The notion of 'the whole' or 'wholeness' ('das Ganze'/'Ganzheit') looms large in many aesthetic concepts of the 18th and 19th centuries. As of yet, musicology has credited wholeness as an integral part of work aesthetics, but did not consider it worthy of in-depth analysis. In the present study, I examine the history of the idea of the aesthetically whole from Rameau to Hanslick. I distinguish six kinds and aspects of aesthetic wholeness that can be found in the historic texts, namely: formal, perceptive, and contentual wholeness, teleological independence, ontological permanence, and epistemic transcendence. I trace their individual developments, analyse their relationships to prominent aesthetic ideas of the 18th and 19th centuries (namely: work aesthetics, the beautiful, the sublime, autonomy aesthetics, absolute music, romanticism), and exhibit the conceptual breadth of the allegedly well-known 'whole'. The study's last part examines aspects of aesthetic wholeness in current and recent philosophies of music. My findings underline the importance of terminological differentiation in historical musicology, and especially in the history of aesthetics. They create new perspectives on 18th and 19th century aesthetics and broaden the reflective horizons of both artists and audiences alike.