1st Edition

Irony, Satire, Parody and the Grotesque in the Music of Shostakovich
A Theory of Musical Incongruities

ISBN 9781138253896
Published October 30, 2016 by Routledge
400 Pages

USD $54.95

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Book Description

The music of Shostakovich has been at the centre of interest of both the general public and dedicated scholars throughout the last twenty years. Most of the relevant literature, however, is of a biographical nature. The focus of this book is musical irony. It offers new methodologies for the semiotic analysis of music, and inspects the ironical messages in Shostakovich’s music independently of political and biographical bias. Its approach to music is interdisciplinary, comparing musical devices with the artistic principles and literary analyses of satire, irony, parody and the grotesque. Each one of these is firstly inspected and defined as a separate subject, independent of music. The results of these inspections are subsequently applied to music, firstly music in general and then more specifically to the music of Shostakovich. The composer’s cultural and historical milieux are taken into account and, where relevant, inspected and analysed separately before their application to the music.

Table of Contents

Contents: Part 1: Introduction; Part II: Irony: The concept of irony: philosophical background; Incongruities as indicators of irony; Part III: Satire: The structure of satire; The structure of musical satire; Satirizing techniques; Part IV: Parody: Definitions of parody; The structure of parody; Historical background; Techniques of parody; Part V: The Grotesque: Definition, structure and content of the grotesque; The satirical grotesque; The grotesque at the beginning of the 20th century; Part VI: Existential Irony: Compound messages; Notes; Bibliography; Indexes.

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A former student and colleague of Raymond Monelle, Esti Sheinberg's scholarship contributes to the developing field of music signification by combining music analysis and historical research with the semiotics of music.


'A deep multifold work, greatly contributing to aesthetics of music and studies of humor on the one hand and to twentieth-century Russian culture on the other. Shostakovich's work, as a fortuitous case study, undergoes a comprehensive exploration of its very core. An orderly semiotic system, promising to be broadly applicable in various cultural studies.' Dr Marina Ritzarev, Bar-Ilan University 'Dr Sheinberg shows that the interpretation of Shostakovich's music remains an important subject, of interest to musicians, rhetoricians and historians alike, and one that deserves - and can inspire - responsible, imaginative scholarly treatment.' Professor Richard Taruskin, University of California - Berkeley, USA ’..it is a fascinating patchwork, especially in describing distinct aspects of the intellectual and artistic milieu that surrounded the young composer. It is also a helpful guide to the definition, structure and philosophical moorings of the devices listed in the title and the manner in which they manifest in various art forms.’ DSCH Journal, no 15, July 2001 'After the flood of books about Shostakovich's life and purported views,... Dr Sheinberg has produced a very personal yet highly analytical monograph of a completely different kind... Dr Sheinberg...bring[s] some order, as well as a rich theoretical and illustrative background, to the difficult and related concepts of irony, satire, parody and the grotesque as they are found, so manifestly, in the music of Shostakovich.' The Slavonic and East European Review 'Sheinberg is breath-takingly thorough in her examination of the elements which make up this particular side of Shostakovich's creative character ... it's all rather impressive.' International Record Review 'In Sheinberg's book, Shostakovich appears inadvertently as a case study, and thus receives one of the best contributions in the body of research devoted to his music... The book in general contributes much to the aesthetics of music and studi