Malcolm Budd is a lecturer in Philosophy at University College, London. He knows a good deal about music, but whether as a listener, performer or composer we have no means, other than the direct confrontation which reviewing etiquette forbids, of discovering. As a kind of composer and something of a performer, I tend to distrust books about music which keep their distance from the mechanics of producing it. Stravinsky praised Bach because you could taste the oboe reeds in his work, and smell the resin of the fiddles. In this book the senses are damped, musical particularities are eschewed, and abstraction reigns. This is in order, because the book is philosophical.