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Musical Understandings and Other Essays on the Philosophy of Music$
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Stephen Davies

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199608775

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608775.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 June 2021

Musical Understandings

Musical Understandings

(p.88) 7 Musical Understandings
Musical Understandings and Other Essays on the Philosophy of Music

Stephen Davies

Oxford University Press

I consider what is involved in listening to music with understanding and what is understood. In particular, I consider if the listener must follow the work's structure, what doing so involves, and if her comprehension could be inexpressible. The possible relevance of ear training to music appreciation is also covered. I then discuss what the music analyst attempts to understand and demonstrate, along with the testability of analytical claims about hidden relationships. I also consider the nature of the performer's understanding of music and how this is apparent in the manner of playing. This includes discussion of the conditions for and requirements of authenticity and of the scope for interpretation. Though performance relies more on practical than propositional knowledge – on know how rather than knowing that – this does not mean the performer is incapable of recovering propositional descriptions of what she does. Finally and briefly, I consider if and how the composer's understanding of the music goes beyond that of listeners, analysts, and performers.

Keywords:   musical work, understanding, appreciation, listening, knowledge, ear training, performance, interpretation, unhearable musical relationships, composers

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