The purpose of this chapter is to redefine the musical work in a way that makes sense in terms of performance. The chapter does this through consideration of invariant elements in improvised music, exploring a comparison between jazz standards and Corelli’s Sonatas op. 5. Theoretical ideas developed in the context of jazz improvisation—Jeff Pressing’s “referent” and Keith Sawyer’s “emergent”—prove to be equally applicable to the performance of notated music, making it possible to articulate the dimension of real-time interaction that is inherent in all performance: there are commonalities in the processes of making music together that bridge apparent gulfs such as between jazz and classical performance, or between improvised and composed music. In core respects the innumerable manuscript and printed notations of Corelli’s op. 5 amount to a visible representation of the musical work as performance.
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