Elements of Musical Works

Stephen Davies

in Musical Works and Performances

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780199241583
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597329 | DOI:
Elements of Musical Works

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Not all musical works have sound structures organized to the same hierarchical level (for instance, some lack tonality and themes) and many aspects of higher musical structure resist reduction to lower levels. Also, there is more to most musical works than their sound‐structure. Some of a piece's identifying features depend on the musico‐historical setting in which it is created, so that composers at an historical or cultural remove from each other specify different works even if they prescribe otherwise identical sound structures. For instance, the socio‐musical conventions obtaining at the time of the work's composition settle whether a particular instrumentation is mandated, or recommended only. I call this view ‘ontological contextualism.’

Keywords: contextualism; conventions; instrumentation; sound‐structure; work

Chapter.  26291 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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