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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What could it mean to deconstruct music in general and a classical score in particular? How is music pertinent to deconstruction at all? For deconstruction in its brief heyday was above all a matter of texts; Rose Subotnik reports that when she mentioned to Jacques Derrida that she was trying out deconstructive approaches to music, he assumed she was looking at writing on music, not music “itself” (whatever that might mean). Musical hermeneutics is not necessarily in the deconstruction business per se, but where music is concerned it deconstructs as it goes along, casually littering its path with discarded ideals. However, the catch-22 that goes with deconstruction also snags musical hermeneutics. Deconstruction is not a variety of skepticism but a highly refined form of pragmatism. This chapter explores whether there is anything in reason that prevents deconstruction from sustaining the difference between concept and rhetoric, by focusing on Ludwig van Beethoven's La Malinconia.

Keywords: Ludwig van Beethoven; La Malinconia; deconstruction; music; Rose Subotnik; Jacques Derrida; musical hermeneutics; pragmatism; rhetoric; concept

Chapter.  7027 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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