The Return of the Aesthetic

Andrew Dell'Antonio

in Beyond Structural Listening?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780520237575
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937024 | DOI:
The Return of the Aesthetic

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The turn to cultural critique brought a new agenda to the academic study of music that sets out to contest the status quo, effect positive social change, and resist negative social change. This chapter shares a deep concern for the social and political issues raised by this critique and argues for the importance of aesthetic values and formal characteristics specific to musical texts. The chapter presents various examples through which it demonstrates how various formal music analyses can alleviate concrete political difficulties in different social contexts. The chapter elaborates various means of resisting the ideological closure and programmatic constraints of recent trends in musicology and discusses new kinds of closure and constraint produced by music analysis that may be politically beneficial in various quarters. It also questions Subotnik's text, and compares the practice of deconstruction with the work of specific music theorists, which can set the stage for various proposals for the politically strategic use of musical formalism.

Keywords: cultural critique; social change; aesthetics; musical texts; music analyses; musical formalism; musicology; music theorists

Chapter.  12108 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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