Ontology is the study and investigation of the nature of existence, especially of what kinds of things exist, and related topics. Ontological questions in the philosophy of jazz are of the general form: WHAT is this? Does it exist or not? What are its features and properties?
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Andrew Kania, in his article, "Do Higher-Order Musical Ontologies Rest On A Mistake: A Reply to Lee Brown"starts by making an important distinction for ontologists: fundamental versus higher-order ontologies.
“Musical ontologists study the kinds of musical things there are—works, performances, recordings, and so on—and the relationships that hold between them. I have argued that there is a useful distinction to be drawn between two projects in this field. ‘Fundamental’ musical ontology is the study of the basic metaphysical categories into which musical entities fall. (This project usually takes works and performances of Western classical music, more or less broadly construed, and more or less explicitly, as its target.) ‘Higher-order’ musical ontology asks questions that can be answered independently of a fundamental musical-ontological theory, such as what conditions must be met in order for a performance to be of a given work.”
- Ontmusic00. Music Basics
- Ontmusic0. What is music?
- Ontmusic1. What is a musical work?
- Ontmusic2. Does jazz have/contain musical works?
- Ontmusic3. What is a song?
- Ontmusic4. Are musical works eternal types?
- Ontmusic5. When are two musical examples of the same song?
- Ontmusic6. What is a musical arrangement?
- Ontmusic7. What is a musical genre?
- Ontmusic8. What is a musical score?
- Ontmusic9. What is a musical performance?
- Ontmusic10. What is singing?
- Ontmusic11. What is sonicism?
- Ontmusic13. What is melody?
- Ontmusic14. Are musical works of a single kind?
- Ontmusic15. Are free improvisations best regarded as performances of ephemeral works?
- Ontmusic19. Is there more to a piece than its sound sequence?
- Ontmusic20. How are works specified by notations?
- Ontmusic21. Is everything recorded in the score work-identifying and, hence, required in an accurate performance?
- Ontmusic22. What conditions must be satisfied if a performance is to be of a particular piece?
- Ontmusic23. Can performances that sound different faithfully represent and be of a single work?
- Ontmusic24. Can performances that sound the same faithfully represent and be of different pieces?
- Ontmusic25. Can a performance simultaneously be of more than one work?
- Ontmusic14. Critique of Nelson Goodman's Perfection Requirement for song identity
- Ontmusic26. Critique of Nelson Goodman's Perfection Requirement for Song Identity
- Ontmusic15. Slow Music
- Ontmeta0. What is the philosophy of jazz?
- Ontmusic0. What is music?
- Ontmeta2. What is silence?
- Ontmeta3. What is noise?
- Ontmeta4. What is listening?
- Ontmeta5. Does jazz have emergent properties?
- Ontmeta6. What is sound?
- Ontimpr1. What is improvisation?
- Ontimpr2. Is the best improvisation inferior to the best composition?
- Ontimpr3. What is a mistake?
- Ontimpr4. On mistakes and improvisation
- Ontimpr5. Scientific investigations of improvisation
- Ontimpr6. Improvisation and Education
- Ontimpr7. Can Improvisation be taught?
- Ontpj1. What is a combo?
- Ontpj2. What is an orchestra?
- Ontpj3. What is a conductor and what does she do to conduct?
- Ontpj4. What is the ideal jazz musician like?
- Ontpj5. What is the jazz canon?
- Ontpj6. What differences and similarities exist between a solo performance and a group performance?
- Ontpj7. What is standard jazz harmony?
- Ontpj8. What intentions does a jazz improviser have?
- MetaA5. What is the language of jazz?
- MetaA6. Objections to jazz having or being a language
- Ontdef1. What is a definition?
- Ontdef2. Arguments for the impossibility of defining jazz
- Ontdef3. What is the definition of jazz?
- Ontdef4. Unhelpful definitions of jazz
- Ontdef5. Is free jazz jazz?
- Ontdef6. What are the differences between Dixieland and Bebop?
- Onttech1. What is the groove?
- Onttech2. What is swing?
- Onttech3. What are rhythm changes?
- Onttech4. What is a vocalization?
- Onttech5. What is scat singing?
Ontology: Types of Jazz & Related Musics
Internet Resources on Ontology
- On Ontology and Information Science, preprint version of chapter “Ontology," in L. Floridi (ed.), Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Computing and Information, Oxford: Blackwell, 2003, pp. 155–166.
- Andrew Kania, "New Waves in Musical Ontology" in K. Stock and K. Thomson-Jones (eds.), New Waves in Aesthetics, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, pp. 20–40. “‘Higher-order musical ontology’ is quite a mouthful, but acronymizing the phrase seems like a bad idea.”