Setting Limits

Richard Taruskin

in The Danger of Music and Other Anti-Utopian Essays

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780520249776
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942790 | DOI:
Setting Limits

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This chapter is a conclusion to the entire study, contending on a variety of topics. All works of art are subject to social mediation, which renders works of art intelligible, and this is what gives them continuing relevance. And social mediation inevitably changes whatever it mediates. The critical faculty can only be exercised after the fact, and there must always be the possibility that the performance will change the critic's mind. The boredom of endlessly reproducing fetishized texts is what invites mindless commitment to textuality, and the dull sameness it enforces. It is the only area of classical musical performance today in which executant creativity is not stifled. The few classical musicians who have lately tried to reintroduce creative performing practices are as yet confined to the ghetto of the avant-garde.

Keywords: cultural artifacts; musical structure; theories of musical performance; art; critics

Chapter.  9076 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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