Semiotics of Classical Music: How Mozart, Brahms and Wagner Talk to Us

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Walter de Gruyter, Oct 1, 2012 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 506 pages

Musical semiotics is a new discipline and paradigm of both semiotics and musicology. In its tradition, the current volume constitutes a radically new solution to the theoretical problem of how musical meanings emerge and how they are transmitted by musical signs even in most "absolute" and abstract musical works of Western classical heritage. Works from symphonies, lied, chamber music to opera are approached and studied here with methods of semiotic inspiration. Its analyses stem from systematic methods in the author's previous work, yet totally new analytic concepts are also launched in order to elucidate profound musical significations verbally.

The book reflects the new phase in the author's semiotic approach, the one characterized by the so-called "existential semiotics" elaborated on the basis of philosophers from Kant , Hegel and Kierkegaard to Jaspers, Heidegger, Sartre and Marcel. The key notions like musical subject, Schein, becoming, temporality, modalities, Dasein, transcendence put musical facts in a completely new light and perspectives of interpretation.

The volume attempts to make explicit what is implicit in every musical interpretation, intuition and understanding: to explain how compositions and composers "talk" to us. Its analyses are accessible due to the book's universal approach. Music is experienced as a language, communicating from one subject to another.

 

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Contents

Part I THE CLASSICAL STYLE
29
Part II The Romantic Era
115
Part III Rhetorics and Synaesthesias
239
Part IV In the Slavonic World
391
Postlude I
435
Postlude II
443
Glossary of Terms
453
Bibliography
462
Index of persons and musical works
481
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Eero Tarasti, University of Helsinki, Finland.

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