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Paradigms, Politics and Persuasion: Sociological Aspects of Musical Controversy

  • Martin Brody
  • Allan Janik
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 114)

Abstract

Musical composition is unquestionably difficult to discuss apart from the context of the language of technical musical analysis. It is all the more difficult to discuss to the extent that composers become champions of opposing styles. Moreover, we can never be certain that a composer’s style (of composition) is consonant with his verbal statements about music. Thus controversies between composers may appear particularly complex and irrational. We wish to reconsider the nature of representative statements of composers and music theorists — both in their informal manifestations (composers criticizing each other’s work) and in their supposedly more rigorous applications, i.e., in the interpretive apparatuses of contemporary music theory. We intend to focus our discussion on musical controversy in order to demonstrate one central contention — that controversies in music inherently involve verbal discourse and that this discourse has a life of its own, at once independent of and contingent upon the music it describes. Moreover, verbal discourse about music profoundly influences future practitioners of musical composition and shapes our understanding of the music of the past. Of course, a composer may “respond” to a piece of music by composing another piece of music, and these two pieces may be understood as representative of “competitive aesthetics”.

Keywords

Cluster Concept Measure Phrase Musical Composition Interpretive Strategy Music Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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    Our discussion of the work of Hauer will be necessarily elliptical. The theorist-composer developed his ideas in numerous studies (for example, Zwölftontechnik: die Lehre von den Tropen Vienna, 1926). A brief consideration of Hauer’s theory is presented in George Perle, Twelve-Tone Tonality (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1977), p. 1–4.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Brody
  • Allan Janik

There are no affiliations available

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