Platonism, music and the listener's share

TitlePlatonism, music and the listener's share
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsNorris, C
Ancient AuthorsPlato Phil. (TLG 0059)
Series TitleContinuum studies in philosophy
Number of Pages202 pp.

What is a musical work? What are its identity-conditions and the standards (if any) that they set for a competent, intelligent, and musically perceptive act of performance or audition? Should the work-concept henceforth be dissolved as some New Musicologists would have it into the various, ever-changing socio-cultural or ideological contexts that make up its reception-history to date? Can music be thought of as possessing certain attributes, structural features, or intrinsically valuable qualities that are response-transcendent, i.e., that might always elude or surpass the best state of (current or future) informed opinion?
These are some of the questions that Christopher Norris addresses by way of a sustained critical engagement with the New Musicology and other debates in recent philosophy of music. His book puts the case for a qualified Platonist approach that would respect the relative autonomy of musical works as objects of more or less adequate understanding, appreciation, and evaluative judgement. At the same time this approach would leave room for listeners share the phenomenology of musical experience in so far as those works necessarily depend for their repeated realisation from one performance or audition to the next upon certain subjectively salient modalities of human perceptual and cognitive response. []

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