Book

Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music

Susan McClary

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780520247345
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520952065 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520247345.001.0001
Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music

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In this book, Susan McClary examines the mechanisms through which seventeenth-century musicians simulated extreme affective states—desire, divine rapture, and ecstatic pleasure. She demonstrates how every major genre of the period, from opera to religious music to instrumental pieces based on dances, was part of this striving for heightened passions by performers and listeners. While she analyzes the social and historical reasons for the high value placed on expressive intensity in both secular and sacred music, she also links images of desire and pleasure to the many technical innovations of the period. McClary shows how musicians—whether working within the contexts of the Reformation or Counter-Reformation, absolutist courts or commercial enterprises in Venice—were able to manipulate known procedures to produce radically new ways of experiencing time and the Self.

Keywords: modal analysis; origins of tonality; virtuosity; Divine Love; Counter-Reformation; toccata; sonata; cantata; opera; oratorio; tragédie lyrique; dance

Book.  360 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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Table of Contents

Prelude: The Music of Pleasure and Desire in Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music

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The Expansion Principle in Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music

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Composites, or the Still-Divided Subject in Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music

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Soprano as Fetish: Professional Singers in Early Modern Italy in Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music

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Gender Ambiguities and Erotic Excess in the Operas of Cavalli in Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music

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Libidinous Theology in Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music

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Straining Belief: The Toccata in Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music

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Dancing about Power, Architecture about Dancing in Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music

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