Lawrence Kramer

in Interpreting Music

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780520267053
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947368 | DOI:

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This chapter explores the minute particulars of both the music and its performance. The idea is to embark in medias res without too firm a sense of ultimate direction. The hope is that when reflection inevitably follows, the particular feelings and values which prompt it will continue to resonate as reminders that we can understand what music “is” only in light of what we want or need it to be. The announced topic of reflection is metaphor; as metaphor always does, it will carry us far afield. The chapter first considers Ingmar Bergman's 1978 film Autumn Sonata, then discusses: music and its semantic meaning; the basic structure of Western metaphysics and how it oversimplifies the operation of metaphor in and beyond language; and how the spheres of performance, metaphor, and metaphysics are linked by the question of what might be called ideal interpretive distance.

Keywords: music; metaphor; performance; Ingmar Bergman; Autumn Sonata; meaning; metaphysics; language; distance

Chapter.  7445 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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