Music as representation

  • Bohlman P
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In contradistinction to common adages proclaiming music’s inability to represent anything other than itself, there are remarkably complex ways in which identities—both embedded within music and appropriated from the extramusical contexts in which music takes place—actually engender culturally distinctive representational processes. The very possibilities to represent music or to be represented by music differ from culture to culture, and they necessarily reveal distinctive ontologies of music. Ethnomusicology’s particular concern for the representation of music deserves special attention, not least because of the discipline’s historical need to recognize the ways music relates to what it is and what it is not—that is, to musical texts and contexts. A framework with ten different processes provides the theoretical core of an examination of music as representation. Five sets of contrastive pairs articulate the larger framework, which consciously and dialectically includes theoretical approaches from all disciplines of musical scholarship. It is because the representation of music and representing with music are so central to what all musical scholars do that musical scholarship acquires an aesthetic and ideologically activist impulse that deserves, if not demands, the attention of all musical scholars. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Copyright of Journal of Musicological Research is the property of Routledge and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

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  • Philip V. Bohlman

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