Music and Context
November 8, 2012
What is “Context”?
Text is the object of study: the owrds or notes on the page, the translation of those symbols
into sound – but removed from everything else, including its cultural environment
Con-: everything that goes with it, relates to it, causes it, is affected by it – economics,
politics, religion, changing social roles of musicians, technological developments, music in
Every time you listen to a piece of music, the context has changed.
M. Praetorius, In dulci jubilo, for 5 choirs
Was meant to be performed with 5 choirs
In a live setting one would hear each choir from different points of the room
o This is removed when you listen to a studio recording
Bach, Brandenburg Converto Nr. 5, 1 movement (1723)
Harpsichord was typically used for accompaniment
Mozart ( 1756-91) was a child prodigy.
Beethoven (1770-1827) became deaf.
He had contemplated suicide but decided to live on for his music.
Became recluse from paranoia from what others might say about him
Considered himself an artist and therefore superior
Beethoven, Symphony Nr. 3 in E-Flat (1803)
o Was supposed to be for Napoleon