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Lookup NU author(s): Professor David Clarke
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An account of the slow movement of Tippett’s Concerto for Orchestra can be informatively interwoven with a discussion about musical meaning. It provides a focus for the question of whether musical meaning should be regarded as primarily intrinsic or as located within what is linguistically predicable of it within cultural (or ‘worldly’) discourses. Methodologically, this is homologous with a distinction between formalist and hermeneutic approaches, corresponding loosely to disciplinary distinctions between music analysis and the New Musicology. The work of Lawrence Kramer is paradigmatic of the latter, while writings by Derek Puffett, notably his analysis of Tippett’s Second Quartet, illustrate the former. Complementary analyses of the Lento from Tippett’s Concerto reveal the potential and limitations of hermeneutics and formalism. We should not be misguided into an a priori privileging of one approach over the other, but instead attempt correctly to construe the relationship between them. Kramer considers analysis to be no more than the means to hermeneutics, and assumes the possibility of seemingly unmediated translation from one to the other. But the knowledge they produce is not coterminous, leaving open the pursuit of the musically intrinsic, as well as the question of what approaches are suggested by the space between.
Author(s): Clarke D
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Music Analysis
Print publication date: 19/06/2012
ISSN (print): 0262-5245
ISSN (electronic): 1468-2249
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