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I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


What I've been trying to say is that the most "worldly" musicology, that which is trying to debunk the myth that music is a pure art for detached from human meanings, depends on the most technical, formalistic analysis, mostly of harmonic movement (only one aspect of music), invests these harmonic structures with ideological charges (resolution is masculine, the misogynistic conquering of the secondary, "feminine" theme), then creates allegories of human subjectivities around these ideological projections. The claim to be postmodern depends on forms of semiotics and / or hermeneutics that are distortions of these concepts. For example, if movement by thirds were semiotically coded as homosexual, then how come listeners unschooled in theory don't hear this in the music? Semiotics cannot be a matter of some secret code.

Of course we use metaphors to describe our subjective experience of music. But we cannot then turn around and establish absolute correspondences between the metaphor and the ideological charge of the music. These correspondences have to be more nuanced and contingent, more historicized. For example, I would accept the argument that a trumpet fanfare has certain historical associations and meanings based on its previous use. So a fanfare might introduce the entrance of the king, and something in another composition that reminds us of a fanfare has that association. That is something different from a musicologist claiming that a certain voice in a Back Cantata reminds her of a nagging wife, and that therefore Bach is being misogynist (a real example!). Wouldn't the musicologist be the misogynist one here, since she is the one hearing a sexist stereotype where nobody has heard one before?

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