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The Embodiment of Authority

Perspectives on Performances


Edited By Taina Riikonen and Marjaana Virtanen

Performance is a forum for social action, embodied interaction and shared authority. Recently, as the various acts and agencies surrounding a performance have become the target of scholarly interest, the complex split between theory and practice has been challenged, as has the idea of a singular, disembodied authorial ownership of the socio-material meanings surrounding performance. The Embodiment of Authority approaches performance, issues of authority and negotiated knowledge production through multi-material research data and interdisciplinary methods. The book discusses the relationship between authorial questions and performances via the following topics: shared authorities, ontologies of art work, diverse roles of rehearsals in the performance process, and embodied knowledge.
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The Ontology of Music and the Challenge of Performance: Identity versus Variety, and the Persistence of the ‘Text’


Abstract This study examines the relationship between the identity of musical works and the variety of their performances. It questions whether the traditional distinction between oral and written performance cultures is necessarily a crucial one (the contrast between prepared and unprepared content seems more pertinent here), and it suggests that notations (whether real or virtual) have free ‘strategic’ functions as well as restricted ‘archival’ functions. Improvisations and performance-art events are interrogated in relation to phenomenological views of performance as ‘becoming’, and there are concluding remarks on imagination, creativity and ontology.

Anthony Pryer is a senior tutor in the music faculty at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London.

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