In the Process of Becoming: Analytic and Philosophical Perspectives on Form in Early Nineteenth-Century Music - Oxford Studies in Music Theory (Paperback)
  • In the Process of Becoming: Analytic and Philosophical Perspectives on Form in Early Nineteenth-Century Music - Oxford Studies in Music Theory (Paperback)
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In the Process of Becoming: Analytic and Philosophical Perspectives on Form in Early Nineteenth-Century Music - Oxford Studies in Music Theory (Paperback)

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Paperback 352 Pages / Published: 27/04/2017
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With their insistence that form is a dialectical process in the music of Beethoven, Theodor Adorno and Carl Dahlhaus emerge as the guardians of a long-standing critical tradition in which Hegelian concepts have been brought to bear on the question of musical form. Janet Schmalfeldt's ground-breaking account of the development of this Beethoven-Hegelian tradition restores to the term "form" some of its philosophical associations in the early nineteenth century, when profound cultural changes were yielding new relationships between composers and their listeners, and when music itself-in particular, instrumental music-became a topic for renewed philosophical investigation. Precedents for Adorno's and Dahlhaus's concept of form as process arise in the Athenaum Fragments of Friedrich Schlegel and in the Encyclopaedia Logic of Hegel. The metaphor common to all these sources is the notion of becoming; it is the idea of form coming into being that this study explores in respect to music by Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Schumann. A critical assessment of Dahlhaus's preoccupation with the opening of Beethoven's "Tempest" Sonata serves as the author's starting point for the translation of philosophical ideas into music-analytical terms-ones that encourage listening "both forward and backward," as Adorno has recommended. Thanks to the ever-growing familiarity of late eighteenth-century audiences with formal conventions, composers could increasingly trust that performers and listeners would be responsive to striking formal transformations. The author's analytic method strives to capture the dynamic, quasi-narrative nature of such transformations, rather than only their end results. This experiential approach to the perception of form invites listeners and especially performers to participate in the interpretation of processes by which, for example, a brooding introduction-like opening must inevitably become the essential main theme in Schubert's Sonata, Op. 42, or in which tremendous formal expansions in movements by Mendelssohn offer a dazzling opportunity for multiple retrospective reinterpretations. Above all, In the Process of Becoming proposes new ways of hearing beloved works of the romantic generation as representative of their striving for novel, intensely self-reflective modes of communication.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780190258184
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 528 g
Dimensions: 235 x 157 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Winner of the Wallace Berry Award, Society for Music Theory Winner, ASCAP Deems Taylor Award
It is hard to imagine a more generously inclusive approach to the various doings of composers, performers, analysts, and music-minded philosophers. Vivid strands of modern musical thought are brilliantly reflected and refracted throughout Janet Schmalfeldt's much awaited book. Upon reaching her moving final chapter, we realize that In the Process of Becoming has from the outset enacted a gratifying homecoming for both its subjects and its readers."-Scott Burnham, Princeton University
What stands out for me in reading Janet Schmalfeldt's In the Process of Becoming is the pleasure of experiencing canonic piece after canonic piece through the exceptionally insightful and musical mind of a seasoned musician - one who has lived with, pondered, taught, and in many cases, played these pieces for years."-Patrick McCreless, Yale University
Will make for a rewarding study, and one that brings us into intimate contact with the many wonders of nineteenth-century musical form and its expressive powers. * Society of Music Theory *
Schmalfeldt's book is a glorious example of how to write animated analytical prose...the range of topics throughout the book is a profound statement about how early nineteenth-century music continues to ignite far-reaching questions in music theory. * Music Theory Spectrum *

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