By Arved Ashby
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Extra resources for Absolute Music, Mechanical Reproduction
If these thoughts get us a bit closer to understanding musical performance, the even more vexing questions remain: Just what is a recording, and what is its relationship to the performance it contains? Is it a transparent vehicle, or a medium that recontextualizes or even transforms performance? Does it work for or against performers’ concerns, or is it a neutral conduit for interpretive thought? In the next chapter, we will address the fate of a performance’s “necessary otherness” when that particular foreignness can be repeated—and therefore familiarized—ad inﬁnitum.
Here Heidegger uses the term 16 / Introduction “bringing-forth” in the sense of the Greek techne and poiesis. ”44 The main hazard with technology is overlooking technology itself or its pervasiveness. ”45 The Heideggerian notion of technological “bringing-forth” helps our phonographic inquiry on several fronts. First, it shows the congruencies between art music performance and technology, broadly deﬁned: for aesthetician Nelson Goodman, the art music performer “brings” the musical work “forth” into the real world from its Platonic essence.
Printed music scores have been subject to the same thinking, of course, but—to return to a persistent theme of this book—they have ceded more and more of that cultural and textual authority, more and more of that “biblicality,” to recordings. For Western societies, the Bible has served as the original and paradigmatic text—at least since the advent of Protestantism, the disappearance of an interceding glossa ordinaria, and the institutionalization of a vernacular. The ﬁrst circumscribed and self-standing system of meaning after antiquity that demanded to be widely read in Europe, it served as a model for all later ideas of textual analysis and became the basis for the theories of interpretation called hermeneutics.