By Robert W. Witkin
Publish 12 months note: First released February nineteenth 1998
More than half the printed works of Theodor Adorno have been dedicated to his reviews in tune. As his acceptance has grown lately, besides the fact that, Adorno’s paintings on song has remained a ignored quarter due to its musicological complexity.
This is the 1st distinctive account of Adorno’s texts on tune from a sociological point of view. In transparent, non-technical language, Robert Witkin publications the reader throughout the complexities of Adorno’s argument concerning the hyperlinks among track and morality and among musical works and social constitution. Separate chapters tackle his remedy of Beethoven, Wagner, Mahler and Berg, Schoenberg, Stravinsky and at last jazz. all through, Witkin develops a sociology of the paintings in which Adorno’s writings on song could be understood. It used to be via those works greater than any others that Adorno confirmed definitely the right of the humanities to be stated as an ethical and demanding strength within the improvement of a contemporary society. by way of improving them for non-musicologists, Witkin provides immeasurably to our appreciation of this titanic of twentieth-century inspiration.
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Extra resources for Adorno on Music
In the following passage he objects to the teaching of music in a way which puts the principal emphasis on the themes which appear in the music without seeing those themes dynamically in terms of the part they play in the development of the composition as a whole. For Adorno, even a complex composition can be shown to have developed from the varied repetition and juxtaposition of a very few simple elements. The conjunction of overall unity (totality) and manifold diversity is the problematic which recuts throughout Adorno 's analyses.
Such a claim reflects the dominance of an autonomous economic and instrumental sphere over, for example, the aesthetic and the spiritual. This same domination reproduces itself at the level of the consciousness of the individual; it is constitutive of his or her personality, as Simmel argued (G . Simmel 1950). The strong boundary between work and leisure , between home and work, between production and consumption, is instantiated, at the level of consciousness, in the separation between on the one hand the cognitive, instrumental, conformist and blase attitude of the city dweller, who fits like a cog into a vast machinery, and , on the other, the city dweller's indulgence of a cult of personality, a 'show business' outlook on life and , intellectually, an increased concern with the problem of subjectivity, together with a partiality for existentialist philosophies and all varieties of radical individualism.
It was, natural, therefore, for Adorno to move freely, in his critical thought, between society, philosophy and music, since all three were seen as aspects of the same phenomena. A particularly apt example of this type of claim of cultural unity is to be found in Panofsky's exploration of the parallels between the architecture of Gothic cathedrals and Scholasticism in the religion and philosophy of the late Middle Ages (E. Panofsky 1951) . Panofsky does not seek to argue that Gothic cathedrals inscribed scholastic arguments or content.