After 1800: The Beethoven Paradigm

Lydia Goehr

in The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works

Published in print October 1994 | ISBN: 9780198235415
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597503 | DOI:
After 1800: The Beethoven Paradigm

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  • Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art


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Investigates the transition to a musical practice in which the focus was on the production of complete, discrete, original, and fixed products. It explores the development and consequences of the emerging Beethoven myth and with this the Beethoven paradigm, according to which Beethoven comes to be the standard for what it means to compose musical works. The paradigm is described according to several historical shifts in musical practice: the composers’ rising authority and social standing; the composer's increasing independence from worldly affairs; reconceived relations to publishers and performers as well as reconceived norms of ownership, copyright, and plagiarism; new discussions of fidelity, werktreue, and texttreue. The emerging cult of virtuosity and extemporization are also considered. The idea is simply to describe the work concept as thickly as possible, which means at every level of practice and theory.

Keywords: Beethoven; copyright; fidelity; myth; originality; paradigm; plagiarism; virtuosity

Chapter.  16000 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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