Research Article

Interpretive Authenticity: Performances, Versions, and Ontology



Winner of the Fabian Dorsch ESA Essay Prize.

Julian Dodd defends the view that, in musical work-performance practice, interpretive authenticity is a more fundamental value than score compliance authenticity. According to him, compliance with a work’s score can be sacrificed in cases where it conflicts with interpretative authenticity. Stephen Davies and Andrew Kania reject this view, arguing that, if a performer intentionally departs from a work’s score, she is not properly instantiating that work and hence not producing an authentic performance of it. I argue that this objection fails. A detailed analysis of work-performance practice reveals, first, that the normative scope of interpretive authenticity encompasses the practice of composing musical versions and that, second, when performers sacrifice score compliance to maximize interpretive authenticity, they are performing the target work by means of performing a version of it. By means of the nested types theory, I then show how performances produced in this way can be properly formed instances, and hence authentic performances, of their target work.


musical worksperformancesauthenticityontology of musicnormativity
  • Year: 2022
  • Volume: 59 Issue: 2
  • Page/Article: 135–152
  • DOI: 10.33134/eeja.327
  • Submitted on 14 Feb 2022
  • Accepted on 8 Jul 2022
  • Published on 15 Sep 2022
  • Peer Reviewed