November 30 Readings/Class Notes – History
1. What attitudes might a person or culture hold? (gender, class, sexual
preference, race, politics?)
If not in this, in what tasks night a musicologist engage?
2. What are sources of evidence that might reveal these attitudes?
3. How might MUSIC reveal these attitudes?
4. Can you think of particular works that you think absolutely reflect extra-
musical attitudes? Ones that absolutely don't?
– Not such thing as a neutral edition
– As performers make choices as ornamentation, musicologists make choices
about transcribing melodies, and what questions are asked to write a paper
– There is still a need for the old musicology
– Critical of new schools of musicology
Recapitulation of Beethoven's Ninth
– McClary's idea that Beethoven expressed the “Murderous rage of a rapist”
due to the violence of the recapitulation
– Rosen does not believe this is accurate
5. How might MUSIC reveal these attitudes?
Is it the musicologist's job to examine and evaluate the ways the culture or person
influences the work?
– Musicologists may have a place in cultural examination, but not
examination of the individual composer
– Not necessarily to judge the composer, but to evaluate the historical
aspects of why they did what they did musically. Both musicologists and
composers have bias for themselves/the composers which may hinder
What does it mean for music to be masculine? Feminine? Gay? Straight? Can we
tell just by listening?
– Categories are historically contingent
History is in the piece, aesthetics are of the time
Our job as musicologists is to get closer to what somebody was thinking by
making the music we love
How might we know what a composer meant? Intention in Music:
Scruton, The Aesthetics of Music, p. 19:
“Every sound intentionally made is instinctively taken to be an attempt at
communication. […] In the presence of sound intentionally produced, and
intentionally organized, we feel ourselves within another person’s ambit.”
– Organized by a person – music connects us to a person's thought.
Intention – what does Beethoven mean to convey with the way the structure is
Turkish March – why might Beethoven interrupt the choral statement with this
Turkish March Text
Why would Beethoven have chosen a military setting for this section?
– Music is a metaphor for