Music and Meaning: Lean Production and Its Discontents

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In order to promote new ways of thinking about musical meaning, this volume brings together scholars in music theory, musicology, and the philosophy of music, disciplines generally treated as separate and distinct. This interdisciplinary collaboration, while respecting differences in perspective, identifies and elaborates shared concerns.This volume focuses on the many and various kinds of meaning in music. Do musical meanings exist exclusively in internal, formal musical relations or might they also be found in the relationship between music and other areas of experience, such as action, emotion, ideas, and values? Also discussed is the vexed question why people listen to and apparently enjoy music which expresses unpleasant emotions, such as melancholy or despair. Among the particular pieces the writers discuss are Mahler's Ninth Symphony, Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony, and Schubert's last sonata. More broadly, they consider the relation of musical meaning and interpretation to language, storytelling, drama, imagination, metaphor, and emotion.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This collection can be enthusiastically recommended to philosophers who want to hear some of the latest news from musicology."—British Journal of Aesthetics

"This excellent collection . . . is a humanistically rich, argumentatively subtle, and music-analytically accomplished volume, engendering a fuller awareness of the conceptual legacy of the Wagner-Hanslick debate that would place formal analysis in polemical opposition to narrative and emotive content, and taking a great stride towards overcoming that pernicious dichotomy. The book well deserves an enthusiastic recommendation to everyone desiring a fuller comprehension of the complexities of musical experience."—Garry L. Hagberg, Bard College, Philosophy in Review. February-December, 1999.

"Reading this book is a satisfying experience since it gives one the impression that progress is being made in the philosophy of music. . . . Scholars working in the philosophy of music will want to have a copy for ease of reference. . . . Libraries supporting research on aesthetics will need a copy."—James O. Young, University on Victoria, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801483677
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 826,901
  • Product dimensions: 5.99 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: New Ways of Thinking about Musical Meaning 1
2 Language and the Interpretation of Music 23
3 Listening with Imagination: Is Music Representational? 57
4 Musical Idiosyncrasy and Perspectival Listening 83
5 Music as Drama 105
6 Action and Agency in Mahler's Ninth Symphony, Second Movement 131
7 Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony and the Musical Expression of Cognitively Complex Emotions 154
8 What Schubert's Last Sonata Might Hold 179
9 Two Types of Metaphoric Transference 201
10 Music and Negative Emotion 215
11 Why Listen to Sad Music If It Makes One Feel Sad? 242
Index 255
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