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RESEARCH ‣ 'Meaning of Performance' Research by Cartwright and Nevoina

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

Recent research by Phillip Cartwright and Karolina Nevoina presents work in progress focused on bridging philosophical perspectives on “musical performance” with a practical understanding based on empirical evidence. Broadly, this research proposes to address the research question “What is musical performance?” The question might well be challenged as either mundane or pretentious depending on a reader’s interest and familiarity with the related subject matter. It might be argued that the question can be answered by reference to a dictionary. On second thought, when one refers to musical performance, or more likely, a musical performance, does the intended audience understand the meaning of the referent? A review of the literature on and related to musical performance can leave a researcher wondering what meaning one intends. The literature is quite broad and deep in providing perspectives on the meaning of musical performance, but there appears to be research space available for connecting what has been written along philosophical or theoretical lines with what performing artists themselves have in mind.

This working paper is both a review and a pilot study. It is a review in that this research draws on the many insights offered by scholars in the past and present. It is a pilot project in that preliminary insights from both interview and survey research are in the hope that this work will contribute to closing the theory-practice chasm and provide the basis for ongoing research.

View the research paper at


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