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The Musical Work: Reality or Invention?Reality or Invention?$
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Michael Talbot

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780853238256

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846313615

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‘The Work’: An Evaluative Charge

‘The Work’: An Evaluative Charge

(p.153) 7 ‘The Work’: An Evaluative Charge
The Musical Work: Reality or Invention?

Philip Tagg

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the etymological and semantic ramifications of the term ‘work’ and argues that its use, within European music, is linked to the values of one particular ‘community of aesthetic taste’, the main reference point of which is Germany's bourgeois culture of the nineteenth century. Practitioners, devotees and scholars of modern popular music reject the work-concept not only because the ‘object’ is itself taxonomically resistant, but also because of their desire to identify with different, autonomous communities of taste. The chapter considers cultural pluralism within a class-based society and the notion of a musical work in the framework of popular music.

Keywords:   Germany, musical work, bourgeois culture, aesthetic taste, popular music, work-concept, cultural pluralism

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