David Damschroder

in Music

ISBN: 9780199757824
Published online June 2011 | | DOI:

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  • Applied Music
  • Ethnomusicology
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Active engagement with music often triggers a curiosity to know how compositions work and what distinguishes various styles and genres from one another. In some cases the goal is to understand and appreciate a body of music more fully, whereas in other cases a specific outcome motivates the quest: for example, a desire to write a composition similar to some that one admires, or to perform a specific composition more effectively. Mainly since the 18th century, a large and diverse body of writings has emerged to help aspirants succeed in such quests. Whereas music proceeds swiftly and relies on aural reception, usually an analysis assumes a slower, more ponderous pace of absorption and depends on visual communication: the written word and music examples that represent, often in an abbreviated rendering or with annotations, content from the composition under consideration. The enterprise of music analysis has persisted because many musicians have found it to be a productive means of clarifying and deepening their engagement with music. Given the complexity of the task at hand, it should not be surprising that diverse analytical strategies have emerged for many branches of the musical repertory. To some extent contrasting methodologies offer complementary information that can be integrated by the aspirant. Yet, within the realm of music analysis, many conflicting viewpoints vie for acceptance. The field is still actively evolving, even for music hundreds of years old. (The recent work of Caplin and of Hepokoski and Darcy on form in the classical era is an especially fascinating case in point.) Most readers will want to explore a range of analytical perspectives. Through familiarity and diligent study, a greater discernment will emerge, guiding the continuation of the undertaking. Indeed, many important contributions that will enhance our understanding have yet to be formulated. Thus the ongoing, lifelong process of music study may have unexpected rewards and surprises. Likewise, many of the ideas that shape contemporary music analysis have evolved over a long period. (For example, modern Roman-numeral harmonic analysis is rooted in a practice that began early in the 18th century.) The history of music analysis, an important field for specialists, will be addressed here principally via commentaries and synopses, mostly in English. This pertains particularly to the analysis of music from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Similar developments for early music, contemporary music, and popular music are of more recent vintage. Because modern scholarship tends to incorporate the best of what is offered in older books, emphasis is here placed on contemporary analytical practices.

Article.  13383 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Applied Music ; Ethnomusicology ; Music Theory and Analysis ; Musicology and Music History ; Music Education and Pedagogy

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