RESEARCH & LEARNING ‣ Musical Performance: In Pursuit of a Collective Definition
Updated: Feb 28
In this research, Phil Cartwright proposes to come to terms with musical performance. An inclusive definition of musical performance is sought, which can provide a basis for further investigation into other issues concerning other disciplines within the performing arts. The authors feel compelled to propose an inclusive understanding of performance-as-event prior to pursuing other matters including meaning. The point of departure for this research is a sociological perspective (McCormick, 2006) in which musical performance is considered as a social process, and as such, a consequence of historical evolution of social structures leading to the modern social situation. The scholarship of Godlovitch (1993, 1998), Small (1998), Kivy (1995, 2002), and D. Davies (2011) are considered as are contributions of other researchers as deemed appropriate . Keeping in mind that the purpose of what follows is to bring to the surface key ideas from the literature, with apologies, the authors recognize that there are omissions. The paper reviews thought leadership focused on defining musical performance and concludes with a tentative definition.