Download Adorno on Music by Robert Winston Witkin PDF

By Robert Winston Witkin

Adorno is without doubt one of the major cultural thinkers of the 20 th century. this can be the 1st specific account of Adorno's texts on tune from a sociological point of view. In transparent, non-technical language, Robert Witkin publications the reader throughout the complexities of Adorno's argument in regards to the hyperlink among song and morality and among musical works and social constitution. It used to be mostly via those works Adorno demonstrated the correct of the humanities to be said as an ethical and important strength within the improvement of a latest society. by way of getting better them for non-musicologists, Witkin provides immeasurably to our appreciation of this enormous of twentieth-century proposal

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Sample text

In a 'division of labour' society, individuals interact with one another in ways which reflect their complementarity in the social systems in which they participate. By taking those systems and that complementarity into account in formulating his or her own individual actions and responses, each individual succeeds in helping to construct and to take care of the 42 SOCIETY IN SONATA-FORM totality of the social order on which s/he is dependent in order to playa part as an individual. What might be termed the organic model of individuation was central to the writings of both theorists.

What must be strictly avoided is the idea that serious music fundamentally consists of important 'themes' with something more or less unimportant between them. (T. Adorno 1994b: 332) The fundamental unit or element of a musical composition is usually referred to as a 'motive'. It might consist of a striking chord or a rhythmic pattern or a brief recurring succession of notes as, for example, the famous opening notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. The basic motives of a 29 SOCIETY IN SONATA-FORM composiuon, such as those of a Beethoven sonata or symphony, are then repeated and varied in different ways: for example rhythmically, harmonically, through juxtaposition, inversion, modulation, melodic decoration, timbral changes and so forth.

In his Analytical Study of the NBC Musical Appreciation Hour, Adorno criticises the material published by NBC in 1939-40 in connection with a popular weekly radio programme which was aimed at developing musical appreciation in the young (T. Adorno 1994b). Here , where he seeks to prescribe a better pedagogical approach than the one used in the programme, his own views on the classical music tradition are formulated simply and clearly. In the following passage he objects to the teaching of music in a way which puts the principal emphasis on the themes which appear in the music without seeing those themes dynamically in terms of the part they play in the development of the composition as a whole.

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