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What Has Mozart to Do with Coltrane?: The Dynamism and Built-in Flexibility of Music

Cynthia R. Nielsen

Abstract


Although contemporary Western culture and criticism has usually valued composition over improvisation and placed the authority of a musical work with the written text rather than the performer, this essay posits these divisions as too facile to articulate the complex dynamics of making music in any genre or form. Rather it insists that music should be understood as pieces that are created with specific intentions by composers but which possess possibilities of interpretation that can only be brought out through performance.

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