This chapter contributes to topic theory by evaluating the extent to which the choice of musical topics and tonal process in a composition might mutually condition or influence one another. Is it possible to “semanticize” the tonal paths taken by eighteenth-century composers on the basis of the keys with which certain topics were associated? The chapter begins by establishing some conditions under which a proposed connection between topics and tonal process may be considered. Next, it reviews the evidence for associating certain keys with individual topics in the first place, with particular emphasis on the pastorale, hunt, tempesta (i.e. Sturm und Drang), ombra, and military topics. Finally, the chapter presents passages, mostly drawn from the music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, that exemplify possible interactions of topic and tonal plan.
W. Dean Sutcliffe
It can be argued that the specific contribution of chamber genres to the topical universe of eighteenth-century music was negligible; most elements of this universe seem to derive from more widely shared, “public” genres. On the other hand, what we now define as chamber music could be lighter on its feet, using a wider spectrum of topics than other mediums, changing topics more quickly and combining them with greater versatility. This chapter first considers the contribution of Domenico Scarlatti, an early protagonist of a topically mixed style, including an analysis of his Sonata K. 181. It then explores several topical fields in which chamber music could speculate with particular freedom: the learned, the pastoral, and the evocation of more public genres such as the overture and more broadly orchestral style.
This chapter focuses on the aesthetic paradigm of total theater that seeks to integrate theater, music, dance, and other creative artistic modes into its practices in African performance techniques. African theater comprises distinct and varied practices, conventions, and aesthetic trends—all of which are as dynamic, diverse, and unique as the people who produce and consume them. What distinguishes African total theater from similar global practices is the region’s unique historical experiences, which necessitate the origins and perpetuation of an integrative aesthetic paradigm. Using examples drawn from both contemporary and classical African plays, this chapter also explores the forces and conditions that shape and perpetuate total theater aesthetics and practices in various sociopolitical, historical, and geographical contexts. Thus, besides examining the idealistic, philosophical, and aesthetic trends that have shaped total theater in Africa, the chapter also analyzes the expectations, conventions, and traditions associated with the practice.
This chapter discusses the political interpretation of dance from the perspective of the critical and theoretical category of articulation in the political theory of Lefort, Althusser, Laclau, and Mouffe. It proposes the tropes of sovereignty, the individual, and the impersonal to work through the significance of articulation to a theory of the political in dance. As such it is an extension of Franko’s earlier arguments on the co-embededness of the politics and aesthetics of dance toward a theory of the conjunctural. This is not to render political content contingent and hence removed from form but it is to affirm temporalities at work in the way form is perceived to carry political content and ultimately to articulate that content effectively and persuasively. The apparent segregation of dance the political is paradoxically the condition upon which this articulation is reliant.
Toward a Methodology for Research into the Revival of Musical Life after War, Natural Disaster, Bans on All Music, or Neglect
This article has been commissioned as part of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Music Revival edited by Caroline Bithell and Juniper Hill. This chapter addresses the revival of musical life in places recovering from natural or humanmade disasters such as earthquakes or wars. It argues that every such revival has distinctive attributes based on the local culture and on local artists’ responses to the situation that has necessitated the revival. Scholars need to take these factors into account when developing a research methodology. Through three case studies—posttsunami, postconflict Aceh; posttsunami, postconflict Sri Lanka; and post-Taliban Afghanistan—this chapter explores the ways artists have engaged in reconciliation or recovery efforts, using the arts to help overcome trauma, restore morale, and maintain peace. It also examines the nature of the arts education systems that have been established to cater for the needs of victims of all ages. The chapter concludes by outlining a preliminary methodology for research into musical revivals following major catastrophes, bans, or neglect.
Toward a Theory of Experimental Music Theatre: “Showing-Doing,” “Non-Matrixed Performance,” and “Metaxis”
Although recent years have seen the emergence of sustained research on experimental music theater, most of this is largely of a descriptive nature. To address the shortcomings of such approaches, this chapter outlines a theory of experimental music theater based on a clear definition and a number of constitutive features. A number of theoretical terms from the fields of performance theory and theater practice are introduced, namely “showing doing” (Richard Schechner), “non-matrixed performance” and “non-matrixed representation” (Michael Kirby), and “metaxis” (Augusto Boal). The analytical effectiveness of this theoretical framework is demonstrated by discussion of case studies drawn both from the “classics” of experimental music theater (John Cage, Mauricio Kagel) and from recent work (Christopher Fox, David Bithell, Trond Reinholdtsen).
Technological objects which materialize the permanent emergence of the new and define one of the manifestations of present-day screendance need to be revalued in terms of aesthetic approach. Considering as a starting point Immanuel Kant’s opposition to any standards of taste—that is to say to any criteria of beauty considered as an objective foundation for the aesthetic appreciation—the chapter examines the notion of aesthetic behavior, which involves rediscovering the question of the pleasure connected with the reception of the work of art, as well as the notion of the aesthetic object as a substitute for a work of art, thus judging art in terms of strength and not institutional acceptability. Examining aspects of the piece such as the body, the movement of the camera, and the place of the narrative and fiction, the chapter then inquires into the resulting status of the aesthetic experience.
This article has been commissioned as part of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Music Revival edited by Caroline Bithell and Juniper Hill. This chapter maps out central globalizing perspectives that have influenced discourses on revival and related transformational processes of traditional forms of musical expression. Focusing on the Latvian groups Skandinieki and Iļģi and on electric folk in England, the chapter analyzes the extent to which meta-perspectives can help elucidate the impact of global flows on music revivals. As Held et al.’s 2003 globalization study indicates, revival situations can be interpreted from different meta-perspectives. Equating globalization with homogenization, a sceptic perspective perceives revival as an important means of preservation. A hyperglobal approach regards globalization not as a threat, but as a possible access to Western market structures. A transformationalist perspective perceives increasingly dense global networks as the basis for developing new structures, approached from an open perspective. Although supporting a transformationalist perspective, this chapter argues that an adequate modern approach toward revival requires the combination of all three perspectives.
Michael B. Bakan
This essay proposes an ethnographic model of disability in contradistinction to existing social and medical models. Building from an ethnomusicological study of the Artism Ensemble, a neurodiverse music performance collective comprising children on the autism spectrum, their coparticipating parents, and professional musicians of diverse musicultural lineage, it discusses issues of autistic self-advocacy, Disability Studies and rights, the anthropology of autism, and epistemological and pragmatic debates and consequences of competing autism discourses and philosophies. The essay argues that musical projects like Artism hold the capacity to contribute productively and meaningfully to the causes of autistic self-advocacy and quality of life, transforming public perceptions of autism from the customary tropes of deficit and disorder to alternate visions of wholeness, ability, and acceptance. Artism is also addressed from a critical vantage point that demonstrates its partial entrenchment in some of the very same negating constructs it ostensibly resists and defies.
The field of music technology has challenges around perception of gender. Here, the compelling question is how to mitigate the inequity. Some of these challenges may dissipate as the number of females persists in the field, creating a pipeline that promotes equitable participation. Other challenges may diminish simply by increasing our awareness of and sensitivity to the issue. Some of the thorniest problems, particularly those around the discrepancy of gendered perception of self and others and discrimination, call for further study. The study presented in this article does nothing more than posit a milestone against which the progress may be benchmarked. Just as feminist and civil rights leaders were called to action in the name of justice, so must music technologists purport a community with a foundation that is built on equity. The final step leads to intervention strategies that advance the community toward the gender ideal.