Session convenor: Stefano Mengozzi (University of Michigan)
…to be announced shortly!
Music-analytic language is typically conceived and deployed as a well-oiled machine: the musical terms we use rest on rigorous definitions and operate within clearly marked conceptual territories, so that particular music-theoretical labels correspond necessarily, and often exclusively, with particular concepts in a one-to-one relationship. From such assumptions, it is a short step to ascribing ontological value to music-theoretical language, so that the very nature of musical phenomena (such as “chord,” “dominant,” or “meter”) is regarded as contingent on the dedicated labels attached to them. The essentialist bias informing current music-analytic practice is in need of critical scrutiny: it is one thing to argue that language (as a manifestation of consciousness) provides a privileged path to musical ontologies; quite another to regard those ontologies per se as radically contingent upon language.
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