Performers and musical texts –a controversial relationship


  • Professor PhD Adriana Bera “Gheorghe Dima” National Academy of Music Cluj-Napoca



performer, musical text, composer, faithfulness, Werktreue, creativity, research, analysis


The present study departs from the debates caused by the idea of performers’ faithfulness to composers’ intentions in the context of Western-European type academic music. In the musicological research of the past three decades there appeared significant changes in approaching the relationship between performers and musical texts, which I set out to comment from a performer’s perspective. I wish to outline a few answers to questions posed by the desideratum of faithful interpretation in the performing act of composers’ intentions:
are musical texts faithful mirrors of the works conceived by composers? To whatextent can performers know composers’ intentions from reading musical texts?
what is the degree of freedom that performers can assume in interpreting musical textsnoted by composers? To what extent are the two requirements of the performing act –respecting composers’ intentions and being creative – compatible?
what does performers’ creativity consist of and how is it manifested?
Departing from the premise that the analysis of the relation between composition and research in performing a musical work can supply us with some answers to these questions, I set out to prove that:
performers can be creative without encroaching on composers’ copyright;
the analysis of musical texts opens a wide field for performers, in which their creativity can be manifested by knowing and observing the laws governing the make-up of the performed work.



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