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:

Show Summary Details


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's “Hunt” Quartet—the String Quartet in B-flat Major, K. 458—earns its nickname with its very first notes. Here are some things a listener might recognize: the strings unmistakably depict the calls of hunting horns; they summon the imaginary huntsmen to band together by joining one halloo to another through common tones; their triplet rhythms sound the confident canter of the hunters' mounts. But the mimicry is as transient as it is definite. Musical hermeneutics is an attempt to account for what the work of music might be heard to do in specific historical and cultural circumstances. This chapter explores how the work, especially the musical work, can be reconceived without being reified, fetishized, mystified, or set up as a surrogate form of fixed authority; discusses modes of language that are best suited to respond interpretively to the specifically musical character of the musical work; and considers the relationship between the musical work and its interpretations, primarily in the hermeneutic sense of semantic address and reply.

Keywords: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Hunt Quartet; hunting horns; mimicry; musical hermeneutics; musical work; language; interpretations

Chapter.  8779 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.