A Nominalist Theory of Musical Works

Lydia Goehr

in The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works

Published in print October 1994 | ISBN: 9780198235415
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597503 | DOI:
A Nominalist Theory of Musical Works

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Lays the foundation for an investigation into the concept of a musical work according to the terms of analytic philosophy. It considers a range of analytic positions, but focuses ultimately on Nelson Goodman's influential nominalist and extensionalist account of musical works and performance compliance. Goodman's view that the musical score is a uniquely specified character in a notational system generates strict theoretical criteria to distinguish between constitutive and contingent features of works and compliant and non‐compliant performances. The critical examination of Goodman's theory is used to prepare the ground for a more general argument against the possibility of reaching a satisfactory account of the complex relation between philosophical theory and musical practice while working within the parameters of analytic philosophy.

Keywords: analysis; compliance; extensionalism; Nelson Goodman; nominalism; performance; score

Chapter.  12771 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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