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Praxial Music EducationReflections and Dialogues$
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David J Elliott

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385076

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385076.001.0001

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The Nature of Music and Musical Works

The Nature of Music and Musical Works

(p.79) 4 The Nature of Music and Musical Works
Praxial Music Education

David J. Elliott

Oxford University Press

David Elliott's book, Music Matters: A New Philosophy of Music Education (1995), constitutes a milestone in the progress of the philosophy of music education. He not only brings together a wealth of findings from musicology, philosophy, and psychology but, more important, he elaborates a new conception of the nature and value of music: praxial philosophy. This chapter analyzes the structure of Elliott's conception, discussing the most prominent characteristics of his views on the nature of music and musical works and evaluating their pros and cons. Elliott conceives music as “practices”, in which the activities of “musicing” (making music) and music listening play central roles. Elliott's views about the value of music are based on the view that music is essentially cognition. One limitation of Elliott's cognitive conception of music — which is also related to his unsatisfactory explanation of musical value — is his disregard of the role of feeling in music. Elliott also repeatedly states that music is a performance art and offers an alternative to the aesthetic conception of the musical work.

Keywords:   musicing, musical work, music, music listening, cognition, feeling, performance art

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