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Absolute music : the history of an idea

Author: Mark Evan Bonds
Publisher: Oxford ; New York, NY [u.a.] Oxford Univ. Press 2017
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
What is music, and why does it move us? From Pythagoras to the present, writers have struggled to isolate the essence of "pure" or "absolute" music in ways that also account for its profound effect. In Absolute Music: The History of an Idea, Mark Evan Bonds traces the history of these efforts across more than two millennia, paying special attention to the relationship between music's essence and its qualities of
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Mark Evan Bonds
ISBN: 9780199343638 0199343632 9780190851170 0190851171 9780199343652 0199343659 9780199343645 0199343640
OCLC Number: 1032681384
Notes: Literaturverz. S. 317 - 351.
Description: XIII, 375 Seiten : Ill.
Contents: Introduction 7Part OneEssence as Effect: To 1550 231. Orpheus and Pythagoras 232. Isomorphic Resonance 30Part Two Essence and Effect: 1550-1850 393. Expression 41The Separation of Powers 41Music and Language 48Music as Language 58Mimesis 694. Beauty 795. Form 90Form as Number 91Form as Content 986. Autonomy 103Material Autonomy 103Ethical Autonomy 1087. Disclosure 112The Composer as Oracle 112Beautiful Insights 117Cosmic Insights 121Part ThreeEssence or Effect: 1850-1945 1278. Wagner's "Absolute" Music 1299. Hanslick's "Pure" Music 140Hanslick the Conventional 156Hanslick the Radical 171Hanslick the Ambivalent 18110. Liszt's "Program" Music 20511. Polemics 21412. Reconciliation 23113. Qualities Recast 244Expression 246Beauty 263Form 264Autonomy 278Disclosure 284Epilogue: Since 1945 292Appendix: Hanslick's Vom Musikalischen-Schoenen:Early and Selected Later Reviews and Commentary 294Works Cited ] 304
Responsibility: Mark Evan Bonds.

Abstract:

What is music, and why does it move us? From Pythagoras to the present, writers have struggled to isolate the essence of "pure" or "absolute" music in ways that also account for its profound effect. In Absolute Music: The History of an Idea, Mark Evan Bonds traces the history of these efforts across more than two millennia, paying special attention to the relationship between music's essence and its qualities of form, expression, beauty, autonomy, as well as its perceived capacity to disclose philosophical truths. The core of this book focuses on the period between 1850 and 1945. Although the idea of pure music is as old as antiquity, the term "absolute music" is itself relatively recent. It was Richard Wagner who coined the term, in 1846, and he used it as a pejorative in his efforts to expose the limitations of purely instrumental music. For Wagner, music that was "absolute" was isolated, detached from the world, sterile. His contemporary, the Viennese critic Eduard Hanslick, embraced this quality of isolation as a guarantor of purity. Only pure, absolute music, he argued, could realize the highest potential of the art. Bonds reveals how and why perceptions of absolute music changed so radically between the 1850s and 1920s. When it first appeared, "absolute music" was a new term applied to old music, but by the early decades of the twentieth century, it had become-paradoxically-an old term associated with the new music of modernists like Schoenberg and Stravinsky.

Bonds argues that the key developments in this shift lay not in discourse about music but rather the visual arts. The growing prestige of abstraction and form in painting at the turn of the twentieth century-line and color, as opposed to object-helped move the idea of purely abstract, absolute music to the cutting edge of musical modernism. By carefully tracing the evolution of absolute music from Ancient Greece through the Middle Ages to the twentieth-century, Bonds not only provides the first comprehensive history of this pivotal concept but also provokes new thoughts on the essence of music and how essence has been used to explain music's effect. A long awaited book from one of the most respected senior scholars in the field, Absolute Music will be essential reading for anyone interested in the history, theory, and aesthetics of music.

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This is an immensely informed, thoroughly documented, and detailed book, offering much to chew on during a delicious and intellectually nourishing journey through millennia of theoretical discussions Read more...

 
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