Digital Commons@RISD Home > Division of Liberal Arts > Contemporary Aesthetics (Journal Archive) > Vol. 15 (2017)
Philosophical discussion of artistry in performance has focused on the relation of performers to musical works and to their instruments. But an important domain of musical artistry is social, relating musicians to their fellows in performing groups. This “socio-musical” artistry contributes to the artistic accomplishments of performing groups as a whole. I identify two distinct kinds of socio-musical artistry, and discuss some of the ways in which different forms of group organization articulate different possibilities for their exercise. Finally, I discuss at some length the extreme case of a performing role that is purely socio-musical, that of the orchestral conductor. I discuss both discontinuities and some subtle and extensive continuities between the conductor’s role and the musical roles of instrumentalists and singers, with the aim of situating this purely socio-musical activity in relation to musical performing more generally.