Reconceptualising Musical Treasures in Italy, the EU and the World: The Functional Legacy of Performativity

Vecellio Segate, Riccardo (2019) "Reconceptualising Musical Treasures in Italy, the EU and the World: The Functional Legacy of Performativity", Art Antiquity and Law, 24(3), pp.199-222.

Posted: 21 Jan 2020

Date Written: October 1, 2019

Abstract

Musical instruments occupy a unique place in the cultural heritage constellation, and yet, neither scholarly literature nor legislative texts take account of this unique status. In particular, movable instruments are considered as a- stand-alone category for export purposes, whereas a fairer approach would call into consideration their performative potential and artistic history. A violin which is not played is worth only part of its artistic potential, and along analogous lines, a violin which is played in a out-of-context manner does not fulfill the promises it was crafted for. An instrument’s links to its reference community of composers, interpreters, listeners, artisans and intellectuals should be factored in when it comes to deciding whether a musical treasure is worth more leaving a country or remaining therein. On top of this, the law should refrain from perpetuating a dichotomy — that between tangible and intangible heritage — which is at best simplistic and, regarding music, decidedly unhelpful. The more the link of a musical treasure to a country is genuine and time-proof, and the more precious and playable that instrument is, the more such a treasure should be allowed to circulate, by reason of joint cultural and economic arguments. The true specificity of this cultural heritage category should be met with policy special care in all relevant scenarios, including appropriation by former colonies and regime conflicts with, for example, environmental or private property law.

Keywords: intangible cultural heritage, cultural heritage law, music performativity, music instruments, UNESCO Convention, soft law, museum studies, music instrumentality, public international law, EU law, Italian law

JEL Classification: K11, K19, K33, K39, K40, K41, K49, I28

Suggested Citation

Vecellio Segate, Riccardo, Reconceptualising Musical Treasures in Italy, the EU and the World: The Functional Legacy of Performativity (October 1, 2019). Vecellio Segate, Riccardo (2019) "Reconceptualising Musical Treasures in Italy, the EU and the World: The Functional Legacy of Performativity", Art Antiquity and Law, 24(3), pp.199-222., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3486028

Riccardo Vecellio Segate (Contact Author)

University of Macau, Faculty of Law ( email )

Macau

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