Music, sound, and aurality appear to be valuable for their inexhaustibility. With the notion of fiduciary aurality, we assess how this inexhaustibility is both mobilized and attenuated when music and sound are presumed to work on behalf of politics. In the early 1990s, critical musicology's appeal to the performative as embodied knowledge and a more recent “affective turn” reveals fiduciary aurality to rely on two posits: first, a quasi realism that links aurality with a given but unexamined and nonnegotiable object, and second, a relationality wherein aurality harnesses that object to procure a particular good for the listener. Linking these cases through Maurice Merleau-Ponty's late formulation of the perceptual faith, we consider how faith in aesthesis, music, and the scenification of aesthetic experiences structures music studies' political aspirations as fiduciary wagers.

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