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Performing Works of Music Authentically



This paper argues that, within the Western ‘classical’ tradition of performing works of music, there exists a performance value of authenticity that is distinct from that of complying with the instructions encoded in the work's score. This kind of authenticity—interpretive authenticity—is a matter of a performance's displaying an understanding of the performed work. In the course of explaining the nature of this norm, two further claims are defended: that the respective values of interpretive authenticity and score compliance can come into conflict; and that when this happens, compromising ideal score compliance for the sake of making the performance more interpretively authentic can make for a better performance.