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Seminar List Abstract Preparation Main Text
Many people think that composing and performing music is a primarily intuitive activity, and they may well be right; but what does this actually mean? Clearly, by the time you know how to do something well, like playing the piano, you don't have to think about where every finger goes at every point - you 'know' intuitively where it should go, and so you can spend more time 'thinking' about how the music should be 'interpreted'. From this perspective, the nuts and bolts of the performance is intuitive, but the interpretation is not - it's 'thoughtful' and 'considered'. But isn't 'interpretation' intuitive too? Don't performers, after a while, just 'know intuitively what makes a good interpretation? They presumably 'know' what makes a bad interpretation so they can avoid it. But then, might they not know intuitively if something is right, only to find that some critic or other thinks (knows) it's rubbish. This is a problem not just about what knowing is and whether one can know anything intuitively (if you do something intuitively, you experience it, don't you?), but about the validity of intuition from someone else's perspective. Isn't just 'knowing' something is right, even if everyone else thinks it wrong one of the signs of madness?
Main text (not usually available until after the lecture).