Ombra : Supernatural Music in the Eighteenth Century

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Ombra is the musical language employed when a composer wishes to inspire awe and terror in an audience. Clive McClelland's Ombra: Supernatural Music in the Eighteenth Century explores the large repertoire of such music, focusing on the eighteenth century and Mozart in particular. He discusses a wide range of examples drawn from theatrical and sacred music, eventually drawing parallels between these features and Edmund Burke's 'sublime of terror,' thus placing ombra music in an important position in the context of eighteenth-century aesthetic more

Product details

  • Paperback | 260 pages
  • 152.4 x 220.98 x 22.86mm | 408.23g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739188178
  • 9780739188170
  • 1,252,033

Review quote

Without recourse to jargon, Clive McClelland advances our understanding of the semiotics of 18th-century opera by his close study of scenes of the supernatural. Identifying a repertoire of features that make up to an 'ombra' topic, he contributes to our understanding not only of opera but of the expressive capacities of 'classical' instrumental music. -- Julian Rushton, University of Leeds Clive McClelland's masterful new study of the ombra style-here for the first time given the book length treatment it has long deserved-represents a milestone in the ongoing search for understanding how composers used musical conventions to communicate with their audiences. Demonstrating the pervasiveness of ombra music within a wide variety of genres and national traditions, McClelland elucidates the style's affective qualities and rhetorical functions in the eighteenth century and points toward the future, revealing its dynamic role as an agent of stylistic change. This book will prove seminal, potentially informing inquiries ranging from aesthetics to reception and beyond. -- Margaret Butler, University of Florida Clive McClelland guides the reader into the subterranean world inhabited by demons, ghosts and furies and reveals that these supernatural beings appeared not only on the operatic stage but also in instrumental music. This book makes an important contribution to the study of musical meaning and expression and will appeal to scholars, listeners and performers of eighteenth-century music. -- Danuta Mirka, University of Southampton McClelland's Ombra can be added to the growing list of studies seeking to identify the various features of a particular musical style and to examine the interaction between this style and what or how it communicated to contemporary audiences... he makes a relatively convincing case throughout most of the book that ombra is, in fact, a topic that has some distinguishing features. In the quest to identify musical topics, this is certainly a large step forward... it is indispensable to anyone who seeks to understand what and how eighteenth-century music communicated to audiences. Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association This volume is an in depth examination of ombra and its many influences on classical music performance. Clive McClelland reveals that ombra scenes proved popular with audiences not only because of the special stage effects employed, but also due to increasing use of awe inspiring musical ethics. OPERA Americashow more

About Clive McClelland

Clive McClelland is principal teaching fellow in the School of Music at the University of more

Table of contents

Introduction Abbreviations Chapter One - Ombra Music in Context Chapter Two - Opera: Tonality and Key Characteristics Chapter Three - Opera: Harmony and Line Chapter Four - Opera: Tempo and Rhythm Chapter Five - Opera: Texture, Dynamics, and Instrumentation Chapter Six - Opera: Case Studies Chapter Seven - Sacred Music (including Case Studies) Chapter Eight - Instrumental Music (including Case Studies) Chapter Nine - Ombra after Mozart Appendix A Appendix B Bibliography Index About the Authorshow more