Approaches to Meaning in Music by Byron Almén, Edward Pearsall

By Byron Almén, Edward Pearsall

Approaches to which means in tune provides a survey of the issues and concerns inherent in pursuing which means and signification in tune, and makes an attempt to rectify the conundrums that experience plagued philosophers, artists, and theorists on account that the time of Pythagoras. This assortment brings jointly essays that replicate a number of different views on ways to musical which means. confirmed track theorists and musicologists hide issues together with musical element and temporality, college, borrowing and organization, musical symbols and artistic mythopoesis, the articulation of silence, the mutual interplay of cultural and music-artistic phenomena, and the research of gesture.

Contributors are Byron Almén, J. Peter Burkholder, Nicholas cook dinner, Robert S. Hatten, Patrick McCreless, Jann Pasler, and Edward Pearsall.

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In my view, concealed structures are not expendable components of music. On the contrary, they are part of the design of a piece and hence integral to one’s experience of it. Non-discursive music is silent, not inoperative. Silence not only clears the way for utterance by implying the presence of something not yet fully determined but also makes room for contemplative re®ection, thus constituting an interpretive space within which meaning can emerge. Understood in this way, silence in music is not only conveyed through the absence of sound or even the pause at the end of a musical statement or phrase (although pauses may take on this role in some instances) but also by means of a musical texture that lacks discursive intent.

Such directionless, unkinetic art, whether carefully contrived or created by chance, I . . call antiteleological art. ” For Kramer, anti-teleological events—or “nonlinear” events as he calls them—resist the sense of progression in music whereas linear events amplify music’s temporal unfolding. Nonlinear events, that is, seem to coalesce into a unitary object suspended in space, one whose component parts can be scrutinized in any order like the objects in a painting. This seems compatible with our cognitive experience of nonlinear music; as the repetitive features of the music come into focus, we begin to understand how its beginning connects to its end.

Seen in this light, the piece as a whole conveys a sense of estrangement re®ective in a broader sense, perhaps, of Bloch’s rejection of mainstream musical modernism. The following quote expresses Bloch’s intense views on this subject: “Serious” composers persist in the obsession with technique and procedure. They discuss and argue; they laboriously create their arbitrary, brain-begotten works, while the emotional element—the soul of art—is lost in the passion for mechanical perfection. Everywhere, virtuosity of means; everywhere, intellectualism exalted as the standard.

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