Approaches to Meaning in Music

Approaches to Meaning in Music

Edited by Byron Almén and Edward Pearsall
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/10/2006
Format: cloth 256 pages, 10 b&w illus.
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-34792-3
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Approaches to Meaning in Music presents a survey of the problems and issues inherent in pursuing meaning and signification in music, and attempts to rectify the conundrums that have plagued philosophers, artists, and theorists since the time of Pythagoras. This collection brings together essays that reflect a variety of diverse perspectives on approaches to musical meaning. Established music theorists and musicologists cover topics including musical aspect and temporality, collage, borrowing and association, musical symbols and creative mythopoesis, the articulation of silence, the mutual interaction of cultural and music-artistic phenomena, and the analysis of gesture.

Contributors are Byron Almén, J. Peter Burkholder, Nicholas Cook, Robert S. Hatten, Patrick McCreless, Jann Pasler, and Edward Pearsall.

Author Bio

Byron Almén is Assistant Professor of Music Theory at The University of Texas at Austin and an accomplished pianist and organist.

Edward Pearsall is Assistant Professor of Music at The University of Texas at Austin and is known internationally as a performer, composer, and scholar.


"These seven essays consider musical meaning, and problems attendant in any examination of musical meaning, from diverse perspectives. Almén and Pearsall (both Univ. of Texas, Austin) each contribute one piece, and together they supply an introduction. The five other essays are the work of distinguished theorists and musicologists who have already contributed markedly to the discourse concerning musical meaning. Given the participants' credentials, one would expect a provocative, challenging effort. The book does not disappoint, and several contributions seem destined to shift the scholarly discourse in new directions. . . . Highly recommended. Large collections supporting work at the upper—division undergraduate level and above." —Choice

"For readers with an interest in how individuals create meaning out of music and musical experiences, this is an excellent work that will no doubt serve to amplify their understanding and whet their appetites for further reading and research." —Mark Walker, Troy University, MUSIC EDUCATORS JRNL , Vol. 94.3 Jan. 2008

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Table of Contents

1. The Divining Rod: On Imagination, Interpretation, and Analysis Edward Pearsall and Byron Almén
2. Anatomy of a Gesture: From Davidovsky to Chopin and Back Patrick McCreless
3. Anti-Teleological Art: Articulating Meaning through Silence Edward Pearsall
4. The Troping of Temporality in Music Robert S. Hatten
5. A Simple Model for Associative Musical Meaning J. Peter Burkholder
6. Uncanny Moments: Juxtaposition and the Collage Principle in Music Nicholas Cook
7. The Sacrificed Hero: Creative Mythopoesis in Mahler's Wunderhorn Symphonies Byron Almén
8. Contingencies of Meaning in Transcriptions and Excerpts: Popularizing Samson et Dalila Jann Pasler