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  1. Julian Dodd (2000). Musical Works as Eternal Types. British Journal of Aesthetics 40 (4):424-440.
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  2. John Dyck (2014). Perfect Compliance in Musical History and Musical Ontology. British Journal of Aesthetics 54 (1):31-47.
    There’s a common assumption that Western classical music performance essentially involves an ideal of perfect compliance: to perform a musical work, the performer must intend to play all of the notes in the score of that work, without deviating. Many accounts of musical ontology focus on Western classical music; consequently, they take this assumption to be fundamental to their accounts. However, recent musicological research reveals that this ideal is a relatively recent phenomenon, and doesn’t fit much paradigmatic classical music. I (...)
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  3. Robert Howell (2002). Types, Indicated and Initiated. British Journal of Aesthetics 42 (2):105-127.
    I defend the conception of musical works as indicated temporally initiated types against Julian Dodd's recent argument that all types are eternal and uncreated. In doing so, I develop a new account of both cultural and natural types. While types are in a certain sense determined by the properties that underlie them, not all properties determine types; and properties such as being indicated by Beethoven exist only once the temporally initiated entities that those properties essentially involve exist. A cultural type (...)
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Musical Ontology, Misc
  1. Bertinetto Alessandro (2012). Paganini Does Not Repeat. Musical Improvisation and the Type/Token Ontology. Teorema (3):105-126.
    This paper explores the ontology of musical improvisation (MI). MI, as process in which creative and performing activities are one and the same generative occurrence, is contrasted with the most widespread conceptual resource used in inquiries about music ontology of the Western tradition: the type/token duality (TtD). TtD, which is used for explaining the relationship between musical works (MWs) and performances, does not fit for MI. Nonetheless MI can be ontologically related to MWs. A MW can ensue from MI and (...)
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  2. Christopher Bartel (2011). Music Without Metaphysics? British Journal of Aesthetics 51 (4):383-398.
    In a recent pair of articles, Aaron Ridley and Andrew Kania have debated the merits of the study of musical ontology. Ridley contends that the study of musical ontology is orthogonal to more pressing concerns over the value of music. Kania rejects this, arguing that a theory of the value of music must begin with an understanding of the ontology of music. In this essay, I will argue that, despite Kania's rejections, Ridley's criticism exposes a false methodological assumption that needs (...)
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  3. Richard Beaudoin & Andrew Kania (2012). A Musical Photograph? Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 70 (1):115-127.
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  4. L. B. Brown (2012). Further Doubts About Higher-Order Ontology: Reply to Andrew Kania. British Journal of Aesthetics 52 (1):103-106.
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  5. Ben Caplan & Carl Matheson (2008). Modality, Individuation, and the Ontology of Art. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (4):491-517.
    In 1988, Michael Nyman composed the score for Peter Greenaway’s film Drowning by Numbers (or did something that we would ordinarily think of as composing that score). We can think of Nyman’s compositional activity as a “generative performance” and of the sound structure that Nyman indicated (or of some other abstract object that is appropriately related to that sound structure) as the product generated by that performance (ix).1 According to one view, Nyman’s score for Drowning by the Numbers—the musical work—is (...)
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  6. Stephen Davies (2007). Musical Ontology. Sounds, Instruments and Works of Music / Julian Dodd ; Doing Justice to Musical Works / Michael Morris ; Versions of Musical Works and Literary Translations. In Kathleen Stock (ed.), Philosophers on Music: Experience, Meaning, and Work. Oxford University Press.
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  7. Julian Dodd (2010). Confessions of an Unrepentant Timbral Sonicist. British Journal of Aesthetics 50 (1):33-52.
    Simplifying somewhat, sonicists believe that works of music are individuated purely in terms of how they sound. For them, exact sound-alikes are identical. Stephen Davies, in his ‘Musical Works and Orchestral Colour’ ( BJA 48 (2008), pp. 363–375) took me to task for defending a version of sonicism. In this paper I seek to explain why Davies's objections miss their mark. In the course of the discussion, I make some methodological remarks about the ontology of music.
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  8. Nikk Effingham, If All the Songs Were Sets.
    This paper argues that, if we believe both in works of music and sets, that the former are the latter. My argument is that such an ontology offers more explanatory power than the alternatives when it comes to explaining why works of music fall under the predicates that they do.
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  9. S. French & P. Vickers (2011). Are There No Things That Are Scientific Theories? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (4):771-804.
    The ontological status of theories themselves has recently re-emerged as a live topic in the philosophy of science. We consider whether a recent approach within the philosophy of art can shed some light on this issue. For many years philosophers of aesthetics have debated a paradox in the (meta)ontology of musical works (e.g. Levinson [1980]). Taken individually, there are good reasons to accept each of the following three propositions: (i) musical works are created; (ii) musical works are abstract objects; (iii) (...)
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  10. Andy Hamilton (2007). Music and the Aural Arts. British Journal of Aesthetics 47 (1):46-63.
    The visual arts include painting, sculpture, photography, video, and film. But many people would argue that music is the universal or only art of sound. In the modernist era, Western art music has incorporated unpitched sounds or ‘noise’, and I pursue the question of whether this process allows space for a non-musical soundart. Are there non-musical arts of sound—is there an art phonography, for instance, to parallel art photography? At the same time, I attempt a characterization of music, contrasting acoustic, (...)
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  11. Andrew Kania (2009). Musical Recordings. Philosophy Compass 4 (1):22-38.
    In this article, I first consider the metaphysics of musical recordings: their variety, repeatability, and transparency. I then turn to evaluative or aesthetic issues, such as the relative virtues of recordings and live performances, in light of the metaphysical discussion.
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  12. Andrew Kania, The Philosophy of Music. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This is an overview of analytic philosophy of music. It is in five sections, as follows: 1. What Is Music? 2. Musical Ontology 3. Music and the Emotions 4. Understanding Music 5. Music and Value.
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  13. Jerrold Levinson (2011). Music, Art, and Metaphysics. OUP Oxford.
    This is a long-awaited reissue of Jerrold Levinson's 1990 book Music, Art, and Metaphysics, which gathers together the writings that made him a leading figure in contemporary aesthetics. Most of the essays are distinguished by a concern with metaphysical questions about artworks and their properties, but other essays address the problem of art's definition, the psychology of aesthetic response, and the logic of interpreting and evaluating works of art. The focus of about half of the essays is the art of (...)
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  14. Christy Mag Uidhir (ed.) (2013). Art & Abstract Objects. Oxford University Press.
    TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction: Art, Metaphysics, & The Paradox of Standards (Christy Mag Uidhir) GENERAL ONTOLOGICAL ISSUES 1. Must Ontological Pragmatism be Self-Defeating? (Guy Rohrbaugh) 2. Indication, Abstraction, & Individuation (Jerrold Levinson) 3. Destroying Artworks (Marcus Rossberg) INFORMATIVE COMPARISONS 4. Artworks & Indefinite Extensibility (Roy T. Cook) 5. Historical Individuals Like Anas platyrhynchos & ‘Classical Gas’ (P.D. Magnus) 6. Repeatable Artworks & Genericity (Shieva Kleinschmidt & Jacob Ross) ARGUMENTS AGAINST & ALTERNATIVES TO 7. Against Repeatable Artworks (Allan Hazlett) 8. How (...)
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  15. Christy Mag Uidhir (2013). Art & Art-Attempts. Oxford University Press.
    Although few philosophers agree about what it is for something to be art, most, if not all, agree that art must be in some sense intention dependent. -/- Christy Mag Uidhir argues that artworks are the products of the attempts (goal-oriented intention-directed activities) in which we engage, and these attempts not only succeed or fail but have products that reflect that success or failure. It is not just that an artwork must be the product of intentional action but rather that (...)
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  16. Christy Mag Uidhir (2013). Art, Metaphysics, & the Paradox of Standards. 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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  17. P. D. Magnus, Cristyn Magnus & Christy Mag Uidhir (2013). Judging Covers. 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. Cynthia R. Nielsen (2009). “What Has Coltrane to Do With Mozart: The Dynamism and Built-in Flexibility of Music”. 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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  19. C. Tillman & J. Spencer (2012). Musical Materialism and the Inheritance Problem. 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. James O. Young (2014). The Poverty of Musical Ontology. 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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Musical Performance
  1. Bertinetto Alessandro (2012). Paganini Does Not Repeat. Musical Improvisation and the Type/Token Ontology. Teorema (3):105-126.
    This paper explores the ontology of musical improvisation (MI). MI, as process in which creative and performing activities are one and the same generative occurrence, is contrasted with the most widespread conceptual resource used in inquiries about music ontology of the Western tradition: the type/token duality (TtD). TtD, which is used for explaining the relationship between musical works (MWs) and performances, does not fit for MI. Nonetheless MI can be ontologically related to MWs. A MW can ensue from MI and (...)
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  2. Philip Alperson (1991). When Composers Have to Be Performers. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 49 (4):369-373.
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  3. Philip Alperson (1984). On Musical Improvisation. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 43 (1):17-29.
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  4. Godfrey Baldacchino (ed.) (2011). Island Songs: A Global Repertoire. Scarecrow Press.
    "Through the close analysis of musical performance and tradition, the scholarly contributiors to Island Songs provide a global review of how island songs, their lyrics, and their singers engage with the challenges of modernity, migration , ...
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  5. Bruce Ellis Benson (2003). The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue: A Phenomenology of Music. Cambridge University Press.
    This book is an important contribution to the philosophy of music. Whereas most books in this field focus on the creation and reproduction of music, Bruce Benson's concern is the phenomenology of music making as an activity. He offers the radical thesis that it is improvisation that is primary in the moment of music making. Succinct and lucid, the book brings together a wide range of musical examples from classical music, jazz, early music and other genres. It offers a rich (...)
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  6. Walter Bernhart & Michael Halliwell (eds.) (2010). Essays on Performativity and on Surveying the Field. Rodopi.
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  7. Lee B. Brown (2000). "Feeling My Way": Jazz Improvisation and its Vicissitudes-a Plea for Imperfection. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 58 (2):113-123.
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  8. Ben Caplan & Carl Matheson (2008). Modality, Individuation, and the Ontology of Art. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (4):491-517.
    In 1988, Michael Nyman composed the score for Peter Greenaway’s film Drowning by Numbers (or did something that we would ordinarily think of as composing that score). We can think of Nyman’s compositional activity as a “generative performance” and of the sound structure that Nyman indicated (or of some other abstract object that is appropriately related to that sound structure) as the product generated by that performance (ix).1 According to one view, Nyman’s score for Drowning by the Numbers—the musical work—is (...)
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  9. Gustavo D. Cardinal (2004). Performing Live: Aesthetic Alternatives for the Ends of Art (Review). Philosophy of Music Education Review 12 (1):89-93.
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  10. Stephen Davies (1991). The Ontology of Musical Works and the Authenticity of Their Performances. Noûs 25 (1):21-41.
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  11. Garry Hagberg (2002). On Representing Jazz: An Art Form in Need of Understanding. Philosophy and Literature 26 (1):188-198.
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  12. Gary Iseminger (2010). Sonicism and Jazz Improvisation. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 68 (3):297-299.
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  13. Andrew Kania (2009). Musical Recordings. Philosophy Compass 4 (1):22-38.
    In this article, I first consider the metaphysics of musical recordings: their variety, repeatability, and transparency. I then turn to evaluative or aesthetic issues, such as the relative virtues of recordings and live performances, in light of the metaphysical discussion.
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  14. Andrew Kania (2008). Piece for the End of Time: In Defence of Musical Ontology. British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (1):65-79.
    Aaron Ridley has recently attacked the study of musical ontology—an apparently fertile area in the philosophy of music. I argue here that Ridley's arguments are unsound. There are genuinely puzzling ontological questions about music, many of which are closely related to questions of musical value. While it is true that musical ontology must be descriptive of pre-existing musical practices and that some debates, such as that over the creatability of musical works, have little consequence for questions of musical value, none (...)
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  15. Andrew Kania (2008). Works of Music: An Essay in Ontology by Dodd, Julian. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 66 (2):201–203.
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  16. Jerrold Levinson (2011). Music, Art, and Metaphysics. OUP Oxford.
    This is a long-awaited reissue of Jerrold Levinson's 1990 book Music, Art, and Metaphysics, which gathers together the writings that made him a leading figure in contemporary aesthetics. Most of the essays are distinguished by a concern with metaphysical questions about artworks and their properties, but other essays address the problem of art's definition, the psychology of aesthetic response, and the logic of interpreting and evaluating works of art. The focus of about half of the essays is the art of (...)
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  17. Christy Mag Uidhir (2007). Recordings as Performances. 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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  18. Bence Nanay (2012). Musical Twofoldness. 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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  19. Jonathan A. Neufeld (2012). Critical Performances. Teorema (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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  20. Jonathan A. Neufeld (2011). Living the Work: Meditations on a Lark. Journal of Aesthetic Education 45 (1):89-106.
    Imagine that a performer is confronted with the following decision. After working on a piece for several weeks—practicing, analyzing, listening to various recordings, perhaps reading a bit about it—a performer comes to a crossroads. It seems to him that changing a few crucial interrelated passages can generate two very different performative interpretations. One makes the piece sound animated, lively, and interesting; the other makes the piece sound repetitive, flat, and perhaps even boring. While the performer can understand why one would (...)
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  21. Cynthia R. Nielsen (2009). “What Has Coltrane to Do With Mozart: The Dynamism and Built-in Flexibility of Music”. 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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  22. Clifton Sanders (2009). Democracy as Music, Music as Democracy. Radical Philosophy Review 12 (1/2):219-239.
    In this paper we argue that there are valuable consonances between democratic theory and music theory, and between democratization and musical performance and enjoyment. We suggest that this connection is not as trite as it may first appear, but that, since democracy is learned and practiced in a myriad ofways, music is one such place to learn democratic citizenship. The paper begins with a normative account of democratic theory that is present in two movements. The first, “foundations,” explicates the essential (...)
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Musical Works
  1. Bertinetto Alessandro (2012). Paganini Does Not Repeat. Musical Improvisation and the Type/Token Ontology. Teorema (3):105-126.
    This paper explores the ontology of musical improvisation (MI). MI, as process in which creative and performing activities are one and the same generative occurrence, is contrasted with the most widespread conceptual resource used in inquiries about music ontology of the Western tradition: the type/token duality (TtD). TtD, which is used for explaining the relationship between musical works (MWs) and performances, does not fit for MI. Nonetheless MI can be ontologically related to MWs. A MW can ensue from MI and (...)
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  2. Christopher Bartel (2011). Music Without Metaphysics? British Journal of Aesthetics 51 (4):383-398.
    In a recent pair of articles, Aaron Ridley and Andrew Kania have debated the merits of the study of musical ontology. Ridley contends that the study of musical ontology is orthogonal to more pressing concerns over the value of music. Kania rejects this, arguing that a theory of the value of music must begin with an understanding of the ontology of music. In this essay, I will argue that, despite Kania's rejections, Ridley's criticism exposes a false methodological assumption that needs (...)
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  3. Christopher Bartel (2009). Works of Music – Julian Dodd. Philosophical Quarterly 59 (237):760-762.
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  4. Eliot Bates (2004). Glitches, Bugs, and Hisses : The Degeneration of Musical Recordings and the Contemporary Musical Work. In Christopher Washburne & Maiken Derno (eds.), Bad Music: The Music We Love to Hate. Routledge.
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  5. L. B. Brown (2011). Do Higher-Order Music Ontologies Rest on a Mistake? British Journal of Aesthetics 51 (2):169-184.
    Recent work in the ontology of music suggests that we will avoid confusion if we distinguish between two kinds of question that are typically posed in music ontology. Thus, a distinction has been made between fundamental ontology and higher-order ontology. The former addresses questions about the basic metaphysical options from which ontologists choose. For instance, are musical works types, indicated types, classes of particulars, or some other kind of entity? Higher-order ontology addresses the question of what lies ‘at the centre’ (...)
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