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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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Improvisation is, simply put, being and living this very moment. No one can hide in music, and improvising in music is to be truly in this very moment and being completely yourself, with all your qualities and faults. It is probably the most honest state for a human being to be in.

– John McLaughlin in an interview with Daniel Fischlin.