorno!
    – Conifold
    Apr 23, 2019 at 22:58
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    @Conifold He fell under the spell of Schoenberg to compose music very much of the time. I occasionally listen to Schoenberg, Berg, or Webern when I'm doing the dishes. Seriously. It works really well.
    – nwr
    Apr 23, 2019 at 23:03
  • You might also add that Wagner was a composer who was a bit of a (racist) philosopher: philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/62076/… Apr 24, 2019 at 1:50
  • @BenHocking Wagner is an interesting suggestion, but perhaps more as a great composer who suffered a cranky dotage.
    – nwr
    Apr 24, 2019 at 2:59
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    @Conifold: He tried to apply rational aesthetics via twelve-tone music. He even tried to be a critic of contemporary music. To be fair, I deem his music and aesthetic writings to be quite...erratic and special.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Apr 24, 2019 at 12:19

Gabriel Marcel according to Brendan Sweetman composed music:

He also developed a keen interest in classical music and composed a number of pieces.

However, I could not find a list of these compositions.

Thanks to @sand1 from comments: "La Biblitheque Nationale Francaise list has a section for him as Compositeur(54) data.bnf.fr/fr/11914394/gabriel_marcel"

Sweetman, B. "Gabriel Marcel". Retrieved April 23, 2019 from Britannica https://www.britannica.com/biography/Gabriel-Honore-Marcel


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