“Pour Out … Forgiveness Like a Wine”

Walter Bernhart

in Musical Meaning and Human Values

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230099
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235445 | DOI:
“Pour Out … Forgiveness Like a Wine”

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  • Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art


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The chapter talks about the new ways of representing evil through music on the opera stage. This was started by Weber's Der Freischütz in 1821. Before, it was unimaginable to symbolize evil with the use of music because harmony was considered the essence of music, and evil contradicts harmony. Moreover, evil was represented by a silence before. This reduces the reality of evil. With the play of Weber, it changed to tremolos, trills, bassless diminished chords, chromaticism, eerie pianissimo pizzicatos in the double basses, unison playing, low clarinets, gloomy drumrolls, and the like. With these changes, evil that appeared on the stage has given music the chance to show it more or less directly.

Keywords: Weber; evil; music; opera; harmony

Chapter.  4507 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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