November 26 Readings/Class Notes – History
Hegemony of Social Groups – Two sorts of answers.
1. Essentialist view: locates the causes of dominance in the nature of the
2. Social Constructivist: located in the social structures and relations that
govern the contexts.
Why have there been no “great” women composers? Women had to be
subordinate to men regardless of their talents and abilities.
“lady composer” - separates women's efforts from male composers
Composers of our time are no longer ignored, and women could be emerging from
– Return to beginning actually is a regression back to its own beginning – an
undifferentiated place than where it came from.
– Desire for cadential arrival built up over development arrives.
– The mix of desire and violence forms a kind of pleasure by fulfilling the
demands of the formal structure.
– Beethoven follows conventional sonata form, but also raises them to a
higher level of violence. Successors heard his composition, and could not
get enough of it.
Post-Renaissance Western Music
– Climax-principle has been given the status of value-free universal form.
Rarely viewed as sexual
– In contrast – Genesis II by Janika Vandervelde – erotic image of sustained
pleasure instead of desire for an explosive conclusion. Aggressive string
parts provide a phallic image
– Vandervelde has not only revealed sexually violent and “value-free forms”,
nor has she introduced a woman's perspective... she has accomplished an
approach to composition that allows her to expressively go against the
traditions, question its motives from the inside, and imagine other theories
and perspectives from that point of view.
Musicology in the Postmodern World
teleological: of or relating to goals and ends. - works towards something eg.
Teleological view of history – concerned with how facts relate to what is happening
at the end – something develops towards a goal.
How does postmodernism argue against a teleological interpretation of history?
Beethoven’s Ninth Peter Tregear, on the many performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony:
“We may reside in a postmodern realm of cynical detachment from the
grand aesthetic narratives of old, but when we want to dignify an occasion,
the old ideas about the power of music, and Beethoven’s in particular, seem
effortlessly to reassert themselves.”
From your reading, the Viennese coax Beethoven into premiering his work in
“[…] for although Beethoven’s name and creations belong to all
contemporaneous humanity and every country which opens a susceptible
bosom to art, it is Austria which is best entitled to claim him as her own.”
- Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven's art were in danger of being buried by Italian
opera – they wanted Beethoven's music to be performed
Grand Aesthetic Narratives of Old: Universal Values + Progress
– Each century believes their time was better – a sense of progress that
things are getting better eg. Monetary wealth, political freedom, individual rights?
– There is a sense that there is progress in history