Reconceiving Structure in Contemporary Music : New Tools in Music Theory and Analysis book cover
1st Edition

Reconceiving Structure in Contemporary Music
New Tools in Music Theory and Analysis

ISBN 9780367598808
Published August 14, 2020 by Routledge
194 Pages

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Book Description

This book studies recent music in the western classical tradition, offering a critique of current analytical/theoretical approaches and proposing alternatives. The critique addresses the present fringe status of recent music sometimes described as crossover, postmodern, post-classical, post-minimalist, etc. and demonstrates that existing descriptive languages and analytical approaches do not provide adequate tools to address this music in positive and productive terms. Existing tools and concepts were developed primarily in the mid-20th century in tandem with the high modernist compositional aesthetic, and they have changed little since then. The aesthetics of music composition, on the other hand, have been in constant transformation. Lochhead proposes new ways to conceive musical works, their structurings of musical experience and time, and the procedures and goals of analytic close reading. These tools define investigative procedures that engage the multiple perspectives of composers, performers, and listeners, and that generate conceptual modes unique to each work. In action, they rebuild a conceptual, methodological, and experiential place for recent music. These new approaches are demonstrated in analyses of four pieces: Kaija Saariaho’s Lonh (1996), Sofia Gubaidulina’s Second String Quartet (1987), Stacy Garrop’s String Quartet no.2, Demons and Angels (2004-05), and Anna Clyne’s "Choke" (2004). This book defies the prediction of classical music’s death, and will be of interest to scholars and musicians of classical music, and those interested in music theory, musicology, and aural culture.

Table of Contents

Introduction  Part I  1. "Modern" Music Analysis  2. What is Structure Anyway?  3. Music Analysis—Producing Knowledge  4. Reconceiving Structure: Investigating, Mapping, Speculating  Part II  5. Technê of Radiance: Kaija Saariaho’s Lonh (1996)  6. Difference and Identity: Sofia Gubaidulina’s Second String Quartet (1987)  7. Incessance of Memory: Stacy Garrop’s String Quartet no.2, Demons and Angels (2004-05)  8. Spiral Morphing: Emergence, Saturation, and Uncoiling in Anna Clyne’s Choke (2004)

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Judy Lochhead is a theorist and musicologist whose work focuses on the most recent musical practices in North America and Europe, with particular emphasis on music of the western classical tradition. Her work builds upon concepts and methodologies of various post-philosophies with a particular emphasis on post-phenomenology. She teaches in the Music Department at Stony Brook University.


"Through her differentiation from high-modernist practice, Lochhead opens up a space for musical thinking with exciting possibilities, where thinking may be allowed to evolve away from epistemic rigidity and, with the aid of recent philosophical thought, produce a kind of knowledge that can only belong to contemporary music." - Dimitris Exarchos, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK