This chapter explores the performing body as a site of meaning production in music of the Western classical tradition. Drawing a comparison with sport, the chapter analyzes embodiment in such contexts as experience, action, pedagogy, discourse, and institutionalization: notation disciplines and reconfigures the body, and the history of music might in principle be written as a narrative of the performing body. The central section of the chapter explores what the chapter calls the “virtual body”: the visual and kinesthetic are encoded in sound, which explains how music can make sense when—as on CDs—it is heard but not seen. The final section is structured round film performances by Grigory Sokolov and others of a Chopin mazurka, and it asks whether it is possible to reconcile the apparently contradictory approaches of empirical musicology and interdisciplinary performance studies.
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