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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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Authenticity in Western Classical Music

Authenticity in Western Classical Music

(p.206) 5 Authenticity in Western Classical Music
Musical Works and Performances

Stephen Davies (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Authenticity is integral to the enterprise that takes the delivery of the composer's work as its goal. In such cases, authenticity is an ontological requirement, not an interpretative option, though any performance recognizable as of a given work will be minimally authentic. Whether a performance must comply with the composer's instrumentation, phrasing, tempo, and dynamics depends on whether these features are work‐determinative for the musical tradition within which the work was created. Practical considerations, recently entrenched traditions, and the possibility that performers can take for granted the audience's prior familiarity with orthodox readings might count against the pursuit of ideal authenticity, but the territory to be explored in an interpretation should lie nearer the ideal than the minimum end of the spectrum along which authenticity is measured.

Keywords:   authenticity, interpretation, performance, tradition, work

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