How is it possible to talk or write about music? What is the link between graphic signs and music? What makes music meaningful? In this book, distinguished scholar Leo Treitler explores the relationships among language, musical notation, performance, compositional practice, and patterns of culture in the presentation and representation of music. Treitler engages a wide variety of historical sources to discuss works from medieval plainchant to Berg's opera Lulu and a range of music in between.
1. Language and the Interpretation of Music
2. Being at a Loss for Words
3. Beethoven's "Expressive" Markings
4. The Immanence of Performance in Medieval Song
5. Early Recorded Performances of Chopin Waltzes and Mazurkas: The Relation to the Text
6. What Kind of Thing is Musical Notation?
7. Sketching Music, Writing Music
IV. Interpretative Frames
8. The Lulu Character and the Character of Lulu
9. History and Archetypes
10. Gender and Other Dualities of Music History
11. Hermeneutics, Exegetics, or What?
12. Facile Metaphors, Hidden Gaps, Short Circuits: Should We Adore Adorno?
This is a compendium of writings by one of the most original thinkers in musicology. Lawrence Kramer deals with essentially the same subject in Interpreting Music (CH, May'11, 48-4986), but his writing is difficult. By contrast, Treitler's book is lucid and also more entertaining. Treitler (emer., CUNY Graduate Center) stands every issue on its head and shakes well to expose a viewpoint about musical meaning; for example, in a chapter titled 'What Kind of Thing Is Musical Notation' he casts the nursery rhyme 'Pop Goes the Weasel' in medieval neumes. All this said, readers may have difficulty understanding the interpretative frames into which Treiter organizes the chapters. Accordingly, those who approach this book should have some background in both historical musicology and philosophy. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. — Choice~W. K. Kearns
A dozen essays await in this most recent gathering of Leo Treitler's writings, each teeming with ideas and together inviting us to follow one of musicology's most engaged thinkers in a sustained examination of what he calls the 'awesome task of representing music'.~Nineteenth-Century Music Review
Nov 2012~Music & Letters
This is a compendium of writings by one of the most original thinkers in musicology . . . Treitler stands every issue on its head and shakes well to expose a viewpoint about musical meaning . . . Highly recommended.~Choice
Treitler brings to his work the deep experience of a seasoned musician and music historian who is at the same time a thoughtful philosopher, and the benefits of both kinds of experience play through all of his writings in a very palpable way.~Lewis Lockwood, Harvard University
A determined, imaginative quest to explore musical meaning through a variety of repertoires and a range of methodologies and lines of inquiry.~Walter Frisch, Columbia University