Metaphors of Depth in German Musical Thought

Metaphors of Depth in German Musical Thought : From E. T. A. Hoffmann to Arnold Schoenberg

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What does it mean to say that music is deeply moving? Or that music's aesthetic value derives from its deep structure? This study traces the widely employed trope of musical depth to its origins in German-language music criticism and analysis. From the Romantic aesthetics of E. T. A. Hoffmann to the modernist theories of Arnold Schoenberg, metaphors of depth attest to the cross-pollination of music with discourses ranging from theology, geology and poetics to psychology, philosophy and economics. The book demonstrates that the persistence of depth metaphors in musicology and music theory today is an outgrowth of their essential role in articulating and transmitting Germanic cultural values. While musical depth metaphors have historically served to communicate German nationalist sentiments, Watkins shows that an appreciation for the broad connotations of those metaphors opens up exciting new avenues for interpretation.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 345 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 6 b/w illus. 40 music examples
  • 1139142917
  • 9781139142915

About Holly Watkins

Holly Watkins is Associate Professor of Musicology at the Eastman School of Music. She has been a recipient of numerous awards, including the Donald D. Harrington Faculty Fellowship at the University of Texas, Austin and an Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Dissertation Fellowship. Her research on various topics in nineteenth- and twentieth-century music has been published in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, 19th-Century Music and Current Musicology.
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Table of contents

Introduction; 1. From the mine to the shrine: the critical origins of musical depth; 2. Adolf Bernhard Marx and the inner life of music; 3. Robert Schumann and poetic depth; 4. Richard Wagner and the depths of time; 5. Heinrich Schenker and the apotheosis of musical depth; 6. Schoenberg's interior designs; Bibliography.
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