Musical Ontology: A View through Improvisation

  • Alessandro Bertinetto Università di Udine
Parole chiave: Philosophy of Music, Musical Ontology, Musical Performance, Improvisation, Aesthetics



A large part of the ontology of music is formalistic and objectivistic: it regards musical works as kinds of objects, whether abstract or concrete, which are to be understood as formal structures. The problem with this view is that this is not enough to explain our musical experience: music is not only heard and understood in terms of objects, facts or structures, but also in terms of events, activities or processes, that take place or occur here and now.

In this paper I will offer a programmatic hint of how musical ontology can accommodate this ordinary intuition. In order to do that, I will take into consideration the practice of musical improvisation. The focus on improvisation, instead of on works, is useful to reshape the discourse of musical ontology in non-formalistic and non-objectivist terms.


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Biografia autore

Alessandro Bertinetto, Università di Udine

Alessandro Bertinetto is assistant professor at the University of Udine since september 2009. He has been DAAD Fellow at the University of Munich, Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the FU Berlin and researcher at Erraphis (Toulouse). He has been awarded scholarhips also at the universities of Heidelberg, Munich, Vienna, Autónoma de Madrid, and Murcia. He has been visiting professor a the universities of Madrid Complutense, Murcia, Toulouse, Luxembourg, and Valencia. He is member of the Executive Committee of the European Society for Aesthetics and of the Scientific Board of the International Philosophy Colloquia Evian as well as of several philosophical societies and international research centres.

He attended to more then 100 national and international conferences (including the meetings of the European Societies of Aesthetics, The American Society of Aesthetics, Die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ästhetik, The International Aesthetics Association), organized the Conference 2010 of the European Society for Aestetics (Udine, Italy, may 2010) and teamed up with the organizers of  the V Mediterranean Congress of Aesthetics (Cartagena, Spain, 2011). He also organized two workshops at the Universitity of Udine (2012 and 2013) and the Conference “Imagination and Performativity” (Bruxelles, 2013).

His research interests include philosophy of music, German idealism, theory of image, history of aesthetics, both analytic and continental aesthetics & philosophy of art. His most recent work (Il pensiero dei suoni. Milano, Bruno Mondadori, 2012) engages with the philosophy of music. His current project focuses on the aesthetics of improvisation.