Musical similarity is defined in many ways, all of them imperfect.¬† Exactitude somehow defies the meaning of the word similarity‚Ä"a likeness without precise replication.¬† In practical use musical similarity is a¬† frequent consideration in music-copyright infringements suits.¬† Here we investigate reasons for the widening gap between legal understandings of musical similarity and findings in current research in music cognition.¬† These dichotomies are pertinent: (1) The confrontation between commercial definitions of musical content and the intellectual ones that are foundational in analytical and philosophical enquiries; (2) the inherent conflict between the musical work as defined in sound and in a written score; and (3) the missed opportunity for meaningful dialogue between prosecutors of high-profile cases in music-infringement and proponents of cognitive approaches to similarity studies.
Speaker: Eleanor Selfridge-Field, Stanford University
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