Music Matters: A New Philosophy of Music Education

By David J. Elliott | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Musical Works

Listening for musical performances involves thinking and knowing in relation to several simultaneous dimensions of musical information. Thus, musical works may be conceived as thought generators--as intentionally constructed challenges to our powers of consciousness.

In Chapter 4 I introduced three dimensions of musical information that are part of every musical work: (1) the musical performance-interpretation dimension, (2) the musical design dimension, and (3) the practice-specific dimension of shared musical standards and traditions. In this chapter I explain why some musical works may involve additional dimensions.

1. Form-Content Relationships

In discussions of musical works, the terms form and content refer to the ways in which musical patterns are organized (or formed) in relation to each other (intramusically), in relation to other musical works (intermusically), and in relation to other human interests.

Several factors predict that music makers around the world will organize musical works in more than one way. The first factor is the human tendency to make values of necessities: the tendency to emphasize, extend, or elaborate common needs, actions, and occurrences. This tendency suggests that in addition to purely musical sound patterns, the sounds of everyday existence (e.g., speaking sounds, working sounds) will likely become part of the content of some musical works. The second factor is the wide range of things people can do with sounds intermusically, intramusically, and in relation to all other human interests. This factor suggests that musicians will sometimes link musical patterns to a variety of cultural and personal concerns, including religious, moral, technological, practical, political, and historical ideas or events. The next factor involves the related human tendencies to pursue enjoyment and self-knowledge. These tendencies predict that musicians will often push the limits of composing, improvising, or performing in terms of


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Music Matters: A New Philosophy of Music Education


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 386

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?