A specimen of 'performance' talk

Tue 17 Aug 2010 01:51 PM

I have argued in print that both the dated event of employing musical instruments (which is unrepeatable) and the sound structure (which can be recorded and reproduced) can reasonably be thought of as the performance, depending on context and purpose. The former sense is obvious, and the latter comes out when considering improvisation. In discussions of jazz, it is common to refer to recordings of particular sessions as 'performances' rather than as 'recordings of performances.'

In the paper, I offered one specimen of such a usage. I was pleased to see another in today's New York Times, where the headline reads Museum Acquires Storied Trove of Performances by Jazz Greats. The story is also pretty interesting.