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Abstract

A number of attempts have been made to construct a plausible ontology of rock music. Each of these ontologies identifies a single type of ontological entity as the “work” in rock music. Yet, all the suggestions advanced to date fail to capture some important considerations about how we engage with music of this tradition. This prompted Lee Brown to advocate a healthy skepticism of higher-order musical ontologies. I argue here that we should instead embrace a pluralist ontology of rock, an ontology that recognizes more than one kind of entity as “the work” in rock music. I contend that this approach has a number of advantages over other ontologies of rock, including that of allowing us to make some comparisons across ontological kinds.

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