A Theory of Musical Narrative

by Byron Almén

Published by: Indiana University Press

264 Pages, 6.12 x 9.25 x 0.00 in, 44 music exx.

  • Paperback
  • 9780253030092
  • Published: September 2017


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  • Hardcover
  • 9780253352385
  • Published: November 2008


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  • eBook
  • 9780253030283
  • Published: September 2017


Byron Almén proposes an original synthesis of approaches to musical narrative from literary criticism, semiotics, historiography, musicology, and music theory, resulting in a significant critical reorientation of the field. This volume includes an extensive survey of traditional approaches to musical narrative illustrated by a wide variety of musical examples that highlight the range and applicability of the theoretical apparatus. Almén provides a careful delineation of the essential elements and preconditions of musical narrative organization, an eclectic analytical model applicable to a wide range of musical styles and repertoires, a classification scheme of narrative types and subtypes reflecting conceptually distinct narrative strategies, a wide array of interpretive categories, and a sensitivity to the dependence of narrative interpretation on the cultural milieu of the work, its various audiences, and the analyst. A Theory of Musical Narrative provides both an excellent introduction to an increasingly important conceptual domain and a complex reassessment of its possibilities and characteristics.