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Musikobjektets estetiska relevans
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, Aesthetics.
2018 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
The Aesthetic Relevance of Musical Objects (English)
Abstract [en]

When listening to recorded music, we tend to hear properties which cannot be attributed to the musical work. For example, if I listen to Glenn Gould’s 1981 recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, I can hear Gould quietly humming along with the notes played on the keyboard. Further, if I listen to a recording of Bach’s Cello Suite no. 1 performed in Uppsala Cathedral, I am likely to hear the great reverberation in the church. Drawing on Bence Nanay’s concept of aesthetically relevant properties, I point to the fact that these features cannot be ignored, since attending to them seems to make an aesthetic difference in our experience of the music. This raises a fundamental question: if clearly audible properties such as Gould’s humming and the reverberation in Uppsala Cathedral cannot be attributed to the musical work, then to which musical phenomenon do we attribute these properties?

Bach did not specify the condition that the musician must vocalize spontaneously in order to perform the Goldberg Variations correctly. Neither did he specify the condition that a performance of his Cello Suite no. 1 must take place in a cathedral in order to be correct. According to the standard view, then, none of these properties can be attributed to the musical work. Therefore, audible properties such as spontaneous vocalizations and reverberations are commonly thought of as belonging to the performance of musical works.

In this thesis, I argue against the intuitive claim that these properties can be attributed to the performance. Instead, I propose that audible properties such as Gould’s humming and the reverberation in Uppsala Cathedral can be attributed to what I term the musical object, i.e. the perceptual object we encounter when listening to recorded music. The musical object is defined as the musical end-product created through performance, improvisation, or digital music-making, and is as such both transient and reproduceable. Thus, musical objects are distinct from (but may include) musical works.

If my proposal is correct, then we can explain how musical works, performances and recordings of music tend to be evaluated independently of each other.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 75
Keywords [en]
musical object, musical work, performance, norm-types, non-normative properties, aesthetically relevant properties, spectrogram, Glenn Gould
Keywords [sv]
musikobjekt, musikverk, framförande, inspelad musik, norm-typer, icke-normativa egenskaper, estetiskt relevanta egenskaper, spektrogram, Glenn Gould
National Category
Philosophy Music Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-366533OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-366533DiVA, id: diva2:1264786
Subject / course
Aesthetics
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-11-21 Created: 2018-11-21 Last updated: 2018-11-21Bibliographically approved

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