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In Beyond the Score: Music as Performance, author Nicholas Cook supplants the traditional musicological notion of music as writing, asserting instead that it is as performance that music is loved, understood, and consumed. This book reconceives music as an activity through which meaning is generated in real time, as Cook rethinks familiar assumptions and develops new approaches. Focusing primarily but not exclusively on the Western ‘art’ tradition, Cook explores perspectives that range from close listening to computational analysis, from ethnography to the study of recordings, and from the social relations constructed through performance to the performing (and listening) body. In doing so, he reveals not only that the notion of music as text has hampered academic understanding of music, but also that it has inhibited performance practices, placing them in a textualist straightjacket.
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