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Works of MusicAn Essay in Ontology$
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Julian Dodd

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199284375

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199284375.001.0001

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Sonicism II: Against Contextualism

Sonicism II: Against Contextualism

(p.240) 9 Sonicism II: Against Contextualism
Works of Music

Julian Dodd (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter completes the defence of timbral sonicism by defending it against the kinds of contextualist counter-examples produced by Levinson: thought-experiments intended to demonstrate that two composers working in distinct musico-historical contexts invariably compose distinct works, even if the said works sound exactly alike. The leading idea behind such thought-experiments is that a composer's occupancy of a certain position in musico-historical space is determinative of many of her work's artistic, aesthetic, and expressive properties. Hence, if two composers occupy distinct such positions, their works, even if sonic doppelgangers, will inevitably differ with respect to such properties, and so by Leibniz's Law, will fail to be identical. The chapter concludes that the examples taken to demonstrate that works may differ aesthetically, artistically, or expressively without differing sonically prove no such thing. They are either ill-formed or else can be explained away in a manner consistent with timbral sonicism.

Keywords:   contextualism, Leibniz's Law, Levinson, musico-historical context, timbral sonicism

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