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Musical Works and PerformancesA Philosophical Exploration$
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Stephen Davies

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199241583

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199241589.001.0001

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Elements of Musical Works

Elements of Musical Works

(p.45) 2 Elements of Musical Works
Musical Works and Performances

Stephen Davies (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Not all musical works have sound structures organized to the same hierarchical level (for instance, some lack tonality and themes) and many aspects of higher musical structure resist reduction to lower levels. Also, there is more to most musical works than their sound‐structure. Some of a piece's identifying features depend on the musico‐historical setting in which it is created, so that composers at an historical or cultural remove from each other specify different works even if they prescribe otherwise identical sound structures. For instance, the socio‐musical conventions obtaining at the time of the work's composition settle whether a particular instrumentation is mandated, or recommended only. I call this view ‘ontological contextualism.’

Keywords:   contextualism, conventions, instrumentation, sound‐structure, work

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