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  1. Interstitial Soundings: Philosophical Reflections on Improvisation, Practice, and Self-Making.Cynthia R. Nielsen - 2015
    In Interstitial Soundings, Cynthia R. Nielsen brings music and philosophy into a fruitful and mutually illuminating dialogue. Topics discussed include the following: music's dynamic ontology, performers and improvisers as co-composers, the communal character of music, jazz as hybrid and socially constructed, the sociopolitical import of bebop, Afro-modernism and its strategic deployments, jazz and racialized practices, continuities between Michel Foucault's discussion of self-making and creating one's musical voice, Alasdair MacIntyre on practice, and how one might harmonize MacIntyre's notion of virtue development (...)
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  2. Nietzsche’s Musical Conception of Time.Jonathan R. Cohen - 2008 - In Manuel Dries (ed.), Nietzsche on Time and History. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 291.
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  3. An Experiential Approach To Musical Semantics.Mark Reybrouck - 2008 - Semiotics:806-818.
    This paper is about knowledge construction in music listening. It argues for an experiential approach to music cognition, stressing the dynamic-vectorial field of meaning rather than the symbolic field. Starting from the conceptual framework of deixis and indexical devices, it elaborates on the concept of pointing as a heuristic guide for sense-making which allows the listener to conceive of perceptual elements in terms of salience, valence and semantical weight. As such, the act of (mental) pointing can be predicative, either in (...)
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  4. Messages in Art and Music: On Route to Understanding Musical Works with Jerrold Levinson.Małgorzata A. Szyszkowska - 2010 - Dialogue and Universalism 20 (3-4):97.
    In his article untitled Messages in Art Jerrold Levinson discusses the idea of a message behind a work of art. He argues that despite certain disclaimers put forward by artists it is „hard to deny that artworks (...) very often do have messages, and far from inexpressible ones”. From given examples it would seem that Levinson assumes that musical work just as other artworks sometimes generate messages and that in order for a work of music to be successful in expression (...)
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  5. Gestalt Theory: An Essay in Philosophy.Barry Smith - 1988 - In Foundations of Gestalt Theory. Vienna: Philosophia Verlag. pp. 11-81.
    The Austrian philosopher Christian von Ehrenfels published his essay "On 'Gestalt Qualities'" in 1890. The essay initiated a current of thought which enjoyed a powerful position in the philosophy and psychology of the first half of this century and has more recently enjoyed a minor resurgence of interest in the area of cognitive science, above all in criticisms of the so-called 'strong programme' in artificial intelligence. The theory of Gestalt is of course associated most specifically with psychologists of the Berlin (...)
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  6. Mag Uidhir on Performance.P. D. Magnus - 2008 - British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (3):338-345.
    Christy Mag Uidhir has recently argued (a) that there is no in principle aesthetic difference between a live performance and a recording of that performance, and (b) that the proper aesthetic object is a type which is instantiated by the performance and potentially repeatable when recordings are played back. This paper considers several objections to (a) and finds them lacking. I then consider improvised music, a subject that Mag Uidhir explicitly brackets in his discussion. Improvisation reveals problems with (b), because (...)
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  7. David Davies, Art as Performance.Reviews by Robert Stecker & John Dilworth - 2005 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (1):75–80.
    In his absorbing book Art as Performance, David Davies argues that artworks should be identified, not with artistic products such as paintings or novels, but instead with the artistic actions or processes that produced such items. Such a view had an earlier incarnation in Currie’s widely criticized “action type hypothesis”, but Davies argues that it is instead action tokens rather than types with which artworks should be identified. This rich and complex work repays the closest study in spite of some (...)
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Musical Ontology, Misc
  1. Radiohead and Some Questions About Music.Edward Slowik - 2009 - In George Reisch & B. W. Forbes (eds.), Radiohead and Philosophy. Chicago, IL: Open Court: pp. 41-52.
    This essay examines the music of Radiohead as a means of introducing various elementary concepts and theories in the philosophy of music.
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  2. Why Can’T I Change Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony?David Friedell - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):805-824.
    Musical works change. Bruckner revised his Eighth Symphony. Ella Fitzgerald and many other artists have made it acceptable to sing the jazz standard “All the Things You Are” without its original verse. If we accept that musical works genuinely change in these ways, a puzzle arises: why can’t I change Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony? More generally, why are some individuals in a privileged position when it comes to changing musical works and other artifacts, such as novels, films, and games? I give (...)
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  3. A Derridean Approach To Musical Identity.Laurel Ralston - 2008 - Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 5 (2):32-40.
    The issue of musical identity—of what defines works of music, gives each its unique character and distinguishes them from one another—is one of the central issues in the philosophy of music. Too often in the philosophical literature it is approached as a purely theoretical question, one that can be answered adequately through careful intellectual consideration of scores and performances. The typical philosophical approach to the performance of Western art music, particularly that composed between the Baroque and Romantic eras, is to (...)
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  4. Musical Thought And Compositionality.Christopher Bartel - 2006 - Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 3 (1).
    Many philosophers and music theorists have claimed that music is a language, though whether this is meant metaphorically or literally is often unclear. If the claim is meant literally, then it faces serious difficulty—many find it compelling to think that music cannot be a language because it lacks any semantic value. On the other hand, if it is meant metaphorically, then it is not clear what is gained by the metaphor—it is not clear what the metaphor is meant to illuminate. (...)
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  5. Convention And Difference.Rufus Duits - 2005 - Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 2 (3):116-121.
    The claim that music is language may be oft repeated, but it remains wholly unenlightening unless a sufficient explanation of one of these terms has already been given. On the face of it, music is entirely dissimilar to natural language, at least when conceived functionally, the one being categorised primarily as an aesthetic object, the other first and foremost as a means of communication.
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  6. Musical “Covers” and the Culture Industry.Babette Babich - 2018 - Research in Phenomenology 48 (3):385-407.
    This essay foregrounds “covers” of popular recorded songs as well as male and female desire, in addition to Nietzsche’s interest in composition, together with his rhythmic analysis of Ancient Greek as the basis of what he called the “spirit of music” with respect to tragedy. The language of “sonic branding” allows a discussion of what Günther Anders described as the self-creation of mass consumer but also the ghostly time-space of music in the broadcast world. A brief allusion to Rilke complements (...)
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  7. Epistemisk og epimonisk sansning.Carl Erik Kühl - 2007 - Filosofiske Studier:1-30.
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  8. Music and Vague Existence.David Friedell - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (4):437-449.
    I explain a tension between musical creationism and the view that there is no vague existence. I then suggest ways to reconcile these views. My central conclusion is that, although some versions of musical creationism imply vague existence, others do not. I discuss versions of musical creationism held by Jerrold Levinson, Simon Evnine, and Kit Fine. I also present two new versions. I close by considering whether the tension is merely an instance of a general problem raised by artifacts, both (...)
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  9. On Hermeneutical Ethics and Education: "Bach als Erzieher”.Miguel Angel Quintana Paz - 2002 - In Jiří Fukač, Vladimír Strakoš & Alena Mizerová (eds.), Bach: Music between Virgin Forest and Knowledge Society. Santiago de Compostela: Compostela Group of Universities. pp. 49-109.
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  10. Rock as a Three-Value Tradition.Christopher Bartel - 2017 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (2):143-154.
    Gracyk, Kania, and Davies all agree that the rock tradition is distinctive for the central place that it gives to the appreciation of recorded tracks. But we should not be led by those arguments to conclude that the central position of the recorded track makes such appreciation the exclusive interest in rock. I argue that both songwriting and live performance are also central to the rock tradition by showing that the practice of recording tracks admits of a diversity of goals (...)
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  11. Ontologia da Arte.António Lopes - 2013 - Compêndio Em Linha de Problemas de Filosofia Analítica.
    Este artigo aborda as principais teorias sobre a natureza metafísica das obras de arte, cobrindo as propostas eliminativistas, monistas e pluralistas. Entre estas últimas, é dado destaque ao trabalho sobre a ontologia das artes performativas, e em particular, da música. Termina-se com uma referência à recente viragem da discussão para o campo da meta-ontologia e a polémica sobre a plausibilidade do revisionismo ontológico no caso de artefactos ou objectos sociais.
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  12. Gadamer on the Event of Art, the Other, and a Gesture Toward a Gadamerian Approach to Free Jazz".Cynthia R. Nielsen - 2016 - Journal of Applied Hermeneutics (1).
    Several prominent contemporary philosophers, including Jürgen Habermas, John Caputo, and Robert Bernasconi, have at times painted a somewhat negative picture of Gadamer as not only an uncritical traditionalist, but also as one whose philosophical project fails to appreciate difference. Against such claims, I argue that Gadamer’s reflections on art exhibit a genuine appreciation for alterity not unrelated to his hermeneutical approach to the other. Thus, by bringing Gadamer’s reflections on our experience of art into conversation with key aspects of his (...)
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  13. Music as Atmosphere. Lines of Becoming in Congregational Worship.Friedlind Riedel - 2015 - Lebenswelt. Aesthetics and Philosophy of Experience 6:80-111.
    In this paper I offer critical attention to the notion of atmosphere in relation to music. By exploring the concept through the case study of the Closed Brethren worship services, I argue that atmosphere may provide analytical tools to explore the ineffable in ecclesial practices. Music, just as atmosphere, commonly occupies a realm of ineffability and undermines notions such as inside and outside, subject and object. For this reason I present music as a means of knowing the atmosphere. The first (...)
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  14. The Varieties of Musical Experience.Brandon Polite - 2014 - Pragmatism Today 5 (2):93-100.
    Many philosophers of music, especially within the analytic tradition, are essentialists with respect to musical experience. That is, they view their goal as that of isolating the essential set of features constitutive of the experience of music, qua music. Toward this end, they eliminate every element that would appear to be unnecessary for one to experience music as such. In doing so, they limit their analysis to the experience of a silent, motionless individual who listens with rapt attention to the (...)
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  15. The Metaphysics of Mash‐Ups.Christopher Bartel - 2015 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73 (3):297-308.
    Accounts of the ontology of musical works seek to uncover what metaphysically speaking a musical work is and how we should identify instances of musical works. In this article, I examine the curious case of the mash-up and seek to address two questions: are mash-ups musical works in their own right and what is the relationship between the mash-up and its source materials? As mash-ups are part of the broader tradition of rock, I situate this discussion within an ontology of (...)
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  16. The Poverty of Musical Ontology.James O. Young - 2014 - Journal of Music and Meaning 13:1-19.
    Aaron Ridley posed the question of whether results in the ontology of musical works would have implications for judgements about the interpretation, meaning or aesthetic value of musical works and performances. His arguments for the conclusion that the ontology of musical works have no aesthetic consequences are unsuccessful, but he is right in thinking (in opposition to Andrew Kania and others) that ontological judgements have no aesthetic consequences. The key to demonstrating this conclusion is the recognition that ontological judgments are (...)
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  17. Judging Covers.P. D. Magnus, Cristyn Magnus & Christy Mag Uidhir - 2013 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 71 (4):361-370.
    Cover versions form a loose but identifiable category of tracks and performances. We distinguish four kinds of covers and argue that they mark important differences in the modes of evaluation that are possible or appropriate for each: mimic covers, which aim merely to echo the canonical track; rendition covers, which change the sound of the canonical track; transformative covers, which diverge so much as to instantiate a distinct, albeit derivative song; and referential covers, which not only instantiate a distinct song, (...)
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  18. Art, Metaphysics, & the Paradox of Standards.Christy Mag Uidhir - 2013 - In Art & Abstract Objects. Oxford University Press.
    I consider the field of aesthetics to be at its most productive and engaging when adopting a broadly philosophically informative approach to its core issues (e.g., shaping and testing putative art theoretic commitments against the relevant standard models employed in philosophy of language, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind) and to be at its most impotent and bewildering when cultivating a philosophically insular character (e.g., selecting interpretative, ontological, or conceptual models solely for fit with pre-fixed art theoretic commitments). For example, when (...)
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  19. Musical Materialism and the Inheritance Problem.C. Tillman & J. Spencer - 2012 - Analysis 72 (2):252-259.
    Some hold that musical works are fusions of, or coincide with, their performances. But if performances contain wrong notes, won't works inherit that property? We say ‘no’.
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  20. “What Has Coltrane to Do With Mozart: The Dynamism and Built-in Flexibility of Music”.Cynthia R. Nielsen - 2009 - Expositions 3:57-71.
    Although contemporary Western culture and criticism has usually valued composition over improvisation and placed the authority of a musical work with the written text rather than the performer, this essay posits these divisions as too facile to articulate the complex dynamics of making music in any genre or form. Rather it insists that music should be understood as pieces that are created with specific intentions by composers but which possess possibilities of interpretation that can only be brought out through performance.
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Musical Performance
  1. Musical “Covers” and the Culture Industry.Babette Babich - 2018 - Research in Phenomenology 48 (3):385-407.
    This essay foregrounds “covers” of popular recorded songs as well as male and female desire, in addition to Nietzsche’s interest in composition, together with his rhythmic analysis of Ancient Greek as the basis of what he called the “spirit of music” with respect to tragedy. The language of “sonic branding” allows a discussion of what Günther Anders described as the self-creation of mass consumer but also the ghostly time-space of music in the broadcast world. A brief allusion to Rilke complements (...)
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  2. Rock as a Three-Value Tradition.Christopher Bartel - 2017 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (2):143-154.
    Gracyk, Kania, and Davies all agree that the rock tradition is distinctive for the central place that it gives to the appreciation of recorded tracks. But we should not be led by those arguments to conclude that the central position of the recorded track makes such appreciation the exclusive interest in rock. I argue that both songwriting and live performance are also central to the rock tradition by showing that the practice of recording tracks admits of a diversity of goals (...)
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  3. Impurely Musical Make-Believe.Eran Guter & Inbal Guter - 2015 - In Alexander Bareis & Lene Nordrum (eds.), How to Make-Believe: The Fictional Truths of the Representational Arts. De Gruyter. pp. 283-306.
    In this study we offer a new way of applying Kendall Walton’s theory of make-believe to musical experiences in terms of psychologically inhibited games of make-believe, which Walton attributes chiefly to ornamental representations. Reading Walton’s theory somewhat against the grain, and supplementing our discussion with a set of instructive examples, we argue that there is clear theoretical gain in explaining certain important aspects of composition and performance in terms of psychologically inhibited games of make-believe consisting of two interlaced game-worlds. Such (...)
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  4. Rettende Interpretation.Andreas Dorschel - 2003 - In Otto Kolleritsch (ed.), Musikalische Produktion und Interpretation. Zur historischen Unaufhebbarkeit einer ästhetischen Konstellation. Universal Edition. pp. 199-211.
    Aestheticians in the tradition of Critical Theory have claimed that the or a purpose of musical interpretation is somehow to save or salvage or rescue ("retten") the musical work. What sense, if any, can be made of this claim? The notion of salvage or rescue presupposes the concept of danger. Threats to works of art emerge from two sources: from outside and from inside. Whilst the former problem is only touched upon, the latter is discussed in some detail, using the (...)
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  5. Critical Performances.Jonathan A. Neufeld - 2012 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy (3):89-104.
    Philosophers of music commonly distinguish performative from critical interpretations. I would like to suggest that the distinction between critical and performative interpretations is well captured by an analogy to legal critics and judges. This parallel draws attention to several features of performative interpretation that are typically overlooked, and deemphasizes epistemic problems with performative interpretations that I believe are typically blown out of proportion and ultimately fail to capture interesting features of performative interpretation. There is an important distinction to be made (...)
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  6. Musical Twofoldness.Bence Nanay - 2012 - The Monist 95 (4):607-624.
    The concept of twofoldness plays an important role in understanding the aesthetic appreciation of pictures. My claim is that it also plays an important role in understanding the aesthetic appreciation of musical performances. I argue that when we are aesthetically appreciating the performance of a musical work, we are simultaneously attending to both the features of the performed musical work and the features of the token performance we are listening to. This twofold experience explains a number of salient aspects of (...)
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  7. “What Has Coltrane to Do With Mozart: The Dynamism and Built-in Flexibility of Music”.Cynthia R. Nielsen - 2009 - Expositions 3:57-71.
    Although contemporary Western culture and criticism has usually valued composition over improvisation and placed the authority of a musical work with the written text rather than the performer, this essay posits these divisions as too facile to articulate the complex dynamics of making music in any genre or form. Rather it insists that music should be understood as pieces that are created with specific intentions by composers but which possess possibilities of interpretation that can only be brought out through performance.
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  8. Recordings as Performances.Christy Mag Uidhir - 2007 - British Journal of Aesthetics 47 (3):298-314.
    This article claims that there is no in principle aesthetic difference between a live performance and a recording of that performance, and as such, performance individuation ought to be revised to reflect this. We ought to regard performances as types able to be instantiated both by live performances and by recordings of those performances, or we ought to abandon performances qua aesthetic objects.
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Musical Works
  1. The Problem of Creation and Abstract Artifacts.Nurbay Irmak - forthcoming - Synthese:1-14.
    Abstract artifacts such as musical works and fictional entities are human creations; they are intentional products of our actions and activities. One line of argument against abstract artifacts is that abstract objects are not the kind of objects that can be created. This is so, it is argued, because abstract objects are causally inert. Since creation requires being caused to exist, abstract objects cannot be created. One common way to refute this argument is to reject the causal inefficacy of abstracta. (...)
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  2. Why Can’T I Change Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony?David Friedell - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):805-824.
    Musical works change. Bruckner revised his Eighth Symphony. Ella Fitzgerald and many other artists have made it acceptable to sing the jazz standard “All the Things You Are” without its original verse. If we accept that musical works genuinely change in these ways, a puzzle arises: why can’t I change Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony? More generally, why are some individuals in a privileged position when it comes to changing musical works and other artifacts, such as novels, films, and games? I give (...)
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  3. Musical “Covers” and the Culture Industry.Babette Babich - 2018 - Research in Phenomenology 48 (3):385-407.
    This essay foregrounds “covers” of popular recorded songs as well as male and female desire, in addition to Nietzsche’s interest in composition, together with his rhythmic analysis of Ancient Greek as the basis of what he called the “spirit of music” with respect to tragedy. The language of “sonic branding” allows a discussion of what Günther Anders described as the self-creation of mass consumer but also the ghostly time-space of music in the broadcast world. A brief allusion to Rilke complements (...)
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  4. Music and Vague Existence.David Friedell - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (4):437-449.
    I explain a tension between musical creationism and the view that there is no vague existence. I then suggest ways to reconcile these views. My central conclusion is that, although some versions of musical creationism imply vague existence, others do not. I discuss versions of musical creationism held by Jerrold Levinson, Simon Evnine, and Kit Fine. I also present two new versions. I close by considering whether the tension is merely an instance of a general problem raised by artifacts, both (...)
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  5. Rock as a Three-Value Tradition.Christopher Bartel - 2017 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (2):143-154.
    Gracyk, Kania, and Davies all agree that the rock tradition is distinctive for the central place that it gives to the appreciation of recorded tracks. But we should not be led by those arguments to conclude that the central position of the recorded track makes such appreciation the exclusive interest in rock. I argue that both songwriting and live performance are also central to the rock tradition by showing that the practice of recording tracks admits of a diversity of goals (...)
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  6. The Metaphysics of Mash‐Ups.Christopher Bartel - 2015 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73 (3):297-308.
    Accounts of the ontology of musical works seek to uncover what metaphysically speaking a musical work is and how we should identify instances of musical works. In this article, I examine the curious case of the mash-up and seek to address two questions: are mash-ups musical works in their own right and what is the relationship between the mash-up and its source materials? As mash-ups are part of the broader tradition of rock, I situate this discussion within an ontology of (...)
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  7. Das anwesend Abwesende: Musik und Erinnerung.Andreas Dorschel - 2007 - In Resonanzen. Vom Erinnern in der Musik. Universal Edition. pp. 12-29.
    Remembrance is constitutive of music. For music emerges not as an isolated physical stimulus. Rather, it is experienced, i.e., a present musical moment is tied to its temporal antecedents. It is tempting to conceive of remembrance as repetition and as thus opposed to oblivion. Yet to memory selectivity is crucial. What is not selected, falls into oblivion. Hence as we remember we have forgotten already. The present moment evokes remembrance, and exhibits what was then in the light of what is (...)
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  8. Was heißt konservativ in der Kunst? Das Horn im 19. Jahrhundert und das Es-Dur-Trio op. 40 von Johannes Brahms: eine ästhetische Fallstudie.Andreas Dorschel - 2005 - Brahms-Studien 14:55-66.
    What does it mean to be conservative? What could it mean in the arts? Whoever merely conserves works of art may be a collector but is not an artist. Brahms’s trio op. 40 conserves the hand horn idiom. Yet its aesthetics will not be captured by the opposition of ‘conservative’ versus ‘progressive’. What is superior in terms of technology, Brahms maintained, need not be superior in terms of art.
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  9. Rettende Interpretation.Andreas Dorschel - 2003 - In Otto Kolleritsch (ed.), Musikalische Produktion und Interpretation. Zur historischen Unaufhebbarkeit einer ästhetischen Konstellation. Universal Edition. pp. 199-211.
    Aestheticians in the tradition of Critical Theory have claimed that the or a purpose of musical interpretation is somehow to save or salvage or rescue ("retten") the musical work. What sense, if any, can be made of this claim? The notion of salvage or rescue presupposes the concept of danger. Threats to works of art emerge from two sources: from outside and from inside. Whilst the former problem is only touched upon, the latter is discussed in some detail, using the (...)
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  10. Das ‘Urteil der Geschichte’. Über ‘historische Gerechtigkeit’ in der Wertung musikalischer Werke.Andreas Dorschel - 2003 - Österreichische Musikzeitschrift 58 (2):6-17.
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  11. Historical Individuals Like Anas Platyrhynchos and 'Classical Gas'.P. D. Magnus - 2013 - In Christy Mag Uidhir (ed.), Art and Abstract Objects. Oxford University Press. pp. 108.
    In this paper, I explore and defend the idea that musical works are historical individuals. Guy Rohrbaugh (2003) proposes this for works of art in general. Julian Dodd (2007) objects that the whole idea is outré metaphysics, that it is too far beyond the pale to be taken seriously. Their disagreement could be seen as a skirmish in the broader war between revisionists and reactionaries, a conflict about which of metaphysics and art should trump the other when there is a (...)
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  12. Judging Covers.P. D. Magnus, Cristyn Magnus & Christy Mag Uidhir - 2013 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 71 (4):361-370.
    Cover versions form a loose but identifiable category of tracks and performances. We distinguish four kinds of covers and argue that they mark important differences in the modes of evaluation that are possible or appropriate for each: mimic covers, which aim merely to echo the canonical track; rendition covers, which change the sound of the canonical track; transformative covers, which diverge so much as to instantiate a distinct, albeit derivative song; and referential covers, which not only instantiate a distinct song, (...)
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  13. Platonizm skrajny Juliana Dodda.Robert Koszkało - 2012 - Filo-Sofija 12 (18).
    JULIAN DODD’S MUSICAL PLATONISM The purpose of the paper is to analyse Julian Dodd’s musical Platonism in the ontology of works of music. Dodd defends two views; first, that musical works are norm-types the tokens of which are dateable, locatable patterns of sounds. Second, that musical works are entities individuated purely in terms of how they sound. The main results of the analysis is the rejection of the following Dodd’s theses: 1. that types exist eternally; 2. that they are unstructured; (...)
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  14. Repeatable Artworks as Created Types.Lee Walters - 2013 - British Journal of Aesthetics 53 (4):461-477.
    I sketch here an intuitive picture of repeatable artworks as created types, which are individuated in part by historical paths (re)production. Although attractive, this view has been rejected by a number of authors on the basis of general claims about abstract objects. On consideration, however, these general claims are overgeneralizations, which whilst true of some abstracta, are not true of all abstract objects, and in particular, are not true of created types. The intuitive picture of repeatable artworks as created types (...)
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  15. Musical Materialism and the Inheritance Problem.C. Tillman & J. Spencer - 2012 - Analysis 72 (2):252-259.
    Some hold that musical works are fusions of, or coincide with, their performances. But if performances contain wrong notes, won't works inherit that property? We say ‘no’.
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