Paganini Does Not Repeat. Musical Improvisation and the Type/Token Ontology

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 MI can be required for performing a MW faithfully. As performance on a MW, MI can offer versions of a MW, manifest a MW, and, especially, use it as one of its ‘ingredients’. Recordings of MI present special challenges and an unexpected ontological revival.
Keywords Ontology of Improvisation  Type/Token  Musical Work  Ontology of Recordings  Musical Performance  Analytic Aesthetics  Philosophy of Music  Philosophy of Art  Platonism
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