This article examines the relationship between authority and music. It starts with the proposition that music—as an art or an educative enterprise in Western environs—remains a highly idealized enterprise and this idealization creates an alibi for action that is characteristically narrow and guided by authority. Schmidt claims that authority is the false alibi of music, arguing that the naturalizing power of authority limits the manner in which music is perceived and facilitates a narrow engagement with its teaching. Central here is the significant capital that is produced toward establishing an acquisitive frame for teaching and learning—where to know is to acquire—and thus creates an alibi for individuals to be schooled by narrow understandings. Realizing that this is a most complex and even worn-out issue, the article offers a provocation and thus an invitation toward further reflection and future action. Schmidt offers the notion of complex texts, such as pedagogy, suggesting that they may carry with them an interesting entry-point for raising the valance of variability in our musical practices. Derrida is used to construct said provocation, particularly his proposition that a text is always already incomplete and imbued by supplement; that is, any text requires our interaction and contribution.


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pp. 8-23
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