Presentation on theme: "What is Musicology? 1. Part of Rethinking Music 2. Lecture series 3. Assignments."— Presentation transcript:
What is Musicology? 1. Part of Rethinking Music 2. Lecture series 3. Assignments
Cook’s Very Short Introduction to Musicology A book about thinking about music. A search for a common all embracing way of thinking and talking about music. Most musicology writing reflects the way music was in 19th century Europe. Credibility gap between music and how we think about it. Quote: Music isn't just something nice to listen to. On the contrary its deeply embedded in human culture... Music somehow seems to be natural, to exist as something apart - and yet it is suffused with human values, with our sense of what is good or bad, right or wrong. Music doesn't just happen, it is what we make it, and what we make of it. People think through music, decide whom they are through it, express themselves thought it.
Musical Values 1 Prudential Ad. c.1992. Cook deconstructs the ad to analyse the part (meaning) that music gives to it. Experiment in musical meaning. Rock stands for youth, freedom, being true to your self - authenticity. Classical music stands for maturity and responsibilities. Bond of youth created by 60s music. Bond is still there today, but much more subtle. Gulf between those in and out. Deciding which music to listen to is significant in deciding who you are.
Musical Values 2 Authenticity: Blues seen as expression of an oppressed race, a music from the heart of soul - in contrast to the starched formality of classical art music - imported from Europe. Analogy with Jean-Jaques Rousseau. The Ghost of Faffner Hall - Ry Cooder and virtuoso violinist Piginini. Importance of 50s and 60s commercialisation of black music for white audiences. Something dishonest in playing cover versions - exploitation of black originals - never got royalties. The Monkeys an example - hated as inauthentic. This attitude has changed with 90s – Example of The Pet Shop Boys. Rock musicians play live, create own music - control own destinies - Pop musicians puppets of music industry - lack authenticity. Authors placed above those who reproduce only. 1990s Pop re-issues look for masterwork status - critical writing looked for bands with new vision- genuine voice. Classical musicians - looked for great musician with personal vision - charismatic performer - great interpreters as `authors' judged with same value of authenticity. Books on music concentrate on composers- performers are largely absent - role of servants in Victorian society. Music must be authentic for otherwise it is hardly music at all.
Words and Music: We have inherited from the past a way of thinking about music that cannot do justice to the diversity of practices and experiences which that small word `music' signifies in today's world. 100 years ago music meant European art music - all the Bs – an approved corpus of musical works, specific to time and place. Comparison with 19th-century production of goods, musical culture a process of creating, distributing, and consuming works of music - concept of aesthetic capital. Parallel with GCSE music - composing, performing and appraising. Quote: the language of music assumes that musicianship is the preserve of specialists: that innovation is central; that the key players are composers; that performers are middlemen, apart from the exceptionally innovative, and listeners are consumers and passive. All these assumptions are unnatural constructs of culture and vary from time to time and place to place.
Back to Beethoven Back to Beethoven 19 th -century saw the capitalist model of society in full swing - a construct of bourgeois society. Artistic movements were dedicated to personal expression. Privileged role of music within Romanticism. Carl Dahlhouse. Finding your voice as a composer was defining yourself in relation to Beethoven. The role model – Bee. refused to take a salaried position, and wrote music he wanted to write – his music is experienced as speaking directly to listener as an individual. His deafness - acknowledged in his day as the greatest living composer. Critical commentary sought to explain Bee.'s music as demonstrating some kind of heroic plot - a self-portrait in music - to overcome the blow of his deafness. Romain Rolland book La vie de Beethoven 1907- held up Bee as a model for less heroic age. Joy through suffering
The Beethoven Myth 1 The Beethoven cult - ideas embedded in thinking about music came out of ferment of ideas that surrounded reception of Bee's music. Ideas of authenticity - power of music to transcend time and space. Centrality of composer - performer and listener given a minor role. Appreciation of music - something taught as the basis of class teaching in music at school level - strong in American liberal arts courses. How to listen - attentively, respectful detached manner, informed with knowledge. Today listening is linked back into composing and performing.
The Beethoven Myth 2 His deafness - misunderstood genius whose music was not valued in day. Music as `aesthetic capital’ - role of his music after death. Concept of the `Musical museum’ in which works of past to displayed as an imaginary permanent collection. Great music to be played long after death. Bee’s music has always been performed - hence classical like Greek and Roman art - a universal standard of truth. Spirit Realm – Heinrich Schenker (teacher in Vienna 1900-30) music an incursion into a world of some higher form of reality. The composer speaks with voice of nature, and ultimately of God. Music is a window on an esoteric world beyond ordinary knowledge – back to pythagoras - resulting in acts of revelation. Concert halls were cathedrals for music cult with all its own rites - dress and etiquette, memorisation - possessed with spirit music. Provided an alternative route to spiritual consolation - art-religion. The word was banished - symphony wins over opera.
State of Crisis by the end of the 20 th century Musical culture of early 20th cent had moved on - but our ways of thinking about music had not. Music now a Global resource - internet. 19th century piano and sheet music were still central. Difference between 19 and 20th century mindsets. High and low art. According to 19 th century mind-set high equals all the Bs and low everything else. Most music history books tell story of Western art music with possibly a chapter or two on popular music (Jazz?), and non-western music gets a mention at beginning. Old thinking thought that Western music equals progress. But a sea change since 1980s
Death and Transfiguration. Death and Transfiguration. Audience statistics for many concerts are now very low – especially for early 20th century music The new language of 12-tone music – the new tonality – of modern music became ghettoized. Schoenberg thought people would eventually learn to like it. Failure of modern music of early 20th century. Plurality of subcultures that has replaced the monolithic. Modern music a niche product that flourishes on fringes. Classical music also a niche but a much larger one. E.g. Classic FM. If there is a crisis in classical music it is not in music itself, but in ways of thinking about it.
Old habits that are ingrained and inform the way we think about music : Old habits that are ingrained and inform the way we think about music : to explain away time and think of music as an imaginary object - something which is in time but not of time. to think of language and other forms of cultural representation, including music, as if they depicted some kind of external reality.
Music as an imaginary object. Music as an imaginary object. You cannot grasp music. What are crotchet's and quavers for? 1. conservation 2. communication 3. conception - the way composers, performers and all others imagine or think about music. Egyptian example of wanting to preserve everything. 1. Old notation does not tell all. 2. Problems of nuematic notation. 3. Example of castrati recording. If we don't know how music sounded at beginning of century, how can we for much earlier music. Notation conserves music but it conceals as music as it reveals.
Two ways of notating music: 1. representing sounds 2. representing things performers do to get sounds 1. is Western, but only if you know the conventions. Many elements not included. 2. is tablature. you don't have to understand you just do. But limited to just one instrument. Problem of sheet music for popular music - written by non-literate musicians. So many musicians move effortlessly between pop and classical traditions.
Music between the notes Musical notations are highly selective in what they record - contrast with DAT recorders and samplers. Ethnomusicologists using staff notation for non-western music. Staff notation treats all music as though it was producing distinct separate notes - it's not. But staff notation distorts all music - including western music - you have to know the tradition and context for it to work. Notations have to simplify - melograph of Charles Seeger - not used. Tablature of chinese qin does not notate rhythm. It is in the realm of communication that western notation really scores (pun) transmits a way of thinking about music.
Master of Smallest Link The pattern of what is determined by notation and what isn't (performer's interpretation) helps to define musical culture - how various individuals relate to one another. How people imagine music within a given culture and how composers conceive their music. Notation is profoundly implicated in the act of composition. Mozart and Bee comparison - could see their music at a glance (fundamental idea that was never lost sight of) - as complete entity. Pretended that notation was not integral to compositional process. But - this idealised process is a sham, as revealed in Bee’s sketch books - this idea represents how 19 th -century composers ought to have composed. Key role of piano in composition of 19th century.
The paradox of music Hermeneutics - developing illuminating metaphors to describe individual compositions - implying it sought out meaning in music. When music moves (up or down on stave) what moves – nothing - thus an imaginary object. We experience music in time, but to manipulate it or to understand it, we pull it out of time and falsify it. The musical museum is built out of a confusion of imaginary objects and temporal experiences. – 1. Musical works not the experiences but their surrogates – 2. Dawkins idea of great musical works not as stepping stones but the conception and perception of the works as the stepping stones - this is the historical process.
A matter for Representation A matter for Representation Language constructs rather than represents the reality - hermeneutic criticism. But music is a part of the social structure. An inclusive approach to Music is what is now needed. Political significance of Nkosi Sikelel Africa - takes into account performance traditions. Western art music is not typical in trying to defy time, and create these impossible objects - musical works. The artistic vision of classical aesthetics is exclusive - masterwork, intrinsic and eternal – e.g. Hammerclavier – it expelled the amateur. But an approach based on the activity of music - composing, performing, listening - is more inclusive. History books concentrate on production not reception. Need a balance of both approaches.
Music and the Academy Music and the Academy Kerman's book of 1985 Contemplating Music - a social history of musicology was an attack on current state of musicology. He advocated a critical approach to the discipline - not the prevailingly unreflective or positivist approach. Difference between what musicology means in Am and Brit/Aust. Problems of authority in music the preserve of Academies - producing authoritative versions - but did not go on to critically engage with work. Historical contextualising needed to connect with the music as music.
And how to get out of the crisis 1. Historical performance movement - musicologist had a real contribution. What authenticity meant to them. But then historical performance referred to the approach you brought to music - how composer intended it? But it put performance at centre of activity. 2. Contribution of ethnomusicologists was `to get real’ - had to be self-critical - political situations of real importance. e.g. Beta Israel communities of Africa/Ethiopia.
Music and Gender Music and Gender Part of the repositioning of Academies and critical theory. Used to placing theory above practice. Music education a battle ground. The key area in the repositioning was gender studies. Study of music (composer dominated) appeared to be without wome. New ways of writing on music had to be developed that recognize the activities of women.
Outing Music Work of Susan McClary - Bee as rape - first theme imposes its key on the second. Schubert a composer of gay music? The myth of pure music passes off male heterosexual values as universal while pretending that gender does not come into it. The `new' Musicology - central to this is rejection of music's claim to be autonomous of the world around it and in particular to provide direct, unmediated access to absolute values of truth and beauty. The new Musicology aims to expose ideology and demonstrate that music is replete with social and political meaning - worldly. Example of Schuman's song cycle Frauenliebe und leben in the context of a performance of the time - Performative meaning.
Conclusion Conclusion Music not a phenomenon of the natural world but a human construction - artifice disguised as nature. End with Prudential ad. - so much of the message comes from the music - makes it seem natural. Music has unique powers as an agent of ideology. We need to understand its workings, not just to hear music. Read it for its significance as an intrinsic part of culture - of society of you and me.
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