At the beginning of his career in the 1920s, Adorno sketched a planto write a major work on the theory of musical reproduction, a taskhe returned to time and again throughout his career but nevercompleted. The choice of the word reproduction as opposed tointerpretation indicates a primary supposition: that there is aclearly defined musical text whose precision exceeds what isvisible on the page, and that the performer has the responsibilityto reproduce it as accurately as possible, beyond simply playingwhat is written. This task, according to Adorno, requires adetailed understanding of all musical parameters in theirhistorical context, and his reflections upon this task lead to afundamental study of the nature of notation and musical sense.
In the various notes and texts brought together in Towards aTheory of Musical Reproduction, one finds Adorno constantlycircling around an irresolvable paradox: interpretation can onlyfail the work, yet only through it can musics true essence becaptured. While he at times seems more definite in hispronouncement of a musical scores absolute value just as a book isread silently, not aloud his discourse repeatedly displays hisinability to cling to that belief. It is this quality ofuncertainty in his reflections that truly indicates the scope ofthe discourse and its continuing relevance to musical thought andpractice today.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
On Richard Wagner's 'Uber das Dirigieren'.
Concerning the Older Material.
AdAancient Musical Notation.
Notes Taken After the Darmstadt Lecture.
Structural Keywords for chapters 2, 4 and 5 of the Draft.
Material for the Reproduction Theory.
Keywords for the 1954 Darmstadt Seminar.
Index of Names.