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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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Musical Works as Compositional Actions: A Critique

Musical Works as Compositional Actions: A Critique

Chapter:
(p.167) 7 Musical Works as Compositional Actions: A Critique
Source:
Works of Music
Author(s):

Julian Dodd (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199284375.003.0008

This chapter completes the case for the type/token theory by favourably contrasting it with the conception of musical works as compositional actions. Two versions of this competitor theory are distinguished: Gregory Currie's identification of works of music with compositional action-types, and David Davies's identification of such works with compositional action-tokens. It is argued that neither version of the theory matches the type/token theory in explanatory power. Currie's ‘action-type hypothesis’ cannot explain how a work of music can be heard in its entirety because according to Currie, the thing that is heard by an audience is not the work as a whole but a mere constituent of it. Davies, meanwhile, is unable to satisfactorily motivate and defend his position against the strong intuition that musical works are things that stand in a one-many relation to their performances, as opposed to being identical with the datable, locatable processes by which they were composed.

Keywords:   action-token, action-type, action-type hypothesis, compositional action, Gregory Currie, David Davies

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