Drawing from ethnographic, empirical, and historical/cultural perspectives, we examine the extent to which visual aspects of music contribute to the communication that takes place between performers and their listeners. First, we introduce a framework for understanding how media and genres shape aural and visual experiences of music. Second, we present case studies of two performances, and describe the relation between visual and aural aspects of performance. Third, we report empirical evidence that visual aspects of performance reliably (...) influence perceptions of musical structure (pitch related features) and affective interpretations of music. Finally, we trace new and old media trajectories of aural and visual dimensions of music, and highlight how our conceptions, perceptions and appreciation of music are intertwined with technological innovation and media deployment strategies. (shrink)
Expert skill in musicperformance involves an apparent paradox. On stage, expert musicians are required accurately to retrieve information that has been encoded over hours of practice. Yet they must also remain open to the demands of the ever-changing situational contingencies with which they are faced during performance. To further explore this apparent paradox and the way in which it is negotiated by expert musicians, this article profiles theories presented by Roger Chaffin, Hubert Dreyfus and Tony and (...) Helga Noice. For Chaffin, expert skill in musicperformance relies solely upon overarching mental representations, while, for Dreyfus, such representations are needed only by novices, while experts rely on a more embodied form of coping. Between Chaffin and Dreyfus sit the Noices, who argue that both overarching cognitive structures and embodied processes underlie expert skill. We then present the Applying Intelligence to the Reflexes (AIR) approach?a differently nuanced model of expert skill aligned with the integrative spirit of the Noices? research. The AIR approach suggests that musicians negotiate the apparent paradox of expert skill via a mindedness that allows flexibility of attention during musicperformance. We offer data from recent doctoral research conducted by the first author of this article to demonstrate at a practical level the usefulness of the AIR approach when attempting to understand the complexities of expert skill in musicperformance. (shrink)
The Topos of Music is the upgraded and vastly deepened English extension of the seminal German Geometrie der Töne. It reflects the dramatic progress of mathematical music theory and its operationalization by information technology since the publication of Geometrie der Töne in 1990. The conceptual basis has been vastly generalized to topos-theoretic foundations, including a corresponding thoroughly geometric musical logic. The theoretical models and results now include topologies for rhythm, melody, and harmony, as well as a classification theory (...) of musical objects that comprises the topos-theoretic concept framework. Classification also implies techniques of algebraic moduli theory. The classical models of modulation and counterpoint have been extended to exotic scales and counterpoint interval dichotomies. The probably most exciting new field of research deals with musical performance and its implementation on advanced object-oriented software environments. This subject not only uses extensively the existing mathematical music theory, it also opens the language to differential equations and tools of differential geometry, such as Lie derivatives. Mathematical performance theory is the key to inverse performance theory, an advanced new research field which deals with the calculation of varieties of parameters which give rise to a determined performance. This field uses techniques of algebraic geometry and statistics, approaches which have already produced significant results in the understanding of highest-ranked human performances. The book's formal language and models are currently being used by leading researchers in Europe and Northern America and have become a foundation of music software design. This is also testified by the book's nineteen collaborators and the included CD-ROM containing software and music examples. (shrink)
What are musical works? Are they discovered or created? Can recordings substitute faithfully for live performances? This book considers these and other intriguing questions. It first outlines the nature of musical works, their relation to performances, and their notational specification; it then considers authenticity in performance, musical traditions, and recordings. Comprehensive and original, the volume discusses many kinds of music, applying its conclusions to issues as diverse as the authentic performance movement, the cultural integrity of ethnic (...) class='Hi'>music, and the implications of the dominance of recorded over live music. (shrink)
Musical formalism, which strictly limits the type of thing any description of the music can tell us, is ill-equipped to account for contemporary performance practice. If performative interpretations are in a position to tell us something about musical works—that is if performance is a kind of description, as Peter Kivy argues—then we have to loosen the restrictions on notions of musical relevance to make sense of performance. I argue that musical formalism, which strictly limits the type (...) of thing any description of the music can tell us, is inconsistent with Kivy's quite compelling account of performance. This shows the difficulty that actual performances pose to overly rigid conceptions of music. Daniel Barenboim unannounced performance of Wagner in Israel in 2001 shows that the problem of the boundaries of musical relevance is no mere philosophical puzzle. It is a pressing problem in the musical public sphere. (shrink)
Although a growing body of research has examined issues related to individuality in musicperformance, few studies have attempted to quantify markers of individuality that transcend pieces and musical styles. This study aims to identify such meta-markers by discriminating between influences linked to specific pieces or interpretive goals and performer-specific playing styles, using two complementary statistical approaches: linear mixed models (LMMs) to estimate fixed (piece and interpretation) and random (performer) effects, and similarity analyses to compare expressive profiles on (...) a note-by-note basis across pieces and expressive parameters. Twelve professional harpsichordists recorded three pieces representative of the Baroque harpsichord repertoire, including three interpretations of one of these pieces, each emphasizing a different melodic line, on an instrument equipped with a MIDI console. Four expressive parameters were analyzed: articulation, note onset asynchrony, timing, and velocity. LMMs showed that piece-specific influences were much larger for articulation than for other parameters, for which performer-specific effects were predominant, and that piece-specific influences were generally larger than effects associated with interpretive goals. Some performers consistently deviated from the mean values for articulation and velocity across pieces and interpretations, suggesting that global measures of expressivity may in some cases constitute valid markers of artistic individuality. Similarity analyses detected significant associations among the magnitudes of the correlations between the expressive profiles of different performers. These associations were found both when comparing across parameters and within the same piece or interpretation, or on the same parameter and across pieces or interpretations. These findings suggest the existence of expressive meta-strategies that can manifest themselves across pieces, interpretive goals, or expressive devices. (shrink)
Research on the effects of background music has a long history. Early work was not embedded within a theoretical framework, was often poorly conceptualised and produced equivocal findings. This paper reports two studies exploring the effects of music, perceived to be calming and relaxing, on performance in arithmetic and on a memory task in children aged 10-12. The calming music led to better performance on both tasks when compared with a no-music condition. Music (...) perceived as arousing, aggressive and unpleasant disrupted performance on the memory task and led to a lower level of reported altruistic behaviour by the children. This suggests that the effects of music on task performance are mediated by arousal and mood rather than affecting cognition directly. The findings are discussed in relation to possible practical applications in the primary school and the home. (shrink)
Current artificial neural network or connectionist models of music cognition embody feature-extraction and feature-weighting principles. This paper reports two experiments which seek evidence for similar processes mediating recognition of short musical compositions by musically trained and untrained listeners. The experiments are cast within a pattern recognition framework based on the vision-audition analogue wherein music is considered an auditory pattern consisting of local and global features. Local features such as inter-note interval, and global features such as melodic contour, are (...) derived from a two-dimensional matrix in which music is represented as a series of frequencies plotted over time.Manipulation of inter-note interval affected accuracy and reaction time measures in a discrimination task, whereas the same variables were affected by manipulation of melodic contour in a classification task. Musical training is thought of as a form of practice in musical pattern recognition and, as predicted, accuracy and reaction time measures of musically trained subjects were significantly better than those of untrained subjects. Given the evidence for feature-extraction and weighting processes in music recognition tasks, two connectionist models are discussed. The first is a single-layer perceptron which has been trained to discriminate between compositions according to inter-note interval. A second network, using the back-propagation algorithm and sequential input of patterns, is also discussed. (shrink)
Music is an important philosophical theme in Confucian writings, one that is intimately related to ritual. But the relationship between music and ritual requires clarification. This paper seeks to argue for a general sense of music that reflects a particular aspect of ritual that has to do with performance. There is much material available in classical texts, such as the 'Record of Music' ('Yueji'), that allows for nuanced explications of the musical qualities of such performances. (...) Thus explicated, those musical terms provide for a way of speaking about the overall effects of ritual that is not bound to specific choreographic details or particular ritual rules. Finally, it is suggested that the Confucian notion of ren 仁 could be usefully compared to the generalised notion of music. (shrink)
Musical performance, as an interpretive activity, has to be understood as relative to the material that is being interpreted. This material may or may not have the determinacy, fixity, and definitiveness of a work. Performative interpretation cannot be identified simply with what performers add to the material being performed. However, if interpretation is the assigning of significance, then in applying certain (theatrical, rhetorical, and biological) significance-endowing metaphors to integrated elements of a musical performance we commit ourselves to thinking (...) of that performance as interpretive. (shrink)
Concentrating on the music, politics, and philosophy of Richard Wagner, Lydia Goehr addresses some fundamental questions of German Romanticism: Is all music musical? Is music made less musical by the presence of words? What is musical autonomy? How do composers avoid censorship? How are composers affected by exile? Can music articulate a 'politics for the future'? What is the relation between music and philosophy?
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. (shrink)
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 between critical and performative interpretation, but its source lies in a difference between the authority of critical and performative interpretations. (shrink)
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 our experience of musical performances, from the importance of instrumentality, to the multimodal character of this experience. (shrink)
Recent philosophy of music in the Anglophone analytic tradition has produced many fine-grained analyses of musical practices within the context of the Western fine-art tradition. It has not for the most part, however, been self-conscious about the normative implications of that orienting tradition. As a result, the achievements of recent philosophical discussions of music have been unnecessarily constricted. The way forward is to enrich the range of musical practices philosophy takes as its target of examination.
The recorded musical text -- Recording, repetition, and meaning in absolute music -- Schnabel's rationalism, Gould's pragmatism -- Digital mythologies -- Beethoven and the iPod Nation -- Photo/phono/pornography -- Mahler as imagist.
Most music we hear comes to us via a recording medium on which sound has been stored. Such remoteness of music heard from music made has become so commonplace it is rarely considered. Musical Performance: A Philosophical Studyconsiders the implications of this separation for live musical performance and music-making. Rather than examining the composition or perception of music as most philosophical accounts of music do, Stan Godlovitch takes up the problem of how (...) the tradition of active music playing and performing has been challenged by technology and what problems this poses for philosophical aesthetics. Where does does the value of musical performance lie? Is human performance of music a mere transfer medium? Is the performance of music more expressive than recorded music? Musical Performance poses questions such as these to develop a fascinating account of music today. musicians - but via some recording medium on which sound has been stored. (shrink)
We investigate the dynamics of sensory integration for perceiving musical performance, a complex natural behavior. Thirty musically trained participants saw, heard, or both saw and heard, performances by two clarinetists. All participants used a sliding potentiometer to make continuous judgments of tension (a measure correlated with emotional response) and continuous judgments of phrasing (a measure correlated with perceived musical structure) as performances were presented. The data analysis sought to reveal relations between the sensory modalities (vision and audition) and to (...) quantify the effect of seeing the performances on participants' overall subjective experience of the music. In addition to traditional statistics, functional data analysis techniques were employed to analyze time-varying aspects of the data. The auditory and visual channels were found to convey similar experiences of phrasing but different experiences of tension through much of the performances. We found that visual information served both to augment and to reduce the experience of tension at different points in the musical piece (as revealed by functional linear modeling and functional significance testing). In addition, the musicians' movements served to extend the sense of phrasing, to cue the beginning of new phrases, to indicate musical interpretation, and to anticipate changes in emotional content. Evidence for an interaction effect suggests that there may exist an emergent quality when musical performances are both seen and heard. The investigation augments knowledge of human communicative processes spanning language and music, and involving multiple modalities of emotion and information transfer. (shrink)
Theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that accurate and efficient motor performance may be achieved by task-specific exploitation of biomechanical degrees of freedom. We investigate coordination of the right arm in a task requiring a sudden yet precisely controlled reversal of movement direction: bow reversals during continuous (“legato”) tone production on a stringed instrument. Ten advanced or professional cello players (at least ten years of practice) and ten age-matched novice players took part in the study. Kinematic data from the bow (...) and the right arm were analyzed in terms of velocity and acceleration profiles, as well as temporal coordination along the arm. As expected, experts’ bow velocity and acceleration profiles differed markedly from those of novice participants, with higher peak accelerations and quicker direction changes. Importantly, experts achieved the change in movement direction with a single acceleration peak while novices tended to use multiple smaller acceleration peaks. Experts moreover showed a proximal-distal gradient in timing and amplitudes of acceleration peaks, with earlier and lower-amplitude reversals at more proximal joints. We suggest that this coordination pattern allows generating high accelerations at the end effector while reducing the required joint torques at the proximal joints. This may underlie experts’ ability to produce fast bow reversals efficiently and with high spatiotemporal accuracy. The findings are discussed in terms of motor control theory as well as potential implications for musicians’ performance and health. (shrink)
This paper argues that, within the Western ‘classical’ tradition of performing works of music, there exists a performance value of authenticity that is distinct from that of complying with the instructions encoded in the work's score. This kind of authenticity—interpretive authenticity—is a matter of a performance's displaying an understanding of the performed work. In the course of explaining the nature of this norm, two further claims are defended: that the respective values of interpretive authenticity and score compliance (...) can come into conflict; and that when this happens, compromising ideal score compliance for the sake of making the performance more interpretively authentic can make for a better performance. (shrink)
Designed to introduce music students and musicians to the vitality of music philosophical discourse, Philosophical Perspectives on Music explores diverse accounts of the nature and value of music. It offers an accessible, even-handed consideration of philosophical orientations without advocating any single one, demonstrating that there are a number of ways in which music may reasonably be understood. This unique approach examines the strengths and advantages of each perspective as well as its inevitable shortcomings. From the (...) pre-Socratic Greeks to idealism, through phenomenology, and on to contemporary socio-cultural critiques, this wide-ranging survey examines the views of selected influential thinkers in sufficient detail to permit their voices to be personally and meaningfully experienced. Striving to portray philosophy as an intriguing dialogue rather than a dogmatic source of definitive answers, it invites readers to become full participants in an ongoing process of philosophical debate with vital contemporary relevance and extensive practical significance. Examining what music is, how it works, and what music is good for, this book encourages musicians to join in important conversations that shape both the ways they practice their art and the ways in which they and others understand it. Accessible to students with little or no background in music philosophy, Philosophical Perspectives on Music provides the foundation for applied or professional philosophies while also introducing readers to the richness of the philosophical quest. Ideal for philosophy of music and philosophy of music education courses, it is also enlightening reading for students of musicology, music theory, and musicperformance. Featuring interdisciplinary dialogue, this insightful text addresses issues common to the concerns of all musicians. (shrink)
Who's better? Billie Holiday or P.J. Harvey? Blur or Oasis? Dylan or Keats? And how many friendships have ridden on the answer? Such questions aren't merely the stuff of fanzines and idle talk; they inform our most passionate arguments, distil our most deeply held values, make meaning of our ever-changing culture. In Performing Rites, one of the most influential writers on popular music asks what we talk about when we talk about music. What's good, what's bad? What's high, (...) what's low? Why do such distinctions matter? Instead of dismissing emotional response and personal taste as inaccessible to the academic critic, Simon Frith takes these forms of engagement as his subject and discloses their place at the very centre of the aesthetics that structure our culture and colour our lives. -/- Taking up hundreds of songs and writers, Frith insists on acts of evaluation of popular music as music. Ranging through and beyond the twentieth century, Performing Rites puts the Pet Shop Boys and Puccini, rhythm and lyric, voice and technology, into a dialogue about the undeniable impact of poplar aesthetics on our lives. How we nod our heads or tap our feet, grin or grimace or flip the dial; how we determine what's sublime and what's for real -- these are part of the way we construct our social identities, and an essential response to the performance of all music. Frith argues that listening itself is a performance, both social gesture and bodily response. From how they are made to how they are received, popular songs appear here as not only meriting aesthetic judgements but also demanding them, and shaping our understanding of what all music means. (shrink)
Is there such a thing as the perfect performance of a musical work? It is the thesis of this paper that there is not. The thesis is advanced as the implication or concomitant of an already developed view of musical performance in the Western tradition, outlined in my book, Authenticities (1995).
Why are some popular musical forms and performers universally reviled by critics and ignored by scholars-despite enjoying large-scale popularity? How has the notion of what makes "good" or "bad" music changed over the years-and what does this tell us about the writers who have assigned these tags to different musical genres? Many composers that are today part of the classical "canon" were greeted initially by bad reviews. Similarly, jazz, country, and pop musics were all once rejected as "bad" by (...) the academy that now has courses on these and many other types of music. This book addresses why this is so through a series of essays on different musical forms and performers. It looks at alternate ways of judging musical performance beyond the critical/academic nexus, and suggests new paths to follow in understanding what makes some music "popular" even if it is judged to be "bad." For anyone who has ever secretly enjoyed ABBA, Kenny G, or disco, Bad Music will be a guilty pleasure! (shrink)
What is the difference between a performance of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and the symphony itself? What does it mean for musicians to be faithful to the works they perform? To answer this question, Goehr combines philosophical and historical methods of enquiry. She describes how the concept of a musical work emerged as late as 1800, and how it subsequently defined the norms, expectations, and behavior characteristic of classical musical practice. Out of the historical thesis, Goehr draws philosophical conclusions about (...) the normative functions of concepts and ideals. She also addresses current debates amongst conductors, early-music performers, and avant-gardists. (shrink)
I. History. Mainwaring's Handel : its relation to British aesthetics -- Herbert Spencer and a musical dispute -- II. Opera and film. Handel's operas : the form of feeling and the problem of appreciation -- Anti-semitism in Meistersinger? -- Speech, song, and the transparency of medium : on operatic metaphysics -- III. Performance. On the historically informed performance -- Ars perfecta : toward perfection in musical performance? -- IV. Interpretation. Another go at the meaning of music (...) : Koopman, Davies, and the meaning of "meaning" -- Another go at musical profundity : Stephen Davies and the game of chess -- From ideology to music : Leonard Meyer's theory of style change -- Sibley's last paper -- In defense of musical representation : music, representation, and the hybrid arts -- Music, language, and cognition : which doesn't belong? (shrink)
Introduction -- The type/token theory introduced -- Motivating the type/token theory : repeatability -- Nominalist approaches to the ontology of music -- Musical anti-realism -- The type/token theory elaborated -- Types I : abstract, unstructured, unchanging -- Types introduced and nominalism repelled -- Types as abstracta -- Types as unstructured entities -- Types as fixed and unchanging -- Types II : platonism -- Introduction : eternal existence and timelessness -- Types and properties -- The eternal existence of properties reconsidered (...) -- Types and patterns -- Defending the type/token theory I -- Unstructuredness and analogical predication -- Musical works as fixed and unchanging -- Abstractness and audibility (again) -- Works and interpretations -- Conclusion and resumé -- Defending the type/token theory II : musical platonism -- Platonism it is : replies to Anderson and Levinson -- The existence conditions of works of music -- Composition as creative discovery -- The nature of the compositional process : replies to objections -- Composition and aesthetic appraisal : a reply to Levinson -- Composition and aesthetic appraisal : understanding, interpretation, and correctness -- Musical works as continuants : a theory rejected -- A theory introduced -- Explicating and motivating the continuant view -- The continuant view and repeatability -- Further objections to the continuant view -- Musical works as compositional actions : a critique -- Currie's action-type hypothesis -- Davies's performance theory -- Sonicism I : against instrumentalism -- Sonicism introduced -- Sonicism motivated : moderate empiricism -- Instrumentation : timbral sonicism introduced -- Scores -- Instrumentation, artistic properties, and aesthetic content -- Levinson's rejoinder -- Sonicism II : against contextualism -- Introduction : formulating contextualism -- Contextualist ontological proposals -- Levinson's doppelgänger thought-experiments -- Artistic, representational, and object-directed expressive properties -- Aesthetic and non-object-directed expressive properties -- Conclusion : the place of context. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
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 tapestry incorporating both analytic and continental philosophy, musicology and performance-practice issues. It will be a provocative read for philosophers of art and musicologists and, because it eschews technicality, should appeal to general readers, especially those who perform. (shrink)
Representing Stephen Davies's best shorter writings, these essays outline developments within the philosophy of music over the last two decades, and summarize the state of play at the beginning of a new century. Including two new and previously unpublished pieces, they address both perennial questions and contemporary controversies, such as that over the 'authentic performance' movement, and the impact of modern technology on the presentation and reception of musical works. Rather than attempting to reduce musical works to a (...) single type, Davies recognizes a great variety of kinds, and a complementary range of possibilities for their rendition. (shrink)