Rameau and Musical Thought in the Enlightenment
"Ranging widely over the musical and intellectual thought of the eighteenth century, Thomas Christensen orients Rameau's accomplishments in the light of contemporaneous traditions of music theory as well as many of the scientific ideas current in the French Enlightenment. Rameau is revealed to be an unsuspectedly syncretic and sophisticated thinker, betraying influences ranging from neoplatonic thought and Cartesian mechanistic metaphysics to Locke's empirical psychology and Newtonian experimental science. Additional primary documents and manuscripts (many revealed here for the first time) help clarify Rameau's fascinating and stormy relationship with the Encyclopedists: Diderot, Rousseau, and d'Alembert." "This book will be of value to all music theorists concerned with the foundations of harmonic tonality and it should also be of interest to scholars of eighteenth-century science, the Enlightenment, and the general history of ideas."--BOOK JACKET.
Jean Jacques Rousseau Politics art and autobiography
Bringing together critical assessments of the broad range of Rousseau's thought, with a particular emphasis on his political theory, this systematic collection is an essential resource for both student and scholar.
Chromatic Transformations in Nineteenth Century Music
David Kopp's book develops a model of chromatic chord relations in nineteenth-century music by composers such as Schubert, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann and Brahms. The emphasis is on explaining chromatic third relations and the pivotal role they play in theory and practice. The book traces conceptions of harmonic system and of chromatic third relations from Rameau through nineteenth-century theorists such as Marx, Hauptmann and Riemann, to the seminal twentieth-century theorists Schenker and Schoenberg and on to the present day. Drawing on tenets of nineteenth-century harmonic theory, contemporary transformation theory and the author's own approach, the book presents a clear and elegant means for characterizing commonly acknowledged but loosely defined elements of chromatic harmony, and integrates them as fully fledged entities into a chromatically based conception of harmonic system. The historical and theoretical argument is supplemented by plentiful analytic examples.
What is music, and why does it move us? From Pythagoras to the present, writers have struggled to isolate the essence of "pure" or "absolute" music in ways that also account for its profound effect. In Absolute Music: The History of an Idea, Mark Evan Bonds traces the history of these efforts across more than two millennia, paying special attention to the relationship between music's essence and its qualities of form, expression, beauty, autonomy, as well as its perceived capacity to disclose philosophical truths. The core of this book focuses on the period between 1850 and 1945. Although the idea of pure music is as old as antiquity, the term "absolute music" is itself relatively recent. It was Richard Wagner who coined the term, in 1846, and he used it as a pejorative in his efforts to expose the limitations of purely instrumental music. For Wagner, music that was "absolute" was isolated, detached from the world, sterile. His contemporary, the Viennese critic Eduard Hanslick, embraced this quality of isolation as a guarantor of purity. Only pure, absolute music, he argued, could realize the highest potential of the art. Bonds reveals how and why perceptions of absolute music changed so radically between the 1850s and 1920s. When it first appeared, "absolute music" was a new term applied to old music, but by the early decades of the twentieth century, it had become-paradoxically--an old term associated with the new music of modernists like Schoenberg and Stravinsky. Bonds argues that the key developments in this shift lay not in discourse about music but rather the visual arts. The growing prestige of abstraction and form in painting at the turn of the twentieth century-line and color, as opposed to object-helped move the idea of purely abstract, absolute music to the cutting edge of musical modernism. By carefully tracing the evolution of absolute music from Ancient Greece through the Middle Ages to the twentieth-century, Bonds not only provides the first comprehensive history of this pivotal concept but also provokes new thoughts on the essence of music and how essence has been used to explain music's effect. A long awaited book from one of the most respected senior scholars in the field, Absolute Music will be essential reading for anyone interested in the history, theory, and aesthetics of music.
Music Madness and the Unworking of Language
In the romantic tradition, music is consistently associated with madness, either as cause or cure. Writers as diverse as Kleist, Hoffmann, and Nietzsche articulated this theme, which in fact reaches back to classical antiquity and continues to resonate in the modern imagination. What John Hamilton investigates in this study is the way literary, philosophical, and psychological treatments of music and madness challenge the limits of representation and thereby create a crisis of language. Special focus is given to the decidedly autobiographical impulse of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, where musical experience and mental disturbance disrupt the expression of referential thought, illuminating the irreducible aspects of the self before language can work them back into a discursive system. The study begins in the 1750s with Diderot's Neveu de Rameau, and situates that text in relation to Rousseau's reflections on the voice and the burgeoning discipline of musical aesthetics. Upon tracing the linkage of music and madness that courses through the work of Herder, Hegel, Wackenroder, and Kleist, Hamilton turns his attention to E. T. A. Hoffmann, whose writings of the first decades of the nineteenth century accumulate and qualify the preceding tradition. Throughout, Hamilton considers the particular representations that link music and madness, investigating the underlying motives, preconceptions, and ideological premises that facilitate the association of these two experiences. The gap between sensation and its verbal representation proved especially problematic for romantic writers concerned with the ineffability of selfhood. The author who chose to represent himself necessarily faced problems of language, which invariably compromised the uniqueness that the author wished to express. Music and madness, therefore, unworked the generalizing functions of language and marked a critical limit to linguistic capabilities. While the various conflicts among music, madness, and language questioned the viability of signification, they also raised the possibility of producing meaning beyond significance.
Bach s Works for Solo Violin
J. S. Bach's sonatas and partitas for solo violin have been central to the violin repertoire since the mid-eighteenth century. This engaging volume is the first comprehensive exploration of the place of these works within Bach's music: it focuses on their structural and stylistic features as they have been perceived since their creation. Joel Lester, a highly regarded scholar, teacher, violinist, and administrator, combines an analytical study, a full historical guide, and an insightful introduction to Bach's style. Individual movements are related to comparable movements by Bach in other media and are differentiated from superficially similar works from later eras. Lester employs descriptions of historical and contemporary recordings, as well as accounts of nineteenth-century performances and commentaries on historical editions, to explore these works as they evolved through the centuries. Wherever possible, he uses analytic tools culled from eighteenth-century ideas, key notions originally developed for the specific purpose of describing the repertoire under consideration. Beginning with an overview of the solo violin music's place within Bach's oeuvre, this study takes the Sonata No. 1 in G minor as the paradigm of Bach's compositional strategy, examining each movement in detail before enlarging the discussion to cover parallel and contrasting features of the A-minor and C-minor sonatas. Next, a chapter is devoted to the three partitas and their roots in various dance-music traditions. The book concludes with a summary of form, style, and rhetoric in Bach's music, in which Lester muses on these masterpieces with an overall command of the music, criticism, and history of the 1700s that is quite rare among scholars. A novel and unprecedented investigation of a particular portion of Bach's accomplishment and a particular aspect of his universal appeal, Bach's Works for Solo Violin will help violinists, students, scholars, and other listeners develop a deeper personal involvement with these wonderful pieces.
This volume examines a fascinating dimension of J. S. Bach’s music: the crucial influence it has exerted upon the musical works of many other composers. In a series of articles by distinguished musicologists, compositions by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Hindemith, and others are considered in light of the ways in which they bear Bach’s unmistakable imprint. Ludwig Finscher opens with a survey of Bach’s influence through several centuries, examining his sway over composers from Mozart and Beethoven to Schumann, Wagner, and Reger. Thomas Christensen shows that various of Bach’s early disciples claimed authority from their master for opposing assessments of music and musical theory. Robert L. Marshall argues that Mozart’s intense involvement with Bach’s music probably occurred much earlier in his career than has generally been thought. William Kinderman demonstrates that Beethoven’s assimilation of Bach also occurred very early in his career and that all aspects of Beethoven’s mature style are heavily indebted to Bach. Walter Frisch reveals how Brahms’s absorption in Bach’s work involves a fruitful relation to cultural tradition. Steven Hinton traces Hindemith’s evolving—yet essentially consistent—understanding of Bach’s music. A work that subtly yet decisively traces Bach’s presence in the ongoing history of composition, this volume is an important contribution to our understanding of Bach and of his many eminent successors.
Out of Time
What does music have to say about modernity? How can this apparently unworldly art tell us anything about modern life? In Out of Time, author Julian Johnson begins from the idea that it can, arguing that music renders an account of modernity from the inside, a history not of events but of sensibility, an archaeology of experience. If music is better understood from this broad perspective, our idea of modernity itself is also enriched by the specific insights of music. The result is a rehearing of modernity and a rethinking of music - an account that challenges ideas of linear progress and reconsiders the common concerns of music, old and new. If all music since 1600 is modern music, the similarities between Monteverdi and Schoenberg, Bach and Stravinsky, or Beethoven and Boulez, become far more significant than their obvious differences. Johnson elaborates this idea in relation to three related areas of experience - temporality, history and memory; space, place and technology; language, the body, and sound. Criss-crossing four centuries of Western culture, he moves between close readings of diverse musical examples (from the madrigal to electronic music) and drawing on the history of science and technology, literature, art, philosophy, and geography. Against the grain of chronology and the usual divisions of music history, Johnson proposes profound connections between musical works from quite different times and places. The multiple lines of the resulting map, similar to those of the London Underground, produce a bewildering network of plural connections, joining Stockhausen to Galileo, music printing to sound recording, the industrial revolution to motivic development, steam trains to waltzes. A significant and groundbreaking work, Out of Time is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of music and modernity.
Spinoza Beyond Philosophy
These 10 engaging and original essays argue that Spinoza is the interdisciplinary thinker for our times. This book brings Spinoza outside the realm of academic philosophy, and presents him as a thinker who is relevant to contemporary problems and questions across a variety of disciplines. Discover how Spinoza's theory of bodies transforms our understanding of music, and how it grounds 'collective subjectivity' in contemporary politics. Learn how Spinoza's idea of freedom was instrumental to the Haitian revolution of 1791, and how it inspired Samuel Taylor Coleridge's prose and George Eliot's novels. Find out how early modern physics, contemporary architecture, and ecological activism can be rethought through Spinoza's theory of affectivity.
Music and the French Enlightenment
Around the middle of the eighteenth century, the leading figures of the French Enlightenment engaged in a philosophical debate about the nature of music. The principal participants-Rousseau, Diderot, and d'Alembert-were responding to the views of the composer-theorist Jean-Philippe Rameau, who was both a participant and increasingly a subject of controversy. The discussion centered upon three different events occurring roughly simultaneously. The first was Rameau's formulation of the principle of the fundamental bass, which explained the structure of chords and their progression. The second was the writing of the Encyclop?die, edited by Diderot and d'Alembert, with articles on music by Rousseau. The third was the "Querelle des Bouffons," over the relative merits of Italian comic opera and French tragic opera. The philosophes, in the typical manner of Enlightenment thinkers, were able to move freely from the broad issues of philosophy and criticism, to the more technical questions of music theory, considering music as both art and science. Their dialogue was one of extraordinary depth and richness and dealt with some of the most fundamental issues of the French Enlightenment. In the newly revised edition of Music and the French Enlightenment, Cynthia Verba updates this fascinating story with the prolific scholarship that has emerged since the book was first published. Stressing the importance of seeing the philosophes' writings in context of a dynamic dialogue, Verba carefully reconstructs the chain of arguments and rebuttals across which Rousseau, D'Alembert, and Diderot formulated their own evolving positions. A section of key passages in translation presents several texts in English for the first time, recapturing the tenor and tone of the dialogue at hand. In a new epilogue, Verba discusses important trends in new scholarship, tracing how scholars continue to grapple with many of the same fundamental oppositions and competing ideas that were debated by the philosophes in the French Enlightenment.