© Michael Pipko 2017
The ontological status of musical works is a controversial topic among those in the field. This paper aims to argue for a nominalist and non-reductive approach to musical works that differentiates musical works from the sound structures commonly equated with them. The difference between sound structures and musical works is heavily emphasized and I conclude that musical works have emergent attributes sound structures do not. These attributes being creatability, fine individuation, and the inclusion of performance means. After establishing this I begin to build an argument for a nonreductive approach to musical works by rejecting the extreme view held by compositional nihilists. Once I establish that musical works are entities in our ontology I argue against them being abstract. I end by defending the nominalist approach.
Pipko, Michael (2017) "What is Music? The Ontological Status of Musical Works," Res Cogitans: Vol. 8: Iss. 1, Article 12. https://doi.org/10.7710/2155-4838.1172