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Fission and Fusion: From Improvisation to Formalism in Law and Music

Desmond Manderson

Published: 2010-05-06

Law and classical music are both performative disciplines. Both became concerned with practices of textual interpretation, and with questions of the authority of those texts and the legitimacy of those interpretations. But exactly how did that happen, and with what social consequences? This article explores the relationship between law and music across the centuries.

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Listening itself, an improvisative act engaged in by everyone, announces a practice of active engagement with the world, where we sift, interpret, store and forget, in parallel with action and fundamentally articulated with it ("Mobilitas Animi" 113).

– George E. Lewis