Towards a Theory of Musical Reproduction / Edition 1

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Overview

At the beginning of his career in the 1920s, Adorno sketched a plan to write a major work on the theory of musical reproduction, a task he returned to time and again throughout his career but never completed. The choice of the word reproduction as opposed to interpretation indicates a primary supposition: that there is a clearly defined musical text whose precision exceeds what is visible on the page, and that the performer has the responsibility to reproduce it as accurately as possible, beyond simply playing what is written. This task, according to Adorno, requires a detailed understanding of all musical parameters in their historical context, and his reflections upon this task lead to a fundamental study of the nature of notation and musical sense.

In the various notes and texts brought together in Towards a Theory of Musical Reproduction, one finds Adorno constantly circling around an irresolvable paradox: interpretation can only fail the work, yet only through it can musics true essence be captured. While he at times seems more definite in his pronouncement of a musical scores absolute value just as a book is read silently, not aloud his discourse repeatedly displays his inability to cling to that belief. It is this quality of uncertainty in his reflections that truly indicates the scope of the discourse and its continuing relevance to musical thought and practice today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Towards a Theory of Musical Reproduction addresses the dialectical relation between the musical score (inscription) and its realized sound (performance), the two elements meeting in an act of interpretation, so as to produce what Adorno several times calls the x-ray image of the work, the subcutaneous depth that lies beyond surface manifestation. Adorno's concern is how music means, better how it is made meaningful. The book is a fragment, a set of extensive notes; what survives - more than 200 print pages - is nonetheless very considerable. Adorno's comments and commentaries, invariably aphoristic, are filled with insight and, into the bargain, are richly provocative and commonly provoking."

Richard Leppert, University of Minnesota

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745631998
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/28/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Theodor W. Adorno is the progenitor of critical theory, a central figure in aesthetics, and the century's foremost philosopher of music. He was born and educated in Frankfurt, Germany. After completing his Ph.D. in philosophy, he went to Vienna, where he studied composition with Alban Berg. He soon was bitterly disappointed with his own lack of talent and turned to musicology. In 1928 Adorno returned to Frankfurt to join the Institute for Social Research, commonly known as The Frankfurt School. At first a privately endowed center for Marxist studies, the school was merged with Frankfort's university under Adorno's directorship in the 1950s. As a refugee from Nazi Germany during World War II, Adorno lived for several years in Los Angeles before returning to Frankfurt. Much of his most significant work was produced at that time. Critics find Adorno's aesthetics to be rich in insight, even when they disagree with its broad conclusions. Although Adorno was hostile to jazz and popular music, he advanced the cause of contemporary music by writing seminal studies of many key composers. To the distress of some of his admirers, he remained pessimistic about the prospects for art in mass society. Adorno was a neo-Marxist who believed that the only hope for democracy was to be found in an interpretation of Marxism opposed to both positivism and dogmatic materialism. His opposition to positivisim and advocacy of a method of dialectics grounded in critical rationalism propelled him into intellectual conflict with Georg Hegel, Martin Heidegger, and Heideggerian hermeneutics.
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Table of Contents

Editor's Foreword.

Translator's Introduction.

Notes I.

Ad Dorian.

On Richard Wagner's 'Uber das Dirigieren'.

Concerning the Older Material.

AdAancient Musical Notation.

Notes Taken After the Darmstadt Lecture.

Notes II.

Draft.

Structural Keywords for chapters 2, 4 and 5 of the Draft.

Material for the Reproduction Theory.

Two Schemata.

Keywords for the 1954 Darmstadt Seminar.

Notes.

Bibliography.

Index of Names.

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