The musical work in cyberspace: some ontological and aesthetic implications

 Alessandro Arbo


The article examines some of the consequences of the migration of musical works in cyberspace, particularly with regard to their ways of being and the ways in which we listen to them. Streaming is interpreted as the last stage in the expansion of a phenomenon that arose with the advent of phonography, namely, the ubiquity and availability of the works. A new development consists in the production of musical units in modular terms: works can consist of independent parts, which can be replaced or constituted, in an order that depends on the user, taking inspiration from the model of the playlist. The diffusion of works on the web has also facilitated the development of the remix practice, changing listening standards and generating new conceptual conflicts concerning the identity of the works. The web weakens the distinction between the medium of communication and the medium of recording. It also favors the formation of new cognitive dispositions and generates more flexible and interactive ways of listening, generally different from those implicated in the era of the disc.


musical work; phonography; digital era; streaming; cyberspace; ontology

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