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Beyond the ScoreMusic as Performance$
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Nicholas Cook

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199357406

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199357406.001.0001

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The Ghost in the Machine

The Ghost in the Machine

(p.337) 11 The Ghost in the Machine
Beyond the Score

Nicholas Cook

Oxford University Press

The development of recording relocated and democratized the consumption of music; problematized assumptions about performance, listening, and representation; and transformed the practice of performance by placing it within a greatly enlarged culture of musical consumption. The discourses of fidelity documented by Jonathan Sterne reflect the influence in a new context of the paradigm of reproduction that has prevented musicology from adequately engaging with performance. The chapter argues that the relationship between recordings and the performances they represent is not one of simple iconicity. It is rather a complex and historically contingent process of semiosis: recordings reconstruct reality, creating an experience that is more real than the real thing. In short, their motivating principle is not realism but hyperrealism. The chapter concludes with a study of liveness, understood not as the description of a state of affairs but rather as a perceptual construct, in short a signified.

Keywords:   recording, fidelity, iconicity, semiosis, hyperrealism, liveness, Sterne

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