Music and law are closely related to one another, because of their common textuality and subsequent necessity for performance. Experts of both disciplines give performance to a text, solving interpretation problems and choosing the appropriate meaning for the text itself. Judges and lawyers, on one hand, and musical performers, and choir and orchestra conductors, on the other, in trying to resolve interpretation problems, have devised specific strategies, which present interesting common features. Therefore it is possible to highlight analogies and differences between interpretation theories pertaining to the judicial and the musical field, gathering these theories in branches. Indeed, the judicial interpretation theories of formalism, purposivism, doctrinalism, and developmentalism can be compared, respectively, with the musical interpretation theories of historicism, intentionalism, traditionalism and modernism.
The adoption of a specific interpretation theory in the judicial or musical
field must be legitimated by public consent, because law and music are both
related to a specific society, and must reflect this society’s thoughts and
values. This legitimation is necessary above all in those cases in which
specific interpretations have wide political repercussions. This occurs, for
instance, in the decisions of the United States Supreme Court, which can
interpret the Constitution and its Amendments in a broad or in a narrow
sense, extending or vice versa reducing the range of civil rights.
This article aims to highlight the analogies between judicial and musical
interpretation theories, allowing experts and audience to keep a distance
from the most controversial points, learning from each other, and achieving
a shared understanding of their roles and duties in the society they live
|Keywords:||Judicial Interpretation, Musical Performing Practice, Strict Constructionism, Textualism, Original Meaning, Historicism, Purposivism, Intentionalism, Doctrinalism, Traditionalism, Developmentalism, Modernism|
Graduate, Faculty of Law, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
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