This article compares two different ways twentieth- and twenty-first-century scholars use music or sound as a model of abstraction. The methods common in academic philosophy are conceptually flawed: they use an audiovisual litany to misrepre-sent the difference between methods of abstraction as the difference between sight and hearing. They are also politically flawed: they intensify and renaturalize philosophy’s historical exclusion of scholarship by black intellectuals and rearticulate philosophy’s traditional enclosure of the intellectual commons. In contrast, the phonographic methods common in Africana thought ground their concepts of sound not in opposition to sight or vision but in black aesthetics and expressive traditions. Avoiding both binary litanies and racialized, gendered practices of enclosure, phonographic methods are better models for theorizing about and through sound.