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Play of Meaning and the Meaning of Play in Jazz, The

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Trumpeter Don Cherry was fond of saying that 'there is nothing more serious than fun'. And philosopher Hans Georg Gadamer (1993, p.102) seems to echo his words when he writes: 'Seriousness is not merely something that calls us away from play; rather, seriousness in playing is necessary to make the play wholly play'. Individuals, communities and cultures the world over delight in the play of musical sound and debate its play of meanings. For specialists, musical discussion often hinges on cryptic symbols and impenetrable codes, but for everyone, understanding music relies on basic cognitive and social processes. By musicking together -- to borrow Christopher Smalls' (1998) evocative phrase for taking part in any way in musical activity -- we bond with one another and create shared meanings. We also define or express ourselves within and against a musical community and a historical and cultural tradition.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Music Department, University of California at san Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093-0326, USA., Email: dborgo@ucsd.edu

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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