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Over the past two centuries Western culture has largely valorized a particular kind of “good” music—highly serious, wond

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Good Music: What It Is and Who Gets to Decide
 022659324X, 9780226593241

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Good Music

Good Music What It Is and Who Gets to Decide j o h n j . s h e i n bau m

The University of Chicago Press Chicago and London

The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 60637 The University of Chicago Press, Ltd., London © 2019 by The University of Chicago All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations in critical articles and reviews. For more information, contact the University of Chicago Press, 1427 E. 60th St., Chicago, IL 60637. Published 2019 Printed in the United States of America 28 27  26  25  24  23  22  21  20  19  1  2  3  4  5 isbn-­13: 978-­0-­226-­59324-­1 (cloth) isbn-­13: 978-­0-­226-­59338-­8 (paper) isbn-­13: 978-­0-­226-­59341-­8 (e-­book) doi: https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226593418.001.0001 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Sheinbaum, John J., author. Title: Good music : what it is and who gets to decide / John J. Sheinbaum. Description: Chicago ; London : The University of Chicago Press, 2019. | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: lccn 2018017932 | isbn 9780226593241 (cloth : alk. paper) | isbn 9780226593388 (pbk. : alk. paper) | isbn 9780226593418 (e-book) Subjects: lcsh: Music—Philosophy and aesthetics. | Popular music and art music. Classification: lcc ml3880 .s515 2018 | ddc 781.1/7—dc23 lc record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018017932 Publication of this book has been supported by the John Daverio Endowment of the American Musicological Society, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Publication has also been supported by the Divisions of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University of Denver. ♾ This paper meets the requirements of ansi/niso z39.48–­1992 (Permanence of Paper).

In memory of my parents, Lois Tator Sheinbaum and Morris Sheinbaum When I was a kid, they helped me see Wagner at the Met and Van Halen at the Meadowlands

Contents

List of Illustrations  ix Acknowledgments xi

Introduction—­Good: What Values Do We Bring to Music?  1 1  Serious: The Cultural Work of Classical Music and the Trap of Musical Sound  20 2  Unified: Beethoven, the Beatles, and the Imperfect Ideology of the Masterpiece  51 3  Deep: Classical Values and Musical Color in Mahler’s Symphonies  87 4  Authentic: Progressive Rock and the Inversion of Musical Values  120 5  Heroic: “Classic” Jazz and Musical Dialogues  153 6  Original: Handel Historiography and the Horizontal Remix  183 7  Connected: What’s at Stake in How We Love the Music We Love?  216 Notes  239 Works Cited  261 Index  281

Illustrations

Examples 1.1

Springsteen, “Lonesome Day,” overview  29

1.2

Springsteen, “Lonesome Day,” main groove  29

1.3

Springsteen, “Lonesome Day,” instrumental break  30

1.4

Springsteen, “Lonesome Day,” climactic passage  30

1.5

Springsteen, “Lonesome Day,” chorus  32

1.6

Springsteen, “Lonesome Day,” final gesture  32

1.7

Ellington, “Concerto for Cootie,” overview  40

1.8

Ellington, “Concerto for Cootie,” first A phrase  41

1.9

Beethoven, Symphony no. 5/i, measures 1–­5  46

2.1

Beethoven, Symphony no. 9/iv, measures 1–­7  64

2.2

Beethoven, Symphony no. 9/iv, measures 92–­115  67

2.3

Beethoven, Symphony no. 9/iv, measures 343–­58  70

2.4

Beethoven, Symphony no. 9/iv, measures 655–­58, soprano and alto  73

3.1

Mahler, Symphony no. 9/iv, measures 1–­12  106

3.2

Mahler, Symphony no. 9/iv, measures 159–­66  108

3.3

Mahler, Symphony no. 6/i, measures 77–­80  112

3.4

Mahler, Symphony no. 6/i, measures 357–­70  114

3.5

Mahler, Symphony no. 6/i, measures 449–­56  117

4.1

Riffs from Yes, “Roundabout”  133

4.2

Yes, “Roundabout,” unison lick during solo section (sketch)  135

4.3

Cover of Classic Yes (1981)  143

4.4

Cover of 90125 (1983)  144

x

4.5

il lustr ations

Yes, “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” phrase rhythm examples  147

6.1 Handel, Alcina, “Verdi prati,” measures 13–­20  190 6.2 Comparison of Handel, Samson, Overture, measures 72–­74, and Muffat, Componimenti Musicali per il Cembalo, VI, Fantaisie, measures 1–­3  194 6.3 Comparison of Handel, “Quel fior che all’ alba ride,” measures 1–­8, and Messiah, “His yoke is easy,” measures 1–­8  197 6.4 Comparison of Handel, “Nò, di voi non vo’ fidarmi,” measures 1–­8, and Messiah, “For unto us a Child is born,” measures 7–­14  200 Tables 2.1  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Tracks 1–­12, Notable Metric and Hypermetric Passages  82 2.2  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, “A Day in the Life” (Track 13), Notable Metric and Hypermetric Passages  84 4.1

Conventional High/Low Dichotomies  124

Acknowledgments

The path from my thoughts to drafts to manuscript and, finally, to book, was a long one. At times the experience seemed psychologically tortuous, and at others rewarding and even fun. All the way, I have been reminded that the notion of a single author is illusory. This book would likely not exist, and surely would be considerably less good, if it wasn’t for the help and support from many colleagues, students, and friends over quite a number of years, in countless ways large and small. Behind the scenes, a scholarly “monograph” is full of essential connections with others, just as it is with a piece of music marked with a lone composer’s name at the top right hand of the score. Whatever flaws remain, of course, are mine alone. The students in many of my courses provided invaluable discussions and ideas that found their way into this book. My First-­Year Writing Seminar stu­ dents at Cornell, when I was still a graduate student, helped some of the viewpoints take initial shape. My University of Denver students, especially those who have taken my First-­Year Seminars and graduate historiography classes, contributed to and will recognize some of the perspectives. When it came time to start writing, essential research help and time were provided by a Summer Research Grant, a Professional Research Opportunities for Faculty Grant, and sabbatical and mini-­sabbatical leaves from the University of Denver (DU) and the Divisions of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. At all steps my project was supported by the two directors of DU’s Lamont School of Music while I was working on the book, Joe Docksey and Nancy Cochran. Portions of the manuscript, and many of the underlying perspectives and arguments, were given generous attention by my DU colleagues Antonia Banducci, Sarah Morelli, and Kristin Taavola, as well as by Mark Evan Bonds,

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acknowledgments

Jeremy Day-­O’Connell, Ellen Harris, Richard Leppert, Jill Rogers, Keith Waters, and James Webster. Rebecca Cypess, Sarah Day-­O’Connell, Chris Malloy, and Mitch Ohriner provided a great deal of moral support and friendly encouragement. Becky Sheinbaum was always my first reader; she slogged through numerous versions of all the chapters, and then read through the entire manuscript once more when it was close to completion. Her insights helped make my perspectives more accessible, and her marginalia lightened my mood and motivated me to push onward. Research assistance and help with creating examples in music notation software were provided over a number of summers by Sarah Betz, Sarah Harrison, and Cassandra Fink Lemmon. Stephen Bailey typeset other examples, including the passages from Mahler’s detailed scores. Special thanks are due to Woody Colahan, Suzanne Moulton-­Gertig, and the staff of the Bonfils-­ Stanton Music Library at the Lamont School of Music; they were lightning fast with numerous interlibrary loan requests, though I was amazed with how often what I needed was already in the library thanks to their uncanny knack at curating the modest collection. In the Lamont office, Rachel Lim’s superb support helped keep my administrative tasks humming along when this pro­ ject needed to occupy center stage, and her frequent batches of custom cookies meant that I could almost always grab a quick snack to help make it through a difficult paragraph or two. Some of the material in this book first appeared elsewhere. Earlier versions of portions of chapter 3 derive from my article “The Artifice of the ‘Natural’: Mahler’s Orchestration at Cadences,” Journal of Musicological Research 24 (2005): 91–­121. Earlier versions of portions of chapter 4 were published in “Progressive Rock and the Inversion of Musical Values,” in Progressive Rock Reconsidered, ed. Kevin Holm-­Hudson (New York: Routledge, 2002), 21–­42, as well as “Periods in Progressive Rock and the Problem of Authenticity,” Current Musicology 85 (Spring 2008): 29–­51. All previously published material appears here with permission. As my manuscript got closer to its final form, Elizabeth Branch Dyson at the University of Chicago Press offered wise observations and invaluable suggestions as she agreed to take on my project and shepherded sprawling chapters into more concise and effective prose. Dylan Montanari at the press provided quick and expert support, and Yvonne Zipter’s copyediting was incomparable. Innumerable important ideas, suggestions for further literature to consult, and astute advice were provided by the three anonymous readers for the press, who each crafted in-­depth and engaged responses to my manuscript. I’m not sure I’ve lived up to the example of the two faculty members I’ve considered to be intellectual and professional mentors, Professor Emerita Rose

a c k n o w l e d g m e n t s

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Subotnik of Brown University and Professor Emeritus James Webster of Cornell University. But their work, compelling to me in its integration of historical inquiry, methodological critique, and close discussion of music, remains inspirational and is always nearby. Lively conversations during lunches with office staff, holiday celebrations and regular hangouts with Havurah Yofi, and family trips to the East Coast provided welcome respite as I wrote this book. I especially valued spending time with my closest relatives: my sister, Mindy Fernández-­Sheinbaum, her husband Odamis, and their kids Ben and Luz; my brother-­in-­law, Seth Feldman, his wife Lisa, and their daughters Samantha and Nava; and my parents-­ in-­law, Gail and Roger Feldman. My son James and my daughter Andie seem to have grown up far too much and too quickly during this time. They helped me celebrate my successes, gave me warm hugs during the more difficult moments, and have been a source of laughter and joy always. My wife Becky has been unfailingly brilliant, loving, and supportive throughout this long process, and I’m very lucky to have her as my best friend. I wish my parents, Lois and Morris Sheinbaum, had lived long enough to see me complete this book. I will never forget how they did everything they could when I was young to provide me with opportunities that helped nurture my love of music and then fully supported my decision to pursue music as an undergraduate and my choice to follow that passion into an academic career. I strive to follow their example as a parent to my own kids, and I miss them every day. They surely would have asked in each phone conversation about the progress I was making, even if they would have professed not to understand what I was writing about. And it surely would have given them a great deal of nachas to read the finished book. Good Music is dedicated to their memory.

introduction

Good: What Values Do We Bring to Music?

Music lovers often lament our current cultural state, finding fault with other listeners’ lack of close engagement or deep understanding—­even willful ignorance—­of “good” music. Just as classical music connoisseurs worry about graying hair and diminishing audiences in the concert hall, aficionados of popular styles wring their hands over low-­fidelity streaming of the current flash-­in-­the-­pan hit single replacing repeated listening to a carefully crafted album. As Adam Gopnik writes about his own adolescent children in a recent issue of the New Yorker, “Though both are far better musicians than I ever was, . . . they have a more limited conception of larger forms, of the record’s two sides, of the symphony’s three or four parts, of the swell and structure of a cantata. It isn’t a question of classical tastes against pop; it’s a question of small forms heard in motion against large forms heard with solemn intent. Sgt. Pepper baffles them as much as Beethoven’s Ninth. They snatch at music.”1 Yet it’s just as clear that a rich musical culture surrounds us. Conservatories routinely graduate musicians with abilities equal to or surpassing those of generations past. Towns and cities of all sizes enjoy thriving and varied music scenes. Using little more than a laptop computer and an internet connection, virtually any musician with talent and drive can bypass the entrenched music industry and potentially find a global audience. Further, music envelops us in spaces both public and private, creating a ubiquity in our daily lives and everyday experiences never before imagined. The entire history of recorded sound seemingly is at our fingertips at any given moment. Rather than music mattering little, today music indeed matters very much. While the art of music is healthy, numerous scholars and critics are calling into question traditional models for valuing music. In many contexts within Western society over the past two centuries, a network of ideological beliefs

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has served to valorize a particular kind of “good” music—­highly serious, magnificently unified, wondrously deep, stylistically authentic, heroically created, and strikingly original—­and to marginalize musics that do not live up to such ideals. These standards encompass ethical assumptions about the functions of music, concepts of authorship and creativity, and relationships among aspects of the music itself. As Don Michael Randel put it in an essay surveying the state of the field of musicology a quarter century ago, “each of us shows up for work lugging a toolbox, and the contents of this toolbox have a great deal to do with what kind of work we can do and what the work will look like when we are finished.”2 Perhaps more pointedly, psychological research has found robust evidence of a widespread “inattentional blindness,” where our frameworks for understanding the world often leave us not only unable to perceive something that doesn’t fit the framework but also unaware of the gap between our perceptions and what we might be missing.3 Notions of  Value “Value” is a notoriously slippery concept, of course, particularly when applied to an abstract activity such as thinking about music and music making. The point is not the content of any particular judgment, or the extent to which any of us might agree or disagree, but rather that we interact with music, and with art in general, by communicating our experiences with it in an evaluative way.4 In the field of musicology, intimations of value traditionally have been aesthetic in nature, wrapped up in developing the notion of a canon of great works and describing members of that corpus. Such artworks supposedly operate in a timeless, functionless way, creating for the listener a beautifully pure—­even morally good—­experience.5 But such an approach is by no means universal. Much thinking about value in our common experience is instead grounded in economic perspectives, such as the notion that something’s value is a measure of what one would be willing to spend to acquire it, rather than a function of its inherent worth. Even art, which we often purposefully attempt to distance from such directly market-­based concerns, clearly functions economically within Western society.6 In many circumstances artistic expressions are consumed as commodities, and routinely art is employed in the service of selling other products, as in the various uses of music over the last century within radio and television commercials.7 Beyond chiefly “intrinsic” values, such as those developed from aesthetic perspectives or “instrumental” ones developed from economic viewpoints, philosophical considerations of value can encompass manifold categories and

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types, each of which captures something of the wide range of experiences peo­ ple have with music, and why music is central in the lives of so many. Jerrold Levinson, for example, explores how “music is multiply valuable” by surveying how music can “model in audible form myriad ways of being, of moving, of developing, of unfolding, of progressing”; can affirm one’s sense of self; can construct community; can affect one’s mood; can accompany other activities; and so forth.8 Given the multiplicity of ways music can be valued, it could seem fruitful (at least initially) to attempt a clear separation, an essential distinction, between the potential values in music, the aesthetic goods inherent to the “music itself,” and the potential value of music, whether along economic lines or some other sort of way the music can seem valuable, like the cachet one may enjoy by attending professional orchestra performances, or the sense that listening to classical music is “good for you.” Such a distinction seems so important that at times we argue that music which strikes us as aesthetically “good” must in some essential way be immune from its circumstances if those nonmusical factors are “bad.” The fraught arguments since the Second World War over the notoriously anti-­Semitic nineteenth-­century composer Richard Wagner are a case in point. If we find that Wagner’s perspectives on culture are entrenched in his operas, then we might argue that we should not spend our time, money, and energy on such works (since the operas could no longer be considered “good for us”). But if our intuitions tell us that we in fact do appreciate the operas aesthetically, then ideally we want to—­as a moral imperative we need to—­argue that Wagner’s repulsive theorizing about race is somehow walled off from the artworks (so that, thank goodness, the operas can still be “good for us”). As John Guillory notes in the context of literary history, “the immense significance of the concept of the ‘aesthetic’ to the institutions of canon formation can be suggested by noting that the expression of manifestly repugnant or socially obsolete values has not in itself been enough to disqualify a work for canonicity.”9 The persistence of such debates is notable in its own right. As the music critic Anthony Tommasini describes grappling with what to do with his beloved collections of James Levine–­led recordings in the context of sexual abuse accusations, and a resulting suspension from the Metropolitan Opera, “I won’t give them away. But I’m going to move them out of my living room.”10 Try as we might to draw some sort of comforting boundary between “the music itself ” and the seemingly extramusical, such metaphorical borders often feel distressingly artificial. For the purposes of this discussion, then, an essential aspect of musical value concerns the fact that values, of whatever philosophical stripe, and along all their complex and contradictory lines, are inevitably embedded in the

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particularities of historical and cultural circumstance. In Lawrence Kramer’s words, “Music shapes, transforms, and even creates values . . . in the spaces of culture and history.”11 Indeed, philosophical approaches to value, whether based in aesthetics, economics, psychology, or any particular discipline, can only seem to operate outside specific contexts if they implicitly or explicitly take their contexts for granted and treat their contexts as timeless.12 Yet values most characteristically become important in discourse “during periods of social crisis or upheaval,” in Alan Durant’s formulation, when one is most likely to be cognizant of one’s particular historical moment; Kramer similarly notes that musical values develop in historical moments of “transformative reflection” created by a “breakdown in symbolic tradition.”13 The sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s approach to understanding various cul­ tural fields, such as visual art, literature and poetry, and theater, along with occasional nods to music, encompasses and integrates a number of these various lines of thinking about value. The dialectical relationship between the aesthetic and economic value of art, for example, is particularly notable in Bourdieu’s formulation. Most conventionally these are in opposition, characterized by the “different social and cultural valuation of the two modes of production: the one a field that is its own market, allied with an educational system which legitimizes it; the other a field of production organized as a function of external demand, normally seen as socially and culturally inferior.” And this “opposition between the ‘commercial’ and the ‘non-­commercial’  .  .  . is the generative principle of most of the judgments which . . . claim to establish the frontier between what is and what is not art.”14 At the same time, though, these heuristically distinct sources of value are actually embedded within one another, as, for instance, how the art business, though “defined by a ‘refusal’ of the ‘commercial,” actually contains “a form of economic rationality” through “the accumulation of symbolic capital” derived from various forms of cultural prestige, along with a “sometimes very substantial economic profit.”15 Further, such a familiar model of cultural value tends to function invisibly through one’s “habitus,” a “set of basic perceptual schemes” internalized by virtually everyone in a given time and place.16 This implies two underlying factors, both essential for Bourdieu. First, while such a mode of perception can seem universal, given that one is surrounded by it and functions within it, that very entrenchment actually grounds it within a particular historical moment. As Bourdieu puts it, the “pure thinker”—­one who argues for the aesthetic value of art as fundamentally separate from how art might function within society—­“unwittingly establishes this singular experience as a trans­ historical norm for every aesthetic perception. Now this experience with all the aspects of singularity that it appears to possess . . . is itself an institution

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which is the product of historical invention.”17 Second, the fact that one is embedded in a particular mode of perception in a particular historical moment implies that the mode of perception is not neutral, or disinterested, but is at its root an expression of one’s position within a given society and, thus, within a given societal class system. Bourdieu writes, in the strongest terms, that “pure” taste is “founded on a refusal of ‘impure’ taste,” and this “antithesis between culture and bodily pleasure (or nature) is rooted in the opposition between the cultivated bourgeoisie and the people, the imaginary site of uncultivated nature.” As such, “what is at stake in aesthetic discourse . . . is nothing less than the monopoly of humanity. Art is called upon to mark the difference between humans and non-­humans.”18 Contexts and Frameworks Important scholarship over the last generation has done much to contextualize the conventional portrait of good music as having emerged within the particular realm of nineteenth-­century classical music—­the era of “absolute” music or, as it was called more commonly in its time, “pure” music—­and to highlight its supporters’ underlying agendas.19 As Mark Evan Bonds argues, for example, the turn of that century saw both an aesthetic revolution that reconceived music as able to “convey ideas” even without a text and a political revolution positing that a community of individuals might come together like an orchestra. Thus symphonies in particular—­by definition extended and wordless works for orchestra—­began to be heard in “a fundamentally new manner, . . . no longer . . . solely as a source of entertainment, but increasingly as a source of truth, . . . as a mode of philosophy.”20 The conventional aesthetic frameworks for good music, therefore, lie not in the realm of universal truth but, rather, somewhere in Europe, especially in German-­speaking countries, about a hundred fifty years ago. For example, through a wide-­ranging study of concert programs across numerous cultural capitals, William Weber shows how drastically norms of performance changed during the nineteenth century. In the previous century, concerts were usually “miscellaneous” affairs, full of contrasts of genre, performing forces, and appeal, and this practice was widely considered “welcoming,” as the selections “would please the tastes of different people or the varied needs of any one person.”21 By the middle of the nineteenth century, though, driven by a “utopian agenda” in the wake of widespread political upheavals that came to a head in 1848, a new “principle of homogeneity” dominated concerts so that “almost all pieces on a program were expected to come from related genres and a common level of taste.”22 Diversity might instead be achieved through

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performing works of the same genre from disparate historical periods rather than presenting a miscellany of styles.23 In the particular example of orchestral concert series, established groups such as the Leipzig Gewandhaus, London Philharmonic, and the Paris Conservatoire Society of Concerts steadily increased the performance of music by “dead composers,” reaching as much as 85 percent of the works played per season by 1870; in the case of the Vienna Philharmonic, founded in the middle of the century, the amount never fell below 78 percent.24 Such moves toward consolidating musical styles could be witnessed not only in “classical” music but also in various types of concerts aimed at a mass general public.25 As Matthew Gelbart argues, for instance, “folk” music positioned itself similarly to “art” music as “exclusive rather than inclusive” and, indeed, both are better understood “as a binary, dialectical pairing” through a “specific historical interdependence” based on “contrast and opposition to each other.”26 Richard Middleton stakes out similar ground for understanding the history of popular music, as “the voice of the people is always . . . defined in relation to its position in a broader field, within which its starting-­place (to put it no higher) is always one of subservience, its mode of existence one of dialogue.”27 Such a contextualizing of values does not deny that many values indeed stretch across specific times and places. Much of what makes close consideration of value intriguing concerns the nagging sense that values, particularly ones that seem familiar to us today, can simultaneously seem both contextually bounded and beyond context. As Kramer characterizes it, on the one hand we are confronted by the “inescapably historical character of the relationship between meaning and values,” while on the other hand it is “virtually impossible, and certainly undesirable, to give up on the idea that music and art harbor genuine value-­potential.” Rather than allow this tension to stifle our efforts, though, Kramer instead concludes that “the relationship between the historical and the transhistorical in the sphere of values is positive and mutually productive.”28 Indeed, many values can be understood to perform various sorts of cultural work in multiple contexts, as values manifest and in­ teract with particular contexts in multifarious particular ways, and any particular context itself is inherently dynamic. In this way, it’s fascinating to contemplate how these musical values emigrated to the United States around the same time as many boats were arriving at Ellis Island and what cultural work these values accomplished on American shores in that generation.29 As Lawrence W. Levine shows in his seminal work Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America, by the later nineteenth century, many of the growing population centers in the United States actively pursued an adoption of these cultural values as a

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chief strategy to stake a claim for the cultural validity of the United States itself in the shadow of Europe and its long histories of artistic production. By the twentieth century and beyond, the cultural conditions that bred these musical values had changed in significant ways. But strong traces of the values themselves remained so embedded in our thinking that it’s become quite easy to convince ourselves that the values are, indeed, universal. The term Levine uses for the process by which American society developed this familiar value system is “sacralization.” Thinking about classical music in a sacred way was no mere metaphor but, rather, presented as a statement of fact. The directors of the Philharmonic Society of New York, which later became the New York Philharmonic, asserted in 1848 that “the science of Music as it exists in nature is not of human invention, but of divine appointment.”30 This is a fascinating rhetorical move, for if we imagine music as beyond the realm of human activity, then at once we conceive it as powerful and wonderful, connected to nature and to God, and distinct from any particular place or time. The fact that Beethoven wrote his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies in the first decade of the nineteenth century becomes incidental, even irrelevant, as does the cultural work those pieces were seen to do in their time, and ours. They do great universal work, and if they don’t speak to us, then it is our fault, and surely not a fault of the music. Language like this abounds in nineteenth-­century discussions of classical music in America. Theodore Thomas, the New York Philharmonic conductor who went on to found the Chicago Symphony, was described in his early twenties as a “missionary of art” and, at his 1905 funeral, as a “true minister” of “interpreting great music.”31 And as such labels imply, there was a strong religious pedagogical edge to such metaphors: the idea was not, as became more and more common throughout the twentieth century, to retreat to the ivory tower and keep classical music the provenance of the learned few. The mission, as it were, was to proselytize and convert ordinary Americans to understanding the importance of exposing themselves to and becoming knowledgeable about the music of the great composers. Thus, in distinctly middlebrow publications like Harper’s, one of the oldest monthlies in America, it could be stated outright that “Homer, Shakespeare, Dante, Raphael, Michael Angelo, Handel, Beethoven, Mozart, they are towering facts like the Alps or the Himalayas. They are the heaven-­kissing peaks, and are universally acknowledged. It is not conceivable that the judgment of mankind upon those names will ever be reversed.”32 A widespread acceptance of Eurocentrism in American considerations of classical music followed from the process of sacralization. Nowhere is the paradox of presumed universality closer to the surface: we are meant to

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recognize this great music as transcending context, regardless of the fact that just about all the great music was composed in a relatively small geographic area in a time span that covers a drop in the bucket of humanity’s total history. As Levine suggests, “For the source of divine inspiration and artistic creation one had to look not only upward but eastward toward Europe.”33 The assumed cultural deficiency of America may have been propagated somewhat by Europeans but was all too readily taken up by Americans themselves. Writing in his Pulitzer Prize–­winning 1927 biography of Thomas, Charles Edward Russell baldly states that, “to this day, ‘American artist’ means to the average American soul inferior artist; ‘American composer’ means inferior composer.”34 Such assumptions could extend to the marketing of music in America as well; Russell suggests that Thomas’s American Opera Company failed in the 1880s, in part, simply due to labeling the organization as promoting “American opera.” Alternatively, the Texan Lucy Hickenlooper (1880–­ 1948) was able to have a successful career as a pianist after changing her name to Olga Samaroff.35 Indeed, throughout the history of classical music in the United States, most of the prominent performers and especially conductors have been European or, at the very least, Americans who were trained in Europe. Even today many American music students receive the strong message that for them to “really” understand classical music, they need to live, study, and perform abroad. What seems to underlie all of this—­why it seems important for Europeans to be the interpreters of European music, or why it seems important to perform every note and every movement of every piece at every solemn classical concert—­is valuing, perhaps most of all, an idea of musical purity. Thomas in­ formed his wife, for example, that “I avoid trashy stuff, . . . otherwise, when I come before the public to interpret master-­works, and my soul should be inspired with noble and impressive emotions, these evil thoughts run around in my head like squirrels and spoil it all. A musician must keep his heart pure and his mind clean if he wishes to elevate, instead of debasing his art.”36 “Low” art is not merely something that one should choose to avoid because it’s less good than “high” music, but something more like an illness, a disease that can infect high art itself, or at least our reception of it, and potentially destroy it. As Russell recounts Thomas’s reaction to a friend’s dirty joke, “Suppose you tell me this story and tonight when I am about to conduct some work of beauty and purity I catch sight of your face in the audience. Do you not see that involuntarily my mental state is distorted from the idea of purity I ought to have, and it will not be possible for me to give to that composition the in­ terpretation of perfect purity that it demands?”37

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Such thoughts, of course, were not the provenance of Thomas alone. As the value system was actively shifting, reviews would respond scathingly to “miscellaneous concerts, potpourris of the hackneyed sentimentalities or flash fancies of third and tenth rate composers,” as John Sullivan Dwight, the first notable classical music critic in America, wrote.38 And serious-­minded performers themselves disdained concerts that continued to follow the old practice by including a mix of material such as popular songs, as when the pianist Hans von Bülow took to symbolically wiping clean the piano keyboard after such a number was performed before he was to take the stage.39 As the philosopher Richard Shusterman characterizes such sentiments, “the dominant logic of high art and its aesthetic has long been one of relentless differentiation and distance from commonly accepted modes of understanding and experience.”40 Thus the conventional portrait of “good music” is not at all a universal condition for the production and reception of music but, rather, represents a historical fact that began around a particular time and place for particular cultural reasons. Indeed, in monographs such as Lydia Goehr’s The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works (1992), Bonds’s Music as Thought: Listening to the Symphony in the Age of Beethoven (2006), Gelbart’s The Invention of “Folk Music” and “Art Music” (2007), and Holly Watkins’s Metaphors of Depth in German Musical Thought (2011), there is a strong overarching implication: though good music created within this period does, by its very nature, strive to meet such expectations, music created outside these traditional historical bounds need no longer be approached through such limited principles. For example, using the notion of a “musical work” as a shorthand for this sort of music, Goehr argues that “we most surely need to revise . . . the claim as to the work-­based practice’s universal and absolute validity” by contrasting “orig­ inal examples . . . produced directly and explicitly under the guidance of the con­ cept” with “derivative examples . . . not brought into existence with that concept in mind or within the specific part of practice associated with it.”41 Or, as Watkins frames her study of Romantic musical reception, if  we can “clarify the heritage of metaphors of musical depth in use today by recounting their role in the creation and transmission of a distinctly Germanic cluster of values,” then we can “inoculate . . . critical inquiry against the lingering desire to ‘fix’ musical meaning in a transhistorical and transcultural no-­man’s land.”42 In Good Music, I take up this challenge and explore the extent to which cracks are starting to show in this foundation of beliefs, letting in light that illuminates human interactions with music, the messy realities of composition, performance, and reception. A particular sort of desired perfection in the

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musical object itself no longer needs to be the sole focus. As Gopnik comes to realize over the course of his essay, “the notion of a pure musical experience is . . . the last sad effort of a nineteenth-­century cult of attention that placed the solitary alienated (and almost always male) listener in a temple of silence, the concert hall. Everyone faces forward, no one moves, applause is tightly regimented, and no one ever does the things that human beings normally do when they hear music: dance, move, act, eat, flirt.”43 Simply put, the conventional classical music values developed for certain purposes, and if they are not our purposes then we should be free to change them to ones that suit us better. And this is no argument to discard old classical music in the name of relevance. In a pluralistic, multicultural, internet, and satellite-­radio world, there’s more than enough room for more kinds of music—­and ways to love music—­to thrive than we can even imagine. As the music critic Alex Ross wrote in 2004 amid the exploding consumption of dig­ ital music, and with reference to an easy-­to-­reach setting on every iPod, “I have seen the future, and it is called Shuffle.”44 We can and should take a critical eye to the ways we think about music. We can become more aware of why we make the snap judgments we do and perhaps give ourselves the room to make different sorts of judgments if we so desire. Shusterman’s argument for a “pragmatic” approach to aesthetics works along similar lines, aiming “not to abolish the institution of art but to transform it” by “rejecting the narrowness of our dominant conception of art.”45 The result of such a perspective is multipartite. Traditional high art is not rejected but “its own exclusionary rejections” are, thus serving to open “the concept of art to include popular arts whose support and satisfactions spread far beyond the socio-­cultural elite.” Specifically employing genres of popular music such as rock and rap, Shusterman maintains “that popular art not only can satisfy the most important standards of our aesthetic tradition” but that such musical practices also simultaneously “suggest a radically revised aesthetic with a joyous return of the somatic dimension which philosophy has long repressed to preserve its own hegemony.” And such insights can inform the study of traditionally canonic works in new and important ways. Rather than “condemn high art as necessarily promoting a repressive conservatism by inducing . . . an admiring affirmation of the past,” we can instead approach “our tradition [as] intrinsically pluralistic, contestatory, and open-­ended.”46 Guillory concludes similarly, contemplating “the revelation of the impurity of the aesthetic”: the notion that “aesthetic experience is really restricted to the experience of High Cultural works” is an “illusion,” and “the experience of any cultural work is an experience of an always composite pleasure.”47

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Even within the classical music world, it can be quite liberating to con­ template contextualizing the conventional values described above. Many peo­ ple who spend their time around classical music lament the extent to which performances seem to function more like a museum, built to prop up dead artifacts, rather than a community creating a living art. Instead we can begin to imagine a classical music culture that speaks to us, and for us. There’s surely a strong argument to be made that concerts happening today should contain a much larger dose of contemporary music. And there’s no reason to throw out the older classical music baby with the bathwater either. If we perform Beethoven today, we should do it because there’s something interesting or provocative or important or simply entertaining in it for us today.48 Internalized Values, Defining Examples, and Close Readings There are many conclusions one might draw from the discussion above. In the rest of this introduction I’ll suggest three of them, each of which I will develop in the chapters that follow and which are in dialogue with the scholarship summarized above. First, even though the conventional classical music value system has been thoroughly historicized, it nevertheless continues to be widely applied, rearing its head in discourse surrounding many post-­ nineteenth-­century modernist and postmodernist classical musics that otherwise challenge aspects of traditional classical musics, earlier classical musics that flourished generations or even centuries previous to the emergence of such thinking, and styles far beyond classical music, such as jazz, rock, and hip-­hop. As Jim Samson acknowledges, though “indeed it was the nineteenth century that fostered and nurtured that fetishism of greatness—­of the great artist, the great work,” such a network of values remains “so familiar to us today.”49 Though those classical and nonclassical genres have developed their own histories and cultural agendas, their reception has invariably incorporated important aspects of conventional classical ideologies. Though this might stem from the psychological limitations of our frameworks, such a strategy is surely employed with a positive agenda in mind, to carve out places of value for various contemporary European and American audiences. In Bourdieu’s terms, “as distinct from a solidly legitimate activity, an activity on the way to legitimation continually confronts its practitioners with the question of its own legitimacy.”50 Robert Fink shows convincingly, for example, that while the critique of classical music orthodoxy implicit in later twentieth-­century “minimalism” is thoroughly embedded in the simultaneous development of American mass-­media culture, the style’s own

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practitioners and devotees promulgated familiar classical tropes concerned with singular creative heroes and music insulated from society.51 Middleton similarly notes that popular music in numerous contexts over the last two hundred years “took over many of the same representational techniques as its superiors had used, and continue to use, to imprison it, appropriating, exploiting, distancing itself in its turn from its own others.”52 As Theodore Gracyk characterizes popular music’s reception over the last half century or so, “instead of erasing the divide between high and low, popular culture has internalized the distinction: many listeners use the distinction between ‘rock’ and ‘pop’ as another way to divide high from low, while others make parallel distinctions among rock bands by opposing art and commerce.”53 Thus taking such musics “seriously” also represents something of a “political move” that involves “appropriation and domination” of those repertoires, in what Goehr describes as a “clear case of conceptual imperialism.”54 On the surface, at least, it seems that this shouldn’t be the case. Ordinary contemporary listeners, even relatively socioeconomically privileged ones such as university students, generally have little stake in these conventional musical codes, which tell them that good music is highbrow, intellectual, and uplifting. Yet in many ways, today’s listeners have internalized the standard nineteenth-­century Western musical value system and they apply it universally, not only to classical music but also to the popular musics that tend to be more important to their everyday lives. My discussions with students often bear this out, as such values turn up again and again: they argue for the artistic significance of artists with cult followings over performers who have “sold out”; they report listening to classical music to create a serious atmosphere conducive to extended study sessions with difficult course material; and they seek out transformative experiences rather than mere entertainment when seeing favorite groups in live venues. They already know what kinds of music are supposed to be “good” or “bad,” and when they argue for “good” examples within a “bad” style, the “good” aspects bear more than a passing resemblance to the assumed characteristics of classical music. This process has continued with the recent move of hip-­hop studies into the academy, as the genre has begun to shed its own long history as a “bad” music. For example, as documented in the film The Hip-­Hop Fellow (2013), the rap producer 9th Wonder (Patrick Douthit) taught a 2012–­13 course at Harvard designed around an attempt to, in his words, determine “what are going to be the rules for being a standard, classic hip-­hop album . . . that’s going to stand the test of time.”55 Many different musics are of course valued in various ways within numerous contexts, but the conventional classical value system derived from Beethoven reception nevertheless often functions as a central

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force, a stubbornly powerful mythology around which discourse for all musical practices seems to engage—­seemingly has to engage—­in dialogue, like spokes around a hub or electrons orbiting a nucleus.56 The second point to draw from the above discussion, which also informs the overall perspective of this book, is perhaps more radical. Though the scholarship summarized above assumes that such values would at least hold for the music created within the cultural context of those values, it doesn’t take much imaginative thinking to argue that even Beethoven doesn’t always work the way “Beethoven” is supposed to. In fact, considering the somewhat distinct value systems that can be abstracted from the reception histories of various styles, it becomes clear that even defining examples in numerous realms, whether Beethoven symphonies, “classic” jazz performances, or catchy pop tunes, do not fit—­and need not be interpreted to fit—­standard expectations of the given repertoire in particularly neat or convincing ways. It’s not necessarily that there are better examples for illustrating whatever value system is being explored but, rather, that any value system inevitably is descriptive only of certain aspects of the music in question and problematically distorting if used prescriptively to evaluate any particular example. Thus, exploring historical and cultural contexts is essential and recognizing the underlying “habitus” expressed by a value judgment is similarly crucial, but ultimately is not enough, as our reconstructions of contexts are inherently partial and can be used, even if unwittingly, to reinforce stereotypes.57 Instead, close readings informed—­but not defined—­by their contexts can do much to get us beyond the potential blindness fostered by our frameworks. Often the gaps between expectation and example prove to be essential cruxes for exploring the music as a rich site of potential mean­ ings, and in turn recapturing something of the multifaceted diversity of any given context (including our own), rather than problems to explain away.58 Gracyk captures something of this conceptual complexity as he argues for the aesthetic value of popular music: we need both “stylistic competencies,” which concern the fundamental qualities of a specific type of music, as well as “strategic competencies,” which allow us to perceive what might stand out from those fundamentals in any particular example of that music.59 Further, Gracyk draws an important distinction between “variable features” of a piece, which might be notably expressive but do not affect our judgment when classifying the music, and “contra-­standard” features, which would create a “weirdness . . . that would normally disqualify the music from belonging to that musical category.”60 I would take this a step further: if we choose to look beyond the most obvious framework that might be applied to a given example, and experiment playfully with other possible frameworks, contra-­ standard features might be as salient in supposedly paradigmatic examples

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as much as in obviously “weird” music. Seemingly central examples of a style might touch numerous categories simultaneously. Indeed, as Gracyk allows, “most people develop multiple schemata—­one for each distinct style of music they learn to enjoy,” and it is only a small step forward to argue that such multiple schemata might suggest themselves simultaneously when one is attempting to describe a singular piece of music in all its richness.61 Thus I argue throughout that fruitful meanings can be constructed in popular musics from perspectives not commonly applied to popular music and, similarly, that meanings can be constructed in classical musics from perspectives not commonly applied to classical music.62 As David Brackett describes it, we can imagine “a kind of double-­(or multiple-­) ‘eared’ listener.”63 All this implies an essential perspective: though we may write about values as if they are “in” the music we compose and play, or speak of various ways to contemplate the value “of ” music, all along we are doing this composing and playing, writing and speaking. Values are inevitably a product of discourse, a result of the fact that we are the ones who create and interact with music, in all of our human imperfection. Thus perhaps, with the knowledge that our aesthetic engagement can’t be pure, and shouldn’t be pure if we want to capture something of that engagement in all its complexity, there can still be a space for valuing the act of engagement itself, for the notion of approaching value “through” our participation and dialogues with music and the discourse surrounding it. And if we are to value our musical activities and the effects that ripple outward from them, therein perhaps lies an ethical imperative as well, a choice to strive to make music and discourse about music in such a way that does good. As Just Vibrations—­the clever title of William Cheng’s pointed (and poignant) reflections on music and music scholarship—­implies, no matter how much we might wish for music simply to be music, to be just vibrations, the knowledge that music can only be known through the meanings we make for it should lead us to take responsibility for the personal and societal significance of those meanings, to endeavor to make just vibrations.64 But reasonable people can disagree about things that matter. One person’s good can come at the expense of another person’s; what seems good or at least neutral in one context or from one perspective can be understood as problematic, dubious, or even ethically abhorrent in another. Third, then, is the notion that musical values are continually contested, even when such struggles seem to function largely below the surface of a given time and place, and even in the mind of a single listener. In certain contexts this is quite clear, of course, when debates about music come to the fore, perhaps akin to Thomas S. Kuhn’s notion of revolutionary “paradigm shifts” in the history of

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science.65 But values are no less contested during periods seemingly devoid of such conflicts, during periods of “normal science,” in Kuhn’s terminology, as each expression of supposedly accepted values is an act, whether conscious or not, aimed at furthering a dominant perspective at the expense of marginalized ones. Bourdieu contemplates how the history of a cultural field is “at all times the site of a struggle” stemming from “the overall degree of autonomy possessed by the field” up against the extent to which the field may bend to economic or political concerns, but also, within the field itself, “the struggle be­ tween those who have made their mark and who are fighting to persist, and those who cannot make their own mark without pushing into the past those who have an interest in stopping the clock, eternalizing the present stage of things.”66 Indeed, marginalized perspectives at any given time should be taken seriously, for the vagaries of any current power relation between competing perspectives are inherently fleeting, sowing the seeds for the next more overt debate in the field, the next potential paradigm shift. Interrogating Musical Goodness Good Music engages in a dialogue with current scholarship on the nineteenth-­ century musical value system on the three points explored above: the extent to which such values are contained within their initial historical and cultural context, the extent to which musical value systems of any stripe actually do a good job of fitting well even the defining examples of the music supposedly captured by the given system, and the extent to which musical values are contested within any given context. By doing so, this book further intersects with a number of recent studies that approach questions of musical value not within historical bounds but, rather, as they might apply to our current cultural moment. Julian Johnson’s Who Needs Classical Music? (2002) and Lawrence Kramer’s Why Classical Music Still Matters (2007), for example, argue for the continued relevance of classical music. Gracyk’s Listening to Popular Music, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Led Zeppelin (2007) similarly makes a strong case for close discussions of aesthetic value in popular music. Rather than limit my inquiry to individual musical practices, I expand the scope to consider various musics in tandem. The frequent, even inevitable, intersections between differing musical styles and among systems of musical value represent some of the most important sites for exploring music’s meaningfulness. In this way Good Music, like recent scholarship such as Judith A. Peraino’s Listening to the Sirens (2006), Michael Long’s Beautiful Monsters (2008), and Gabriel Solis and Bruno Nettl’s edited collection

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Musical Improvisation (2009), treats a particular musical topic across style, period, and cultural context and questions entrenched stylistic boundaries. To provide a counterbalance to the wide range of music and approaches to music explored in the book, I have chosen to concentrate on well-­known pieces of music and recordings that are relatively easy to access. Indeed, I argue explicitly that renowned and well-­loved pieces of music in any given genre shouldn’t be considered suspect by the mere circumstance of their widespread dissemination; in fact, such a view brings with it the danger of replicating a modernist perspective that popularity necessarily lies in an inverse relationship with aesthetic value. Instead, by their very position in reception his­ tory, well-­known examples can be important windows into the implicit values informing the reception of music in a particular cultural context. Good Music thus investigates the construction of musical values, the judgments with which listeners in a given time and place evaluate music, across a wide range of historical periods and soundscapes. In each chapter, I examine one of these conventional standards as it manifests in the history of a particular repertoire. By engaging examples such as Handel oratorios, Beethoven and Mahler symphonies, jazz improvisations, and rock albums, I argue that such metaphors of perfection do justice to neither the perceived strengths nor the assumed weaknesses of the music. Instead, picking up some strands of recent reception, I synthesize alternative, transformed models where abstract notions of virtue need not dictate understandings of music, a sort of “impure” aesthetics that aims not to replace the conventional values radiating outward from the nineteenth century but to engage those values critically as merely one possibility within a wider network. In Good Music, I highlight these trends across work on disparate genres and historical periods to posit a comprehensive new approach to musical values. I begin in chapter 1 (“Serious”) by interrogating notable writings by Theodor W. Adorno (1941), Allan Bloom (1987), and Kramer (2007, mentioned above) that seek to valorize classical music both through its own inner workings and through pointed comparisons to popular genres. With against-­the-­ grain readings of musical examples by Beethoven, Duke Ellington, and Bruce Springsteen, I critically survey the philosophical and cultural roots of treating the conventional classical music value system as a universal truth. Chapter 2 (“Unified”) then examines the conventional notion of the musical masterpiece as a perfect synthesis of its various parts, an organic whole growing out of its musical DNA. Masterpieces seem to operate in a special realm, as the most outstanding and brilliant works of their particular genre. However, using Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (1824) and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely

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Hearts Club Band (1967), I show that a conventional ideology of good music cannot capture numerous stylistic and structural features of either. Chapters 3 and 4 explore particular repertoires not obviously linked by musical orientation or cultural context but that have long been considered problematic because of their clearly hybrid nature. In fact, in both cases, the easily heard stylistic amalgamations result from the direct influence of the previous chapter’s “masterpieces.” In chapter 3 (“Deep”), I examine the orchestral music of Austrian composer Gustav Mahler (1860–­1911), who often thought about his work in the metaphorical shadow of Beethoven’s symphonies, particularly the singular masterpiece of the Ninth. In chapter 4 (“Authentic”), I investigate progressive rock music of the 1970s, an entire style that grew largely in the shadow of Sgt. Pepper. When searching for productive paths within which they could produce their own work, both Mahler and “prog rockers” latched onto the seemingly all-­encompassing hybridity in the earlier examples they perceived to be such towering achievements. The irony, though, is that this resulting focus on juxtapositions and permeable stylistic boundaries clearly offended musical values operating for both classical and rock musics. Thus Mahler’s symphonies and progressive rock albums alike, though conceived with their genre’s masterpieces in mind, met with quite checkered reception histories. In the case of Mahler, a sharply etched kaleidoscopic use of orchestral color, an aspect of music usually considered “secondary,” is often placed center stage, signaling the multiplicity of metaphorical voices within the work. While Mahler himself considered his symphonies to be “all Ninths,” such features were often serious stumbling blocks for the composer’s contemporary critics, for they were thought to steal focus away from the deep musical structures based in the organization of pitch materials within the individual work. I contend that orchestral color functions as an integral part of the musical fabric, providing an essential key for interpretation. Like Mahler’s critics, writers of a very different stripe were no less vitriolic toward progressive rock for precisely equal but opposite reasons. Instead of exclusively exhibiting features of authentic rock music, this brand of rock seemed to aspire to classical-­music-­like structures and seriousness of purpose, all at the expense of rock’s usual function as a music of rebellion. Then, in a paradoxical twist, in the 1980s, progressive rock bands simplified their own styles and structures in order to remain culturally relevant within the field of popular music, only to meet with the disdain of dedicated fans who perceived the bands to be violating their own sort of “prog rock” authenticity. In the cases of both Mahler and “prog,” I argue that the music’s characteristic navigation between and among seemingly incompatible value systems is no weakness but, instead, provides a productive tension and path to creative expression.

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The pair of chapters that follow analyze specific repertories of music considered to be defining examples of their particular style, central expressions of the values that developed around them: in chapter 5 (“Heroic”), “classic” jazz of the 1920s–­1950s, which remains the chief point of reference in understanding the manifold musical practices we call jazz, and in chapter 6 (“Original”) the music of George Frideric Handel (1685–­1759), which lies at the foundations of the “classical” style. Close investigation reveals that even these repertoires and the creative processes underlying them demonstrate no less of an essential musical mixture than examples more obviously hybrid, the conventional reception of these musics serving as the basis of merely one possible interpretation among other potential appraisals. To close Good Music, in chapter 7 I bring together the arguments of the previous chapters, addressing the importance of thinking critically about the discourse writers bring to music and the implicit ideologies transmitted to close listeners and musicians themselves. Our semantic limitations are profound: language evoking the serious, the authentic, or the original is shot through with positive implications, and expressions of mixture or hybridity almost inevitably resonate as undesirable. Yet, without shame, good music can be playful rather than serious, diverse rather than unified, engaging to both body and mind, in dialogue with manifold styles and genres, and collaborative to the core. Instead of metaphors related to a narrow sort of goodness, I argue for a discourse of “connected” music: composers initiate dialogues with performers, works interact with other cultural expressions within and beyond music, and communities of listeners engage deeply with what and how they hear. Rather than preach anxieties about the waning relevance of good music, we can widen the scope of what music we valorize and reconsider the conventional rituals surrounding it, all the while retaining the joys of making music, listening closely, and caring passionately. I recognize outright that appraisals of music and the principles informing such judgments are always ideological, and thus each assessment is profoundly shaped by the complex cultural moment from which it springs. The newly emerging values crystallized in Good Music—­like current stylistic  ex­ periments in numerous genres of music themselves—­invariably model essential traces of contemporary Western society, such as increasing diversity, engaged dialogue with authority, and creative play with conventions (as well as the occasionally vehement reactions opposing such values, shadowy reverberations pushing back against the newly audible plurality of voices). This budding network of values also provides a prism through which we can cast new light on the musical past. Rethinking what’s at stake in a piece of music, a

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performance, and discourse about music can lead us to reimagine repertoires long thought problematic and supposed timeless “masterpieces” alike. The above reference to “us” is surely worthy of comment. Indeed, throughout this book I often refer to “we,” a potential issue for sure. There’s a real danger if I imagine that my voice might stand for anyone beyond myself, let alone people in general. The musical reflections, ideas, and organization of them are of course mine, flawed as I am. But my wish to use “we” does not stem from an assumption that “everyone” would think as I do. “We” operate within baseline myths, rituals, and values, but each of “us” responds in potentially idiosyncratic and multifarious ways, ways that often change over the course of a lifetime. It’s not so much that my particular and peculiar views stand for anyone else’s, or represent an attempt to silence any differing outlooks, but rather that I hope my thoughts might function in a dialogue with a wider community of music lovers. Our passion for music often goes beyond the styles and pieces that are supposed to be “good for us” and beyond the ways music is supposed to be understood. Good Music develops an approach that encompasses more closely and deeply the multiplicity of our contemporary engagement with music.

1

Serious: The Cultural Work of Classical Music and the Trap of Musical Sound

Writing across different decades and social contexts, a number of noteworthy authors have promulgated the importance of classical music along similar lines:

• •





Classical music works in ways that don’t exist in “lower” types of music.  nly classical music can lead to rich aesthetic experiences deeply conO nected to its culture. Popular music is inherently antagonistic to deep thinking.

The broad conclusions may seem intuitively right, especially to “serious” music lovers. These arguments attempt a particular sort of logical leap, however. Although each writer asserts that such judgments are grounded in objective musical structures, the overall verdicts, ironically, are more directly related to the sensuous surface of the music. In a clear manifestation of the psychological phenomenon known as “confirmation bias,” the outward style of a piece of music leads each author to look for—­and inevitably find—­the characteristics already assumed to be present, rather than to seek disconfirming evidence that might inform a more nuanced understanding. Indeed, though these perspectives seem at first to draw on and further the power and prestige of the great tradition, the intensity of the arguments implies, instead, the sense of an always-­looming danger posed by popular music to these seeming cultural monuments and their musical value. The general outlines of the issue can be seen in one of the most picked-­ over diatribes on music published in the previous generation: the philosopher Allan Bloom’s short chapter on the subject in his 1987 best-­selling The Closing of the American Mind. His references have become dated fast. No one

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seems much threatened by Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson anymore; music can barely be found on MTV; the Walkman has been replaced by iPhones and other digital devices. But the scope of the argument is still familiar: as a cultural product, music matters a lot to young people, so it’s worth looking at closely if we want to understand the general drift of society. And what we find there is frightening indeed, Bloom asserts. People have long complained about the current generation’s music, but today’s situation is particularly troubling. We’re on the verge of turning our backs on the very idea of a democratic society because the emerging generation is closed off from the free exchange of ideas, their heads instead filled with the detritus of popular culture. It doesn’t take much to get the idea of Bloom’s values concerning music. Classical music is worthy because it engages the intellect, while popular music—­which for Bloom, writing in the 1980s, means rock music—­merely engages the emotions. There is no possibility of plurality here, that music might work in a multiplicity of ways. It’s a black-­and-­white proposition, a zero-­sum game. Bloom writes that rock music “has risen to its current heights in the education of the young on the ashes of classical music, and in an atmosphere in which there is no intellectual resistance to attempts to tap the rawest passions.”1 This binary opposition thus prizes the “mind” over the “body.” Just a few sentences later, we’re told in no uncertain terms that “rock music has one appeal only, a barbaric appeal, to sexual desire—­not love, not eros, but sexual desire undeveloped and untutored.” And it’s seemingly easy for Bloom to squash the possibility of counterexamples as well. If we want to respond “well, wait a minute; there are definitely pieces of classical music that speak to untrained listeners, and to fans of rock music,” Bloom comes back with this: “Young people know that rock has the beat of sexual intercourse. That is why Ravel’s Bolero is the one piece of classical music that is commonly known and liked by them.” Music of repetition, groove, evolving texture, and rhythmic in­ terest are seen as dangerous because they supposedly engage the body at the expense of the mind. For Bloom, “nothing noble, sublime, profound, delicate, tasteful or even decent can find a place in such tableaux. There is room only for the intense, changing, crude and immediate.”2 If we can weed out body-­centric popular music, and all the other examples that might remind us of popular music, we will have chipped away enough to be left with the shining “great tradition.” But if we allow ourselves to accept, to be seduced by, those other musics, we will be left intellectually and even physically handicapped. Bloom writes that, “as long as they have the Walkman on, they cannot hear what the great tradition has to say. And, after its prolonged use, when they take it off, they find they are deaf.”3 Notwithstanding the intense debate provoked by Bloom when The Closing

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of the American Mind was new, his polemic regarding music is something of a straw man argument. As one might imagine, students don’t find that listening to hip-­hop is stopping them from assimilating the principles of physics, or political science, or their music homework. And more importantly, students listen to “their” music with as much seriousness—­and as worthy of seriousness—­as anything a traditional syllabus might throw at them. They can hear musical styles and structures, posit relationships between music and culture, hear evolutionary and revolutionary changes over time, and all the rest. As Rose Rosengard Subotnik writes in a carefully argued response to Bloom, “The idea behind this attitude is that by concentrating on the abstract logic of structural relations in music, listeners learn to guard against rejecting a composition on grounds of brute prejudice. . . . [Yet] the ideal of structural listening has encouraged us to do precisely what it set out to prevent: to reject whole repertoires, not on any persuasive abstract grounds of reason but on the clearly arbitrary ground that we don’t find their particular styles congenial.”4 In this chapter, I argue that popular music often indeed can perform the sorts of cultural work thought to be limited to classical music, and classical music can be approached in compelling ways from perspectives usually applied to popular genres. The Music That Is Supposed to Matter Potentially more credible arguments tend to work in the same way as Bloom’s thinking, toward essentially the same assertion for classical over popular music. Lawrence Kramer’s 2007 Why Classical Music Still Matters is a case in point.5 It’s valuable to argue that classical music is worth listening to, of course, and there’s nothing wrong with arguing that classical music perhaps works somewhat differently than most other sorts of music and that the differences are worth contemplating and assimilating. The shadow side of the argument, however, takes a turn toward asserting that what classical music does is better than what other musics do. Kramer is a strong advocate not only because he’s an excellent writer but also because he goes well beyond a Bloom-­like declaration that the mind is better than the body. He digs deep into how classical music works on us, and how the music interacts with the cultures in which it operates. One of his strongest arguments, and one that resonates with many listeners who are invested in classical music, is that classical music can make difficult times better, can heal. Kramer recognizes that this power has been attributed to music of many types throughout the ages, normally through a “tranquil” or “hymnlike” style. But Kramer’s argument is that in classical music it is the structure

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of the music itself, rather than primarily the style, wherein its effectiveness lies. “Classical music can . . . console just as well as other kinds, but its healing power lies above all in its capacity for drama. It heals by finding a logic to deal with darkness and by giving that logic expression in the fate of melody.”6 In general, Kramer’s argument across the book is that classical music “still matters” because it has special qualities like these. Perhaps not surprisingly, Kramer’s main examples to argue for this special healing-­through-­dramatic-­ logic are “middle period” Beethoven symphonies, the Fifth and Sixth, different in overall affect but premiered together in December 1808. Kramer claims that these are healing pieces regardless of time and place, but he does not do so with a bald assertion of universality. Instead, he ushers us through a persuasive tour of how these pieces have been heard throughout the history of their reception. This is an essential difference from Bloom’s mode of argument. Kramer does not posit the universal good of classical music but, rather, shows that these particular pieces interacted with very different historical and cultural contexts in qualitatively similar ways. These pieces have performed an important sort of cultural work in these real times and places and have served a meaningful human purpose. In their original early nineteenth-­century Austrian context, for example, the symphonies were heard against the backdrop of “landmark” military defeats at the hands of Napoleon. Both symphonies seem to speak directly to the need, in such “times of crisis,” for music that can convince listeners of their own capacity to rise above adversity, and thus each work ends not with defeat but with “triumphant conclusions.” The pieces are not merely happy, not simple escapes, but instead, as Kramer argues, “both speak of a severe disruption, a sublime shock, that must be overcome.”7 In the Fifth Symphony, probably the best-­known piece in all classical music, the home key of the first movement is C minor, and tradition dictated that a work should end in the key in which it began. But the anger and darkness of the first movement gives way to the luminous C major of the finale, turning what was supposed to be a balanced structure into a forward-­looking narrative, a goal-­oriented, teleological, soaring conclusion. The dramatic quotient here is one of the most notable in any music, even in Beethoven. Normally, the four movements of a symphony were generically distinct, a fast movement in sonata form followed by a slow movement, a dance-­based movement, and then a fast finale. But here the space between the third and fourth movements is not the traditional silence but, rather, a composed-­out transition between the C minor of the third movement and the C major of the fourth. Seemingly every aspect of the music—­melodic motifs coalescing; instrumentation, texture, and volume all increasing; a prolonged

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pedal on the dominant pointing the way toward, but for a long while withholding, resolution—­leads to the overwhelming release at the downbeat of the finale’s beginning, that blazing, brass-­led C-­major fanfare. These run-­on movements, taking us seemingly from darkness to light, from mystery and despair to victory, are surely, as Kramer writes, “one of the nineteenth century’s most powerful essays in cultural mythmaking.”8 What’s essential, though, is not only that this goal state is a dramatically satisfying triumphant ending but that such an ending feels “true, even inevitable” because the conclusion is “logical” and “organic,” given what has come so far.9 Thus the finale’s C-­major key, radical as it was for being different than the home key of the work, also seems prepared and, in retrospect, where the symphony had to go. All the previous movements move, in one way or the other, from their various keys to C major, and none of them do so in particularly traditional fashion. All the way through the key of C major is marked as different, but consistently present, making the eventual reveal of C major as the finale’s home key feel like a magical, but deserved, apotheosis. The Sixth Symphony, the Pastoral, sounds generally quite different with its repeated intimations of nature but nonetheless constructs a similar trajectory. The four-­movement model of the traditional symphony is still largely there, but between the scherzo and the finale is, again, a composed-­out transition that makes the movements run on with one another. And this one, a storm that unleashes imitations of nature in its full fury, rises to the level of its own numbered movement. Thus this work also alters convention for dramatic purposes, giving us a five-­movement work, a storm that both intrudes on the expected structure and once again leads to a finale that fixes the problem, titled by Beethoven himself “calm feelings after the storm.” This serene finale, then, is in many ways the inverse to the Fifth’s over-­the-­top triumph, but is no less satisfying for its pastoral nature. When the finale begins with a stylized herder’s song, “real country music,” as Kramer puts it, and set in F major, the traditional key of the pastoral, this was a true healing moment, for the music “gave assurance that an age-­old, elemental humanity could still be found, in harmony with nature, at the heart of modern Europe.”10 And again, like the crisis of the Fifth, the Sixth’s interrupting storm and final resolution is an “organic intrusion,” sublime and satisfying specifically because it overcomes adversity while, at a deeper level, demonstrating that such a victory was logical and inevitable all along. There are fears and shocks and tragedies in the world, the music seems to be saying, but triumphing over such hardships is also an inherent part of our world. The exciting and frightening storm takes over from the key of F at the conclusion of the third movement, and, after its jarring journey, brings us to a finale in that same key

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of F. We are returned safely, and indeed there is no other place to which we could have arrived. The buildup to the storm’s explosion “is tense, inexorable,” and moves up chromatically, and as would befit storm music in the early nineteenth century, the mode is clearly minor. But, most notably, the storm is still centered around F, if F minor; “the key also contains the principle of its own undoing, which will take the gloom with it.” The storm interrupts what should have been the smooth silence between third movement and finale, but simultaneously continues “the very harmonic process it disrupts. The storm that is so disruptive is actually very lawful.”11 Thus the Pastoral Symphony, though structurally quite similar to the triumphant Fifth, exhibits a different kind of healing power: an evocation of a peaceful, perfect, natural past, a “type of nostalgia” that can help us deal with “the forces of modernity and urban life” thought “to threaten the continuities of traditional culture.”12 The storms will inevitably come, the threats to and from nature, but just as inevitably will come the rebirth, the green grass, the blue sky, once again. Kramer does a masterful job suggesting how the Sixth Symphony has done this sort of cultural work throughout its history. In 1848 London, for example, against the background of political and military seismic shifts across the Continent marking “the lost innocence of prerevolutionary Europe,” an exhibit commemorated an important natural disaster—­the 1755 Lisbon earthquake—­ and, notably, a passage from the Pastoral Symphony was used by a mechanical organ to depict “the innocent calm of the city before the quake.” Or in 1940 America, when an “isolationist mood” predominated in the hopes that the country would be able to avoid joining the Second World War, and a long sequence using the Pastoral was featured in the Walt Disney film Fantasia. Or the early 1970s, where in the “eco-­catastrophe” sci-­fi movie Soylent Green people volunteer to be euthanized to find permanent relief from “a world where nature is extinct,” but first get to enjoy a meal of real food and a film of nature imagery, all while the sounds of the Pastoral fill the room.13 Or even a reasonably current context, in an early episode of the animated television series The Simpsons, where the kids in the show become bored with a censored version of their favorite cartoon and rediscover the “good old days” of nature and the joys of playing outside, all over strains of the Pastoral visualized in a shot-­by-­shot evocation of the kitschy segment in Fantasia.14 So this piece, as seen through multifarious cultural contexts, can heal or at least give us hope that healing is just around the corner. Perhaps even better, we need not anticipate the arrival of a messianic hero, the Fifth’s fantasy of “taking control over history.” As Kramer writes, “Heroism is needless, even useless. All you have to do is wait; . . . the night will pass. . . . Evil dissipates

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under the daily triumph of light.” The structure of the art, the artifice itself, allows us to believe that the trials of real life will also have a predictable, unavoidable, happy ending. “What [the] storm music says is not simply that the storm can be weathered but that its weathering is foreordained, inevitable. The very entry into crisis means passage through crisis.”15 Kramer also contemplates the power of music to help us deal with crisis in our own post-­9/11 world. He brings to the table John Adams’s On the Transmigration of Souls, a 2002 work commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center’s Great Performers “in honor of the heroes and in memory of the victims of the attacks,” as the recording’s liner notes put it. Adams’s music shares very little stylistically with Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, but Kramer makes a compelling case for bringing Transmigration into the discussion. The Pastoral, famously, includes imitations of everyday sounds, such as the explicit woodwind evocations of various birds, the flowing sounds of the brook, the violence of the storm, and so forth. Transmigration, too, “incorporates real-­world sounds within its musical fabric,” beginning with a collage of recordings of the streets of New York City.16 Everyday language is also invoked. The Pastoral announces its finale with an imitation of a rancher’s song, and Transmigration uses a literal real-­world text drawn from the “missing-­persons posters and memorials posted in the vicinity of the ruins of the World Trade Center,” as the notes explain. The massed voices of the chorus and orchestra represent the community, and indeed, for Kramer, “the music thus affirms the continuing value of Western ways of life and spirit.”17 It’s also worth mentioning the choice of commissioning Adams himself for such a purpose, as he has built a career promoting the idea that composers can still communicate in direct, emotive ways with listeners.18 But, perhaps as inevitably as the sunlight emerging after the storm, Kramer’s argument eventually turns beyond the point that classical music can and should “matter” in today’s world, and even beyond the idea that classical music may work in ways different from most other musics. Rather, the argument arrives at the idea that classical music is better than other, merely popular types of culture. Here, it seems to me, all the earlier captivating discussions aside, we are left in the realm of assertion, and on similar shaky ground to Bloom’s. Invoking an explicitly nostalgic post-­9/11 television series, Kramer asks what, for him, is a “nagging question”: “In what sense would an object of high, if faded, cultural esteem like the Pastoral Symphony . . . be better than a real mass cultural product like American Dreams [2002–­5]? . . . Why does classical music still matter?” His answer, or at least “one answer” he “thinks there’s some truth to,” is the idea that “high-­cultural products do more with their self-­reflectiveness than the popular culture products tend to do. . . . We

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can partake of the fantasy, all right, but we are also offered the opportunity to think about what it means and even to be critical of it, and of ourselves. The popular works are less comfortable with ambivalence. They tend to either harden distance into irony or to contrive its disappearance.” Kramer says outright that he “would not want to devalue popular culture,” but it’s frankly difficult to see what this point is meant to do other than devalue it as something not worth taking seriously. For Kramer, it is clear that there is a “significant difference in function” between high and low, and in the end the “reflective distance typical of the high-­cultural products enables them” to function “on a higher plane than that of mere nostalgia.”19 Thus we are back to conventional binary oppositions, where good art is thick and complex while bad art is thin and simple, where universal art for art’s sake is prized above art that is meant to function in its own immediate context. To make his point, though, Kramer stacks the deck a bit. The comparison between a Beethoven symphony and a treacly prime-­time soap opera seems patently unfair. It would indeed take some backbreaking work to try and discuss American Dreams favorably in such a context. But this seems to conflate one particular television series with the genre itself. The argument would not be so easy to make if we instead considered the symphony alongside much more “reflective” and “critical” post-­9/11 television series, ones arguably that were meant to help viewers confront the effects of and issues raised by contemporary societal trauma, such as Battlestar Galactica (2004–­9). Similarly, in the realm of popular music, Kramer’s perspective would be hard to sustain against a work like Bruce Springsteen’s explicitly post-­9/11 album The Rising (2002).20 Musical Healing in Springsteen’s “Lonesome Day” Consider The Rising’s opening track, “Lonesome Day,” which, not unlike the Pastoral Symphony, also creates an explicitly nostalgic sound world. The song exists in a time when the sounds of hip-­hop dominate popular music culture, yet it is unabashedly bathed in the language of rock and roll, with thick textures that conjure up associations with the 1960s-­era Phil Spector–­produced “wall of sound.” The title itself might evoke memories of American country or blues songs like the Carter Family’s “Sad and Lonesome Day,” Muddy Waters’s “Lonesome Day,” or even Bob Dylan’s “Lonesome Day Blues,” a song on “Love and Theft,” released on September 11, 2001, itself. Here, no less than in the Beethoven, we are put in the frame of mind of a mythologized simpler time before the current calamity and for which we yearn. Like the Beethoven, and with Kramer’s argument in mind, we can posit that the song attempts to heal

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not only through its lyrics, with its repeated exhortations that “it’s alright,” but also through its own sense of musical crisis overcome in a way simulta­ neously surprising and yet prepared all along.21 Before the section telling us over and over that “it’s alright,” in the song’s middle, the terms have been set (see example 1.1 for an overview). After a four-­ bar wistful introduction that embellishes the dominant, the chord that needs to lead to the tonic, Springsteen’s E Street Band kicks in with straight-­ahead medium-­tempo rock and roll in B-­flat. As the band sets the groove before the first verse (beginning at 0:08 minutes), the melody instruments play a short lick, a repeating rising pattern that starts on the fifth note of the song’s home key, jumps up to the tonic note, and then climbs by step to the third note of the scale (see example 1.2). This melodic idea is repeated during the chorus sections. The band grooves along through two cycles of verse/pre-­chorus/chorus, and the song is rather tightly controlled: the same chord progression, an oscillation between IV and I chords (i.e., chords built on the fourth and first notes of the key, respectively), underlies both verse and chorus, and a four-­bar pre-­chorus in the middle of the two serves as a quick breather between more statements of the main progression. At this point the song begins to change. The lyric “it’s alright” enters and repeats for a good while (1:35–­1:55). The chord progression finally shifts, though basic chord functions continue to dominate. But then the crisis really hits. In a standard rock song, after such a contrasting bridge passage we might expect a return to another verse, or possibly a guitar solo. Here, though, we get a breakdown of expectations. Up to this point, all we’ve heard are standard four-­measure phrases that can combine to construct the main sections of the song. But after eight bars of “it’s alright” there is a one-­bar extension, making an unconventional nine-­bar section, the tension marked by a drum break in crescendoing eighth notes. The pressure is momentarily released with an arrival, here an instrumental break (beginning at 1:55). This is no normal rock solo, though, but instead the melody instruments, in unison, obsessively playing notes in a descending scalar pattern and, thus, in pointed contrast to the exclusively upward instrumental melodies heard so far (see example 1.3). Scale degree four goes down, step by step, over and over, to scale degree one. The repetitions of this short figure crank up the tension further, and the downward movement of the melody, against the upward leaps and rising paths of everything else so far, help buttress that sense of increasing strain. And, jarringly, the key is all wrong. After nothing but basic chords in B-­flat, this is decidedly odd. We’re hearing IV–­I oscillations, as we have through much of the song so far, but the tonic has shifted without preparation to the

e x a m p l e 1.1. Springsteen, “Lonesome Day,” Overview Intro on V/B-­flat: 4 measures (0:00–­0:08) Main groove in B-­flat: 8 measures (0:08–­0:25) Verse 1: 8 measures (0:26–­0:43) “Baby, once I thought I knew . . .” Pre-­chorus 1: 4 measures (0:43–­0:52) “Joke’s on me, but it’s gonna be okay . . .” Chorus: 4 measures (0:52–­1:01) “Lonesome day” Verse 2: 8 measures (1:01–­1:18) “Hell’s brewin’ dark sun’s on the rise . . .” Pre-­chorus 2: 4 measures (1:18–­1:27) “This too shall pass, darlin’ I’m gonna pray . . .” Chorus: 4 measures (1:27–­1:35) Bridge: 9 measures (1:35–­1:55) “It’s alright . . . it’s alright . . . it’s alright, yeah” Climactic passage in E-­flat: 6 measures descending (1:55–­2:08) + 4 measures rising (2:08–­2:16) + 4 measures Intro reset on V/B-­flat (2:17–­2:25) [in B-­flat] Verse 3: 8 measures (2:25–­2:43) “Better ask questions before you shoot . . .” Pre-­chorus 3: 4 measures (2:43–­2:51) “Let kingdom come I’m gonna find my way . . .” Chorus: 8 measures (2:51–­3:09) Bridge: 12 measures (3:09–­3:35) Chorus: 8 measures (3:35–­3:52) Coda: 2 measures, with fermatas (3:52–­4:04) Sheinbaum, example 1.1, 1

Example 1.1 Springsteen, "Lonesome Day," main groove (0:08 ff.)

Eb

b &b œ

Bb: IV

œ

Bb

œ

I

œ

œ

Eb

œ

œ

œ

IV

e x a m p l e 1.2. Springsteen, “Lonesome Day,” main groove (0:08 ff.)

œ

Bb

œ I

œ

œ

œ

..

Sheinbaum, example 1.2, 1

Example 1.2 Springsteen, "Lonesome Day," instrumental break (1:55cff.) hapter one

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Ab

b & b b 44 œ

Eb: IV

Eb

œ

œ

I

Ab

œ

œ

œ

œ

œ

Eb

œ

IV

I

Sheinbaum, example 1.3, 1 e x a m p l e 1.3. Springsteen, “Lonesome Day,Example ” instrumental 1.3 break (1:55 ff.)

œ

œ

..

Springsteen, "Lonesome Day," climactic passage (2:08-2:21)

Cm

Bb

Eb: vi

V

b & b b 44 w

w

Ab

w IV

w

nbb

w

F

Bb: V

w

e x a m p l e 1.4. Springsteen, “Lonesome Day,” climactic passage (2:08–2:21)

key of E-­flat. The E-­flat chord has thus far been the all-­important pivot chord in the main progression, as we have moved away from, and back to, the B-­flat tonic. But now that chord has changed functions and is, instead, the goal sonority itself. Then the tension breaks in sublime fashion (see example 1.4, 2:08–­2:16). The melody moves upward again, toward the goal of what sounds and feels like the tonic at this point, E-­flat, to bring the song to its climax. The sixth scale degree is held for a whole measure. This moves upward to scale degree seven, again for four beats. Then, finally, the melody reaches scale degree eight, the tonic note, for a sense of arrival. Harmonically, this isn’t met with the tonic chord, though, but somewhat surprisingly, with a IV chord, which serves the dramatic purposes of the section very well. This moment—­the listener hears the tonic note but doesn’t yet hear the tonic chord, and asks how long it will be until this tension is released—­is doubled in time as well, lasting for an excruciating eight beats. What should come next, what our ears want, is for the tonic note to continue while the harmony shifts to the tonic chord. That would provide sweet relief, and dramatic resolution. But what Springsteen and the E Street Band give us is even better, and even more unexpected (2:17–­2:25). If we simply arrived on E-­flat here, then as good as the moment might feel, we’d still be out of sync with the song’s original home area, still in the place where this odd section began. Instead, Springsteen delivers a surprising resolution in the moment, but one that makes sense in a deep structural way. The melody, now having been sitting on the note E-­flat for two whole measures, takes the idea of moving upward, of rising, one step further, to F. And at the same moment the harmony shifts to F as well. We are somewhere new entirely. We have broken through the ceiling transcendently. We get the sense of strong

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arrival that we need, but the destination sounds nowhere close to what we were expecting. Or does it? While the move to F is a huge surprise, and one that affects us physiologically, making our spine tingle whether we know what keys we’re in or chords we’re hearing or not, the sonority of F simultaneously brings us back around to the world of the original home tonic, B-­flat. F was the sonority, the dominant chord, that began the song. And indeed, as the F chord in all its sublimity is played for the next four measures, the gestures of the introduction—­ now exciting and aggressive whereas the original intro was pensive—­return, and the song has arrived at its culminating finale. Once again the F intro gives way to the key of B-­flat, and as the new verse begins (at 2:25), we get a synthesis of the song’s materials, as the rising instrumental countermelody from the chorus section is now played under the verse as well. A full last cycle of verse/ pre-­chorus/chorus, extended with more “alrights” and a final chorus, brings the song to its triumphant conclusion. So “Lonesome Day,” not unlike Kramer’s take on the Pastoral, brings us through a passage of crisis and tension and constructs an earth-­shattering arrival where we needed to go and, somehow, where we already had been. The crisis was no more, in retrospect, than a momentary intrusion. We are healed, in part, because things are put right again. And, to continue with Kramer’s perspective, the Springsteen song also shows that this sublime working through of crisis was no deus ex machina but deeply prepared through what we had already heard. The healing needs no hero, no “boss,” as Springsteen’s famous nickname suggests, because the healing is an inherent part of the structure of the coherent song. We are able to suspend our disbelief and hope that the comforting artifice of the song is structurally related to how the real world works, too. The “boss,” or the “genius” (as that is the conventional label applied to Beethoven), merely helps facilitate what was there all along. And these long-­range connections in “Lonesome Day” resonate with numerous details in the song. Notably, such links across “macro” and “micro” levels can be discovered with a close examination no different than the sort we find it normal to perform with works of Beethoven’s when we praise his music’s organicism. The sublime moment in the middle instrumental section, for instance, the passage that leads us through crisis and to the triumphant version of the original material, gives us the image of rising, of pushing one step higher. But this is more than a mere moment; it is part of the fabric of the song from the very beginning. Part of what makes “Lonesome Day” remarkable is that in a few short minutes it can construct this sense of going one step higher while never abandoning the feel of the straightforward rock song,

Sheinbaum, example 1.4, 1

Example 1.4 Springsteen, "Lonesome Day," chorus (0:52 ff.) c h a p t e r o n e

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b & b 44

Eb

b

Bb



Eb

Ó

œ œ œ ‰ J

Bb

Lone -

some

Eb

Bb

œ

Eb

œ œ Ó

day

: IV 1.5,I 1 IV I IV Sheinbaum,Bexample e x a m p l e 1.5. Springsteen, “Lonesome Day,Example ” chorus (0:52 ff.) 1.5

I



IV

Bb

I

Springsteen, "Lonesome Day," final gesture (3:52-4:04)

b & b 44 ú

Gm

Bb: vi

F

Bb

Eb

V

I

IV

ú

œ.

œ J

U

œ

U

œ

U

œ œ.

e x a m p l e 1.6 . Springsteen, “Lonesome Day,” final gesture (3:52–­4:04)

always keeping its groove and its garage band–­worthy limited vocabulary of chords and functions. For instance, consider again example 1.2, the rising melodic lick that sets the main groove of the song. Each time, the opening note of that melody, an F, is in tension with and one step higher than the E-­flat chord before resolving upward by leap to the note B-­flat, which lies within the chord. Then, when the chord shifts to the tonic B-­flat, the melody note each time is a C, again one step higher than the harmony, before resolving upward by step to the note D, which lies within the B-­flat chord. Thus over and over again, on each strong beat of each measure, a melody note one step higher than and thus dissonant with the underlying harmony is sounded. Each main section of the song makes further reference to these momentary conflicts. In the verse (beginning at 0:26), the vocal melody lingers on the tonic note in each odd-­numbered measure but then rises by step or leap to start each even-­numbered measure before resolving downward to end each phrase. And in the chorus (see example 1.5, starting at 0:52), the vocal melody begins with a G, scale degree six (the “lone” of “lonesome”), one note too high for the B-­flat tonic chord sounding at that moment, and resolves down to scale degree five, the note F, for the word “day,” but the harmony at that moment has also shifted, to E-­flat, creating once again a conflict where the melody is one step higher than the harmony wants it to be. The final gesture itself neatly telescopes much of the song’s action (3:52–­ 4:04; see example 1.6). Just as at the climax, a wordless melody (this time sounded by gospel-­tinged backup singers) climbs up the last three notes of the scale, and then doesn’t stop at the tonic note but rises one step higher to a surprising moment of resolution. While the earlier climactic passage made this move within a different key, and took four or even eight beats for each stage, the song ends by instead rising up the home scale of B-­flat, with only

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two beats for each excited step. While the clinching moment of the climax shocks by breaking away from E-­flat to return to the home key, the concluding sonority surprises by using not simply a tonic B-­flat chord, but rather an inconclusive IV chord, an E-­flat chord, held while the melismatic vocals embellish the tonic note and the fifth note of the home B-­flat chord. Thus the final harmony simultaneously outlines both E-­flat and B-­flat, the two chords that alternate throughout the verses and choruses, and the home chords of the two tonal areas at play across the song.22 A swooping organ closes the proceedings, and we are left exhausted and exhilarated. Pushing through the ceiling of the local tonic at the song’s climax is certainly prepared but no less effective as a sublime, surprising, and cathartic moment. Indeed, its power may arise from this dual function, simultaneously intrusive and yet logically connected to what has already sounded. As an important corollary, I do not mean to imply any sort of “essentialist” underpinnings to the above discussion, that if “Lonesome Day” can be explored fruitfully from the sort of perspective Kramer develops for the Pastoral, then such a surprising intersection has something to do with the fact that Springsteen—­like Beethoven—­is a straight white male member of a powerful culture during a period of crisis. Manifold artists in numerous popular genres construct performances where the seeming details interact with larger musical structures, where an assumed split between “form” and “content” cannot be upheld, and where a performance can be understood as reflecting and shaping issues in the wider culture. Along the lines of influential artists at the same time Springsteen was coming of age, many songs prize resilience, do so through musical choices as much as lyrical ones, and often speak from culturally marginalized positions. Aretha Franklin’s “Think” (1968), for example, realizes the bridge’s ever-­higher calls for “freedom” by suddenly modulating up a half step, effectively restarting the song. From this point forward the song shortens its sections, leading toward an endless tonic groove where differentiations of song sections and harmonic function are left behind.23 On James Brown’s “Superbad” (1970), detailed aspects of Brown’s vocal delivery, musical textures, harmonic progressions, phrase lengths, and section lengths all can be seen to “signify” on important aspects of African American “blackness.”24 In Springsteen’s own generation, Gloria Gaynor’s 1978 disco anthem “I Will Survive” initially separates the verse/pre-­chorus/chorus cycle from its soaring liberatory string melody, the promise of a better place held out for the future, but then progressively integrates the line into the song’s main sections, bringing hard-­ won victory to the present. Or, in the realm of post-­9/11 performances, the hip-­hop artist Jay-­Z on “Thank You” (from the 2009 album The Blueprint 3,

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which harks back to his album The Blueprint, released on September 11, 2001) employs in its third verse explicit metaphors drawn from the World Trade Center attacks as a way of insulting rival performers. This comes as a shock after relatively humble earlier verses and choruses about success and fame, set with smooth backing tracks sampled from Brazilian artist Marcos Valle’s love song “Ele e ela” (1970). The lyrical jolt disturbs the music: the backbeat drops away, the backing tracks are removed entirely from each measure’s second and fourth beat, creating a series of sonic discontinuities, and the verse is shortened from sixteen to twelve bars, out of balance with the rest of the performance. While Kramer recognizes the importance of such interrelationships across various levels within a piece of music, and their significance for culturally informed interpretations, he assumes that such things are not, or cannot, be present in popular music. The Cultural Work of Popular Music Kramer by no means invented the assumption that popular music is inherently lacking in long-­range logical connections and is therefore lesser than classical music. Indeed, the assertion is an important one in a much earlier significant document arguing the assumed “high”/“low” split, Theodor W. Adorno’s 1941 essay “On Popular Music.”25 Adorno, like Kramer, is a master at constructing convincing arguments about musical phenomena. He is best understood as a social philosopher, but fully half of his writings are about music. For Adorno, music is tremendously fertile ground for thinking about and understanding society. In his view, the structure of a piece of music is inherently related to, and in a critical dialogue with, the structure of the society in which the piece is created and functions. His perspective, which assumes that music is best understood not as art for art’s sake but rather in a complex and potentially contradictory relationship with society, lies at the root of much study of popular music. An infamous irony, though, is that Adorno’s perspective on popular music is tremendously negative. Within the realm of classical music there is always much to criticize, too, to be sure. Adorno’s core belief is that society has become fundamentally broken and that from late Beethoven forward, good music would be music that, through its structure, would reflect this state of the world. Music should also rail against oppression by asserting the continuing possibility of subjective human expression. Middle-­period Beethoven, such as the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, should and did exhibit triumph and coherence; these were works of a piece with a society in balance between the

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needs of the individual and the sweep of the collective. But a late nineteenth-­ century symphonic masterwork that exhibited similar unproblematic coherence and triumph was an object for derision, speaking a fundamental untruth to its fractured society. Or a twentieth-­century composer like Stravinsky might reflect his society by connecting the primacy of rhythm to the mechanistic modern age, but ultimately leave no room for true individual expression. Alternately, the notoriously difficult atonal music of Schoenberg was, for Adorno, successful on deep levels because it both encompassed a sound world true to modern society and depicted the internal, if tortured, subjectivity of a free-­willed individual within that society. And as for popular music meant to go down easy as entertainment and sell in very large quantities? This was music that was dangerous in the way it subsumed itself in the very worst tendencies of contemporary society, seemingly stress free but devoid of true feeling and true resistance. Adorno’s key terms for popular music go far toward understanding his perspective. First and foremost, popular music is “standardized.” The structures follow set patterns, such as, with reference to the big band jazz of the time in which Adorno was writing, the thirty-­two-­bar AABA chorus of many Tin Pan Alley and Broadway-­based standards, or the twelve-­bar blues pattern. And the details could be seen as just as standardized, such as lowering pitches of the major scale to create “blue” notes, or “breaks,” where the rhythm section would drop out for a measure or two and create excitement for the entrance or exit of a soloist. As Adorno asserts, “Regardless of what aberrations occur, the hit will lead back to the same familiar experience, and nothing fundamentally novel will be introduced.”26 This is reasonably standard stuff; everyone’s grandmother is all too happy to complain that the music you love all sounds the same, and for someone with the knowledge and background of Adorno, that charge can be applied easily enough to the structure of the music as well. Adorno’s brilliance is in the way he has his cake and eats it too: in response to the counterargument that many examples of popular music are in fact not standardized but show elements of individual style, or particularly fascinating chord progressions, and so forth, Adorno simply responds that such things are not truly original features at all but, instead, are really “pseudo-­individualizations.” The “paradox” of popular music is that even with such deep standardization, any particular song often can sound quite different from most others; if they didn’t, potential consumers would quickly become bored. As he characterizes it, “The residues of individualism are most alive there in the form of ideological categories such as taste and free choice, it is imperative to hide

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standardization.” Thus, for the marketplace to work correctly, “the illusion and, to a certain extent, even the reality of individual achievement must be maintained.” We can do the magic twisting of the radio dial so quickly, can identify and judge in the blink of an eye, not because each piece of music is different but because the pseudo-­differences, the manipulations of our hearing, are so effective. “The listener is quickly able to distinguish the types of music and even the performing band, this in spite of the fundamental identity of the material and the great similarity of the presentations apart from their emphasized distinguishing trademarks.”27 The key to Adorno’s perspective is that it is couched in seemingly objective criteria, with a focus on the “structural” levels of the music. Thus, when one points out what even Adorno would admit is a mark of “individual achievement,” such things don’t really count on the deep levels that actually matter, because the impact of those individualizing features never reaches those deep levels but, instead, stays on the surface of the music. As Adorno says, “The whole is pre-­given and pre-­accepted, even before the actual experience of the music starts. . . . No stress is ever placed upon the whole as a musical event, nor does the structure of the whole ever depend upon the details.” It’s quite important for Adorno to assert that the details are not relevant in popular music, rather than criticize the details because of their supposed “simplicity.” He admits that if we were to compare, say, twentieth-­century jazz to eighteenth-­century classical music, aspects such as the relative use of rhythm, or the preponderance of difficult intervals, or the thick complex chords regularly employed, would show classical music as “invariably more limited.” The essential point, instead, is what those details mean. And for Adorno, the conclusion is that, no matter how complex, in popular music “the detail remains inconsequential. A musical detail which is not permitted to develop becomes a caricature of its own potentialities.”28 The foil for all this, of course, is the way classical music works, and it should be no surprise that Adorno’s chief example comes once again from Beethoven. Adorno writes that “serious music, for comparative purposes, may be thus characterized: Every detail derives its musical sense from the concrete totality of the piece which, in turn, consists of the life relationship of the details and never of a mere enforcement of a musical scheme.” Adorno then leads us through a number of Beethovenian examples—­not surprisingly, all middle-­period works, including the scherzo of the Fifth Symphony. This is not an idle point: as Adorno goes on to say, what we are comparing to popular music is “good serious music in general—­we are not concerned here with bad serious music which may be as rigid and mechanical as popular music.”29 “Serious music” is capable of differentiation, but popular music is, by nature, all the same; we do it no disservice by lumping it all together.

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Adorno’s imagery throughout his polemic is clear: he paints a picture of popular music as mechanized, a sure sign of its twentieth-­century reality, and just as sure a sign of its impoverished and dangerous nature.30 The opening line of the essay immediately characterizes popular music not within the realm of art at all but, rather, as “stimuli,” mere phenomena that impinge on our nervous systems. No thinking is needed; the focus is solely on the body and not the mind, for popular music “divests the listener of his spontaneity and promotes conditioned reflexes.” In Beethoven, the detail-­to-­whole relationships are essential not simply on an intellectual, logical level but are considered “organic”; they are like cells in a living organism, and not merely repetitively manufactured products on the assembly line. Thus Adorno asserts that, “in Beethoven, position is important only in a living relation between a concrete totality and its concrete parts. In popular music, position is absolute. Every detail is substitutable; it serves its function only as a cog in a machine.” This language of the absolute is used consistently, letting in no air where potentially opposing arguments might develop. From Adorno’s perspective, “Nothing corresponding to [what happens in classical music] can happen in popular music” because “the detail has no bearing on a whole,” and “the whole is never altered by the individual event.”31 What lies behind Adorno’s argument is clear, and reasonably understandable within his own context. Coming from a half-­Jewish lineage, Adorno joined the ranks of the numerous artists and intellectuals who left Germany to escape the Nazis. Popular music, which seems generally innocuous to most of us, reminded him in deep ways of that situation. There, a charismatic leader and a faceless bureaucracy were able to move masses of people to act unthinkingly. In popular music, a well-­known bandleader, pushed by an industry’s marketing efforts, similarly could move hundreds of thousands of listeners to purchase and consume, over and over again, newer iterations of the same standardized musical schemes. It is from this point of view that Adorno’s vituperations against popular music can begin to make sense.32 Thus can Adorno conclude that popular music is “wholly antagonistic to the ideal of individuality in a free, liberal society,” perhaps a “catharsis for the masses, but catharsis which keeps them all the more firmly in line.”33 Indeed, for Adorno the “correlate in entertainment” of a mid-­twentieth-­ century society that “engenders fears and anxiety about unemployment, loss of income, war” is a mode of enjoyment that promotes mere “relaxation which does not involve the effort of concentration at all.” At the time of middle Beethoven, before society had become broken, classical music could provoke deep thinking and subjective, individual responses. But in the context of 1940, music serves a mere “socio-­psychological function” as a “social

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cement,” evident in how popular music demands “obedience” to “the underlying, unabating time unit” of the “beat.” This might be the music we deserve, but ultimately it is a symptom, even a cause, of society’s brokenness. In one of Adorno’s most powerful images, popular music is considered to be “pre-­ digested”; it’s food that we take in to help us survive, but it provides no real nourishment. People “seek novelty, but the strain and boredom associated with actual work leads to avoidance of effort in that leisure-­time which offers the only chance for really new experience. As a substitute, they crave a stimulant. Popular music comes to offer it.” And as we get used to each hit, we be­ come bored again, crave stimulation again, and thus can’t wait to consume the next one: “It is a circle which makes escape impossible.”34 Structure and Detail in Ellington It is easy enough to find fault with Adorno’s perspective, even though there are surely at least grains of truth in his analysis.35 Since his assumption of structural relationships between music and society forms the bedrock of the popular music studies field, many scholars of popular music need to find ways of criticizing his polemic even while remaining deeply influenced by him.36 Adorno’s absolute language is clearly much too strong. In contrast to his assertion that the popular music industry is all-­powerful in its control of the masses—­he likens a listener enjoying a song after repeated hearings to a sleep-­deprived “political prisoner  .  .  . [who] will readily confess even to crimes he has not committed”—­fans of popular music, to say nothing of the musicians themselves, are instead engaged actors in dialogue with the cultural materials confronting them daily.37 For all his connecting music to society, he treats “good” classical works, and the values he teases out of them, as universal truths that make just about all other music from all other times and contexts seem lacking. Indeed, in the case of this essay, Adorno offers more specifics about Beethoven’s music than the music about which he’s supposedly writing. “On Popular Music” seems to spend little to no effort seeking counterexamples and, instead, asserts absolutes and constructs easily refuted arguments.38 There’s no thought given to pieces that could be seen to transcend the norms Adorno posits, or ones that play with and critique the conventions he finds so problematic. Even within Adorno’s historical place in popular music history, this would not be terribly hard to do, much as Springsteen’s “Lonesome Day” can both lie firmly within the bounds of popular music when Kramer is writing and simultaneously be read to respond to the sorts of

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charges scholars like Kramer have brought against it. The year before Adorno published “On Popular Music,” Duke Ellington recorded “Concerto for Cootie,” a feature for his trumpet player Cootie Williams.39 It uses the sort of standardized structural background that bothers Adorno so thoroughly in the popular music of this era. The performance is built around the thirty-­ two-­bar AABA scheme common in the Tin Pan Alley and Broadway songs of the day, and lasts just long enough to fit on one side of a ten-­inch 78 rpm record. But as Adorno argues reasonably enough when discussing Beethoven, genius comes not in reinventing the wheel each time out, but in finding ways to make a given piece grow out of its details while using the standard structures of the time period, even to create the illusion that the piece invents the conventions because they fit so well with the particular details. And it’s no different for a great like Ellington, remembering that, on Adorno’s own terms, we need only concern ourselves with the best examples of a genre.40 The background structure of “Concerto for Cootie” is not the only point to make about it but merely a springboard to begin the discussion. The label “an AABA tune” implies a number of expectations that generally play into Adorno’s criticisms of popular music. We immediately expect, “pre-­ digested” as it were, a series of choruses with the same repeating structure, the first chorus stating the tune rather outright, middle choruses elaborating on the tune through a combination of improvisations or clever arranging among the sections of the band, and then the final chorus setting things right with a concluding statement of the tune. And within each chorus, the melody and underlying harmonic progression proceeds, as the label implies, in an AABA fashion. There should be four phrases, each eight bars long, the first two close cousins of each other, the third presenting contrasting material to avoid boredom, and the final phrase providing closure through the comforting return. But “Cootie” does not so much blindly follow the standardized scheme as use it, play with it, keep us on our toes through continual references to it while denying its total control (see example 1.7 for an overview of the recording).41 After an eight-­bar introduction—­normal enough so far—­Cootie Williams enters with the A phrase (0:19–­0:44, with a pickup bar before), but that idea is never allowed to occupy the conventional eight measures. The first A is ten measures long: after a pickup bar, Williams presents the main tune for only six bars, and the band responds for four. The opening phrase is thus both shorter and longer than we might expect. The second A (0:44–­ 1:09) is ten bars long as well, but subdivided differently this time out, with Williams soloing for eight (the band overlapping the last two bars), and the

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chapter one e x a m p l e 1.7. Ellington, “Concerto for Cootie,” Overview [phrases often end with a pickup bar to the following phrase] [in F] Intro: 8 measures (0:00–­0:19) A: 6 measures main tune + 4 measures band response (0:19–­0:44) A: 8 measures main tune + 2 measures band response (0:44–­1:09) B: 8 measures (1:09–­1:28) A: 6 measures main tune + 2 measures band response + 4 measures transition (1:28–­1:57) [in D-­flat] C: 8 measures (1:57–­2:16) C: 8 measures + 2 measures transition (2:16–­2:40) [in F] A: 6 measures (2:40–­2:54) Coda: 10 measures (2:54–­3:19)

band responding to Williams for two more bars. Then the B phrase enters (1:09–­1:28), as expected, and lasts for the normative eight measures. By this point, though, a conventional phrase is something of a surprise. And then the final A sounds not for eight, not even ten, but a full twelve measures (1:28–­1:57), Williams soloing for six once more, the band answering for two bars to make a rounded phrase, then transitioning away for four more bars. This last phrase, then, seems to synthesize the first two appearances of the A phrase, since Williams did six bars on the first A but not the second, and the band responded with two bars on the second A and four bars on the first. Thus these carefully constructed phrase rhythms in the final A round out the chorus nicely. Ellington and his group are by no means done. Instead of continuing with repetitions of the main chorus, at this point the musical idea changes entirely, both to a distant key and a contrasting melody, and we get two statements of a C phrase (1:57–­2:16, and 2:16–­2:40). We are fully outside the bounds of a paint-­by-­numbers AABA scheme now. And the second C is itself no mere repetition: it adds a two-­bar transition to the end of the phrase, making it last for ten bars after the initial C consisted of eight. The interactions with a close listener’s psychology are acutely fine-­tuned. The only phrases that take up

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the normative eight bars are the ones that have been structurally new ones: the introduction itself, as it breaks the silence; the B phrase, which provides contrast within the chorus; and the first C phrase, which provides contrast from the entire chorus structure. Meanwhile, every phrase that repeats ideas departs from expectations. And to complete the performance, the surprises continue. First, we get a reference to the conventional as the A phrase comes back (2:40–­2:54). This could be the beginning of a nice return to the main chorus; such a move would round out the track and lead to an easy conclusion. But this A is harmonically reoriented and lasts only six bars, the shortest statement of the main phrase so far. And the hint toward a full four-­phrase chorus turns out to be no more than a feint. No next A follows, or even a B; we’re immediately thrust into yet more new material for a ten-­measure coda (2:54–­3:19), and “Concerto for Cootie” comes to its end after a compact and supremely satisfying three-­and-­a-­third minutes. No less than all this, to continue with Adorno’s approach, the details are indeed related to the structure in individual ways. The main melody, the tune of the A phrases, isn’t much on paper, just seven swinging eighth notes twisting and turning around the third note of the scale, leading to a held note on that goal pitch, and then repeating the idea again and again (see example 1.8, which sketches the melody’s first appearance). But this simplicity and repetitiveness doesn’t need to be seen as some sort of inevitable standardized pattern; many Ellington melodies are full of dramatic sweep and surprising large leaps. Rather, the melody perhaps can be heard as a comment on the notion of standardization within big band jazz itself, a standardization that this performance does so much to undo, and can be seen, instead, from the perspective of an elemental motive ripe for development.42 Indeed, the third statement of the lick within each A takes the familiar idea heard thus far and expands it fairly extensively, both in terms of time and the eventual goal, as the melody now makes its way to the more final-­sounding tonic note. Further, this idea that Sheinbaum,comprises example 1.6, 1the entire A—­a simple motive is repeated numerous times Example 1.6 Ellington, "Concerto for Cootie," first "A" phrase (0:17 - 0:34)

Solo

4 & b 4 ‰ œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ

&b w

w

‰ œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ

‰ œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ #œ œ œ

e x a m p l e 1.8. Ellington, “Concerto for Cootie,” first A phrase (0:17–­0:34)

w

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but then breaks out of its mold and goes somewhere else—­is exactly what happens in the overall form, as the conventionally outlined AABA chorus is followed by the structural surprise of the C section. Meanwhile, though we can discuss “Concerto for Cootie” cleverly enough to apply Adorno’s approach against himself, there are at least two ways in which his overall perspective seems not just factually incorrect when applied to popular music of his day but also more deeply wrongheaded in its comparison to classical music or, at least, to middle-­period Beethoven. First, there is a fundamental collective approach in jazz that produces not only different sorts of internal relationships within the music but also the means with which Adorno might have found much to like sociologically about jazz had he not been predisposed against it.43 While acknowledging the essential work classical performers and conductors must do to interpret Beethoven’s dots on the page convincingly, it is still the case that Beethoven alone has provided reasonably explicit directions for what each musician must do at exactly what time, and this high degree of control has much to do with the “sole genius” approach we bring to classical music and then apply to most music in general. But in “Cootie,” authority for its creativity must necessarily be spread across at least three individuals: Ellington himself, of course, the arranger Billy Strayhorn, and the soloist Williams, whose individual nuances as a player were essential in developing the performance. Traces of this idea of conversation, of communal give and take, are abundant: most of the individual licks that make up each solo phrase are answered by one or more sections of the band, spurring on the next contribution by the soloist, and so on. This works as a classic call-­and-­response, a “crucial component . . . in creating a participatory musical framework” within jazz and wider African American traditions, as Ingrid Monson states, and it leaves Williams the leader of the performance without seeming to be its autocratic ruler, passively echoed by a group of mere followers.44 Second, Adorno’s very focus on form may be somewhat misplaced. There is a strong argument to be made—­and not only for popular music—­against the idea that form is a, or the, primary parameter, the rest of the music lying merely on the level of detail subservient to the larger form. A different sort of approach could argue that the details matter in and of themselves, that they provide both pleasures and deep satisfactions in their own right. Nowhere is this more salient than on the level of timbre, and “Cootie” is nothing if not satisfying as an essay in timbral detail.45 Each phrase in the main chorus is played through a different palette of muted trumpet hues. The overall sound of the instrument is continually changed, even for the supposedly mindless repetitions of each A. My own favorite is the B phrase, where Williams’s

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plunger mute evinces growls and howls at some moments, whispers and subtle shadings at others. And the masterful use of timbre goes far beyond sticking various materials into or across the bell of the instrument. Williams rarely lets a note sit still; held pitches bend, slide, shake, connect, and generally shape the flow of energy from one moment to the next. We don’t hear an “open,” nonmuted trumpet sound from Williams until the C section. Normally, the open trumpet timbre is the conventional one, the norm until special moments somewhat later when the performer might change the sound away. Here, the conventional is held in check until the middle, thereby becoming less of a common sound and more of a revelation. Taken together, these two factors—­authority spread around, and the importance of details in their own right—­highlight the fact that jazz is a performative art. And here we no longer need to be thinking about jazz in particular but, rather, about music in general. Though above I stressed structural aspects of “Lonesome Day” to make a particular point about Kramer’s argument, those features are of course brought to life through performative details. The sense of struggle and glimpse of transcendence potentially heard in the form only speaks through the forward-­facing, slightly strained qualities Springsteen chooses to bring to his vocals, through the myriad ways the members of the E Street Band interact with each other and the flow of musical time to communicate drama in certain passages and rolling grooves in others, and so on. Similarly, a performance of Beethoven’s Pastoral might heal us for many reasons, and surely important among them are not simply the dots on the page but the way those instructions are carried out. We are thrilled by the visceral sensation of dozens of musicians playing imitations of a storm at full throttle, and then we are carried to a peaceful plateau from the sound of air moving through reed and wood. It does Beethoven no disservice to remember that his musical imagination remains a potentiality until it is brought to life by sensitive, knowledgeable performers. Musical Logic and Musical Style The crux in all of this is not the mere idea that some people like popular music and others don’t, or that some people find classical music satisfying and others argue that additional genres can be equally satisfying. It’s instead the way these authors, sharp as they are, justify their personal sense of “good” music. They know mere assertion is not quite enough. But in so doing, they lean too heavily on the idea that musical logic is to be valued above all else. It’s perfectly fine to argue that developmental connections represent an important factor in what makes music good (and also perfectly fine to argue against

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that idea), but more questionable to imply or assert that musical logic is the important factor. An important reason such a perspective can seem convincing is that it is an artifact of the mode of analysis—­namely, prose writing. It is, after all, much easier to write about logical connections than to write about what isn’t captured so easily by logic. It’s easier to write about aspects of music for which we have a vocabulary than aspects about which we have few words and fewer convincing perspectives. It’s easy for the mind to seem disconnected from and more important than the body when we’re using the language of the mind to do our evaluating. We suppose not only that musical logic is operating solely in the “good” music but also that searching for musical logic is, in and of itself, more “serious” than other ways of hearing and understanding. Yet it’s likely that most listeners, even those invested in classical music, don’t hear or normally focus on the music in this way. The search for musical logic comes later, after we’ve already decided, for other reasons entirely, that this or that piece is “good.” The logic-­finding tools are, largely, the tools we’ve learned to apply in the service of proving, or justifying, the judgment we’ve already made. The hard part is trying to articulate what led us to want to spend time repeatedly listening to and contemplating a particular piece of music in the first place. That, I would argue, is really where the value lies in the music. As Susan McClary and Robert Walser diagnose the issue, our conventional discourse about music shows a “tendency to cover up or keep at arm’s distance the dimensions of music that are most compelling and yet most threatening to rationality. . . . We would like to propose . . . that the inability or unwillingness to address this component of music—­the bottom-­line component, as it were, for most musicians and fans—­is the single greatest failure of musicology.”46 But as important as this statement is, it’s also too polarizing. McClary and Walser assume that musical logic stands in a binary opposition to the aspects of music that, as they put it, borrowing from the 1980s comic strip Bloom County, “kick butt.”47 For them, the nonrational aspects of music are inherently more “compelling.” They would thus flip this opposition on its head to focus on what “really” moves us, while devaluing the structural aspects of music to which it seems only highly trained listeners can be attuned. In doing so, though, they assume no less than the champions of conventionally high music that the binary opposition is inherent in the music; they would just choose to value the aspects that usually fall by the wayside. The popular music theorist John Covach finds this akin to the final line of the Who’s 1971 rock epic “Won’t Get Fooled Again”: “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”48 Instead, the binary opposition itself needs to be considered critically. We tend to assume that the musical process we’re looking for can only be found in

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a particular sort of music. Reflecting back on Bloom’s perspective, or Kramer’s, or Adorno’s, timbre seems to prime us to call up deep-­seated stereotypes about music. We hear the sounds of classical music, and we are ready to assume that all the logical long-­range connections and structural intricacies must be there. We hear the sounds of rock, or jazz, or hip-­hop, or whatever genre of popular music, and we are ready to move our bodies, or stand and cheer, and we assume just as strongly that those other levels simply aren’t there, or aren’t important. Kramer might mean that close listening to musical logic is essential, but for him the formulation becomes “classical music still matters.” McClary and Walser might mean that musical factors beyond logic are, for them, what matter most, but their discussion, at least in this essay, centers on a critical view of how musicology “wrestles with rock,” rather than how the discipline wrestles with music in general. We are so primed for particular kinds of musical value that we collapse the idea onto particular kinds of music, and then lo and behold, over and over again, simply confirm what we already thought. Instead, as Springsteen himself put it when inducting Bob Dylan into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 (and indeed, as demonstrated by McClary and Walser themselves many times over in their own work), we can keep in the forefront of our minds that “just because the music was innately physical did not mean that it was anti-­intellect.”49 Improvisational Beethoven It’s also worth thinking through the contrapositive of Springsteen’s statement: just because the music is intellectual doesn’t mean that it’s anti-­physical. For a moment, then, let’s return to that highest of the high, and a work discussed in some detail by both Kramer and Adorno, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. There are surely ample ways that this piece supports the notion of so-­called serious music as we usually understand it. The tone is right there from the beginning. We’re thrown headlong into the main work, as opposed to the relatively common tendency, found even in much Beethoven, to begin a first movement with a slow introduction that eases listeners in. And we’re in a minor key, which in Beethoven’s time was still quite a special effect. Perhaps the most notable part of what makes this symphony seem learned are the interconnections across the work, which take some amount of repeated listening and focused study to appreciate to the fullest. The healing move to C major for the finale is prepared for by numerous feints in that direction, and each movement makes at least passing reference to the short-­ short-­short-­long rhythmic motive that begins the symphony. Indeed, as is very well known, practically every measure of the first movement can be

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heard as an outgrowth of those opening bars, so by the time we get to the other movements we’ve been well primed to recognize hints of that motto and connect them to earlier passages. The feeling of musical unity is particularly strong in this work; this piece alone made a very convincing argument, one that has overshadowed Western music ever since, that good music should not consist of substitutable cogs in a well-­oiled machine but singular expressions that necessarily need to be part of their own individual work. The values are right there. Here is a very influential, perhaps the most influential, single work of classical music. The piece must be performed complete, as all the parts in numerous ways relate to all the other parts. And the symphony feels pure: purely serious, purely the integrated original conception of a singular genius, purely the outgrowth of the terms set out in its opening gambit. But are there other ways to hear the piece? Are there potential experiences that, if not directly contradictory to all the usual things we’ve been taught are essential to understand, place the emphasis somewhere slightly different? Take the famous opening gesture (reproduced in example 1.9) and imagine hearing it for the first time. What’s striking is not that it seems tailor-­made to generate an integrated composition but that it feels quite ambiguous, performative, and even improvisatory. Beethoven’s notation tells us that there’s a brief one-­eighth-­note silence and then a three-­eighth-­note pickup on the pitch G, arriving on the downbeat with the pitch E-­flat. But as a listener, things are nowhere near cut-­and-­dried. For starters, it’s impossible to tell how muSheinbaum, example 1.7, 1 Example 1.7

Beethoven, Symphony no. 5/i, mm. 1-5 Allegro con brio

Clarinets in B b 2 1

Violin I

Violin II

Viola

Cello

Double Bass

& b 42 ‰ œ ƒ b 2 ‰ b œ & b 4 ƒ b 2 &bb 4 ‰ œ ƒ B b b b 42 ‰ œ ƒ ? b b 42 ‰ b œ ƒ ? b b 42 ‰ œ b ƒ

œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ

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e x a m p l e 1.9. Beethoven, Symphony no. 5/i, measures 1–­5

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sical time is being organized. Beethoven breaks the silence before the work begins with another silence, that eighth-­note rest. There’s therefore no way to understand the three short notes that follow; since there’s no relationship to any other sounds in the piece so far, there’s no evidence that these are three eighth notes that take up a beat and a half. They could just as likely be, say, a triplet, making the figure seem to occupy one full beat, a reading audible on numerous recordings.50 And those are merely the two most likely candidates; we could just as easily make up other ways of notating the rhythm for three repeated pitches. The next pitch, the concluding E-­flat, doesn’t help either, as it’s held for as long as the conductor chooses. As listeners, we’re provided no grid onto which we can understand the rhythm of the gesture. The pitches themselves are no less ambiguous. Establishing the home key of C minor, so essential for understanding the overall trajectory of the work, is not immediately graspable. In retrospect this is easy; it’s a move from G, scale degree five in the home key, to E-­flat, scale degree three, thus sounding two of the three pitches of the tonic chord. But in the absence of any harmonic support, and without any other sounds to orient ourselves, there’s no particular reason why we’d hear these notes in that way. It’s at least as likely that we’d interpret these sounds as scale degrees three and then one in the key of E-­flat major, as these are also notes of that potential tonic triad, and the held pitch would be the organizing tonic note itself. And that’s if we can orient ourselves at all. In performance the loud gesture in parallel octaves is a physical shock, breaking through the pregnant silence, that magical moment when the audience makes no sound and before the musicians have themselves begun. Retrospectively, we can indeed begin to understand; gestures yet to come and explicit repetitions finally do make the opening coherent. Later, we can study the work and hear it again, this time logically, from its first moments. But there’s no reason to privilege that sort of hearing from one that seeks to capture one’s initial experience. From this perspective the opening few seconds are indeed generative, but generative in an improvisatory way. Beethoven throws out a simple, if disorienting, gesture. G moves to E-­flat, and the E-­flat is held, as if to say “what happens next?” The following gesture lies in the realm of “well, let’s try this”: the rhythm is the same, but now the notes are down one pitch level in the key, the original G to E-­flat echoed by three Fs moving to a held D. From a jazz musician’s point of view, Beethoven is riffing. He’s laid out a basic idea, and then he immediately both repeats the moment and comments on it in some way. There’s an act of both listening and response here. And brilliantly, in the middle of the movement Beethoven shows that he has been thinking about this opening not only as two related-­but-­separate gestures but also as

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one single idea. All four pitches together, G–­E-­flat–­F–­D, exhibit not only the downward moves from note one to note two, and note three to note four, but additionally a balancing upward move for the middle two notes, as E-­flat goes up a step to the F. And in the midst of the development section (starting at measure [m.] 196), a number of minutes removed from the opening, Beethoven riffs quite extensively on that exact idea of two notes, the second one a step higher than the first. Meanwhile, after those four different pitches sound at the beginning, the and-­ start lurching becomes somewhat performative, improvisatory, stop-­ fluid. Beethoven takes the powerful and tentative opening and turns it into an idea that can groove along now, with one section of string instruments answering the previous ones right away. We build to a climax, and then . . . all breaks down a second time (measures [mm.] 21–­24). Two more fermatas destroy any sense of momentum we’ve developed so far. The herky-­jerkiness once again throws attention off the clear notation found on the page, and on to the action of the performers, and to the feeling that Beethoven continues to make it up as he goes along. Moments like these, where the musical fabric seems to come apart, continue across the work. The opening section moves to a more lyrical one not through a smooth transition but, instead, through emphatic downbeat chords with silence between and then a brief horn call devoid of accompaniment (mm. 56–­62). The development section, in the movement’s middle, includes a very strange extended passage, the one where Beethoven plays with the rising step motive, and for a good while momentum halts with only one sonority in each measure. After the long development, the opening idea returns as expected, but within a few moments the first oboe, alone, rises over the entire orchestra (mm. 268), and the group drops out, allowing the oboe to sound an improvisatory, untimed cadenza. In the second movement, on three separate occasions a version of the short-­short-­short-­long rhythm shifts from the movement’s home key of A-­flat to foreshadowing the C-­major promised land (the first time from mm. 23–­38) through an anti-­transition where the musical strands in A-­flat separate and fall apart, and C major asserts itself out of that mysterious quiet. The third movement scherzo begins with music pitched so low, played so quietly, and interrupted by fermatas so mysterious it’s once again difficult to hear what meter or key we’re in. As we lean forward to wonder what will follow, we’re blown back by the shocking loud horns (m. 19), blasting the rhythmic motto yet again. And the famous move from the scherzo to the finale takes the space where we do expect silence, the moment between movements, and at that point gives us the most emphatically composed-­out transition of the entire symphony.

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It’s too easy to say that jazz merely repeats while classical music develops its ideas, that jazz merely improvises while classical music is meticulously planned. Beethoven’s entire Fifth Symphony seems to grow out of its initial gestures, but in doing so, the music feels like a conversation, a give and take, an endless succession of improvisatory what-­happens-­nexts both frantic and immediately graspable.51 Beethoven may have constructed this music from the start with a conscious aim toward its inevitable, exciting conclusion. Or, his initial impulse may have been primarily improvisational, only later, upon reflection, realizing and working out the trajectory of the ideas. When the music hits us full bore, such questions become largely irrelevant. Indeed, in strong distinction to the conventional wisdom that would consider improvisation and composition to be virtual opposites, particularly for the traditions of classical music surrounding the reception of Beethoven, the “spontaneous impulse of improvisation” was actually an “indispensable . . . basic attitude toward compositional activity” for Beethoven himself, as William Kinderman makes clear, a “crucial interdependence of freedom and determination in the concrete stylistic context in which Beethoven worked.”52 Most importantly, there is no defendable reason to limit ourselves to classical music when considering these issues of development/repetition, composition/improvisation, mind/body, and so forth. We are now in a cultural position where it is becoming more and more likely that a new value system is taking root, one where classical music does not occupy center stage. The high/low binary opposition may speak to certain things we hear but need not speak to what kind of experiences we have with a piece of music. The opposition may have less to do with the supposedly “deep” characteristics we conventionally assume lie at the root of our value judgments and more to do with what we perceive at a moment’s notice, such as the tone colors at play in a given genre. Regardless of the timbres we hear, those sounds need not determine what we, as active listeners, can do with them. At a rock concert, thousands of fans can be playing “air guitar” or “air drums,” not simply grooving along but demonstrating a detailed knowledge of the given song. Pop music consumers listen to their favorite songs over and over not because they’re dumb or because they’re mesmerized, marking time until the big corporation doles out the next morsel they’re meant to consume, as Adorno might assert, but because there are numerous intense experiences to be had, affecting both the mind and the body, speaking both to details and structures, some available on the first listen and others only apparent on the fiftieth. Just as often, classical music “appreciation” is approached through its ste­ reotypes and treated as a quasi-­spiritual activity for the upper classes, or peo­ ple striving for upward mobility toward such class identification: we wear

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nice clothes, enter a special space, stay quiet except for the prescribed times when it’s all right to make sound in prescribed ways, and, to put it crudely, worship at the altar of the great composers. Surely this is one of the reasons classical music often is considered to be morally good rather than merely entertaining and to be reserved for certain members of society. But again, a listener’s mode of engagement with music need not be dictated by initial perceptions of the sounds themselves. Indeed, in an excellently nuanced exploration of audiences around the turn of the twentieth century, during the height of Lawrence W. Levine’s portrait of classical music’s “sacralization” as discussed in the introduction, the musicologist Ralph Locke takes issue with the suggestion that such music was meant to be the province of a select few. He argues that class issues did not constitute the heart of the experience, as too many surviving statements from too many witnesses attest to “musicians’ and music lovers’ desire for an intense aesthetic experience. . . . Many people around the turn of the century attended symphony concerts, piano recitals, and the like because they knew and loved that kind of music . . . and were eager to hear more and better examples of it.”53 So none of this is to say that we shouldn’t perform, or listen to, or think about classical music because it’s elitist or that we should avoid popular music because it’s beneath us. The point, rather, is to recognize that the dots on the page are simply that—­dots—­no more and no less. Our concert stages or our music apps pump out sound waves that make the air and then our eardrums vibrate, no more and no less. What matters, where music is made, is what we bring to the sounds derived from the dots and the waves, the choices we make and how we feel when confronted by them. Our internalized conventional value system, the one we apply in the blink of an eye or a mere burst of sound, tells us a lot. Often it tells us what we already knew. But any piece can be approached in myriad ways, and we can get a larger sense of its richness and depth if we begin to consider those other possibilities.

2

Unified: Beethoven, the Beatles, and the Imperfect Ideology of the Masterpiece

Though each of us can likely rattle off the names of a half dozen or so musical masterpieces without even trying, little scholarship has engaged directly with the actual concept. The term “masterpiece” is thrown around often enough, to be sure, but more often than not the label is taken as a given, obvious to those in the know, and a line separating out those who aren’t familiar with those particular works or who fail to recognize their power and profundity when they do listen. As such, the word becomes a vessel for communicating deep-­seated musical values without allowing us to explore those values and call them into question. Historians of visual art have been somewhat more willing to discuss the notion as a topic in its own right. Sir Kenneth Clark’s late 1970s lecture “What Is a Masterpiece?,” for example, can help us tease out something of a traditional value system surrounding the masterpiece.1 Indeed, most of the concepts Clark brings up in these fifty-­odd pages are easily and widely applicable to the conventional ways we think about the music we call masterpieces as well. In broad outline, Clark builds the concept of masterpiece on a number of interrelated foundations. He asserts that these are works of genius, stemming from “great artists in moments of particular enlightenment.” Such greatness cannot be measured simply by appreciating the artist’s mastery of craft, however; rather, “it is tempting to say that masterpieces are not painted by professionals. They demand a wider contact with life.” The resulting works do more than amaze and delight but, pointedly, are a moral good, a source of uplift. “Just when we are beginning to despair of the human race we remember [our masterpieces] and once more we are proud of our equivocal humanity.” Within such a framework, sensuality can only be seen as a distraction, or even

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anathema, to greatness: “I doubt if any picture so designated [erotic] could be called a masterpiece. Eroticism is so strong a flavor that it would destroy the balance of sense and form.” With the physicality of the moment unavailable, the masterpiece transcends any particular cultural context and instead aims for the universal, speaking to all people for all time; for Clark, “the expression of personal opinion deriving from whim and fashion . . . undermine[s] the whole fabric of human greatness.”2 Essential for Clark’s complex web of assertions is the masterpiece’s “organic unity,” the idea that a work’s essential DNA is visible in every cell, no matter the myriad structures formed. While the term is most often used to refer to “large, elaborate works” exhibiting a multiplicity of expression and technique, this leads not to incoherence but, rather, to “a confluence of memories and emotions forming a single idea.”3 In the history of classical music, the notion of masterpiece is likely most tightly bound to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (1824). “The Ninth,” as it’s almost invariably called, is often considered a masterpiece among masterpieces, an unparalleled musical monument that cast a long shadow over at least an entire generation of composers. Clark’s assertions for visual art can indeed easily attach themselves to musical works such as the Ninth. Scott Burnham, for example, in his essay “Our Sublime Ninth,” captures succinctly the notion of the singular genius creating an original masterpiece: the work is “alone and awash in its own monumentality, music that cannot but be heard as great.”4 The uplifting nature of the Ninth is clear as well. In addition to the finale’s setting of the Friedrich Schiller poem “An die Freude” with its assertion of universal brotherhood, the work came, in Ruth Solie’s words, to “appear prophetic . . . as audiences became accustomed to concert-­going as a mass social activity and to awed reverence as the appropriate mien in a concert hall.”5 And this aura around the Ninth is nothing if not universal; Lewis Lockwood even refers to a Ninth-­based Beethoven “cult” evidenced throughout popular culture.6 As argued in the previous chapter, however, it’s far too limiting and stereotypical to assume that the sort of cultural work claimed for the masterpiece is by nature relegated only to the realm of classical music. Indeed, if Beethoven’s Ninth is easily considered a, if not the, masterpiece of classical music in general, and of the symphony genre in particular, in this chapter I also discuss the masterpiece of popular music for many, especially within the genre of the rock album: the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). As Tim Riley notes, at that time, “Sgt. Pepper was the longest and most expensive recording ever produced in the rock medium, and it is still the all-­time

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grand slam of rock albums.”7 And similar to the special aura that surrounds the finale of the Ninth, Sgt. Pepper’s finale, “A Day in the Life,” in the words of John Covach, “is perhaps one of the most important single tracks in the history of rock music.”8 The reception of Sgt. Pepper—­and as I’ll argue in detail below, the work itself—­is strikingly similar to that surrounding classical masterpieces, including and especially the Ninth. Allan F. Moore’s volume for Sgt. Pepper in the Cambridge Music Handbook series is a case in point, making sure to hit the hallmarks associated with the masterpiece. The construction of genius is applied to the four-­member band as a single unit, an imagined singular consciousness; Sgt. Pepper is characterized as “the album in which the rock auteur was invented.” The album is considered uplifting as well, a “cultural milestone” representing the “legitimization” and “sophistication” of popular music, “mark[ing] rock music’s coming of age.” Its appeal is seen as universal, at once with notably large press coverage upon release, number-­one sales even a generation later, when Sgt. Pepper was released on compact disc, and a singular instance of popular music influencing academic musical work.9 Perhaps most importantly, intimations of unity on Sgt. Pepper have been pervasive in the history of the album’s reception.10 Previously in rock music, the focus of discussion—­and of sales—­was the single, and a large part of Sgt. Pepper’s legacy stems from the fact that through its reception the album as a whole was well on its way to becoming the unit that mattered most. Wilfrid Mellers’s 1973 The Music of the Beatles: Twilight of the Gods was likely the first book to focus on analyzing the music of popular music, and the seeming unity of Sgt. Pepper was a large part of why such a project was deemed worthwhile in the first place: “No longer do the Beatles offer us a miscellany of songs; we rather have a sequence of intricately related numbers, forming a whole and performed without break.”11 This view is decidedly not borne out by the band’s creative process, however; Moore shows clearly that their concern was “merely to work,” leaving the “genesis and architecture” of the album “something of a mixed bag. It was not the ‘all-­time killer album’ planned in meticulous detail from beginning to end.”12 And yet, even with this clear-­headed perspective in mind, for Moore a unity-­based understanding is still essential. In his words, Sgt. Pepper “is best understood as a concept . . . designed to play from beginning to end without a break,” the “crucial development” found in “the potential for escape from the pop song as a three-­minute little fiction . . . produced for entertainment alone.”13 The notion of unity, rather than any stylistic connection to classical music per se, is likely the largest reason for the attempt to tie Sgt. Pepper to the

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aura of classical music and masterpiece in the first place. More than highbrow modes of expression, or the associations we may have with the timbres of the orchestra, unity lies at the heart of our very concept of the musical work; unity is its essence. If we can date classical music’s existence as “an emancipated fine art,” as Lydia Goehr observes, to the earlier nineteenth century, that is because music of that time developed “an internal, structural coherence . . . of purely musical elements.” By possessing such unity in itself, music could be seen neither through the lens of the flawed human music-­making process nor through the accidental contingencies of performance but, rather, through the notion of timeless individual works outside normal experience. And this new position afforded to music allowed its creators to “effectively supersede their status as mere mortals,” to develop a “God-­like existence.”14 A clear line can thus be traced from assertions of musical unity to the notion of an original genius creating singular masterpieces, and this has been the context through which the Ninth and Sgt. Pepper have almost invariably been seen. Unity in the Ninth According to Immanuel Kant’s notable formulation in the 1790 Critique of Judgment, “Genius is the talent (natural endowment) that gives the rule to art.”15 Though Kant goes on to assert that “genius itself cannot describe or indicate scientifically how it brings about its products,” many have responded to presumed masterpieces by striving to put their finger on just quite what that rule might be.16 As Nicholas Cook states with respect to the Ninth (in his own Cambridge Music Handbook on that work), “Romantically-­inclined listeners and critics were desperately anxious to find meaning in the final symphonic utterance of the composer universally acknowledged to be the greatest of his age. And the more resistant the work was to interpretation according to the conventions of the day, the more these listeners and critics felt there must be a deeper, more profound meaning to it, if only they could find the key.”17 Of course, finding such a single unifying key for the Ninth has been an elusive project at best, “a babble of commentary . . . like a construction of mirrors, reflecting and refracting the values, hopes, and fears of those who seek to understand and explain it.”18 Given the special status accorded to musical unity, numerous strategies in the reception history of the symphony have centered on it. In short, if we somehow know, deep in our bones, that the Ninth—­or Sgt. Pepper—­must be a masterpiece, then we must be able to argue that the work is unified, that the structures are able to live up to the lofty expressions that move us so deeply.

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Most characteristic of music criticism in the nineteenth century was the impulse to get at notions of unity by constructing a coherent narrative that would seem to weave its way through large-­scale works. Rather than ignoring such narratives in light of seemingly more rigorous modernist approaches, Solie takes seriously the many plots attached to nineteenth-­century discussions of the Ninth. The “search narratives,” the “creation myths,” the “autobiographical” tales, and the “moral instruction” found in these accounts each unify the work in ways that can be situated in their particular cultural contexts.19 But on the other side of the coin, for those writers invested in an “organic” ideal, where a successful artwork would display a beauty akin to a living being, the symphony was seen as fatally flawed, a “monstrosity” frightening in its incoherence.20 As Nicholas Mathew writes, such a perspective is “a recurring theme of Beethoven reception,” a sort of unity in itself, “a negative or confused reaction to his music’s contrasts and disjunctions, its apparent cacophony of musical voices.”21 The seemingly moral import of the issue, the raw anger at the possibility of incoherence, was likely related to the desire to conceive Beethoven’s music as a national music, the hoped-­for coherence of the music itself a metaphor for the very possibility of a singular German nation.22 A related strain of thought in the Ninth’s reception history indeed recognized the work as presenting a multiplicity of materials but appealed to notions of “synthesis” as a stand-­in for the ideal of unity, unity in another guise, resonant with the longstanding Enlightenment “principle of unity in diversity.”23 From this point of view, while the Ninth might be seen dialectically, containing seeming opposites within its borders, the goal of the discussion was to argue that thesis and antithesis could indeed be reconciled, that the masterpiece could encompass its entirety, and somehow do so within an overall coherence. As early as the Ninth’s premiere, Friedrich Kanne’s review in the Wiener allgemeine musikalische Zeitung focused on an overall organicism “to unite the most heterogeneous, even contradictory materials,” including and especially the “Turkish march” in the midst of the finale.24 The Ninth’s “Turkish” music in particular is essential for understanding the import of appeals to synthesis. Western Europe at the time often evoked the exotic within cultural expressions, such as in the seemingly uncivilized percussion of the Turkish references. The purpose of this musical Self-­Other dialectic was not only to construct a binary opposition where one side was more important than the other but also to construct a sense of masterpiece specifically by wedding a folklike earthy expressiveness to the imagination of the singular genius composer.25 Thus instead of our conventional portrait today of “high” and “low” as different musics separated by a cultural chasm, from this perspective these categories were invented within a single system, where music of the “folk” was seen as the best raw material for creating true, universal art.26

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A generation later, Wagner’s repeated writings on the Ninth became perhaps the most influential perspective, and he similarly appealed to notions of organicism through synthesis. With regard to the symphony’s mixture of instrumental and vocal music, Wagner writes: “Now, let us bring these two elements together, and unite them!”27 And in Opera and Drama, Wagner argued with regard to the finale that Beethoven’s melodic writing is constructed “as though to show the organic affinity of the seemingly most diverse of such parts, and therewith the prime affinity of those different melodies themselves.”28 From this perspective, the finale’s multiplicity of musical styles paradoxically would be directly related to Beethoven’s attempt to achieve a singular utopia.29 In the twentieth century, demonstrating unity through focused exploration of thematic development became a more central method to argue for the Ninth’s value. At the root of this approach stands the influential 1912 analysis of Heinrich Schenker and its attempt to rebut Wagner’s seductive perspective that the Ninth’s vocal finale represents the end of instrumental music.30 Schenker writes that “the instinct for purely musical laws did not desert Beethoven even when he wrote ‘program’ music or vocal music. An offense against musical logic—­logic in the absolute sense, understood as completely separable from program or text—­was by nature simply impossible for him.” From Schenker’s point of view, such a perspective is essential to “combat the misunderstandings . . . that have so disastrously clung precisely to the finale.”31 Later in the century, attention often turned to analyses of formal structure; Ernest Sanders has argued, for example, that the entire sprawling movement can be explained with reference to sonata form, widely considered the most important structure in classical music.32 Charles Rosen and Joseph Kerman conceive of the finale as “an entire ‘cycle’ of four entire movements,” a coherent and complete symphony within a symphony.33 Thus the crux of the issue is laid bare. Over the better part of two centuries, there has been either a way to make sense of the Ninth, and therefore the work is good, or there is not a way to make the pieces fit, and therefore the work is problematic (or worse). In David Benjamin Levy’s words, “Some critics of the Ninth Symphony have faulted the finale for its seeming want of order. Others, refusing to accept that Beethoven was capable of composing without a rigorous, thorough, and consistent logic, have sought to either find or impose order.”34 Common to both judgments, then, and common to both basic sorts of approaches, has been an underlying assumption of unity as the heart of musical value. Under the sway of large shifts of artistic reception during the late twentieth century, however, the notion of unity as a hallmark of the masterpiece—­

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perhaps the very notion of the masterpiece itself—­has been problematized in profound ways. Standing at the root of such thinking in music criticism, to return to an important voice in chapter 1, has been Theodor W. Adorno. For Adorno, a successful performance would be one that strives to reveal the contradictions at the very heart of the artwork, through which the artwork would not fall apart, but, rather, reflect society in a more truthful way and even help resist authoritarian political movements.35 As Cook points out, Adorno argues that such contradictions are “reflected by the music of Beethoven’s third and last period—­by its lack of organic unity, its fragmentary quality, its ultimate refusal to make sense.”36 A fascinating side note in this context is that, for Adorno, the Ninth Symphony does not fully participate in such a critique of unity and, instead, represents “late work without late style.” And yet, using Adorno’s insights to interpret the Ninth against himself, more recent discussions of the work have indeed found the Ninth to be an important part of this shift toward a more problematized view of the masterpiece. A brief survey of this scholarship shows the extent to which the Ninth has fast become an emblem against unity rather than the crowning example of it.37 Thus in his essay “The Form of the Finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,” for example, James Webster argues that all-­encompassing approaches to its structure are fictions that cannot withstand the reality of the work, that each fall apart under close reading. His purpose is instead to argue for a “multivalent” approach to analysis, where the various parameters of the music, such as key area, meter, tempo, performing forces, thematic content, and so forth, “need not be congruent and may at times even conflict.” Such a mode of analysis ultimately provides a healthy outlook for the future: “The richness and complexity of the greatest music depends precisely on this multifariousness, to which an increased sensitivity can offer ample compensation for the abandonment of reductive unity.” From this perspective, the finale is best seen as through-­composed, where the narrative thrust continually moves forward and closure is undermined until the movement’s end. The main point becomes the difficulties at each formal juncture, the resistance to conventional expectations, such that “the result is clear: ‘the’ form of the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth does not exist.”38 Cook’s handbook, too, focuses on multiplicities rather than unities, such as the “juxtaposition of the ultraserious and the slapstick” when the finale’s “majestic tones” turn to the “grunts” and “farts” of the Turkish music, or when the “final pages resemble nothing so much as an operatic finale . . . punctuated by [passages] . . . that hardly sound as if they had been written by Beethoven at all.”39 Richard Taruskin’s essay “Resisting the Ninth” uses performance practice to make a similar point, as it takes issue with Roger Norrington’s renowned

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“historically informed” late-­1980s recording of the work. Taruskin considers the interpretation a “knowing anachronism,” as all the correct instruments and metronome markings can’t compensate for the performance’s “effort to purge the piece of the traits” that make us uncomfortable. The mysterious, disorienting opening of the symphony, for example, is now “eminently countable,” Norrington’s “passion for clarity and his genius for vivid articulation” making “this gambit utterly false and frustrat[ing] its magical effect.” The meticulously steady tempos are slavish to the markings on the score rather than performed with the “constant tempo adjustments” discussed in documents of the time, reflecting more of a twentieth-­century “rigid ‘neoclassical’ mode of execution.” And most importantly, the “curiously restrained finale [represents] sublimated resistance to Beethoven’s message.” For Taruskin, then, ultimately this performance treats the symphony as a “pack of notes,” a “trivialization” that makes the Ninth “effable” as it “avoids confrontation with the troubling meanings.”40 At times, there are notable hints of regret, an assertion that contemporary insights are essential but come with the hefty price of letting go of the seemingly timeless value of organic unity. Webster echoes this sentiment when he writes of multivalent analysis’s gains as “compensating” for the act of “abandoning” unity. Even the polemical project of late twentieth-­century “new mu­ sicology” often seems implicitly to agree that traditional close readings of great music like the Ninth will inevitably lead to coherent, unifying explanations, leading such scholars to “foreswear rigorous technical analysis” in discourse that reads “like an obituary for music analysis” itself.41 Thus, perhaps counterintuitively, new musicology, though its agenda has often opposed the goals of traditional musical scholarship, actually has kept close to its heart the same deep assumption latent in the “old” approaches. Analysis by nature, “by definition,” as Robert Fink emphasizes, will show a musical unity.42 If the agenda for the continuing cultural relevance of classical music is to argue against unity, then the process of analysis itself must be viewed skeptically. This begs the question: what if close readings of the music were instead used to show something other than perfect coherence? Dialectics of Synthesis and Diversity, Beautiful and Sublime Over time, we’ve taken seriously the idea that the masterpiece should be coherent, and we’ve taken seriously the contrapositive statement, that if a work is not coherent then it cannot be a masterpiece. More recently, we’ve been

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skeptical of the entire project of understanding the masterpiece from the perspective of coherence, but this often accompanies a sense of loss at the gaps between the ideal of unity and musical realities. Perhaps what hasn’t been taken very seriously, then, is placing a metaphor of diversity front and center in our discussions of masterpieces, not as a nagging irritant to unity, but, rather, as positive from the start, a sign of the work’s strength through and through. What we have been loath to do is to entertain the notion that perhaps diversity itself is the principle behind the works we want to call masterpieces. To do so, after all, would make all the bending backward either to assert unity or to problematize it largely irrelevant in our search to explain how a masterpiece works. From this perspective, both Beethoven’s Ninth and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pep­ per can be seen as playing out this particular tension between attempts to contain diversity within a unifying synthesis and delighting in the diversity itself. Indeed, the tensions are not resolved but, rather, embody a prime source of fascination and wonder for these particular pieces, a fundamental reason why we find ourselves wanting to experience them again and again and wanting to talk and write about them time after time. These works, as I’ll explore below, indeed evoke the idea that their greatness stems from their ability to be unified, to synthesize their generous materials. But such notions of synthesis and unity are attractive as a strategy for sense-­making precisely because there’s such an obvious diversity of materials at play. Thus a different sort of attraction can be proposed, one based not in controlling the diversity within a singular principle, but by allowing the diversity to speak, allowing the multiplicity of voices to trump the singular overriding consciousness. This perspective is not about the masterpiece’s ability to fit our definitions, then, or about questioning the very notion of masterpiece, but rather about rethinking why these particular works hold such pride of place in our musical imaginations, especially in current cultural contexts, when ideologies of unity do not necessarily appeal as they once did. Mark Evan Bonds has traced the ways this dialectic of synthesis and diversity catalyzed new metaphors and understandings of music at the turn of the nineteenth century, particularly through the reception of Beethoven’s symphonies. Many writers indeed recognized in Beethoven a diversity of musical materials, the “overwhelming variety of contrasting ideas in Beethoven’s works and the attendant difficulty of absorbing new works in a single hearing.” Thus the presence of disorienting diversity, rather than a sense of unity, underpinned the new idea that music was best understood as timeless singular works, each with an identity needing repeated listenings for comprehension.

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Such a philosophical stance was deeply related to the larger social implications of the newly valued symphony genre. According to Bonds, “The monumental yet timbrally diverse nature of the genre led many of Beethoven’s contemporaries to hear the symphony as a projection of an ideal state in which personal liberties could flourish within a structured framework, and in which the needs of the community could function in harmony with the needs of the individual.” What distinguished the symphony from other genres was the synthesis of manifold orchestral timbres carrying the different lines, and critics often noted the genre’s “projection not of similar instruments but of diverse voices.”43 And with regard to the finale’s chorus, Goehr similarly notes that Beethoven’s title, Symphonie Nr. 9 mit Schlusschor, “captures the thought that to the symphony something is finally added, prompting us for that addition’s meaning.”44 Before turning to a reading of the diverse additions in the Ninth and Sgt. Pepper, one other related pair of terms needs a closer look. Over and over again, the notion of the sublime is employed as a trope to help describe the works we want to call masterpieces. As Fink says, “It is remarkable how often the adjective erhabene, ‘sublime,’ appears in nineteenth-­century German descriptions” of the Ninth’s first movement alone.45 Indeed, the very predominance of the sublime within musical aesthetics can be traced to the generation of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, though, perhaps characteristically, we have tended to collapse the idea primarily onto Beethoven’s music.46 But the term, as developed through the philosophical writings of Edmund Burke and Kant, took on a somewhat different cast than the common way we use “sublime” today, to mean lofty and moving, awe-­inspiring, unparalleled, an “aesthetics of wonderment” based on “dramatic proportions . . . that would elicit astonishment from its audiences.”47 Rather, to interpret the use of sublime in the Ninth’s reception history, and the reception history of masterpieces in general, we should consider that the term developed in a dialectical pairing with the “beautiful,” the sublime instead evoking discomfort, and even terror. As Taruskin explains, “We tend nowadays to interchange the words ‘beautiful’ and ‘sublime’ in our everyday language, perhaps even in our critical vocabulary; but eighteenth-­century writers were careful to distinguish them as virtual opposites.”48 In the 1757 treatise A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, Burke asserts that the sublime “is productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling, . . . much more powerful than those which enter on the part of pleasure.” Under the right circumstances—­perhaps when one is experiencing art—­the sublime can nevertheless result in a positive experience: “When danger or pain press too

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nearly, they are incapable of giving any delight, and are simply terrible; but at certain distances, and with certain modifications, they may be, and they are delightful, as we every day experience.”49 The overwhelming experience associated with the sublime is directly connected to the engagement of the body, to the overcoming of obstacles, and to the struggles necessary for achieving such an exalted state. Strongly influenced by Burke, Kant’s 1764 Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime often strikes a similar tone, where “finer feeling . . . is chiefly of two kinds: the feeling of the sublime and that of the beautiful. The stirring of each is pleasant, but in different ways.” “Enjoyment but with horror” belongs to the sublime, “joyous and smiling” sensations to the beautiful. Natural phenomena are contrasted with human control over nature: “Tall oaks and lonely shadows in a sacred grove are sublime; flower beds, low hedges and trees trimmed in figures are beautiful. . . . The sublime moves, the beautiful charms.”50 For Burke, the phenomenon of sound can produce sublime feelings in certain situations that might easily remind us of experiencing musical masterpieces.51 Extreme volume, for instance, can “overpower the soul” and “fill it with terror.” Unexpected sounds, or unexpected silences, have “the same power.” Smooth connections from one area to another are too pleasant to be sublime, the shock of juxtaposition closer to the mark: “Whatever . . . makes the transition from one extreme to the other easy, causes no terror, and consequently can be no cause of greatness.” Mysterious passages are similarly effective, as “a low, tremulous, intermitting sound, though it seems in some respects opposite to that just mentioned, is productive of the sublime”; like the effect of a dark night, “we do not know what may happen,” such that “uncertain sounds are . . . more alarming than a total silence.”52 As for the other side of the dialectic, comforting syntheses are connected to beauty, not to the sublime: what makes for a sublime form is “to have [the] parts . . . angular,” while beautiful forms have the various parts “but melted as it were into each other.”53 The dialectic between synthesizing unity and uncontained diversity in the masterpiece maps on quite closely to this tension between notions of the beautiful and sublime. As Webster points out, the notion of diversity is an essential part of the earliest description of music’s potential for sublimity, in an 1801 article by Christian Friedrich Michaelis. For Michaelis, “too much diversity” of musical material is the chief source of the musically sublime, “as when innumerable impressions succeed one another too rapidly and the mind is too abruptly hurled into the thundering torrent of sounds, or when (as in many polyphonic compositions involving many voices) the themes are developed together in so complex a manner that the imagination cannot easily and calmly integrate the diverse ideas into a coherent whole without strain.”54

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Even more telling is Fink’s comment that what he hears in the Ninth are “not the abstract comforts of [Eduard] Hanslick’s ‘musically beautiful,’ but an audible trace of . . . [the] sublime.”55 Hanslick’s 1854 On the Musically Beautiful, one of the most influential treatises in the history of music, argues that the organic relationships among the thematic elements in a work are the most important aspects of the music, that the logic of the relationships alone are all that music can truly express. Hanslick’s perspective stands at the core of considering “absolute” music to be more important than program or texted music, which inherently appeal to extramusical connections for understanding.56 The very notion of the beautiful for Hanslick—­and, over numerous generations, what has been valued most across the entire field of musicology—­is thus bound up in notions of structural coherence. The dialectically opposed concept of the sublime is by nature reserved for works that call out for meaningfulness in ways beyond their thematic interconnections per se. From this point of view, the new prominence of the orchestra in the nineteenth century is itself marked; it is no neutral medium for carrying out Beethoven’s ideas. Rather, the material diversities of the orchestra itself are essential. In Emily I. Dolan’s words, “Just as the idea of the sublime was essential to the idea of the great work, so too the orchestra was essential to the aesthetic of the sublime. . . . It was through the power of orchestration that works could be great works, with the power to dazzle, move, and endure from one generation to the next.”57 The Ninth’s Structure of Sublimity The literature on Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is vast, of course, and no survey could do the work or its reception justice. Rather, I’m interested here in shining a light on how this symphony, and in particular the legendary choral finale, makes the work itself seem to come apart at the seams, even while there remains copious evidence for staking the more traditional claim that the work’s monumentality stems from its unity and its seeming synthesis of diverse materials. The dialectic of the musical masterpiece is nowhere stronger than in the Ninth, and it’s precisely in the complex interplay of synthesis and diversity, unity and sublimity, where the work springs to life and speaks to us most directly. The first three movements of the symphony lay the groundwork for this pairing of unity and surprise, the sense that Beethoven is evoking norms only to maximize the impact of deviations from them. This is true even from the largest perspective: the most usual order would be to follow the fast opening

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movement with a contrasting slow movement, and to follow that with a dance-­ based movement—­another contrast—­before a fast and relatively light finale. But in the Ninth, Beethoven chooses to flip that inner order around, to follow the powerful first movement with no letup, with a particularly intense scherzo movement, and only then to allow the breathing room of a slow movement. A particular window through which to view the interpenetration of coherence and disturbances from outside expectation is a narrative of sorts created by B-­flat within the symphony’s overall home tonic around D. Once the tonic is finally established in the first movement, for example, the melody rises upward and pauses for almost two full measures (mm. 24–­25) on a  fortissimo B-­flat, a note outside the tonic chord. The chaotic opening repeats itself shortly thereafter (mm. 49–­50), and now the full outburst sounds not on D minor but on a B-­flat chord itself. Soon after, the music moves away from the home tonic into the key of B-­flat for a contrasting passage (beginning at m. 74, and clinched at m. 80). Later, the slow third movement’s structural contrast to the intense D-­minor earlier movements is set in the home key of B-­flat. Thus the many appearances of B-­flat, from note to chord to key area to home tonic, argue for a sort of compositional unity here, yet continually intrude on the security of the main tonic. Further, this key, a major third lower than the tonic, is no neutral place but, rather, a location full of implications for nineteenth-­century composition as a whole, as it hints at approaching the octave in a symmetrical way, beyond the usual dominant-­tonic relationships, insinuating chains of thirds that would quickly open vistas undermining the entire tonal system. And yet, after these three movements, Beethoven is only roughly halfway through. A triumphant D-­major finale at this point would leave the Ninth joining the other overly dramatic Beethoven symphonies as an essay from darkness to light, minor to major, interconnected movements marching inexorably together toward a culminating cathartic conclusion. But what Beethoven provides, most famously, is a finale that simultaneously does all that while also asking to be heard as a break with all that’s come so far, a new place outside the bounds of this particular work, and the entire genre of the symphony itself. The finale opens with a famously explosive passage so dissonant Wagner called it a Schreckensfanfare, a sound of chaos far beyond the one near the beginning of the work itself (see example 2.1).58 A loud D-­minor chord sounds, bringing us back to the world of the tonic, as we would expect, but upper instruments simultaneously call out the pitch B-­flat—­once again that note functioning as the Other of the work—­in direct dissonance with the A in the chord. Beethoven voices the complex very carefully so that in two separate octaves the A and B-­flat clash directly, drawing maximum tension from the rub.

Sheinbaum, example 2.1, 1

64

Example 2.1 Beethoven, Symphony no. 9/iv, 1-7

Æ Æ Æ Æ œÆ œÆ Æ œ 1 œ . œÆ œÆ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ 5 œ œ œ œ œ 3 œ œ &b 4 ƒ ÆÆÆÆ œÆ œÆ œ œ œ œ œÆ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ# œ œ œ 3 Æ Æ . œ œ b œ œ & 4 œœ œ œ œ œœ ƒœ œ . œÆ œÆ œÆ œÆ Æ Æ œÆ œÆ Æ œœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ# œ œ œ œœ & b 43 ƒ œœ œ œ œ œ œ# œ œ œ œÆ œ 3 œœ & b 4 œ œ . œÆ œÆ ' œ' œ' œ' œ' œ œ œ œœ œ œ ' Æ œÆ ƒ Æ Æ œ Æ Æ œ œ # œÆ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ# œ œ œ Æ Æœ œ œœ & 43 œ œ . œ œ ƒ # & 43 œ œ . œ œ œ' œ' œ' œ' œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ# œ œ œ ' œ' œ' ' ' œœ ƒ œ œ œ œœ œ œœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œn œ ? b 43 œ ú. ú. œ ƒ œœ œ œ ? 3 b 4 œ ú. œœ ú. œ œ œœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ nœ ƒ œœ œ œ ? 3 b 4 œ ú. œœ ú. œ œ œœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ nœ ƒ ú .. b œœ œœ œœ b œœ œœ œœ b œœ œ œ œ œ œ 3 b œœ úú .. ú & 4 œœ œœ œ ƒ j j œ œ œ œ œ œœœ œœ œ ú. œ œ œ‰‰œ œ Œ ‰œ œœœ œœ œ & 43 œ ú . œ ú. ú. œ ƒ œœ 3 œ œ & 4 œ œ . œ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œœ œœ ‰ œ œ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œ œ.œ œ œœ ƒ ? 43 @ @ ú. ú. œ ú. ú@. œ œœœú@ @ @ ƒ Presto hd = 66

Flute 1

Flute 2

Oboe 1

Oboe 2

Clarinet in B b 1 Clarinet in B b 2

Bassoon 1

Bassoon 2

Contrabassoon

Horn in D 1, 2

Horn in B b 3, 4

Trumpet in D

Timpani

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Æ œÆ œ œœœœ œ œ Æ œ # œ œ œ œ œ œ œÆ

Œ Œ

œ # œ œ œ œn œ œÆ œÆ Œ

œ # œ œ œ œ œ œÆ œ' Œ œ # œ œ œ œn œ œÆ œÆ Œ

Æ œ # œ œ œ œn œ œ œ Œ ' œ œÆ œÆ Œ nœbœ œ œ œ nœbœ œ œ œ

œ œ' œ' Œ

œ nœbœ œ œ œ œ œœœœ œ œ œœœœ œ

œ' œ' Œ Æ œ œœ Œ œ'

œ œœœœ œ œ Œ Œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ'

œ œœœœ œ œ œ Œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ' œ ' . ú œœŒ @

e x a m p l e 2.1. Beethoven, Symphony no. 9/iv, measures 1–­7

As Webster puts it, “The Schreckensfanfare at the beginning of the finale . . . seems as if predestined: it transforms the linear/tonal relation between B-­flat and A into a shocking, painful dissonance.”59 Perhaps most brilliantly, while the symphony up to this point has presented D and B-­flat as competing tonal areas, but areas that are always temporally separated, here we can understand the opening sonority of the finale as a juxtaposition and interpenetration of the two. The D–­F–­A pitches make up the D-­minor chord, while the combination of B-­flat–­D–­F comprises a full B-­flat chord. And none of these observations softens one bit the shock of the sonority itself as it sounds: after forty or

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so minutes of surprises within an overall coherence, Beethoven announces that here coherence itself might well be thrown out the window. After the following aftershocks of quickly arpeggiating woodwinds suddenly halt, the next gesture is equally chaotic, though now not in sound but, rather, in the genre implications of the sounds. Everything else stops, and the low strings begin a single, loud, declarative line. Beethoven is clear about his intentions here: in a note below the music, though the music is to stay in tempo, the passage should be in “the character of a recitative,” evoking certain sorts of passages in vocal genres like opera or oratorio. This is a bit of mind-­bending business, then. By definition, a symphony is an instrumental work for orchestra, so an allusion to vocal music lifts us out of the realm of the symphony and toward different genres entirely. But even if we were to allow Beethoven the notion of vocal style within a symphony, a reference to recitative in particular would be a strange choice. Recitative passages are specifically those passages that are not particularly melodic or fully accompanied but, instead, focused on capturing the rhythms natural to speech. But here, of course, the cellos and basses have no text to declare, no story to move forward. Beethoven purposefully calls for a wholly inappropriate style for instrumental music and brings the potential incongruities between instrumental and vocal music right to the surface. We might even imagine that there is some sort of text implied but not quite spoken, a voice struggling to emerge but limited by the nature of instruments.60 In performance, rather than when listening to a recording, we’re confronted even more directly with the juxtaposition, as we can’t help but see—­ and feel the excitement of seeing—­a choir poised behind the orchestra and four vocal soloists standing in front. We know that voices don’t belong in a symphony, yet here they are, tension building by the second, as we wonder exactly when and how they will, inevitably, join in. Like Chekhov’s gun, innocently revealed in the first act of a play, but which we know will be fired later at the dramatic climax, we can attempt to forget the presence of all those extra bodies on the stage—­they’re not really doing anything but waiting and listening, like us—­but the effort is futile. Without even making a sound, the tension builds from their mere presence, and Beethoven shapes our sense of time almost as much through sight as through sound. If the opening fanfare calls forth harmonic chaos, and the string recitative hints at genre chaos, now Beethoven begins to disrupt the neat forward-­ moving timeline for a sort of chaos particularly temporal in nature. While one of Beethoven’s greatest achievements might be the ways later movements could display interconnections to earlier ones, those interconnections are typically developments of previous ideas, a recall of a particular pitch-­based

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or rhythmic relationship that close listening and careful analysis could reveal. A quote of one movement within another, though, a bending or folding of the timeline rather than a development that would keep the timeline moving forward, was a special effect only used very occasionally, most famously, perhaps, in the Fifth Symphony’s quote of its scherzo while in the midst of the finale. Here, in the Ninth, Beethoven now undertakes a series of systematic temporal shifts to the previous movements, recalling their openings before lurching back to the present, to the ill-­fitting recitative passages in the low strings. Though on the surface Beethoven may be unifying the symphony, bringing all the movements together, the effect in real time is quite different, like sonic wormholes through which the entire symphony is playing all at once. Indeed, Beethoven does little to smooth over these rough edges from flashback to the present; instead, he focuses precisely on the discontinuities of tempo, meter, volume, and key area between the current music and the quotes. But what is to happen next? We’ve heard quotes inserted from all the previous movements, but now we’ve caught up, the pattern has run its course, the symphony’s frame has closed, and the sense of the “particular present” is thus particularly strong.61 Beethoven’s solution is once again uncanny, somehow presenting exactly what should happen next while still functioning as a surprise. To put it simply, the pattern continues: we hear another short quote, this time a quote from the fourth movement finale. The only sticking point, though, is that the finale main theme being quoted here is music we haven’t yet heard. This is a small two-­measure phrase from the “Ode to Joy,” stated by the woodwinds, working up the major scale from the third to the fifth degree, the idea immediately repeated a third higher, along with the common-­ time meter, Allegro assai style marking, and D-­major key signature that will soon—­though not yet—­belong to the ode proper. To ensure that this time-­bending and concept-­melting effect works on the audience, Beethoven doesn’t wait long to present that future music. The recitative gestures return and quickly work their way to a concluding cadence on D major, and this opens the door to the first full statement of the D-­major theme we have come to know as the “Ode to Joy” (see example 2.2). No less than the gestures of recitative heard thus far, this melody, though played by instruments for the time being, is vocal in orientation. The melody moves up and down in smooth curves and is almost entirely scalar from note to note, and the range is limited to one octave. It’s fair to describe the melody as a “tune,” perhaps one of the catchiest tunes in all of classical music, with balanced four-­bar phrases and a rounded binary outline, which ensures that

Sheinbaum, example 2.2, 1

Example 2.2 Beethoven, Symphony no. 9/iv, 92-115

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? ## ú

œ œ œ œ œ œ ? ## 4 ú 4 p œ œ œ œ œ œ ú

? ## ú

œ

92

Cellos and Double basses

96

100

? ## œ

104

p

? ## ú

108

? ## œ

112

p

œ œ

œ

œ

œ

œ œ

œ œ

œ œ œ

œ

œ

œ

œ

œ

œ œ œ œ

œ

œ

œ œ

œ

œ

œ

œ.

œ œ œ

œ

œ

œ

œ

œ œ œ

œ

ú œ

œ œ

œ.

œ œ

ú

ú

œ

œ ú J

cresc.

œ

œ. œ

œ

œ

œ ú J

cresc.

œ

œ ú J

œ

œ.

œ

œ

œ œ J

e x a m p l e 2.2. Beethoven, Symphony no. 9/iv, measures 92–­115

the first phrase will sound numerous times each time the tune plays, sticking it in one’s memory. Even the contrasting phrase works in three versions of its main idea in its fleeting four bars. No less than the elemental gestures at the beginning of the symphony, the tune is presented in elemental fashion here, cellos and basses sounding in octaves, with no accompaniment at all. The ode tune is particularly notable in the context of this chapter, as these features were often heard, within a symphony, as evoking the Other of vocal music, but also as Other to the usual rhetoric of classical music itself, as “imitating” and “integrating folk material,” placing the tune squarely in the orbit of the nineteenth century’s widespread nationalist movements.62 The ode theme is now treated to a straightforward theme-­and-­variations structure that matches the clear expression of the tune, the “future” music now per­ formed in the present, numerous times, with a full and satisfying treatment. Yet this once again brings up the question of what happens next, as the section’s coda (beginning at the pickup to m. 188) quickly undergoes extensive sequencing and concludes with various cadential gestures off the tonic, on A. Thus the chaotic gesture from the movement’s opening returns once more (m. 208), to dramatize this sense of the unknown, and in the most dissonant version yet. And now, in the most famous gesture of all, Beethoven fully realizes the implications of all the foreshadowing, all the forces he has summoned for

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the occasion. The gesture works its way to the entire orchestra sounding the dominant of D, which opens up a three-­beat-­long chasm of silence (mm. 215–­ 26).63 Out of the breach, a lone baritone voice enters, taking us from all the feints toward vocal music to a real human voice. As much as the gestures up to this point have evoked diversity, multiplicity, and hybridity, to some extent they have remained evocations rather than the thing itself. But the entrance of a voice—­soon to be four vocal soloists, and a large choir to boot—­is a qualitative change of another order entirely. The symphony genre contains enough diversity of potential styles that many sorts of music can find a home within one movement or another, one work or another. But the assumption always taken for granted is that the genre is an instrumental one. For Beethoven to lay that assumption on the table, bare, and call it into question, is a gesture so shocking its implications reverberated across the entire nineteenth century.64 Beethoven’s move to include a sort of music making wholly anathema to the genre in which he was presumably writing meant that our very definitions of what genres are, and what they are supposed to be, were up for reexamination and debate. In no small part, the very notion that great composers are supposed to be geniuses who make masterpieces was created by the music here in the finale of the Ninth. Essential for my argument is that the boundary-­busting finale does not aim for a grand unity, a masterful synthesis, an all-­encompassing organicism, or any of the other tropes we might use to help explain all these musics on the verge of incoherence. Rather, Beethoven invites us to hear this music as a crack in the structure, a fault line opening a rift that can’t easily be put right again. The baritone sings “Oh friends, not these tones!,” explicitly rejecting all that we’ve heard up to this point, asserting that all these passages, allusions, and gestures don’t fit together neatly with all that is to follow.65 And these are indeed Beethoven’s own words, followed by the composer’s rearrangement of Schiller’s poem on joy.66 Beethoven’s vision of the finale, now that the earlier musics and instrumental treatments have been placed behind us, is not simply that we’ve opened a door to a new utopia and now the music will embody a pure unity not possible earlier. Rather, this vision of utopia is one where multiplicity continues to reign. This music paints a convincing version of perfection not in spite of, but rather directly through, its all-­encompassing diversity.67 For the first stanza, Beethoven uses Schiller’s revised text of 1803, rather than the original version published in 1785, to speak to this dialectic of unity and diversity.68 Schiller’s later version rewrites the middle two lines, such that “custom strictly divided” Joy’s magic and that we instead find true Joy where “all men become

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brothers.” Setting aside the latent sexism of the time, this text opens up to grand assertions. The full vocal treatment of the ode (beginning at m. 241) constructs this joyful state through diversity. Beethoven’s vocal writing builds in a manner somewhat similar to the earlier instrumental theme and variations, but the notoriously difficult individual parts do not blend so much as sound simulta­ neously. Along the way, the supporting lines add leaps to their counterpoint and quickly trade who is moving where, making the melodies harder to exe­ cute and the overall effect increasingly complex and unfocused. The final time through, the tune itself is largely left unsounded while fast-­moving eighth notes seem to take over entirely; slurred scalar passages in the contrapuntal voices create a shockingly blurry texture, reinforced by rising string figures trilling underneath. After this, the passage completes with its own coda, soon moving toward a climatic fortissimo on A. And for the final melodic A (m. 330), Beetho­ ven suddenly shifts to a tutti long-­held sonority where the melodic A is joined by Fs a major third lower. That harmonic break leads to perhaps the largest stylistic break in the entire symphony, even though the thematic material in the coming passage will remain firmly rooted in the ode tune, which by now is very familiar even to a first-­time listener. The meter shifts from simple duple to a compound 6/8, where each beat is subdivided into three. The orchestration doesn’t merely expand but, rather, adds immediately notable colors: piccolo, and a percussion section of bass drum, cymbals, and triangle to join the timpanist. These are all “outdoor” timbres useful for their ability to carry over large distances and to cut through even a large ensemble. Just as Beethoven was sure to make explicit that the low string passages near the beginning of the movement should evoke recitative, here Beethoven makes clear that this new section should be in the style of a march. In fact, these colors, plus the percussive patterns in numerous other instruments, imply that the music is meant to evoke a Turkish march, a special effect used to create an aura of the exotic during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, perhaps most pointedly in Viennese music (see example 2.3).69 Further, references to Turkish military music functioned less to imitate Janissary music with any authenticity and more to “deform . . . classic-­period syntax.”70 Indeed, the Turkish march section paints its Otherness in rhythm and phrasing as well as in its jangling timbres, such as in the silences on the downbeats and in punctuations on the second beat of each measure, similar to the emphasis on the “backbeat” found in many popular musics derived from non-­Western sources. When the tenor soloist joins the tune, while the

Sheinbaum, example 2.3, 1

Example 2.3 Beethoven, Symphony no. 9/iv, 343-358

70

Piccolo

Oboe 1, 2

Clarinet in B b 1, 2

Bassoon 1, 2

Contrabassoon

&

? b b ? b b

Horn in B b

&

Trumpet in B b

&

Triangle

&

Cymbals

&

Bass Drum

&

œ JœÆ œ .

Allegro assai vivace hd = 84

b œÆ œ . & b 68 Œ J π bb 6 ∑ & 8

343



œ œÆ œ . J

œÆ œ . Œ œ œ. J π œœ .. œœ œœÆ œœ .. J œ œ œ ‰œ ‰ œ œ

œœ œœÆ 68 Œ œœÆ œœ .. J J π 68 œ ‰ œœ ‰ œ ‰ œ œ π 68 ‰œ ‰œ ‰ ‰œ ‰ œ œ œ π œÆ œ . œœ œœÆ œœ .. œœ œœÆ œœ .. 6 Œ œ œ. J 8 J J π 68 ∑ ∑ ∑

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œ œÆ œ . œ J œ œ œÆ œ . œ œ . œ Jœ œœ œœ. œ . œœ J œ. œ ‰ œ ‰œ ‰ œ œ œ ‰œ ‰ ‰ œ œ œœ œœÆ œ . œœ J œ. ∑

Æ œ œ. J œÆ œ . œ œ. J j œ œ. œ' œ .

œ ‰ œ ‰ ‰ œ ‰

j œ œ. œ' œ .

œ ‰ Œ ‰

2.

π sempre π 68 œ ‰ œ ‰ œ ‰ œ ‰ œ ‰ œ ‰ œ ‰ œ ‰ œ ‰ œ ‰ π 68 2 ‰ Œ ‰ œ ‰ Œ ‰ œ ‰ Œ ‰ œ ‰ Œ ‰ œ ‰ Œ ‰

68

π œ

‰Œ ‰

œ

‰Œ ‰

œ

‰Œ ‰

œ

‰Œ ‰

œ

‰ Œ ‰

e x a m p l e 2.3. Beethoven, Symphony no. 9/iv, measures 343–­58 (continued over next two pages)

Western-­trained singer places clear emphasis on the downbeats, dramatically and heterophonically the winds continue their offbeat version. As Mary Hunter argues, “The alla turca style in relation to actual janissary music, then, represents Turkish music as a deficient or messy version of European music rather than as a phenomenon with its own terms of explication and reference.”71 The text that Beethoven chooses for this passage is also notable and comes from the chorus portion, the final four lines, of Schiller’s fourth stanza. Multiple “suns” fly, and “brothers”—­earlier linked explicitly by Beethoven to “all”—­run like heroes “through Heaven’s glorious design.” Thus heaven, echoed by the architecture of the movement, is linked to the notion of multiplicity, and the idea is set with the most explicitly Otherized music in the symphony. From a structural point of view, what’s most notable about the Turkish march is its B-­flat tonic, for as the above discussion shows, B-­flat has been

uSheinbaum, n i f i e dexample 2.3, 2

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e x a m p l e 2.3. (continued )

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constructed as the symphony’s tonal Other throughout. The final payoff for so many of the pitch-­based gestures in the work is to hear B-­flat as the key of the off-­kilter exotic march in the midst of the gargantuan finale. Indeed, the foreground move down the third from A to F just before the march parallels this D-­to-­B-­flat background move from the sing-­along ode to its inverse exoticized image in the march. Even the dramatic Otherness of the Turkish march is not the end of Beethoven’s juxtaposition of musical languages in the finale; at this point, the movement is only about halfway complete. Many of the moves from this point forward continue the profile of radical diversity. The end of the march section is elided at measure 432 with a heavily contrapuntal section, for example, thus juxtaposing the exotic timbres and implied bodily movement of the march with a style of learned Western musical technique. The final complete

Sheinbaum, example 2.3, 3 72 354

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chapter t wo

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ode theme that follows (m. 543) is given a triumphant homophonic setting, but notably the meter remains in the Otherized 6/8 of the Turkish march, an interpenetration of binary opposites rather than an assimilation of one into the other. The next section introduces more new music (m. 594), using a new theme, key area, meter, and trombone timbral reinforcement to evoke the solemn intoning of liturgical music while the Schiller poem shifts from Joy to bowing before God, yet another musical discourse for the movement. A climactic section (m. 655) combines passages of the ode theme and its text with the liturgical-­sounding theme and its text, representing the first time Beethoven uses text from multiple stanzas simultaneously (see example 2.4).72 And from this point to the end of the symphony, Beethoven constructs climactic passage after climactic passage, continuing to add new elements while

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juxtaposing references to earlier music, including and especially the piccolo and percussion colors from the Turkish march, the final prestissimo flourish highlighting the winds providing three bars of rising triplets—­one last rhythmic evocation of the Other—­directly before the orchestra’s final leap to the tonic, bringing the house down and the audience to its feet. In Mathew’s words, “While Beethoven might have intended the final inclusion of the percussion instruments to symbolize a kind of synthesis, their meaning is by no means plain: they might more strongly recall, even in the very last measures, the voices that have been cast out of the finale.”73 The Ninth finale’s sprawling styles, juxtapositions, and structures had little precedent and yet eventually became seen not as incoherent but as iconic and deeply satisfying. Orchestras program the Ninth to end not merely a concert but an entire season. Action-­film directors call on the Ninth to top even the most over-­the-­top cataclysms. A Fourth of July fireworks display is all finale, and the ode in its full choral splendor can give even the end of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture a run for its money as the last musical cue in a sequence of high points. Every Olympic Games for over half a century has included a performance of the ode.74 As Alexander Rehding suggests with regard to the toppling of the Berlin Wall, which signified the end of the Cold War, “what better opportunity to celebrate this historical event, and to capture the solemn joy of the moment, than with a performance of the most sublime of musical works—­Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.”75 It’s no wonder that a long tradition of grappling with the finale has focused on attempts to make some sense of the movement, and each has met with some success. But standing behind this history is our conventional need to make sense, a particular sort of musical sense insisting that good music is music where all the parts fit together well. The finale’s status as an iconic masterpiece might instead take its cue from the movement’s insistence on rejecting those expectations, forcing us to grapple with the limits of the confining expectations themselves. Sheinbaum, example 2.4, 1

Example 2.4 Beethoven, Symphony no. 9/iv, 655-658, Soprano and Alto Allegro energico e sempre ben marcato h. = 84

f # ú œ ú œ ú œ ú œ ú œ ú œ ú œ ú œ & # 46 Ó . 655

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ú.

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um

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li

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e x a m p l e 2.4. Beethoven, Symphony no. 9/iv, measures 655–­58, soprano and alto

ú. o

-

ú.

nen!

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Echoes of Beethoven in Beatles Reception Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is replete with boundary-­busting choices like the ones discussed above, and it almost single-­handedly created many of the issues composers grappled with over the next generation. Something similar happened almost a century and a half later, with music in a style many times removed from Beethoven’s. The Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) and its reception defined the field of rock music for decades to come. On many levels Beethoven and the Beatles, and these two individual masterpieces, cast analogous shadows. In the broadest view, the Beatles, like Beethoven, enjoy the position of being the heroic figures in the conventional narrative of their musical style.76 Beethoven is often the sole composer with entire chapters devoted to him in histories of classical music; he’s by no means the historical halfway point in a thousand-­year history, but he stands as the metaphorical fulcrum nonetheless.77 In histories of popular music, the Beatles are given over to similar treatments, considered as high points to which everything previous seems to lead and after which everything seems to constitute some sort of reaction.78 David Brackett writes that “the significance of the Beatles extends far beyond their popularity or their ability to create something fresh from a synthesis of previous popular styles: The Beatles, along with Bob Dylan, did more than any other pop musicians to shift the perception of popular music in the mainstream media.”79 Covach explicitly links the Beatles’ importance to the legacy of the post-­Beethovenian reception of classical music: “From Sgt. Pepper forward, rock takes itself very seriously—­at times too seriously, we should acknowledge. Rock musicians no longer aspire so much to be professionals and craftspeople; rather they aspire to be artists, adopting and adapting notions of inspiration, genius, and complexity that derive directly from nineteenth-­ century European high culture.”80 At the very least, the reception of both figures did much to define the value systems most commonly associated with their musics. Examples from Beethoven are the easiest to call up when fleshing out instances of exemplary classical music, and Beatles songs are often close at hand for showing popular music at its supposed best.81 The very existence of Moore’s Sgt. Pepper handbook represents an important moment along these lines in the reception of the album. Cambridge University Press’s concise guides to individual works constitute “one of the signal trends of the present generation of music criticism,” as Burnham characterizes them, and out of almost one hundred titles in the series, this volume is the only one dedicated to popular music.82 Chris Kennett’s review praises how the book “implies a canon of pop masterpieces to rival that of the classical

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canon,” highlighting a willingness to use categories of reception developed around classical music as a validating strategy for other musics.83 Reflecting a decade later, Moore writes that “I have been seen, entirely reasonably, as implying that, as a work, [Sgt. Pepper] stands alongside other great monuments to European musical thinking. . . . I saw it as representative of a way of making music which, as a practice, was of equivalent importance to the practices treated in the works which were the subjects of other volumes in that series.”84 Genre is a part of this discussion on Sgt. Pepper’s reception as well. If the symphony is often taken to be the genre of classical music—­the adjective “symphonic” often used as an empty descriptor for any piece of music we find to be particularly effective—­it’s the reception of Beethoven’s symphonies that did more than any other singular body of music to move the genre to that exalted place. In the history of rock music, the album became the primary unit of consequence from the late 1960s through the early 2000s, largely stemming from the reputation of the Beatles’ later albums, none more important than Sgt. Pepper itself. No longer simply a collection of songs akin to a random group of photographs from holidays and vacations, not just an afterthought to the more easily consumable and repeatable experience of the single, the rock album, like the symphony, now seemed to promise a carefully constructed dramatic experience that could transport its listener away from the everyday to a special, and newly immersive, place. In Mellers’s words, “Sgt. Pepper makes the climacteric point in the Beatles’ career, their definite breach with the pop music industry, however materially successful the disc . . . may have been. Henceforth, the world they’ve created is sui generis, bringing its own criteria.”85 Indeed, the recording industry organized itself so closely around the notion of the album that listeners’ return to a single-­song model of consumption in the contemporary era of internet downloading and streaming has left its business plans in the dust, and still trying to catch up over a de­ cade later. Over the roughly fifty years of Sgt. Pepper’s reception history, a good deal of commentary closely echoes strands of the two centuries’ worth surrounding the Ninth. As asserted above, no perspective on interpreting the album has been more prevalent—­more “intractable,” as Moore has it—­than notions of musical unity and its connections to notions of masterpiece.86 In his provocatively titled How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ’N’ Roll, Elijah Wald begins by sharing that, for him, Sgt. Pepper needed to be “listened to . . . from beginning to end,” and he “could tell it was a masterpiece,” but at the same time it “simply wasn’t as much fun” as the Beatles’ earlier music.87 Moore’s central section is a detailed commentary on each of the album’s songs, and his analyses imply a focus on unity through their use of Schenkerian sketches that

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highlight networks of pitch-­based structures. Walter Everett’s The Beatles as Musicians: Revolver through the Anthology, similarly refers to connections within individual songs and across tracks as “unities” throughout his section on the album.88 Also similar to the Ninth’s reception history, at least in its more recent phases, are arguments that question the notion of unity in Sgt. Pepper, that consider it a “flawed synthesis,” as Keith Negus describes it.89 Everett notes in a different essay that the sheer variety of timbres results in “each song in this album [having] its own individual color.”90 Jerry Zolten similarly asserts that the album works more directly through the multiplicity of its sonic effects rather than through intimations of unity and, further, that such an approach is no barrier to its value: “Sgt. Pepper was a pastiche of swirling timbres, like a Van Gogh painting and perhaps no less a masterpiece, or at least a shot at trying to create something that would endure.”91 Some critique the potential unity on a broad cultural canvas. As William M. Northcutt has recently argued with regard to the context of the late 1960s, “Sgt. Pepper is as much about separation and alienation as it is about unity.”92 Kenneth Gloag, too, writes that “it is somewhat paradoxical that this aspiration toward unity within popular music was to occur at a moment when the possibility of a homogeneous culture was most under threat.”93 Indeed, Wald writes that the album “pointed the way toward a future in which there need be no unifying styles, as bands can play what they like in the privacy of the studio, and we can choose which to listen to in the privacy of our clubs, our homes, or, finally, our heads.”94 Sgt. Pepper and the Traumatic Rock Masterpiece Beyond these broad brushstrokes, a close exploration of Sgt. Pepper shows that this album functions in ways strikingly similar to Beethoven’s Ninth. For many, Sgt. Pepper is the quintessential pop masterpiece, but its overall construction, like the Ninth, rather than attempting to synthesize and unify its various elements, works to juxtapose a diversity of musics, including musics seemingly incompatibly Other. And like the Ninth, in the large Sgt. Pepper creates a frame but then purposefully places its extended and complex finale outside that frame, taking the problem of unity beyond the possibility of moment-­to-­moment developmental workings and to the very nature of the work’s large-­scale structures. As Sgt. Pepper begins, we are invited to hear the album no longer as a mere grab bag of tunes but as a continuous fiction set apart from the mundane. The opening gesture invites us in, no less than Beethoven seeming to construct a dramatic world out of primordial sonic soup, and positions us

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to bear witness to a creation. For ten seconds or so we hear the sounds of an audience milling about, while a violin seems to tune and an accordion warms up. These sounds tell us that a show is about to begin, but this is not a “real” concert, as the violin and accordion are not part of the expected timbres of a rock band, and neither is the sound of the brass band (beginning at 0:42)—­ met by intrusive laughter from the crowd—­that follows the first strain of the song.95 For the next strain (beginning at 0:55), the band itself now seems to have begun (“We’re Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”), though they are still self-­consciously framing the performance (“We hope you will enjoy the show”), and the intrusive horn color returns to interrupt the band between the section’s two phrases. Also provocative is the Beatles’ choice to evoke the sounds of a live show at the very moment in their careers where the band famously announced that they would stop touring altogether. Sgt. Pepper’s existence as a pure studio creation, where the band no longer needed to worry about how certain effects and textures might be reproduced in a live setting, surely contributed to why the album was heard as “art,” as opposed to a commercial effort that would be promoted through endless gigs and press appearances. Yet it’s here that the band explicitly and ironically creates the illusion of performance in front of an audience. Indeed, the deception does not seem meant to fool anyone; rather, the opening track uses these intimations of real performance to highlight the fiction of this supposed show. As Riley puts it, “We’re listening to a pretend audience that is pretending to listen to the pretend Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”96 Without pause, the Beatles soon provide a dramatic entrance for the fictional singer Billy Shears and the song “A Little Help from My Friends” (the beginning of track 2 on the CD): girls in the audience scream, and a flat-­ VI–­flat-­VII–­I progression in a new key is matched by triumphant singing to announce his name. After such a build-­up, Shears ironically turns out to be a not-­very-­good singer—­the drummer, Ringo Starr—­singing about the very fact that he’s not a very good singer. An important part of the fiction, then, is that even though the album was recorded over an extended period of four months or so, from December 1966 through early April 1967, and in historical sequence nothing like the order of songs as they eventually appeared on the album, the illusion of a single show is furthered by creating this sense of continuity from track to track.97 As the finished album stands, “Sgt. Pepper” moves directly into “Friends” without any break at all but, rather, with this composed-­out transition such that the move from the G tonic of “Sgt. Pepper” to the E tonic of “Friends” is smooth and seemingly natural. As Everett points out, “This segue amounts to the first link between two consecutive

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songs on a Beatles album, instantly creating the expectation that this record will have an overall coherence.”98 The breaks between the various tracks on the album are in general strikingly short, with only the barest hint of silence between songs and often with the sound of one track fading out while a new track suddenly begins. This was an advertised feature of Sgt. Pepper, as three weeks before the album’s release the magazine New Musical Express announced that the record would be unbanded, without the “rills,” the visually clear thick circles of silence on the vinyl between songs, which are essential for listeners, and especially disc jockeys, to be able to locate individual tracks.99 One would thus be more likely not to bother seeking individual songs but, rather, to allow the album to run without interruption, following along with the printed lyrics, notably included with a rock album for the first time. Such invitations to hear Sgt. Pepper as a singular whole, and to engage closely with the songs and experience the album many times, also did much to contribute to its “art”-­based reception.100 The sequence of tracks that make up the bulk of the album from this point forward largely lose much of the show-­based narrative thread, as well as the sonic suggestions that we’re hearing a band play live, though many listeners and critics took the hints at continuity implied by the opening tracks, and—­similar to some nineteenth-­century receptions of the Ninth—­proposed numerous scenarios for the album as a whole. In fact, what’s most striking about the songs within the frame on Sgt. Pepper, given that the reception history primes one to approach the album as a single concept, is their wealth of stylistic diversity, a “vaudevillian smorgasbord with something for everybody,”101 often tied to the differing personae of the Beatles’ members, such as George Harrison’s lone vocal lead on the album, “Within You Without You,” which opens side two and points distinctly toward Harrison’s well-­publicized interest in Indian classical music, and particularly Paul McCartney’s pop-­ rock songwriting as contrasted with John Lennon’s “artistic” and “visionary” compositions.102 Producer George Martin explains that this was the basic principle behind the sequence of tracks; “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” immediately follows “Friends” not in spite of the fact that one “could hardly be more different in atmosphere and mood” from the other but, rather, precisely “because it was so different. It was a complete change of musical color, which was welcome. . . . When we were putting the album together at the end, it struck me that we had such a funny collection of songs, not really related to one another, all disparate numbers.”103 After this assortment of songs, the Beatles make a surprising move: they reprise the title track, closing the album’s fictional frame and thus, once again, bringing directly into view the notion that we are meant to hear the album

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as a continuous unit. Just before Starr’s rock drumbeat begins, Lennon can be heard speaking a drawn-­out “bye!” (0:03–­0:04), and once the fictional band begins singing, we’re told that “it’s time to go” and that “we hope you have enjoyed the show,” making explicit the implication that this large-­scale repetition signals a satisfying end. The fictional live atmosphere returns as well: crowd sounds are once again mixed in; Starr provides eighth-­note hi-­hat pulses before beginning his beat, as if to give the band the tempo; the beat is notably faster than that on the opening track, implying the band’s excitement in the moment of concluding the show; and McCartney counts in as a seeming signal to Starr to begin the drum beat proper. The full band grooves in F, and then the vocals enter for a driving rock version of the original song’s twelve-­bar middle strain (beginning at 0:20). For a dramatically conclusive ending, the band modulates up a step to G for a second sounding of the middle strain (beginning at 0:44), cleverly and symmetrically ending the show in the same key as the opening, and a four-­bar closing follows (beginning at 1:11), complete with McCartney’s high-­pitched “woo!” to the crowd.104 As with Beethoven’s Ninth, though, closing the frame by bringing back earlier music is by no means the end but, rather, the beginning of an extended finale—­“A Day in the Life”—­that lies provocatively outside the frame and itself is structured as a multisectional sprawl of diverse styles and influences not unified or synthesized so much as pointedly placed side by side.105 And no less than Beethoven, the Beatles construct the finale to play out these dialectical tensions between the desire for unified closure and the attempt instead to reach satisfying closure through an earth-­shattering musical hybridity. The tonal argument, for example, can be seen as relatively unified. The goal key of the “Sgt. Pepper” reprise is G, as are the opening passages of “Day,” bridging the gap between the closing frame and the out-­of-­frame finale. And as Everett points out, as “Day” exhibits an overall motion from these G verses to the song’s climaxes on E, that move is mirrored by the G of the opening track leading to the E of “A Little Help from My Friends,” making for parallel structures to both open and close the album.106 Yet all this lies in a complex relationship with the disconcerting stylistic and gestural shifts from the frame to the finale, an “earth-­shattering coda” comprised of an “apocalyptic vision of chaos and anarchy.”107 While each track within Sgt. Pepper’s frame, diverse as they are, limits it­ self to one overriding style, songwriter, and lead vocalist, “A Day in the Life” thematizes as strongly as Beethoven’s finale a musical hybridity within the single song, including a shocking inclusion of passages Other to the conventional boundaries of the genre. “Day” begins with three verses marked clearly as “Lennon” sections: beyond the fact that Lennon is the lead vocalist, the

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lyrics’ imagery is ambiguous and provocative, and the phrase rhythms are supple and subtly shifting. Before the fourth and final verse sounds, though, a “McCartney” section is also included (beginning at 2:15), his distinctive voice accompanied mainly by piano instead of the verses’ strumming guitar. This passage is overall a “fragment” of “a vaudeville number,” characterized by purposefully mundane lyrics, consistent phrase lengths, and a more static har­ monic structure.108 In fact, the Lennon and McCartney sections were origi­ nally conceived as totally separate songs.109 In Lennon’s words from a 1968 Roll­ ing Stone interview, and referring to the surreal sci-­fi Stanley Kubrick 2001: A Space Odyssey film of the same year, “ ‘A Day in the Life’—­that was something. I dug it. It was a good piece of work between Paul and me. . . . Paul sang half of it and I sang half. I needed a middle-­eight for it, but that would have been forcing it. All the rest had come out smooth, flowing, no trouble, and to write a middle-­eight would have been to write a middle-­eight, but instead Paul al­ready had one there. It’s a bit of a 2001, you know.”110 Beyond these juxtapositions, the most provocative passages in “Day” are the two moments that incorporate full orchestra, the first functioning as a transition between the Lennon and McCartney sections (beginning at 1:40), and the second (beginning at 3:46) leading to the sustained final chord. In something like a negative image of Beethoven’s Turkish march, where references to exotic popular music sounded within a highbrow symphony, here, within the context of a rock album, the colors of the orchestra themselves become the Other. Though the sounds of violins and horns are part of Sgt. Pepper from as far back as the opening track, and “She’s Leaving Home” employs a “classical” accompaniment exclusively, by this point it has been some time since such instruments have been heard—­the driving rock of the title song reprise does much to erase classical references from our ears—­and a full orchestra had never been heard on a Beatles recording prior to this track. The entrance of the orchestra in the midst of “Day” is thus a pointedly tantalizing event. The orchestral passages, furthermore, are painted as Other even within the expectations of conventional classical music. McCartney was fascinated with the musical avant-­garde during this time—­Stockhausen’s image as part of the cover photo an oft-­cited piece of evidence for this assertion—­and both the orchestral sonic cloud on “Day” and the aleatoric approach given to the performers speak to this.111 Martin recounts that “it was Paul’s idea to have something really tumultuous on the song, something that would whack the person listening right between the ears and leave them gasping with shock. He didn’t quite know what he wanted, but he did want to try for something extremely startling.”112 For the twenty-­four measures allocated to each orchestral passage—­at times one can hear assistant Mal Evans calling out the bar num­

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bers—­the players were not reading music so much as following a set of instructions. They were told to begin as quietly as possible, on as low a note as possible, and then to move ever higher and ever louder until climaxing—­Mar­ tin calls it an “orchestral orgasm”113—­on the downbeat of the twenty-­fourth measure with each player’s highest E.114 The effect remains supremely powerful, chaotic, and downright radical on an album from the most popular pop group of the day. The gesture is as radical as the structural choice to juxtapose the two songwriters on either side of the passage, and indeed, the band knew how audacious the overall form would be: they originally left the twenty-­four bars as blank tape between the two main sections, allowing themselves time to figure out later a suitably bold way to move from one area to the other. Similar to how Beethoven uses references to earlier movements to evoke and then deny unity, “Day,” too, ultimately rejects what came before. The Beatles’ dismissal does not take shape through quotes from previous songs but, rather, stems from the implication that all the earlier fictions have been left behind for the shockingly real. The extra instruments’ sonic chaos, rather than the expected artifice of well-­composed orchestral parts, is but one sign of this shift. Along with the song’s placement after the album’s frame has closed, its title implies that we have left the fictional world of an unreal performance for an ordinary day. The lyrics contribute to this sort of interpretation as well. Lennon’s verses may work toward stream-­of-­consciousness imagery, but taken at their word, they imply the most mundane of activities, such as scanning the morning newspaper for tales of general interest and occasional shock or going to the movies and feeling that “I just had to look” at images of war, though most “people turned away.” McCartney’s middle section similarly describes in plain fashion a series of small tasks between waking up and leaving the house, illustrated further with realistic sounds like an alarm clock, and heavy breathing once the protagonist “noticed I was late.” Moore’s discussion of the phrase rhythm in “Day” provides further evidence for a perspective along these lines.115 With regard to the normative nature of four-­bar groups and their multiples, Moore writes that, while the album “is closed as an experiential whole by the astounding reprise of the title track, ‘A Day in the Life,’ being external, can only be unreal to that unreality, i.e. utter and devastating reality (a reality founded on units of ‘5’ rather than ‘4’).”116 Thus, as would be expected, much of the music on the album employs conventional phrases, and passages with deviations often remain constructed as extensions or truncated versions of them (see table 2.1). The phrase rhythm surprises occurring earlier on the album sound like surprises because expectations of a baseline are strong enough that, even if one is not counting their way through a song, the shortenings feel short, the extensions

ta b l e 2.1.  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Tracks 1–­12, Notable Metric and Hypermetric Passages Song and Structure

Description

Timing

Effect

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”: brass interlude

5 mm. phrase (4/4)

0:42–­0:54

phrase extension; contained within surrounding normative phrases normative phrases throughout

. . .

. . .

4 mm. + 5 mm. + 4 mm. + 6 mm. (3/8) 8 mm. + 4 mm. (3/8) 7 mm. (4/4)

0:06–­0:33

4 mm. + 4 mm. + 2 mm. (4/4) 4 mm. + 4 mm. + 2 mm. + 4 mm. + 4 mm. + 2 mm. (4/4) 5 mm. + 4 mm. (4/4) . . .

0:24–­0:44

phrase extension

1:00–­1:39; 1:57–­2:36

doubled length; phrase extensions

1:39–­1:57 . . .

phrase extension normative phrases throughout

8 mm. + 4 mm. + 7 mm. (3/4)

0:48–­1:13 (mono version)

truncation of final phrase

4 mm. + 3 mm. + 5 mm. (4/4)

0:06–­0:33

verse 2

4 mm. + 3 mm. + 4 mm. (4/4)

0:36–­1:00

waltz interlude

8 mm. + 6 mm. + 10 mm. (3/4)

1:00–­1:26

after initial normative phrase, a phrase trun­cation, then a phrase extension truncation of previous extension, resulting in normative final phrase metric shift; contained within surrounding verses

. . .

1:58–­2:24

(largely unmetered)

8 mm. + 9 mm. (4/4)

0:38–­1:07

phrase extension

3 mm. + 4 mm. (4/4)

0:33–­0:53

3 mm. (4/4)

0:53–­1:01; 1:43–­1:51

truncated phrase contained by normative phrase truncation due to elision

“With a Little Help from My Friends”: n/a “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”: 1st strain (verse) 2nd strain (pre-­chorus) 3rd strain (chorus)

“Getting Better”: chorus 1 choruses 2 and 3

verse 3 “Fixing a Hole”: n/a “She’s Leaving Home”: chorus “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”: verse 1

“Within You Without You”: chorus “When I’m Sixty-­Four”: bridge “Lovely Rita”: verse choruses 2 and 3

0:33–­0:48 0:51–­1:10

extensions of normative phrases truncation of second phrase metric modulation to normative rock beat; truncation due to elision with next cycle

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ta b l e 2.1. (continued ) Song and Structure “Good Morning Good Morning”: intro and verse 1

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)”: middle strain from opening track, 2nd time

Description

Timing

Effect

beat groupings: 4+4+4+4 3+3+4 3+5+4 5+4 3+3 4+4

0:03–­0:33

frequent metrical changes, but contained within normative frame at beginning and end of section

4 mm. + 4 mm. + 5 mm.

0:45–­1:12

phrase extension

Note: mm. = measures.

feel like extensions. What’s notable about phrase rhythm in “Day,” then, isn’t the fact of units built around five but, rather, that they become the norm, a norm of Otherness juxtaposed with the more conventional hypermetric action on the rest of the album (see table 2.2). In fact, while “Day” includes a number of its own phrase-­rhythm deviations, these are deviations from five, rather than deviations to five. Lennon’s first verse, for example, employs five short phrases and five lines of lyrics. One sounding of such a distinctive five-­unit verse is enough to construct a new expectation. Second and third verses immediately follow (beginning at 0:43 and 1:11, respectively), but each of these are completed with shorter numbers of phrases and measures, and they feel like reductions. The third verse ends cut off, elided with the first orchestral passage, as evidenced by the (barely) audible counting on the finished recording. The infamous line “I’d love to turn you on” (beginning at 1:38) leaves “turn” as the opening downbeat of the twenty-­four bars of orchestral space between the Lennon and McCartney sections. The avant-­garde orchestral crescendo’s climactic E (2:15) is elided with the introduction of the McCartney section, and the presence of “five” is once again felt. If we continue to follow along with measures as dictated by Evans’s counting, once McCartney’s vocals enter (2:20), his first phrase lasts for five measures, and five-­bar phrase follows five-­bar phrase. The fourth and final phrase of this section, where “I went into a dream,” leads directly to a new

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ta b l e 2.2. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, “A Day in the Life” (Track 13), Notable Metric and Hypermetric Passages Songwriter and Structure Lennon: verse 1 verse 2

verse 3

McCartney: middle section

Lennon: “dream” verse 4

Description

Timing

Effect

5 × 2 mm. (4/4); 10 mm. total 3 × 2 mm. + 3 mm. (all 4/4); 9 mm. total 3 × 2 mm. + 3 mm. (4/4) + 2 beats; 9.5 mm. total

0:12–­0:43

5 phrases as model

0:43–­1:11

4 phrases; number of phrases truncated from 5; section truncated 5 phrases; last phrase overlaps with next section; section truncated

5 mm. + 5 mm. + 5 mm. + 4 mm. (4/4, double tempo)

2:20–­2:49

5-­measure phrases as normative; final 4-­measure phrase as truncated

5 mm. + 5 mm. (4/4, original tempo) 3 × 2 mm. + 3 mm. (4/4) + 2 beats; 9.5 mm. total

2:49–­3:18

5-­measure phrases as normative 5 phrases; last phrase overlaps with next section; section truncated

1:11–­1:40

3:18–­3:46

Note: mm. = measures.

passage depicting this new state (beginning at 2:48). To set the shifting motion, the final McCartney phrase cuts off one measure early, making for a four-­bar phrase to end the section. This moment clinches how “five” has become normative in “Day,” as it’s the five-­bar phrases that have quickly come to sound normal, to set the normality of McCartney’s morning routine, while the four-­bar phrase at the end is the one that sounds strange, appropriately setting how the “smoke” leads to a “dream.” The dream passage reverts to the slower tempo of Lennon’s verses, and the section is characterized by Lennon’s wordless vocalizing and increasing orchestral accompaniment. At this tempo “fives” continue, with two five-­bar phrases comprising the dream. The orchestra lands us squarely back for a fourth and final Lennon verse (beginning at 3:18). This verse also leads to the line “I’d love to turn you on,” and an elision with a second full-­blown orchestral crescendo. This time the climax on E is allowed to ring unencumbered for the full twenty-­fourth measure of the passage (4:19–­4:20), and the next downbeat rains down the famous denouement, an unbelievably thick E chord played by multiple pianos, and the final sonority fades over an extended period of time, a full forty-­five seconds.

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That E chord is so conclusive that its sound dictated the placement of “Day” as the last track on the album. Even though the song was written and recorded rather early in the Sgt. Pepper sessions, and even though when it was recorded the entire “Sgt. Pepper” framing conceit was not yet conceived, “nothing could possibly follow” such an ending and thus, for “purely pragmatic” reasons, the track was designated to become the finale.117 This makes it all the more striking that the function of “Day” as a destabilizing conclusion is matched with sonic gestures beyond its own final chord. Nothing can possibly follow, so it seems, and yet that is precisely and paradoxically why more sounds do indeed follow. Given that the chord is allowed to fade for three-­quarters of a minute, one might expect that the sound would decay naturally into nothingness. But little about the sound is natural: the long fade was created, in part, through overdubs and adjustments of volume at the mixing board,118 and the last move, to total silence (5:05), is done artificially as well, with the faders on the mixing board brought to zero instead of letting the piano sounds run out.119 That quick shift to a total absence of sound has the uncanny effect of being a loud silence: the natural fade is abandoned, and suddenly there’s nothing. Then even that stillness is broken. First (5:06) comes perhaps a literal “loud silence,” as, at Lennon’s request, a fifteen-­kilohertz pitch is inserted—­a tone near the upper limits of human ability to hear (though, as the story goes, dogs in the vicinity would be given a jolt).120 And then, for the clinching destabilizing gesture, a short audio collage of voices full of nonsense and backward recordings was placed into the “run-­out groove” or “play-­out groove,” the final band in the vinyl up against the center sticker. Particularly for teens at this time, who were more likely to have a less fancy mono record player without an automatic return feature, the needle would stay in the run-­out groove until the listener physically walked over to the player and lifted the stylus manually. Many listeners thus would have been treated to definitive broken closure after perhaps the most conclusive gesture in all of rock music, a purposefully strange and annoying intrusion playing endlessly until it was made to stop.121 This is the way Sgt. Pepper actually comes to a close, with comforting fictions replaced by a shock, and then an extended series of them, until the shocks finally run together in an endless loop, a loop that only stops when we make it stop by lifting the needle ourselves.

*

By undoing the conventional values attached to the masterpiece, we can revel in its diversity rather than look for semantic ways out through intimations

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of unity or unifying syntheses. We can see the diversity in these works as a source of strength rather than as a path to failure that needs to be explained away. But instead of simply replacing a beautifying strategy with a sublimating one, which can be seen as its own sort of attempt at unity, the entire dialectic can be applied to the single work as a main source of the work’s ability to move us. In Beethoven’s Ninth and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, the diversity of the Other that marks the works’ sublimity is not only stylistic but also structural. At first these works hint at the possibility of beautifying synthesis by initially containing their diversities within a coherent frame. But, most essentially, their structures then dramatize sublimity as their finales function outside those frames, outside the possibilities of formal and stylistic coherence. The desire to make coherent sense out of Sgt. Pepper, or out of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, especially their unsettling finales, is perfectly understandable and is grounded in the model of most reception until that from the recent past. If these are definitive masterpieces, as our intuitions—­and our institutions—­have told us, generation after generation, then we want to feel the supreme interconnectedness of the music. We want the music to be perfectly unified, an ideal synthesis of all its parts, a satisfyingly complete whole we can call, unproblematically, a work. We often call this music sublime to imply its greatness, yet original meanings of the sublime encompassed notions of the terrifying, and those strands of significance remain fully intertwined with our experience of the music as questioning, or even beyond, coherence. In chemistry, sublimation is the process by which heating a substance takes it out of its solid state not to a liquid but, rather, straight to an intangible vapor, each molecule spreading out, loosening its bonds with its brethren. Sublimation turns ice into steam, for instance, skipping entirely the most familiar stage of liquid water. In the face of such musical masterpieces, our understandings and very ways of understanding similarly turn to vapor, with all its terrifying—­and liberating—­potential intact.

3

Deep: Classical Values and Musical Color in Mahler’s Symphonies

The symphonies of Austrian composer Gustav Mahler (1860–­1911) are often noted for the many ways they stray from a model of classical music goodness. For example, they regularly incorporate manifold references to various popular musics of his day, violating the very high/low distinctions that were reaching their full regulative force in Mahler’s generation. As Henry-­Louis de La Grange, perhaps Mahler’s most important biographer, characterizes it, “The thematic material of Mahler’s symphonies is certainly heterogeneous, and replete with what seem to be quotations. . . . No one before Mahler had dared to introduce music that was frankly popular, and even plebeian, into the elevated genre of the symphony.  .  .  . Nineteenth-­century symphonists aspired to the universal by means of abstraction, whereby their first movements and finales were expected to preserve both purity of style and unity of inspiration.”1 Mahler did not tend to subsume such stylistic shifts and perceived incompatibilities within a smooth-­sounding surface. Quite the opposite: characteristically, he called attention to the plentiful juxtapositions of musical style, thrusting the very features that would have upset musically conservative critics directly into the foreground. In La Grange’s words, “In countless passages of Mahler’s music the grotesque mingles with the sublime. The contrasts are all the more marked because Mahler presents the popular material . . . in timbres characteristic of village and military bands or ‘spa’ music (whereas ‘nationalist’ composers who adopted folkish elements had carefully eliminated any trace of such uncouthness from their symphonies).”2 Popular musics are not Mahler’s only source material; the symphonies further display numerous intertextual connections to particular classical pieces, including striking earlier works of his own. Listeners often can’t help but be

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reminded of other composers, or other Mahler, in the course of experiencing a Mahler symphony. Indeed, La Grange extensively surveys Mahler’s “music about music,” documenting over sixty examples and proposing a typology of effects, including two cases where Mahler potentially derived material directly from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Given the concern that normally accompanies accusations of such musical hybridity, La Grange notes that Mahler him­ self reported feeling “guilty about the heterogeneity of his objets trouvés.”3 An important aspect of Mahler’s musical style—­one that often signals such an opening beyond a work’s conventional boundaries and, thus, also indicates a lack of conventional musical goodness—­is the prominent role given to instrumental color, or timbre. The kaleidoscopic timbres employed by Mahler throughout his compositions are often among the very first things that strike listeners new to Mahler, and the deeper one delves, the more fascinating his approach to musical color becomes. As one of the most notable conductors of his generation, Mahler developed an uncommonly insider-­based approach to orchestration. He infamously altered scores of past masters to reflect advances in instrument construction and further his own interpretations, most notably as a frequent conductor of Beethoven’s Ninth, and in the case of his own music he consistently changed details, when rehearsing in a particular hall or with a particular orchestra, even after his scores were published.4 Simply put, his symphonies abound with inventive and notable uses of the orchestra. There are textures as delicate and transparent as the multiple-­octave string harmonics and the woodwind motives that open the First Symphony, and others as massive and thick as the tutti late-­Romantic orchestra, organ, and multiple choruses that fill the Eighth. The timbres of solo instruments distinguish other passages, such as the bass’s minor-­key children’s tune in the First Symphony’s funeral march, the trombone and the posthorn in Symphony no. 3, the trumpet call that begins the Fifth Symphony, and the tenor horn in the first movement of the Seventh. Some moments display dense counterpoint stratified with different colors assigned to different layers, abrupt juxtapositions and disjunctions as one family of instruments is replaced by another, or a single melodic line orchestrated with continually changing timbres. It seems almost perverse to a classical music novice that the phenomenon of perceiving and discussing instrumental color—­and not only in Mahler—­is little done, even looked down on. The very experience of classical music for most today is intimately bound up in finding oneself awash in the colors of the orchestra, since those timbres are no longer the everyday sounds of music most people hear. And even in Mahler’s time, recordings were not yet widespread and their technology was limited, such that hearing a full orchestra in a large public space remained a special, often overwhelming, experience.

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But under the conventional values of classical music, as will be explored more fully below through the critical reception to Mahler, timbre was considered something of a worldly necessity needed to bring music to life, but the “real” music, in a metaphysical sense, was in the notes and the formal principles that organized them. These “deeper” aspects of music lay in an uneasy balance with the “surface” phenomenon of musical color. Some went as far as arguing that string quartets or piano sonatas were preferable to symphonies, since timbres would be less mixed in those chamber genres, thus keeping the focus on pitch, where it should be, while orchestral music couldn’t help but attract attention to those sensuous “secondary” parameters.5 Such a view surely had more than a little to do with a cultural elitism that looked down on the sorts of music meant to entice large segments of the middle-­class public needed to fill concert halls. And such a view is also strongly related to the nature of our conventional system of music notation. It’s all too easy to assume that the most important aspects of the music are the ones most accurately captured by the notation, leaving elements not easily expressed through the dots, such as the sound of a trumpet versus the sound of a violin, ostensibly less essential. Collectively, then, Mahler’s symphonies, full of these notable features, seemed so problematic because they were seen to take the focus away from a proper musical experience. References to popular musics would shift listeners out of the “high” frame of mind necessary to appreciate a symphony; juxtapositions of style called musical coherence into question; allusions to other works constructed webs of connections rather than demonstrating originality and musical unity; and pointed uses of timbre engaged the body in the moment rather than the mind in contemplative pursuit of understanding pitch-­based large-­scale musical structure. As La Grange asserts, “If music critics could consign to oblivion music they considered unworthy of survival, Mahler’s music would have been finally forgotten long ago, for the ‘infernal judges’ of his time were almost unanimous in finding him guilty of unforgivable faults. . . . Mahler had simply attempted to ‘produce superficial effects’ with material he had collected from all over the place.”6 Mahler disavowed outright comparisons with Beethoven. A 1906 collection of essays by William Ritter, Études d’art étranger, included one about Mahler’s music, and the author sent a copy of the book to the composer. Mahler seemed flattered, though he admits he couldn’t dig into it too deeply because of his limited French. But “one fact, . . . if I have understood it correctly, does me wrong”: You quote a remark of mine; “Beethoven n’a fait qu’une Neuvième, mes symphonies à moi sont toutes des Neuvièmes” [Beethoven only composed one

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Ninth, all my symphonies are Ninths]. Am I really supposed to have made this remark, which is not only outrageously tasteless, but also contradicts so violently my own feelings? You can rest assured that my spiritual relationship with B. would not have permitted me, even if drunk, to utter such presumptuous rubbish; my pride will be completely satisfied if I am ever looked upon as a legitimate settler in the new territory that B. discovered for us.7

Mahler’s emphatic denial is reasonable enough; the catchy line likely made its way into Ritter’s essay not through direct knowledge of anything Mahler might have said on the topic but, rather, from a Czech critic’s review of a Mahler Fifth performance the previous year.8 More importantly, Mahler would have been acutely aware that such a boast would not have been received warmly by a public for whom Beethoven represented the classical music standard, while Mahler’s compositions struggled for acceptance in his lifetime. But beyond worry at the hit his reputation might suffer, Mahler does indeed express hope that his music might, and even should, be thought of alongside Beethoven’s, the Ninth Symphony in particular. He feels a “spiritual relationship” with the past master, cherishes the thought that his music might be seen as connected to Beethoven’s legacy. In effect, Mahler seems to be saying: “I would never be so presumptuous as to compare myself to Beethoven, but if others think that’s a discussion worth having of course I would be flattered, and you might even find that my music is worthy of the comparison.” In this chapter, I want to take the thought seriously, at least on a heuristic level. Mahler implies that he is indeed attempting to create masterpieces in the same orbit as Beethoven’s, specifically in the “new territory” symbolized by the Ninth Symphony. In an 1897 letter to Arthur Seidl, Mahler discussed his concerns about using voices in the finale of his Second Symphony. For Mahler, at least at this point in his career, “whenever I plan a large musical structure, I always come to a point where I have to resort to ‘the word’ as a vehicle for my musical idea.” In the next sentence, Beethoven is invoked as a justification: “It must have been pretty much the same for Beethoven in his Ninth.” Mahler goes on to discuss the tortuous process by which he searched for the right way to use the choir, and notes that he “hesitate[d] again and again” out of the “fear that it would be taken as a formal imitation of Beethoven.”9 For Mahler, then, while Beethoven was never a source to be copied, he did think of Beethoven’s music as a resource that could and should inform his own music at its innermost levels. We have no way of knowing exactly what Mahler thought of as the “new territory that B. discovered for us,” but given the widespread stylistic choices

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outlined above, I would argue that encompassed in Mahler’s concept is the stylistic and genre-­bending hybridity most easily seen in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony finale. Mahler, of course, does not employ voices in all his symphonies; he used them occasionally as symbols of connections to the Ninth, but they are not the substance of the relationship, not the way in which one might think of Mahler’s symphonies as being “all Ninths.” The heart of the potential connection runs deeper. More generally, and essential to all Mahler’s symphonies, are notions of throwing open the supposedly closed world of the work, questioning the usual sorts of symphonic rhetoric, allowing a hint of the “other” to permeate the work, and placing the conventionally “secondary” aspects of music like orchestral color in a position much more equal with the “primary.” In this view, as implied by the letter to Seidl, Mahler was staking a claim for transforming the individuality of a particular Beethoven masterpiece into an approach for all his composing. Yet this attempt to be seen as a “legitimate settler” in Beethoven’s land instead became grounds for charging Mahler with violating the system of musical values wrapped up in con­ ventional understandings of Beethoven’s music itself. Musical Color and Cultural Tensions at the Turn of the Twentieth Century For Mahler’s contemporary critics, these myriad stylistic features that were thrust into the spotlight time and time again were often serious stumbling blocks. Aspects of music seen as less than “deep”—­particularly orchestral color—­could be utilized in a discourse concerned with cultural issues of the day, placing music in the foreground as both a telling expression of, and a force shaping, that culture. Interpreting highly specific cultural expressions of this distinct time and place as fundamentally linked, and collectively embedded within their wider political and social context, necessarily evokes Carl E. Schorske’s foundational 1980 study of fin de siècle Vienna.10 Over the last generation, however, Schorske’s portrait of the city at the turn of the twentieth century has come to be seen as problematic on a number of grounds. Only shaky evidence supports the thesis that Viennese modernism was a direct reaction to the problematic politics of the time. The resulting art is approached through an underlying “aestheticist hypothesis” that conceives of such work as a practically contextless retreat from society. An aura of exceptionalism pervades, envisioning the period as the end of an epoch. A pessimistic teleological lens seems inevitably to lead to the upheavals and destruction of the world wars, ignoring the often

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optimistic and even utopian thinking also characteristic of the time. Overall, our understanding of both the immediate Viennese context and the relationship between Vienna and other cultural centers of the time is in need of greater nuance.11 My perspective, as in much post-­Schorskian work, strives to further the aspects of his methodology that remain persuasive, in particular the close consideration of various modes of cultural expression as a way to explore a given context. Indeed, Robert Samuels notes that Schorske’s insistence on interdisciplinary investigation represents “a recovery of an aspect of the nineteenth-­ century intellectual climate which had been largely effaced by the specialization and positivism of the mid twentieth century.”12 Rather than Schorske’s notion of modernist withdrawal for the purposes of creating art for art’s sake, my underlying approach is closer to one of “critical modernism,” as Allan Janik terms it, where cultural expressions can be understood as posing “crucial questions about the aims and goals of artistic activity based upon medium-­immanent reflections in their creative work itself.”13 Of the complex constellation of tensions that characterized fin de siècle society, I draw particular attention to three broad areas: fears of the disintegration of order, fears of the feminine, and fears of the outsider. A view of music that focuses on timbre resonates strongly with these themes, refracting in a critical way the societal anxieties that concerned many at the time. d i s i n t e g r at i n g ( m u s i c a l ) o r d e r The era’s visual arts often depicted dark impressions of contemporary life, such as prostitution and alcohol and drug use, and were themselves seen to eschew morals and subvert the established order. Similarly, the portrayal of urban themes resonated with anxieties over the supposedly diseased and isolating mass culture of the city. These views of artworks related closely to the widespread notion that society itself was degenerating toward collapse through decadent excess and indulgence.14 This sense of disintegrating order broadly connected to developments in contemporary literature and literary criticism as well. Fin de siècle authors “liked to play with language. They played with it acoustically so that sometimes the sounds of words would contain more meaning than their denotations.”15 Indeed, contemporary philologists posited that language was essentially sound-­based, referring primarily to itself and not to the “objective” world. And by extension, language was therefore autonomous from civilization and its values. Such a perspective created a sense of linguistic crisis, for language was no longer seen as transparent; meaning had become detached from representation. Anxieties were felt

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at this supposed subversion of literature, a subversion that would “portend little less than cultural degeneration and collapse.”16 Images used by writers of the time largely bear out this view. Describing contemporary literature as decadent and purposefully “shocking,” critic Holbrook Jackson wrote in 1913 that “sentences became more epigrammatic and thoughts more paradoxical. No one could say how the most innocent of sentences might explode in the last word.” Rather than plumbing depths of meaning, this literature was concerned with surface and creating a bewildering array of effects: contemporary author Théophile Gautier described the decadent style as “borrowing from all the technical vocabularies, taking colors from all palettes, notes from all keyboards. . . . [It was] the last effort of language to express everything to the last extremity.”17 Metaphors drawn from the linguistic, the visual, and the timbral could all describe a breakdown of forces that bound traditional society together. This perceived undermining of traditional literary hierarchies is intriguing when considered in light of fin de siècle musical practices, especially the prominent use of timbre. Even the metaphor of “orchestration,” implying skillful control and coming to mean “surreptitious manipulation towards questionable ends,” originated around this time.18 Negative perceptions of orchestration, both in the literal and metaphorical senses, can be seen in the controversy that led to Mahler’s 1901 resignation as conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic. Both conservative critics and members of the orchestra reacted adversely to Mahler’s rescoring of Beethoven symphonies. Mahler justified his changes for practical reasons: the technical development of numerous instruments through the century and the use of increasingly large concert halls that blurred timbral definition necessitated changes in texture and balance. But his critics saw Mahler’s versions as emphasizing individual details of orchestration to such an extent that the larger picture became fragmented. Mahler had manipulated the essence of Beethoven’s music through devious control.19 As K. M. Knittel points out, the philharmonic had in fact performed the Ninth on numerous previous occasions under various conductors with alterations to the orchestration, largely traceable back to suggestions made by Richard Wagner. In the larger context of Mahler’s Viennese reception, “what underlies the critics’ complaints about Mahler is a fear that this corrupted Ninth may ‘pass’ or be mistaken for Beethoven’s real masterpiece.”20 Composers’ special attention to color resulted in music that was seen as decadent, “focus[ing] on momentary effect and detail at the expense of a unified whole, on sensual surface rather than on logical structure, and on intense emotion and sensation instead of spiritual transcendence.”21 Such a mode of reception, on its face, threatened musical order as conventionally defined. The

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“essence” of music would be stood on its head, and listeners would be left floating (or drowning) without moorings, without a way of making sense out of what they were hearing. This conservative critique suggested that, for the first time, there was a radical disjunction between the intellectual conception and the expressive means of art.22 For contemporary critic Max Kalbeck, for example, musical form was often in opposition to color, and in Mahler’s music, there was a palpable fear that timbre would intrude on the “real” music. Playing on the traditional distinction between line and color in the visual arts, “Kalbeck tended to hear music in black and white, to appreciate it in terms of line. Color, while not necessarily a bad thing and often a good one, was incidental to this process, whereas color without respect for line was a distraction.”23 Thus, to pay attention to orchestral color would detract from a “deep” understanding of music; a work that encouraged the listener to hear in this way was dangerous to conventional conceptions of musical meaning. In Leon Botstein’s portrait of changing audiences in the late nineteenth century, an educated listener no longer was expected to be a competent musician him-­or herself but, instead, simply was supposed to be able to follow a program note, to attend to the physical properties of the music, to “distinguish marked changes in sound (instrumentation, for instance).” A pointed conservative critique responded to this “transformation of musical literacy” and used the discourse of cultural disintegration to make its points. There was a perceived “loss of musical skills” and a “debased standard of musical education.” Composers supposedly had to “pander to an audience whose basic musical literacy had been corrupted.” Musical taste had become “philistine,” and the audience was only interested in the “facade, the surface” of improving their social status, and not the “universal truths” making up the deep essence of the music.24 The overall thrust of these constructions is clear: there is such a thing as good music, and it is defined in relation to a negative image that threatens its existence. Further, that image is constructed through the language of “debasement,” of “corruption”; in short, from discourse surrounding wider cultural fears at the time. Outside elements have attempted to infiltrate and degenerate music but are eventually seen for the falseness, the surface-­ness, that they are. f e a r s o f t h e ( m u s i c a l ly ) f e m i n i n e One of the most characteristic aspects of fin de siècle society, then, was a perception of unstable authority. Authority was not a neutral term, however; in this context, it was coded as masculine. The widespread redistribution of gender roles at the turn of the century was seen to undermine male authority; along with issues of nationalism, assimilation, and anti-­Semitism (explored

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below), it resulted in a “crisis of identity.”25 The international New Woman movement threw definitions of masculinity, femininity, and traditional gender roles into a state of flux. “Gender was arguably the most destabilizing category” of fin de siècle cultural politics, and as such was threatening to a hegemonic society grounded in supposed constants and timeless truths.26 There was a concomitant rise in both feminist movements and antifeminist reactions, which culminated “with the view that woman was primarily man’s enemy.”27 On the one hand, women were defining their own identities and constructing their own institutions in the realms of politics, philosophy, and literature.28 On the other, women were attacked as both too natural (their sexual allure could lead men toward a primitive state that would negate civilization and culture) and too artificial (they would renounce their “natural” roles as wives, mothers, and nurturers).29 As Elaine Showalter states, “What was most alarming to the fin de siècle was that sexuality and sex roles might no longer be contained within the neat and permanent borderlines of gender categories.” In the eyes of the conservative antifeminists, the breaking down of mores that dictated sexual behavior and gendered identities was an important sign of societal degeneration; if these transgressions could be reined in, apocalypse might be averted.30 Such images of the powerful female and her changing roles in society gave rise to a tendency in literature and art to construct the female as transformative—­as capable of affecting transformations of both their physical selves and the bodies with which they came into contact. The women in George du Maurier’s Trilby, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Sigmund Freud’s short story–­ like Studies on Hysteria, for example, can be seen as exhibiting a “capacity for amazing and empowering transformations.”31 Most readings of contemporary female transformations argue that the feminine was treated as transgressive, as a degenerate factor contributing to the downfall of civilization. Late-­ century neo-­Gothic literature, for example, was often filled with images of violence, repulsion, and ruination of the body. “Normative sexuality” could be defined not only by what it was but also by what it wasn’t, leading to a genre that itemized various sorts of corporeal “perversions.”32 Kelly Hurley describes the “thing-­ness” of the female body, always metamorphosing from abomination to abomination, never able to escape or transcend the physical self, and constantly determined by it: “The female body . . . was intrinsically pathological, and the subject inhabiting that body was erratic and unstable, its fluctuability and incompleteness a function of the not-­quite-­human body. As well—­this is perhaps the more important point in reference to the fin de siècle Gothic—­the disorders of the female body were inextricably linked to the female reproductive system, so that female sexuality emerged as both causal

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and symptomatic.” These fictions played out the anxieties over women’s new roles in society by constructing female bodies that were “metamorphic and undifferentiated. . . . Nothing is left but Things: forms rent from within by their own heterogeneity, and always in the process of becoming-­Other.”33 The art of the period, too, presented fantastic images of ever-­changing evil females, images related to the antifeminist backlash. With the advent and wide practice of photographing paintings, this misogynistic iconography spread across national and class boundaries. Images of the period often used a metamorphosed female to engage the concept of the masculinized woman: female warriors were shown with manly bodies and were marked as degenerate, grotesque, bestial figures. Other thematic images included women as vines or snakes, or with vine-­like or serpentine hair, clinging to and smothering men, and women as vampires, metamorphosing from creature to creature, sexual beasts sucking the life out of their partners.34 Music was no exception to the numerous areas of culture that reflected anxieties over gender roles and sexuality. Conservative critics expressed tensions centered on the extent to which they found themselves responding in a physical way to this music. Because the symphony was considered a stronghold of “absolute” music, a sense of physical desires within a symphony represented an especially problematic phenomenon; in Karen Painter’s words, “Intimations that the sensations and desires elicited by music bordered on the sexual were perhaps the most damning criticism of a symphony.”35 From this perspective, the more sensuous a piece of music sounded, the less deeply musical it would seem. Most often, the source of these denigrated physical responses was considered to be in the physical properties of the sounds themselves—­in timbre. Critics used the value-­laden language of gender to characterize a mind/ body split in their reception of music in general and of Mahler’s instrumental symphonies in particular. As Painter puts it, “Given the emphatic separation of eroticism and music, Mahler’s detractors could use erotic metaphors to suggest the unmusicality of his symphonic experiments. Cast as cosmetics, clothing, or jewelry, the outward appeal of Klang [sound] became antithetical to the ideal of inward, spiritual beauty through thematic invention.” In this formulation, the male is represented by the inner essence of music, the source of true beauty; this image is constructed against an antithetical image of the female as an outer dressing-­up, a surface phenomenon that hides the inner self. Music that emphasized these physical, “feminine” aspects therefore demanded a corporeal response from listeners and diverted attention from the intellectual, “male” parameters of pitch and form. More insidiously, even an intellectually minded listener could not fight these reactions, as this

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music was said to degenerate the listening experience and shut down one’s brain: “Without a tradition for understanding timbre, even musically trained listeners regressed and, in a newly passive position, could respond only phys­ ically—­driving [critics] to ecstatic exasperation.”36 fears of the (musical) outsider A related aspect of the perceived fin de siècle crisis concerned the dualistic conception of identity, where one is considered either part of a group, associated with the “self,” or an outsider, an “other.” In Viennese politics, for example, issues of national identity were highly charged; the dialectic of “insider” and “outsider,” often concerning the status of Jews, informed the debate.37 Karl Lueger, mayor of Vienna, and his Christian Social Party took power over the Liberal Party and used anti-­Semitism as a tool to gain political success: “Under Lueger, anti-­Semitism took root in political parties, propaganda societies, and newspapers, becoming an institution in its own right.”38 Lueger and his supporters used ideological interpretations of artworks to further his political goals. Coded references to supposed Jewish cultural dominance motivated large segments of the public to oppose the high culture of the Liberals as cosmopolitan, “modern,” and incomprehensible to “the people.”39 The attempt to create a sense of danger and crisis stemming from minority groups was by no means a solely Viennese phenomenon; the discourse of racially based “social pathology” and degeneration was widespread throughout Europe.40 Anxiety about the Other had long been present in society, but in this period, the newly powerful, supposedly objective sciences demonstrated “proof ” of national and racial differences, as well as empirical evidence implying differential valuing of these groups.41 Darwinian evolutionary theory was widely applied and was interpreted as suggesting that anything not contributing to society’s evolution would instead contribute to its degeneration. Often, fin de siècle scientific discourse associated diseases and perceived physical differences with racial categories; members of these groups were therefore associated with degenerative forces perceived to be degrading and destroying society. One such group was the Jews: “The category of ‘Jewish diseases’ was employed to create the image of the Jew as an infected and therefore potentially infecting member of the body politic.”42 “Jewishness” in this context was defined as a racial and not only a religious category. Jews were assumed to have a different physiology from the rest of society, plain for all to see; hence, religious conversions—­like the one Mahler undertook—­were complicated phenomena, for a change of religion was largely seen as a surface move having little effect on the underlying pathology below.43

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As in the case of the other anxieties outlined above, tensions and fears of the Other can be traced in the period’s literature. The perceived challenges and threats to the natural and social order were “a heuristic fiction which had a profound impact on literary fictions.”44 Stoker’s Dracula can be read as an outsider embodying sexualized degeneration that threatened to infect the European, urban populace; Kipling’s India and Conrad’s Africa can be read as complex Others that function both as sources of pleasure for the civilized European and as deviant places to be demonized in order to protect that same civilization.45 In H. G. Wells’s apocalyptic The Time Machine and The Island of Dr. Moreau, barbaric acts imply “a yearning for escape from a confining society . . . [to a place] where men can be freed from the constraints of Victorian morality.” The protagonists “return to see the nightmares of their voyage reflected in the London streets, . . . the world elsewhere [a] nightmare projection of the domestic world.”46 Thus, in these works, the Other is not simply an external foil but, rather, a construction that reflects anxieties about a supposedly threatened purity of the self. The narratives do not explore the different group or culture so much as they construct a typology of difference to help define the dominant one. This binary opposition resonated in musical discourse as well. There were widespread anxieties over the perceived presence of an Other invading and degrading “pure” music, preventing the natural evolution of musical styles and techniques, and spurring on a process of degeneration. Interestingly, such constructions in musical discourse were complex and contradictory; similar arguments could be used by mutually exclusive, opposing sides. In the widely discussed Wagner-­Brahms polemics, for example, each group appealed to the notion of Germanness and argued that the other’s music was Other. The Brahms camp constructed Wagner and his direct disciples as enemies of pure German music.47 But the conventional view that Brahms’s most characteristic work was in chamber genres or in a chamber-­like style was a loaded one as well: chamber music was seen as rational, logical, intellectual, and elite and was therefore associated with the embattled Liberals, leading to notions that Brahms’s music was incapable of emotion, artificial, and “Jewish.”48 Here, in contrast to the threat of exotic, sensuous sound on “pure” musical logic, the notion of musical logic itself could be constructed as Other, as a threat to music that would be deeply felt by the populace, exemplified in narrative symphonic poems and Wagnerian music drama. As explored above, it was believed that the outsider could be recognized through physical marks and corporeal signs of difference. Similarly, in music, the Other could be marked through physicality of performance, an important facet of the early reception of Mahler. As Knittel has shown in her study of

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images depicting Mahler’s conducting, the standard portrait was a caricature of energetic nervousness that was called “hypermodern” and was rife with implicit references to Jewish corporeal difference; further, prose accounts of Mahler’s conducting often focused on Mahler’s body and not his musical interpretation.49 Alternative, orderly, and less demonstrative images and crit­ ical accounts from throughout Mahler’s conducting career belie this image; Knittel concludes that Mahler was therefore seen not as he was but through Viennese anti-­Semitic lenses.50 In addition to the perceived signs of physical degeneration in Mahler’s body, physical marks of the Other could be interpreted as the physical properties of sound in Mahler’s music, as timbre. Mahler’s critics were disturbed by the sensuous power of his music and suggested that “ascribing [a po­s­ itive] response” would be the result of “cultural or ethnic inferiority.” For Robert Hirschfeld, a critic of the time, enthusiastic audiences for Mahler were otherized: instead of watching the performance per se, he would watch the audience, from which he implicitly separated himself, for it was made up of “explosive forces” in society. Evoking the conventional image of Mahler the conductor, Mahler’s music, with its constantly changing and pronounced discontinuities of timbre, was considered “restless” and described as “artifi­ cial, rootless, and alienated from nature.”51 Thus, a pronounced use of the orchestral palette was seen against the parameters of good music, and to help construct such a view, timbre itself was explained with the otherizing language of anti-­Semitism. Moving Musical Color to the Center Marginalizing musical color has also largely characterized scholarly reception of Mahler over much of the century since the composer’s death, though perhaps in a fundamentally different way. While direct considerations of timbre in Mahler’s time, as seen above, tended to lead toward damning imagery grounded in culture, traditional musicological discourse has resisted a societally based conception of music-­historical change. The narrative has been largely internalist, flowing from the assumption of musical autonomy, of “absolute” music.52 But systematically ignoring timbre, while perhaps initially seeming to help redeem Mahler’s music by insulating it from problematic contemporary cultural perspectives, unwittingly resulted in limiting understandings of the music in a significant way. The story of fin de siècle music as a move from nineteenth-­to twentieth-­ century musical styles told in Jim Samson’s 1977 Music in Transition, for example, is essentially a pitch-­based evolution from tonality to atonality. A “straining

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towards atonality” results from the “relaxation of traditional tonal functions” that would eventually “culminate in their disintegration.”53 A three-­stage linear constraint-­to-­freedom narrative is constructed, from the initial state of tonality, through “paths to atonality,” and ultimately arriving at the seemingly inevitable rise of atonality itself. There is a sense of crisis in the tale, but in a profound difference from cultural studies, the crisis is internally based, characterized by a straining and disintegrating of pitch relations—­the parameter of music with the greatest claims to autonomy—­rather than externally based, as in the perception of threats coming from outside the music as strictly defined. The core issue is that the foundational analytical literature on Mahler focuses on pitch, leading to narrow conceptions of musical syntax, “architectural” conceptions of formal structure, and “organic” conceptions of thematic material, all of which necessarily exclude other parameters from primary importance. This conventional focus does not represent any sort of “truth” but, rather, a set of values that supposedly should be found in “good” music. As Janet M. Levy argues with regard to thematic material, “Once the organic metaphor is invoked,” a metaphor that implies that like a living organism, every idea in a piece can be related back to a small stock of musical DNA laid out near the piece’s beginning, “the vocabulary of much of the rest of an analysis is given. The initial value judgment—­say, that the work is good—­is made and once any of the metaphors of organicism is used all the rest are automatically legitimate.”54 It’s not that these sorts of analyses have nothing to offer our understanding of Mahler’s music; indeed, they often contribute fundamental observations and conclusions. Rather, an overreliance on such perspectives led scholars to ignore other aspects of the music that might not have fit their inherited models, with the effect that our ears and minds may have become somewhat closed to other potentially fruitful approaches to Mahler’s music. Over the last generation these traditional methodologies indeed have been strongly criticized, giving way to calls for detailed explorations of wider cultural contexts as a way of grounding interpretations of music. The particular realm of Mahler scholarship has done much to recapture the contextual resonances of the composer’s early reception, without being beholden to the negative judgments that often accompanied it. Whereas the reigning perspectives when it comes to “the music itself ” assert the “hermetically sealed” nature of the work, readings of fin de siècle culture, as outlined above, highlight the perception of a breakdown of order under the threat of outside intrusions. The question then becomes: within the substance of the music, can any aspects be seen analogically as “outside” elements? Conventionally, non-­pitch parameters are usually seen in this way, as “secondary” materials that merely embellish the “real” music. By ignoring the roles these musical “outsiders” play, musicological

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narratives have remained largely blind to the perspectives of fin de siècle cultural studies. In James L. Zychowicz’s words, “Investigations of Mahler’s music [have] yet to benefit fully from approaches that take into consideration the so-­called secondary parameters [like timbre]. . . . While conventional analysis does not easily allow for analysis based on these elements, it is difficult to consider Mahler’s structures without reference to them.”55 By placing musical color front and center in our considerations of Mahler, or, perhaps better stated, by focusing on the ways musical color interacts with more conventional and traditional aspects of the music, we can highlight the fundamental hybridity present in Mahler’s music in a way rich with metaphorical connections to the cultural context in which the works were created and first functioned. We can see timbre as a generating force at the deepest levels, while still asserting that the music is worthy of close attention. And we can account for Mahler’s music in a way that, I would assert, captures more closely our visceral engagement with it. In the large, such an approach would prove fruitful for many repertories both within and outside of classical music. Studies of popular music, perhaps not surprisingly, regularly recognize the importance of tone color as foundational, both in terms of particular instruments employed and the detailed aspects of a recording’s production. Mahler’s symphonies are a particularly apt case study to develop such a perspective within classical music, given that his music both regularly incorporates pronounced and marked timbres and evokes and engages with traditional formal types. But putting such an approach into practice is not necessarily simply a matter of choosing to do so. Timbre is an especially difficult parameter to investigate; it is not obviously “analysis ready.” We can discriminate between individual instrumental colors, but we don’t think of different timbres on a single scale, as we do with dynamics (volume) or register (the highness or lowness of a given pitch). The notion of a given instrument’s timbre as a single gestalt is itself largely a construction, for the sound of an instrument actually consists of numerous components and changes significantly from note to note, dynamic to dynamic, articulation to articulation. We can use spectrographic images of instruments or combinations of instruments to visualize the physical components of timbre, but there remains an important gap between those representations and listeners’ experience of timbre, which has been conditioned by a lifetime of listening to music. We have developed semiotic associations between tone colors and various musical and nonmusical meanings; timbre has psychological and cultural components as well as physical ones.56 Most importantly, as explored above, we have not addressed these problems because timbre conventionally is considered a “secondary” characteristic, mere embellishment

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of “primary” parameters like pitch-­based melody and harmony. From this perspective, music may be garnished and spiced with opulent instrumental colors; while such things may appeal to the uninitiated gourmand, true nourishment comes from understanding the deep essence that lies beneath. Treating color as marginal is by no means relegated to the confines of music; the history of Western visual art is so replete with exclusionary discourse on color that David Batchelor has termed this phenomenon “chromophobia.”57 Writers as far back as Plato have considered design and form the “substance” and have attacked color as superficial, pushing it into the background. The marginalization of color is so strong, in fact, the rhetoric against it so forceful, that recent historians of art have explored the reasons for the degree of anxiety surrounding it.58 John Gage suggests two causes, both of which resonate with related issues surrounding musical color. First, language seems incapable of defining and describing color in any compelling way. And second, Western culture historically finds “repositories of color” in areas that are dangerous to strict rationality and in Others, such as the oriental, the feminine, the primitive, the infantile, the vulgar, the queer, and the pathological.59 No wonder that Jacqueline Lichtenstein, in her account of the late seventeenth-­century French colorists’ revolt against more abstract and highly valued drawing, asserts that “philosophical thought has always burned itself in the fire of color.”60 Timbre is marginalized even in the case of in-­depth work on “secondary parameters” in Mahler, such as Robert G. Hopkins’s study of their role in creating a sense of closure.61 Hopkins considers timbre “the least influential secondary parameter.” But timbre is left out of his model not because it demonstrably contributes little but because it is not clear how to make timbre fit. For every other secondary parameter, Hopkins posits a linear scale from “intensification” to “abatement”; as an element moves in an abating direction, it contributes to closure. Thus, for example, register intensifies as it rises and abates as it sinks; dynamics can abate by progressively lowering; a texture can abate as its number of components decreases. For timbre, though, there is no analogous approach: “It is unclear how timbres might be ordered along a single dimension. . . . Somehow the mind perceives processes and patterns in harmonies, pitches, dynamics, and durations rather easily, but not in timbres.”62 Thus, when confronted with the inherent complexities of analyzing timbre, Hopkins chooses to exclude it. But the notion of a one-­dimensional scale does not get at the heart of the matter. The issue is not how timbre can be measured abstractly, but how timbre is used to create certain effects. In particular, some of the most fascinating cases are those where Mahler uses the orchestra in telling ways during situations of structural importance. The task becomes one of interpreting how

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these timbral effects influence our perceptions of structure in these passages. Timbre is neither “primary” nor “secondary.” Instead, as I suggest through two potential strategies below, timbre is an aspect to be explored, ranging from working with to working against other parameters. By considering directly the ways orchestral sound may affect the conception, perception, and interpretation of music, this approach potentially intersects with the interdisciplinary field of “sound studies,” which claims a place for the acoustic aspects of cultural expression and reception, distinct from more familiar methodologies surrounding visual phenomena, including the musical score.63 Seeking such common ground between sound studies and musicology for exploring timbre in Mahler is perhaps counterintuitive, though, since sound studies often represents a “radical decentering of music,” as it tends to contemplate nonmusical sonic environments, as well as recording and playback technologies, while fields of music scholarship “have continued to focus in recent decades primarily on . . . score-­based lineages,” which can marginalize timbre.64 But attending to the interactions between timbre and musical structure, rather than placing them in binary opposition, helps explore the dialectic between the notion of music as a fixed object, symbolically represented by the score, and the experience of music in space and time, context and individual psychology. While the physical score is, by nature, static, it can also be conceived as an invitation for a group of people to make and perceive sound together by following a particular—­if ambiguous and mutable—­set of instructions. The heuristic approaches outlined below attempt to carve out such a space. I explore the roles orchestral colors play in passages of cadential closure and thematic return, not only as essential sites of structural importance but also as performative gestures that transform musical ideas across time and that place individual voices in motion within the larger collective. While the field of sound studies helps to highlight that music is always mediated by technologies of producing sound, environments within which sound is heard, and bodies receiving and perceiving sound, those insights can be employed in the service of contemplating music closely. And such multiplicities construct broad metaphorical connections to the cultural context in which this music was written and first heard. Color at Cadences In a number of characteristic passages, Mahler uses elements of a discontinuous orchestration at moments of cadence, precisely when expectations for a continuous, unproblematic conclusion are strongest.65 In a conventional

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cadence—­one of the most fundamental concepts in understanding tonal mu­ sic—­the harmony moves from the dominant chord to the tonic chord, from V to I. Moments like these are essential; they provide the signposts of organization on a micro level, telling listeners that one thought is coming to an end and signaling that a new one is about to begin. Perceiving cadences helps us to construct our sense of movement from phrase to phrase, from section to section; nothing else in tonal music provides for such a convincing feeling of closure. Conventionally, then, we would expect the instrumentation during such a moment to remain continuous. New instruments might be used for the next thought, but the moment of concluding the current thought demands the satisfying rhetoric of having the same instruments complete the clinching move from the heightened energy of the dominant to the release of the tonic. And indeed, most composers orchestrate in this way all the time, even late nineteenth-­century masters so adept at using the palette of orchestral colors. This is not to assert that similar examples cannot be found in the work of other composers. A striking instance occurs at the final cadence in the funeral-­march second movement of Beethoven’s Third Symphony, for example, where all the instruments sounding the dominant drop out at the moment of resolution, leaving a lone timpani stroke to imply the tonic. But such a special effect is used tellingly by Mahler as something of a fairly regular technique across his symphonies. So for Mahler, on notable occasions, to undercut cadential motion in the notes by shifting orchestration in the midst of the formula throws into relief the necessity for other sorts of understandings and narratives at play. Focusing solely on pitch simply wouldn’t allow such observations to be made; Mahler’s notes, in the abstract sense of pitch-­only entities, tend to do what they’re supposed to do at these times. Only by attending to the interaction between pitch and timbre is light shed on such crux points for our hearing of this music. As recounted by Natalie Bauer-­Lechner in her memoir of her relationship with the composer, Mahler was quite conscious of subtly disconcerting effects like these: “You wouldn’t believe how anxiously and carefully I proceed in my compositions. In fact, I have worked out quite a new orchestral technique—­the result of my long experience. For instance, when the musical meaning requires two consecutive notes to be played disconnectedly, I don’t leave this up to the common sense of the players. Instead, I might divide the passage between the first and second violins, rather than leave it entirely to the firsts or seconds.”66 The finale of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony (1908–­9), his last completed work, is a locus of dialectical tensions. On the one hand, there is only a single tonal center governing the entire movement: within the ABABA formal outline, the

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A sections are organized around D-­flat major, the B sections around C-­sharp minor, the enharmonically equivalent parallel. And the thematic material in this movement, as well, is replete with connections to other movements of the symphony and with intertextual references to earlier Mahler symphonies and other composers.67 Yet contrasts and discontinuities are also essential aspects of the movement’s fabric. The B material is strikingly different in character from that of the A sections, an emotional void as compared to the opening para­ graph’s luxuriously deep expression. And the D-­flat tonality itself is no mere unifying factor, for the symphony begins a semitone higher, violating an essential principle of conventional tonal structures.68 The irreconcilable complexities of this movement go beyond such large levels of organization; they are also an essential part of a number of provocative cadential arrivals—­they are the lifeblood of this agonizing movement. By exploring orchestral discontinuities at cadences in the finale of the Ninth, we can understand Mahler’s musical style more deeply. The cadences’ orchestration neither solely buttresses nor solely undercuts the tonal syntax; the dialectic is paramount. As is characteristic of Mahler’s last pieces, the tensions are left unresolved. At a number of important cadences in this movement, the orchestra tends to drop out entirely, leaving only the melody, and often an altered melody. The resolving tonic harmony is not explicitly stated; we can only infer harmonic resolution. The abandonment of the resolution through the withdrawal of timbral support is significant; our mental ears may supply the missing harmony, but we do not lose the effect of the gesture, as the rhetorical expectations created by the tonal syntax are undermined. For example, consider the first structural cadence of the movement (see example 3.1). The harmonic course of this opening period is tortuous, at points even seeming to call into question the idea that the passage is continuously within D-­flat major. As Julian Johnson describes it, the passage is “presented as a classical eight-­bar melodic unit. . . . But, at the same time, this formal unit threatens to burst apart at the seams.”69 By measure 10, though, authentic cadential resolution seems imminent. The bass instruments have reached scale degree five, playing their role in creating the dominant harmony that should lead to the tonic. The melody in the first violins descends to scale degree two on the final eighth note, implying melodic resolution to the tonic in measure 11. The entire string choir is forte as the dominant seventh harmony is played, utilizing the “secondary parameter” of dynamics to increase tension and expectations of tonic arrival in measure 11. As measure 11 is reached, however, all the accompanying instruments instantaneously drop out, having never sounded the resolving harmony. It is a devastating silence, undermining the sense of

Sheinbaum, example 3.1, 1

Example 3.1 chapter three Mahler, Symphony no. 9/iv, mm. 1-12

106

≤ G-Saite b œ œ ∫œ œ nœ œ & b b b b 44 Œ >> >> œ. f lang gezogen ≤ b œ œ ∫œ œ nœ œ & b b b b 44 Œ œ . G-Saite> > > > f lang gezogen ∑ B b b b b b 44

≤ großer Ton ≥ ≤ bú œ ∫œ œ bœ j > > > œ œ. œœ. nœ dim. p molto espress. ≤ ≤ b ≥ú œ ∫ œ œ b œ œ œ . œ œ . n œj >> > dim. p molto espress. œ œ œ bœ ∑ p molto espress. œ. œ bœ œ. œ ∑ J p molto espress. ∑ œ œ nœ Nœ pmolto espress. ∑ œ œ nœ Nœ p molto espress.

Sehr langsam und noch zurückhaltend

Violin I

Violin II

Viola

Cello

Double Bass

? bb bbb ? bb b bb

4 4 44

∑ ∑

? b b b 44 bb



≥ ≤ b & b bbb œ œ n œ œ ú

6

Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vc.

D.B.

b & b bbb ú B bbbbb ú ? bb b ú bb

? bb b Πbb

bb &bbb w b p subito & b bbb B bbbbb

11

Vln. I Vln. II Vla. Vc. D.B.

œ œ œ nœ œ >> > > >> > > œ œ œ nœ œ ú

? bb b œ œ œ œ œ . nœ bb œ œnœœ œ ú ? bb b bb 11

Bsn.

? bb b bb ? bb b bb

r œ

œ J

> œ œ. œ bœ. j > > nœ f œ . œj œ œ f > j œ œ . œ b> œ. nœ œ J œ f >œ œ > œ bœ > f> œ œ nœ > > n >œ f > œ œ nœ > > n >œ f

a tempo (Molto adagio)

n œn œ n œ n ú nœ > > > > nú nú nú

>œ n >œ > >œ #œ

nú n œ n >œ œ n œ œ > >> nú n œ n>œ œ n œ œ > >>

œ

œœ œ œ

œ

œ

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œ œ. œœ.

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ú

ú

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nú > f j #ú

nœ nœ

f nú f> nú f>

10

r #œ

b œb œb œ n œ œ . j œ >>> >





ú >

bú bú

bú > bú >

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œ >>œ n>œ >œ œ >>œ n >œ >œ

‰ j œ bœ œ ∫ œ b œœ œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ π langsam w morendo ∑ ∑ 1. Solo











œ J

œ bœ ú

#œ œ #œ œ nœ bœ >> > > > > >> # œ# œ œ # œ œ n œ b œ

ú >

j œ

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ú

œ œœœœœ œ œœ ú œ. >œ œ œ œ œ bœ ú œ bœ

r bœ

œ nœ œ œ > > > n >œ > > nœ> > > œ œ nœ œ

stets großer Ton

œ œ œ œ œ



e x a m p l e 3.1. Mahler, Symphony no. 9/iv, measures 1–­12

cadential arrival implied by the tonic note in the first violins. The timbre of the D-­flat pitch in the violins at this spot is itself undermining, as it is played subito piano. All that remains at the downbeat of measure 11 is a ghost of what was expected. Fittingly, the bassoon entrance on the pickup to the third beat of measure 11 anticipates the minor-­mode material from the “vacuum-­like” B section.70

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Perhaps most important, the final structural cadence of the movement, and the symphony as a whole, is also a complex gesture along these lines (see example 3.2). Most performances do not highlight the effect, and indeed the orchestration appears quite continuous at first. Only the strings are present in this passage; a long pickup to measure 160 in the second violins leads to material on the dominant. A full dominant seventh is outlined in all the strings except the basses in measures 162–­63, and the strings continue to sound at the cadential arrival, the downbeat of measure 164. From this point to the conclusion of the symphony, the music will move away from and return to the tonic sonority, but this moment at measure 164 is the final authentic cadence. Although these continuities are important, Mahler includes potentially discontinuous registral shifts and slides in this gesture. Instead of rising a semitone from scale degree seven to eight, the violas drop a major seventh, and land on the tonic after an explicitly notated slide. The upper cellos play an A-­flat on both sides of the cadence, but they leap an octave at the moment of resolution on the downbeat of measure 164. Even more provocative are the two violin parts, whose interactions would not be captured in a conventional analysis of pitch. An A-­flat sounds in the lower register through the dominant, and the same pitch sounds at the resolution. In the higher register, a G-­flat creates the seventh in the dominant sonority, and at the moment of resolution, that pitch is held over as a suspension, resolving downward to the F, scale degree three, on the second beat of measure 164. Ordinarily, one would assign the lower A-­flat to one of the violin parts, and the higher G-­flat (eventually resolving to F) to the other part. Mahler, however, transfers the lower A-­flat from the first violins to the second violins at the moment of resolution, while the higher G-­flat is transferred from the second violins to the first violins. A timbral voice exchange occurs, notwithstanding the fact that this effect is created only with violins. In fact, at the time of the first performance, 1912 in Vienna under Bruno Walter, the effect would have been somewhat pronounced, for the traditional seating used by the orchestra placed first and second violins on opposite sides of the stage.71 Indeed, Mahler calls attention to the exchange. At the juncture between measures 163 and 164, the second violins leap down the seventh from G-­flat to A-­flat. The first violins, the only part without mutes through this passage, slide up the same seventh from A-­flat to the G-­flat. These leaps and slides blur the notated pitches and bar line. Between beat four of measure 163 and beat one of measure 164 is a nether region where the dominant seventh sonority slips out of focus, and tonic resolution slips back into view. Through these timbral processes, the resolution is not direct but made discontinuous in a provocative way, for even continuity of instrumentation does not guarantee

w π

mit Dämpfer

∑ œ ∫œ œ œ nú

∑ Ó

ú π bú

? b b b 44 bb



mit Dämpfer

arco





w

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ú

ú

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w

w

stets ohne Dämpfer

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w

zu 2

ww

w

w

w

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mit inniger

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164

Langsam und ppp bis zum Schluß

j œ œ œ bœ ú b Ó & b b b b 44 Œ ‰ œ œ œ espr. π π mit Dämpfer w ú ∫ œ œ ú œ œ ∑ Ó B b b b b b 44 π mit Dämpfer ú nú b b ? Ó B b b b 44 ú ∑ ∑ π espr. mit Dämpfer ú ú œ bœ œ œ œ œ Ó ú ? b b b 44 ∑ bb π espr. mit Dämpfer ú ? b b b 44 ∑ ∑ Ó w bb π

∑ 160

Example 3.2 Mahler, Symphony no. 9/iv, mm.159-166

e x a m p l e 3.2. Mahler, Symphony no. 9/iv, measures 159–­66

Double Bass

Cello

Cello Solo

Viola

Violin II

Violin I

159

b & b b b b 44

Adagissimo

Sheinbaum, example 3.2, 1

w

Ó

Ó

Ó





ú

ú

úú



ú.

ú.

œœ n n úú

ú.





Œ

Œ

bœ nœ

∫œ

ersterbend

œ œ nœ œ œ œ nœ œ ú

Empfindung

ú

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109

the absence of timbral disjunctions. The leaps, slips, and slides are a consciously constructed performative act: attention is called to the orchestration, to the moment of performance, to the event of enactment, in addition to matters of pitch per se. Harmonic resolution here is inarguable, yet, through orchestration, the sense of resolution is made ambiguous. Thus, through the lens of instrumental color, or more properly the interactions between timbre and other parameters, the finale to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony cannot be seen as possessing a final and conclusive resolution. Rather, the effect of the orchestration at cadences invites a reading closer to Vera Micznik’s, in which the final movement “ends in disintegration rather than in a conclusive gesture. . . . [It] asks to be interpreted as a story . . . [because of] the constant denial and disruption in this music of expected order and of processes that are ‘natural’ to music.”72 The end of the symphony seems so thoroughly ambiguous not only because of denials and disruptions to the tonal syntax but also due to the ways the tonal syntax remains operational and “natural” while, at the same time, the instrumental colors also point to the possibility that such syntax is “unnatural,” story-­like, and ultimately a construction. In this reading, such passages in Mahler serve not as a threat to tonality, at least in the conventional sense, but rather as a disquieting commentary on it. The listener is distanced from the cadential action, and the cadence is no longer heard as natural. Ordinarily, cadences are heard as natural because they are so conventional across tonal music, and they are so conventional because they systematically remove all elements that are individually distinctive about the music that precedes them.73 Thus, when Mahler characteristically introduces highly individualized and unstable timbres at these very moments of seemingly natural syntactical importance, he is asking us to perceive the cadence in a somewhat ironic light: as an artificial construction, as the concluding portion of a tonal fiction.74 The conventional syntax of music is not natural, as we tend to be taught; Mahler’s practice instead highlights the fact that cadences are a construction contingent on time and place. Even as passages and entire movements conclude, from a tonal perspective, as we expect, the larger musical fabric seems to imply that this move is not natural but, in­ stead, is willfully constructed in defiance of the numerous other forces that might otherwise tear the music apart. This stylistic feature is, perhaps unexpectedly, quite radical. Through the tonal system’s chief emblem—­the harmonic cadence—­Mahler’s music sees tonality itself as a mere story, a powerful one, but one that falls far short of eter­ nal truth nonetheless. He thereby opens the door to other potential narratives that music might tell. In this way, Mahler’s cadential orchestration resonates with and contributes to the larger fin de siècle sense of disintegrating order and

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chapter three

rules, the widespread cultural debates over the perception that the bonds that held society together were no longer timeless and natural but, instead, were themselves fictional constructs that could be transgressed, and transformed. Transforming Timbres in Mahler’s Symphonic Themes As a second type of example, consider instead larger signposts of perceiving musical structure, the macro level of a work, such as when we hear a distinctive theme return some minutes after a previous statement and thereby link it to earlier soundings of that music. This mode of perception is the hallmark of hearing form in the architectural sense; it’s what allows us to recognize the second A in something we want to call an “ABA structure.” But most music—­ a pop song no less than a classical movement—­does not literally repeat earlier sections later in the piece. Rather, there is usually an inherent dialectic in a mo­ ment like this, between identity—­“ah! The A section has come back!”—­and difference—­“oh! Is this quite the same as what we heard earlier?” Including instrumental color in our considerations often can allow us to bring the dialectic to the fore. We can contemplate the tensions between seemingly stable musical architecture and the fluid musical process we attend to in real time. Mahler in particular tends to employ marked timbral changes from exposition to recapitulatory statements of important themes, changes that interact with other large-­scale aspects of the musical structure, and these transformations of orchestral color may suggest a specific sort of hermeneutic method.75 Mahler’s Sixth Symphony (1903–­4) has been called his “most classical symphony,” the form of the first movement so conventional that it is “hardly overstated” to consider it a textbook sonata-­form construction.76 Indeed, this movement has an exposition consisting of two clearly separated thematic areas, each strongly coded along gendered lines, as was common in the late nineteenth century, a formal repeat of the exposition section, and clear boundaries between sections devoted to exposition, development, and recapitulation.77 But the eventual course of the movement is not so clear-­cut. Through orchestration, we can see a somewhat different scenario, and one that resonates provocatively with culturally aware approaches to understanding and interrogating sonata form, the musical structure par excellence, the formal structure that stands for the great tradition itself, and, accordingly, music’s ability to be “absolute” and closed off from the world. From a timbral and tonal perspective, the first group is quite stable. A “rock-­like tonality” of A minor is established in the introduction and the main theme, which begins at measure 6.78 The foursquare subject is solidly in the violins, fortissimo, although there are some motives elsewhere, as in

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the trombone echo of the theme in measures 10–­12. The second paragraph of the theme group, beginning at measure 25, is even more stable timbrally, as a variation of the main theme is played by the tutti orchestra. The music here can be seen as coded “male,” playing on constructions of the masculine through its military march topics. The first group is often described as a “heroic-­tragic march,” representing an obsessive, energetically obstinate portrait of the symphony’s protagonist.79 After a transition that includes the symphony’s major-­to-­minor motto—­ which itself includes important and underdiscussed timbral components—­the second group, in the submediant key of F major, abruptly enters. Although the second theme is thematically related to the main theme, it is both programmatically and musically coded as “female.” Mahler famously may have thought of this theme as a portrait of his wife Alma, which perhaps suggests that the tempestuous first group can be seen as a self-­portrait.80 The theme plays on constructions of the feminine: it is often described as sentimental, passionate, and intense and is full of rising swells and falling sighs.81 Timbrally, Mahler uses the sounds of the lush late-­Romantic orchestra, doubling the violin melody in the woodwinds and underscoring the theme with figuration and harp arpeggiation (see example 3.3). There are some color shifts here, but they are muted ones that create a blended sound.82 When the theme is restated, beginning at the pickup to measure 99, again the overall effect is a blend of strings and woodwinds. This time, the woodwinds play the theme straight through, with the violas and second violins trading subphrases, creating only the subtlest of color shifts. The relative timbral stability of the exposition stands in stark contrast to the use of orchestral color in the development, where decidedly “weird” and “wrong” timbres abound. As the march topics and tonic A minor of the first theme group return to begin the development at measure 130, orchestral effects help to create the unmistakable sense of unease. Horns break the piano surface with fortissimo stopped tones (m. 131), violins and cellos glissando a ninth downward (mm. 132–­33), and woodwinds and xylophone sink chromatically on parallel tritones while trilling, creating a chilling effect (mm. 134–­ 35). The trilling woodwinds and xylophone continue through the development of the second group material, now buttressed in their effect by more stopped horns, joined by col legno violins, where the players strike the strings with the wood of the bow. The first reference to the “Alma” theme, in measures 185–­86, is at the same pitch level as in the exposition, but transformed timbres help change the mood. What was in upper strings and woodwinds in a high register is now transferred to the bass clarinet, bassoons and contrabassoon, and lower strings. When the tone of the development becomes more subdued, beginning in measure 204, timbral effects once again largely create

Sheinbaum, example 3.3, 1

Example 3.3

Mahler, Symphony no. 6/i, mm.77-80 1.

Flute 2.

3.

Flute 4. 1.

Oboe 2. 3.

& & & &

English Horn

#

## & #

Clarinet in E b

1.

Clarinet in B b 2. 3.

Schwungvoll a2 œ . 4 b 4 S ƒ a2 œ. bœ œ 4 œ b 4 S ƒ 4 b ‰ œ œ 4 f n 44 ‰ Œ ≈ œœœ œ œ ƒ n## œ . 4 ‰ Œ 4 Schalltr. auf ƒ Schalltr. auf # 44 ‰ Œ n ‰ œ œ œ bœ œ

# & #

# & # 44 ‰ Œ

Bass Clarinet

1.

Bassoon 2. 3.

? ?

Contrabassoon

44 ‰ Œ 44 ‰ Œ 4 ‰ Œ 4

Horn in F 1. 3.

&

5. Horn in F 2.

&

44 ‰ Œ

&

44 ‰ Œ

&

44 ‰ Œ

?

44 ‰ Œ

?

44 ‰ Œ

4.

Horn in F 6.

7.

Horn in F 8.

1.

Trombone 2. 3.

Tuba

Timpani

Triangle

Harp

?

ã

44 ‰ Œ

?

44 ‰ Œ

&

Violin II

&

Viola

B

Double Bass

n# b b

77

ƒ

a3

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œ œ œ J œ ‰ œ œ. S

ú

œ

w ƒ

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œ J

> úúú ú œ

f

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b

77

b

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ú

b

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44 ‰ Œ

b

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44 ‰ Œ

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pw Ÿ~~~~~~~ j ‰ Ó œ œ Í ∑ œœ œ

1.

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ú ú

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ú

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ú S

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œ bú ‰ nœ S f œ œ œ ú bú ‰ J ≈ #œ œ S S f S nœ Ó ≈ œ œ œ bœ œ œ Ó ‰ nœ p S r œ œ ≈ œ œ œ œ œ #œ ≈ œ nœ œ #œ œ œ #œ ≈ ‰ Œ ≈ ‰ ≈ œ # œ œ œ # œ œ œ œ R œœ S S œ œ œ œ ‰ œ Ó ‰ œ ‰ œ Ó Ó p S p S p œ nœ nœ œ œ ≈ œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ œ ≈ œ œ nœ ≈ œ nœ #œ œ œ œœ œ œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ #œ œ œ S #œ œ œ œ nœ #œ S S Ó

œ œ a3 œ œ œ œœœ œœ Œ ≈œ ƒ

w p

44 ‰ Œ

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Cello

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p

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p

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S

œ

e x a m p l e 3.3 . Mahler, Symphony no. 6/i, measures 77–­80

œ ú



œ J

œ

œ #œ œ œ œ S œ

p œ nœ p

Œ

Œ

Œ

Œ

œ œ œ

œ bú œ ‰ nœ S œ bú a2 œ œ œ. œ œ œ ú œ ‰ nn œœ œ ‰ J S S S S nœ arco œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ nœ œ œ œ bœ œ œ œ œ nœ œ ≈ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ #œ œ ≈œ #œ œ ≈ œ œ œ œ #œ œ œ #œ ≈ œ œ œ œ nœ œ œ #œ #œ S sempre ƒ S S ƒ S œ ú œ œ arco œ .. œœ œ #ú #ú œ bœ B #œ Œ œœ œ œ R p S S p S ƒ get. pizz. pizz. œ œ arco ú œ œ œ œ ú œ Œ Œ Œ Ó Œ Œ Œ œ œ œ œ œ get. S ƒ ƒ S S œ œ œ œ. J œj

œ œ

œ œ. ‰ J S œ œ. ‰ J S

Œ

œ

n œœ p





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n œœ p



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Ó

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113

the mysterious, unsettling atmosphere. The celesta enters, doubled by violins, tremolo and pianississimo, and cowbells rattle away in the distance. After all of this coloristic instability throughout the long development section, the arrival of the recapitulation feels like a major achievement and is imposed by making the first group even more timbrally stable than when initially presented. The fortissimo tutti orchestra establishes the solidity of the theme, and the landing is clinched with the tonic major for the first four bars (mm. 291–­94), before A minor returns. The next statement of the theme, beginning at measure 309 (and corresponding to the second paragraph of the exposition at m. 25), continues in this direction, with the tutti orchestra adding a forceful sforzando attack to the rising leap of a minor tenth. The major-­ minor mix is also continued here, as the leap from A to C-­natural, implying the key of A minor, is countered in the next bar with a C-­sharp, implying A major instead, during the falling figure. But if the first group recapitulation is strong and secure, the recapitulation of the second group becomes less stable, and even threatening, through its transformative, fractured timbres and tonality (see example 3.4). For the first four bars (mm. 357–­60), the theme is atomized, and only the pickup figure sounds. It is tossed around the orchestra, played in different combinations of contrasting instruments and choirs, and rises by step, outlining no stable area. When the theme finally coalesces and cadences, it is not the tonic that is established at all, as we would expect at this point in the overall formal trajectory, but the subdominant D major (m. 370). The second theme does not burst in, as it did in the exposition but, instead, slides and collapses, eventually drifting to the “wrong” key—­it has been transformed.83 In Robert Samuels’s words, this passage “hardly presents the image of wholeness suggested by the prominence of the adoption of sonata form in the movement.”84 With reference to interpreting sonata form as an Otherizing cultural practice rather than a neutral musical structure, this movement thus presents a case quite different from the norm but no less disquieting. This sort of reading, often discussed in terms of gender difference grounded in descriptions of the form dating back to the mid-­nineteenth century, and most closely associated with the work of Susan McClary, can be summarized as follows: the first theme group, in the stable home tonic, represents the masculine; the second theme group, contrasting in characteristic ways and in a different key, represents the feminine Other, a threat to the masculine and the tonic. These tensions are resolved in the recapitulation as the “feminine” theme is grounded, assimilated in, and—­ in some accounts—­dominated by, the “masculine” tonic. McClary’s description illustrates how charged this reading can be: “The masculine protagonist makes

Sheinbaum, example 3.4, 1

Example 3.4 Mahler, Symphony no. 6/i, mm. 357-370 1.

Flute 2. 3. 4. 1. 2.

Oboe 3. 4.

# & #

357

# & #

Unmerklich drängend a4 44 œ œ ‰ œ œ n ú ‰ œ œ bœ œ p cresc. S S a2 44 œ œ ‰ œ œ n ú ‰ œ œ bœ œ S p S

## & # # # 44

Clarinet in E b

1.

Clarinet in B b 2. 3.

## & # # 44 Ó

## & # # 44 Ó

Bass Clarinet



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a2

cresc.



Ó cresc.

Ó

cresc.

n úú S

ú S b úúú

ú S ú ÓÓ S Ó Ó

‰ #œ nœ œ

p a4 > ‰ #œ nœ œ w p ƒ ƒ



w>

>w ww p

n úúú S ú S b úúú

molto

w ∑

∑ w ww

w Í

w

w ƒ

w

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w





&

44







&

44







&

44







Trumpet in B b 2.

&

44







Trumpet in B b 4.

&

44







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4 4









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4 4











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44











Contrabassoon

357 1. Horn in F 3.

2.

Horn in F 4.

5. 6.

Horn in F7. 8.

1.

3.

Trombone 1.

2.

Trombone 3.

Tuba

?

357 Timpani

357 Bass Drum

ã

# & #

357 Violin I

Violin II

Viola

# & # B ##

Cello

? ##

Double Bass

? ##

S

f

w Í

ƒw

w

úú # # úú > p> cresc.

úú f> w

# n úú >

ú úú # # úú ú > > p> cresc. .. 1. ‰#œ œ œ #ú Ó p S

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5. 6. 7. 8.

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ƒ w

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p

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w

a3



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e x a m p l e 3.4 . Mahler, Symphony no. 6/i, measures 357–­70

œ J



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p



B

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cresc.

w ƒ

n œœ S Œ

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5. 6.

j #œ #œ ú > œ



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w

w Í Ÿ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ w



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œ ‰œ œ ƒ œœ

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Í w

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1. 2. Bassoon 3.

Sostenuto œ œ œ. œœ œ ƒ w

w

ú

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Sheinbaum, example 3.4, 2 364

&

Fl.

# & #

Ob.

a tempo

##

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## & # ##

E b Cl.

Ó

Bsn.

? ##

Œ

C. Bn.

? ##

Œ

364 Hn. 3.

&

Hn. 2.

&

1.

4.

Hn. 7. 8.

&

B b Tpt. 2.

&

5. 6.

1.

3.

B b Tpt.4.

? ##

Œ

Tuba

? ##

Œ

?

Œ

ú

Œ

ã

# & #

364 Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

# & # B ##

Vc.

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D.B.

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f

œ



ten.

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ten.

f

œ b œten. f

ú. p f Ÿ~~~~~~~~ Œ ú p f ∑

œ œ

œœœ œ ‰œ œ S ten.

nœ f

ú p ú p

#œ f

ú #œ p f œ œ # œten. # œ ‰ #œ S

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ten.



#œ œ

ú

ten.

p

f

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œ p Œ

ten.

ú



#œ f

Ÿ~~~~~~~~~~~ ú. f p œ. œ œ ten. œ œ #œ

œ j œ. œ œ #œ nœ S S œ. œ œ œ. œ œ #œ œ œ #œ œ œ œ #œ j ten.

#œ œ œ #œ #œ

œ

Sten. œœœ ‰œœœ S

S ten. ‰ #œ #œ œ œ #œ



úú p

a tempo

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p

364 B. Dr.

f

ú. p

&

364

f

ú. p

œœ # ú ú p

Tbn. 2.

Timp.

ú. p

‰ nœ #œ œ #ú S

? ##

3.

S

‰ nœ #œ œ #ú S

Tbn. 1.



œœ 1. œ ‰œ œœ Ó

# ## & # Œ

B. Cl.

Ó

ten.

2. 3.

œœœ



j œœ ‰ n ú ƒ ú Œ œœ ƒ Œ ú. ƒ

S

ten.

ten.

nœ bœ S ten. œ S

S Sœ #Sœ ten. Ó #œ œ ƒ # œœ ten. Œ nœ ú œ #œ ƒ œ #œ J ‰ ú ƒ S

e x a m p l e 3.4 . (continued )

ten.

œ . œ œ œ Nachlassend œ #œ œ œ œ J #œ œ œ œ œ ≈ ú. ƒ ten. a4 œ . œ œ œ œ #œ œ œ ú ∑ J ƒ ten.œ . œ œ œ œ ‹œ œ œ œ J #œ œ œ œ œ ≈ ú. ƒ ten. a3 œ . œ œ œ œ #œ œ œ ú œ nœ ≈ œ #œ ≈ œ nœ ≈ œ J ƒ ten.

ten.

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Ó ∑ ∑ ∑ Nachlassend p rit. viel Bogen œ #œ œ œ œ 370 œ œ œ œ. œ #œ œ œ œ œ ≈ ú J ‰ Œ J ∑ π S S S œ #œ œ œ ú œ. #œ ≈ œ œ ‰ œ #œ ≈ œ œ ≈ œ nœ ≈ œ ∑ J R π œ ú œ œ ú .. #œ ≈ #œ œ ≈ ú J ‰ Ó Œ ‰ œj R π f> S œ œ >œ œ œ œ œ j‰ Œ ú Œ ‰ Ó Œ J œ ú œ S π S f œ œ #ú ú œœœœœœ w w 3 S S ƒ Í f 3 370

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contact with but must eventually subjugate (domesticate or purge) the designated (feminine) Other in order for identity to be consolidated, for the sake of satisfactory narrative closure.”85 Here, though, the recapitulation is not an opportunity to dominate the feminine theme; instead, through the interactions of timbral processes and tonal argument, that theme becomes more powerful, and ever more threatening to the stability of the movement. The site of expected structural resolution, the recapitulation of the second theme group, is left tonally and timbrally open. This perspective thus opens up a striking confluence of various modes of reading gender at the fin de siècle. This passage is filled with timbral transformation, where a single melody moves kaleidoscopically from instrument to instrument and color is in a state of flux. Thus the parameter of timbre, often coded as feminizing at this time, calls attention to itself through qualitative transformations, a process that itself was associated in literature and art of this period with the threat of gendered instability. Further, such transformative orchestration is concentrated in the process from the second theme group to its recapitulation, the very sites in a sonata form that may evoke ad­ditional constructions of the feminine as a potential structural “threat,” or “struc­tural dissonance,” for the movement as a whole. Only in the coda of the movement is the second theme group brought in line and given a conclusive statement in the tonic (see example 3.5, at mm. 449 ff.). Here, the “Alma” theme sounds in a blazing A major that lasts to the end of the movement. The coda is thus often seen as an apotheosis, a jubilant victory, a “triumph of love over adversity.”86 But “assimilating” the theme into the tonic key only during the coda is a clear violation of the “sonata principle” and, though common enough by the late nineteenth century, still a case of an “extreme” sonata “deformation” that demands interpretation.87 This is not an idle point, as many assume that resolution within the coda is so conventional that it is not worthy of comment, so much so that at times the recapitulation is ignored entirely. Indeed, the orchestration suggests a different reading. The percussion and bass instruments pound away on the tonic and dominant, and the theme is played in massed trumpets and horns, all implying a return to the military timbres and topics of the first group. The evocation of the military here suggests that force, even violence, has been necessary in order to ground the threatening second theme; the “bodily violence of narrative closure,” as Samuels characterizes the end of the symphony, is also at work in bringing closure to the opening movement.88 The essential tonicizing of the second theme, then, is only accomplished through a violently radical change of character. Whereas in the conventional case the tonic grounding of the second theme is made to come across as a

Sheinbaum, example 3.5, 1

Example 3.5 Mahler, Symphony No. 6/i, mm. 449-456 ## 4 & # 4

449

Pesante

































? # # # 44





&

44





Trumpet in F 1.

&

44 Ó

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&

44 Ó

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&

44 Ó

1. 2. Flute 3. 4. 1. 2. Oboe 3. 4. 1. Clarinet in C 2. 3.

Bass Clarinet in A

1. Bassoon 2. 3.

Contrabassoon

Horn in F

1.3.5.7. 2.4.6.8.

1. Trombone 2. 3.

Tuba

## 4 & # 4 ## 4 & # 4 &

? # # # 44

449

B # # # 44 ? # # # 44 ?

449 Timpani

44

Bass Drum

ã

Triangle

ã

Cymbals

ã

Violin II

Viola

Cello

Double Bass





Œ #œ > ƒ Œ



a2

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Œ #œ > ƒ

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44 Ó

## 4 & # 4 ## 4 & # 4 # B # # 44 ? # # # 44 ? # # # 44



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Von hier bis zum Schluss etwas drängend

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Schalltr. auf

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w f

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ú Ó w f Ÿ~~~~~~~~~~ Ÿ~~~~~~~~~~ 44 Œ ‰ 3 w œœœœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ w > > p > > ƒ dim. ƒ 44 Œ œŸ~~~~~œ ‰ Œ ∑ ∑ ∑ J p ƒ Ÿ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ÿ~~~~~~~~~~ Ÿ~~~~~~~~~~~ Ÿ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ w w w 44 w dim. p ƒ

449 Violin I



S

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arco

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ƒ

e x a m p l e 3.5 . Mahler, Symphony no. 6/i, measures 449–­56

Œ







Von hier bis zum Schluss etwas œ . œ drängend

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œ. œ . œ. œ.

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seemingly natural, inevitable move, here the achievement seems imposed, only accomplished outside the recapitulation section proper, and only through militaristic force that gives the theme the topics and tonal profile of the first group. Peter Franklin even sees a trace of this as inherent within the “Alma” theme itself, which as noted above is in certain ways a transformation of the masculine main theme; he hears it as functioning “not to depict her but to sing her praise in Mahler’s own subjective voice. . . . What is at issue, therefore, is a creative silencing or ventriloquizing of Alma’s voice, replacing with his own in music whose conventionally feminine lyrical qualities arguably reinscribe patriarchal power.”89 And yet, in a number of ways even this eventual grounding in the coda may be heard as somewhat less than definitive. The final measures of the movement (starting at the pickup to m. 480) sound the second theme’s sighing motive in the brass and its initial ascent in the strings and woodwinds. This material is treated so repetitively, so excessively, that even through the final gesture there is a sense of unease, a sense that unproblematic closure has been undermined.90 Force implies tension, and the more force necessary to present the theme in the tonic, the more the possibility of a resistance to that force. Indeed, the A-­major achievement lasts only as long as the silence between movements, regardless of which version of the work is performed: in renderings where the Scherzo is placed second, the music immediately returns to A minor and the topics of the Allegro, now demonically distorted; if the Andante movement is next instead, the music immediately lurches a tritone away to E-­flat, a shift that “signals a point of maximum remove from the . . . high-­classical symphony,” as Julian Horton writes.91 Thus, from this perspective, even a tonic resolution of the “Alma” theme, which is eventually achieved, and even the rhetoric of closure, which is surely present, may not silence the second theme’s timbrally transformative and powerful voice.

*

Taken as a whole, these approaches to Mahler help to deconstruct the conventional pitch-­based linear historical narrative. Mahler’s music has often been seen as anachronistic for, on the one hand, not quite fitting the music of the great tradition and, on the other, for not undermining, subverting, or weakening the tonal system, as music around the turn of the twentieth century was “supposed” to do. Instead, here the terms of the debate themselves are changed, for the tonal system is seen as but one domain within a larger set of the parameters that make up the musical fabric. Indeed, this perspective problematizes the very notion of an assumed hierarchy between the “primary” domains of pitch and a loose collection of all other, “secondary,”

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characteristics. A multivalent approach, one that explores directly the multifarious ways these parameters may interact with one another, not only is fruitful for investigating sprawling individual movements such as the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth but is also especially important for an entire oeuvre like Mahler’s, where various aspects of the music often may be “out of phase.”92 The importance of these gestures goes beyond mere details of the musical text, mere musical “surface” that doesn’t affect the heart of the piece. Instead, passages like these suggest the extent to which Mahler’s music is performative at its core. In its theatricality, and its dialectical extremes of simultaneous coherence and incoherence, the music shows ways beyond pitch per se that Mahler reflects and constructs some of the most challenging issues surrounding the art of his time.93

4

Authentic: Progressive Rock and the Inversion of Musical Values

The genre of “self-­consciously complex” rock music generally known as 1970s “progressive” (or “prog”) rock was very popular and influential across En­ gland and North America in its time, and its fan base remains dedicated to this day.1 Progressive rock exhibits a startling eclecticism and, as such, is notoriously difficult to define from a stylistic point of view. The label progressive instead implies association with the late 1960s counterculture and, more directly, an aesthetic of experimentation and artistic freedom at a time when recording technologies were developing rapidly and record companies enjoyed a large degree of financial success.2 Overall, though, the genre is perhaps “best remembered for its gargantuan stage shows,” “epic subject matter,” and “dazzling virtuosity,” and, in the wake of the Beatles’ 1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, for developing a rock music that seemed to invite the audience to listen rather than dance.3 By characterizing progressive rock through its tendency toward long songs with many different sections, extended concepts spanning entire albums, musical complexities, and heavy doses of technology and recording studio manipulation, we link the practices of “prog,” at least implicitly, to the album often considered the rock masterpiece. And yet, as with the checkered reception of Mahler’s works conceived in the shadow of Beethoven’s symphonies, the reception surrounding progressive rock similarly was far from uniformly positive, notwithstanding its widespread connections to the Beatles’ most lauded recording. Once again, metaphors of unity and synthesis could be employed as a way of finding the later music wanting, prog’s notable hybridity a seeming source of inherent weakness. In the bands’ 1970s heyday, mixtures of rock’s values with values derived from classical music—­normally virtual opposites of one another—­ came to the fore. Then, in the following decade the groups’ songs instead

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appeared to trade the musical intricacies expected by fans of the bands’ “classic” albums for the hallmarks of MTV-­era pop. Both cases represented ostensible value problems because they signaled violations of authenticity, perhaps rock musicians’ most prized asset. Neither an inauthentic sort of rock music nor an inauthentic later version of progressive rock itself could pass muster with critics or fans. But by tracing the delicate interplay between well-­known songs and the surrounding reception in these two distinct periods of prog’s history, the dialectical tensions between opposing value systems instead can be viewed as sources of creative expression. And by interrogating underlying value-­laden narratives of periodization, as applied both to prog’s place within rock history and to prog bands’ 1980s releases within the history of prog itself, the very notion of rock “authenticity” can be called into question. “Progressive Rock” and “Real Rock” Of the numerous tropes surrounding progressive rock bands, some of the most pervasive and persistent concern the perception that these groups’ music and public personae are indebted to the classical music tradition. Edward Macan argues that “the defining features of progressive rock . . . are all drawn from the European classical tradition,” and these range from “orchestral” timbres to extended structural forms to “metrical and instrumental virtuosity.”4 In all likelihood, fans do not hear these references the way a musicologist would, but the perception of complexity, seriousness, and “depth” in the style does mean that many fans consider the music a sort of rock-­based “art-­music substitute.”5 In interviews, Jon Anderson of Yes has talked about “creating music that is around us today in an orchestral way,” and Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer (ELP) has patronizingly stated: “We hope if anything we’re encouraging the kids to listen to music that has more quality.”6 While onstage, progressive rockers often move very little so they can concentrate on their individual parts and seem “serious” (Keith Emerson’s animated knife stabbing of his keyboard during ELP performances was a notable exception), and characteristically many bands attempt, like classical musicians adhering to a written score, to re-­create the sonic experience of a recorded album.7 At a quick glance, then, one might expect that such a classical-­like approach to creating and performing popular music would be widely praised. But critical response to prog instead was often brutal. Writers decried the genre’s virtuosity, complexity, and indebtedness to “classical,” or “art” music as a betrayal of rock’s origins. At its core, rock journalists’ reaction against the style stemmed from a countercultural political agenda: rock is supposed to be a rebellious music, a music that shocks the “establishment” and challenges its

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conventions. A style of rock so influenced by the music of the establishment—­ which seemed to aspire to the privileged status held by that music—­could only be met with derision; indeed, progressive rock reception often notes how the musicians were seen as no less than “war criminals.”8 As Richard Middleton argues, “The relationship of progressive rock and the counterculture is thus uneasy and internally contradictory.”9 Critics did not assert their program baldly in reviews, however; these were, after all, supposedly well-­reasoned considerations of a given album. Writers hunted for a mode of criticism that would seem to attack the “music itself ” to justify their judgment. “Authenticity” was characteristically the key weapon: the farther a progressive rock album was from rock’s rhythm-­and-­blues roots, from the ideals of an unstudied sim­ plicity, the more seditious and treasonous the result. In John Koegel’s Rolling Stone review of The Yes Album (1971), for example, the simplicity represented by brief radio-­friendly singles is missed: “The material consists of fewer short songs and more lengthy pieces. The only three-­minute tracks on this record are ‘The Clap,’ Steve Howe’s acoustic guitar quickie recorded at one of Yes’ concerts in London, and ‘A Venture,’ a straightforward rocker sandwiched between a pair of longer compositions on the second side.”10 Songs of the desired length are not very important—­they come across like “quickies” and “straightforward” tunes—­while the focus is on the long pieces, characteristically described as “compositions.” The musical complexities are seen as unfortunate: Richard Cromelin’s review of Fragile (1972) asserts that “they’re good and they know it, so they tend to succumb to the show-­off syndrome.”11 Self-­consciousness is at issue here; “authentic” artists engage their music intuitively, while these musicians highlight surface virtuosity simply because they can. Their music is always mediated by technical display, which stands between artist and audience and distances listeners from the music. The opening words of the Yes entry in The Rolling Stone Al­ bum Guide neatly summarize critical opinion: “Pointlessly intricate guitar and bass solos, caterwauling keyboards, quasi-­mystical lyrics proclaimed in an alien falsetto, acid-­dipped album-­cover illustrations: this British group wrote the book on art-­rock excess.”12 From the perspective of rock journalists, the displays of technique don’t communicate deep feelings and important messages, the strange and excessive tone colors stand in the way of natural expression, and the difficult-­to-­understand lyrics and visuals are not aimed at the common listener. All of the things that rock music should be doing, in their view, are not accomplished—­or even attempted—­in the progressive rock style. Thus, when considering progressive rock within a more general history

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of rock music, the style and its chief progenitors appear as little more than a blip on the radar screen. In Robert Palmer’s Rock and Roll: An Unruly History, the longtime contributing editor to Rolling Stone includes no discussion at all of the progressive rock phenomenon during the early 1970s, nor are there even references to most of the major bands. Even more telling is John Rockwell’s “Art Rock” essay within the Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll. His portrait of rock history, from the perspective of the mid-­1970s, takes the shape of an “organic” narrative chronicling a rise, maturity, and decline.13 While the progressive label would seem to imply forward movement, Rockwell instead sees the style as a clear sign of rock’s decadence and decay: “There is a morphology to artistic movements. They begin with a rude and innocent vigor, pass into a healthy adulthood and finally decline into an overwrought, feeble old age. Something of this process can be observed in the passage of rock and roll from the three-­chord primitivism of the Fifties through the burgeoning vitality and experimentation of the Sixties to the hollow emptiness of much of the so-­called progressive or ‘art’ rock of the Seventies.”14 Authenticity is once again the key. Rock’s roots are wrapped up in notions of the natural and simple, and a second stage of “vital” maturity occurs in the 1960s rock of the politically conscious counterculture. But progressive rock, which supposedly eschews those roots in favor of “artistic” complexities, results in a “hollow emptiness,” in a degeneration of rock’s former glory. These considerations tie together the very different examples included in Jimmy Guterman and Owen O’Donnell’s humorous The Worst Rock ’n’ Roll Records of All Time. The entries on their list are almost always one of two types: either crass commercial product—­think Milli Vanilli—­or pretentious, self-­indulgent progressive rock. The poles come together with respect to the hallowed concept of authenticity, for both “slick product” and “incomprehensible complexities” are seen as avoiding the natural and simple, the province of “real rock.” Given progressive rock’s supposedly small role in rock history, the style warrants more than its fair share of attention in the book. Over 20 per­cent of the “33⅓ Rules of Rock and Roll” are addressed to the style: “Rock-­and-­roll songs with an orchestral choir are bound to be horrible. . . . Rock lyrics are not poetry. . . . The quality of a rock-­and-­roll song is inversely proportional to the number of instruments on it.” Subtlety is not exactly the order of the day; rule 22 states that “formidable technical proficiency is never sufficient. This rule explains why art rock is always bad.”15 Signs associated with the art-­music tradition—­whether the sound of a choir, poetic texts, the grandiosity of thick instrumentation, even polished technique itself—­are all seen as masking an inherent emptiness at the core.

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Prog and the Aura of Classical Music Taken as a whole, the conventional criticisms of progressive rock highlight a special sort of value problem for the style. What is notable is not the critical disdain itself, but the mode of criticism, because it draws on a value system diametrically opposed to the one most often used to evaluate music in Western society. Consider table 4.1, which outlines many of the ways genres, styles, repertories, or even individual pieces are often split into high and low categories, as we’ve developed thus far. The parameters considered here cover “the music itself,” as well as aspects of context and reception. Of course, the list does not represent any sort of  “truth”; rather, these are common strategies used to argue that a given piece of music is worthy (a high piece) or not (a low piece). Although these notions often masquerade as objective evaluations, we can more properly recognize them as windows to certain biases and agendas. Indeed, the dichotomies listed are all familiar ones. High music in the West uses the tone colors and forces of the art-­music tradition, while low music is filled with the trendiest sounds of artificial electric and electronic instruments. High music is said to be unified through organic processes of thematic development, distinct from the mere machine-­like repetitions of low music. High music is complicated and innovative, stemming from people with high degrees of professional

ta b l e 4. 1. Conventional High/Low Dichotomies High

Low Pop, rock, etc. Electric/Electronic instruments “Repetitive”

Historical force

Classical Orchestra “Unified,” “Development”—­material repeated, but with important differences Tradition

Site Difficulty Response Background Audience Class and Education

Mind (intellectual) Complicated Moving Professional training Fancy dress; silent attention Upper class, elite, well-­educated

Purpose “Author” Originality Skill

Abstract contemplation Composer Innovative Genius

Label Forces Coherence

Trendy, momentary in importance Body (sexual) Simple, common Uninteresting Rough, casual, natural Comfortable; talking and applause Middle and low social strata, not highly educated Entertainment, background music Performer Derivative Craftsperson

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training, while low music is simple and derivative, the product of natural, casual craftspeople. High music is created by a composer, ideally a genius, who fixes the piece in a score, while low music is reproduced by performers who take liberties with the “music itself ” at each playing. A related notion, then, is that high music is timeless, removed from its context and only about its internal structures; low music is instead a part of its context, which is inherently fleeting. The audience for high music is a well-­educated elite who allow the music to work on their intellect as they sit, well-­dressed, at silent attention; their low counterparts come from lower social strata and allow music to entertain them and to affect their bodies as they dance, talk, and respond with applause when so moved. These qualities don’t really tell us much about the music at all, but they speak volumes on what we conventionally value. What is fascinating about the critical reception of progressive rock, however, is that the very signs commonly held as sources of value in the reception of Western music in general have become signs of the very opposite within the context of rock criticism. Below is a list of many characteristics associated with progressive rock, and as can easily be seen, on its face, the style appears to strive toward the realm of high music. The treatment of thematic material, rhythm and meter, harmony, and formal shape all tend toward the complex, at least from the point of view of standard rock music. Long compositions, multimovement structures, a focus on virtuosic instrumental sections, and an evocation of “orchestral” timbres all signal parallels to the symphonic repertory, as does the style’s overall “hankering after a rock-­derived ‘sublime,’ ” as Paul Stump notes.16 And the audience, especially in the original context for the style (late 1960s–­ early 1970s southern England), is drawn from the white, educated, male, upper-­ middle class—­a privileged socioeconomic stratum, to be sure. However, from the point of view of the large majority of rock critics, the trappings of high music were not signals of value at all, or—­perhaps more sharply stated—­were merely signals of conventional value. The dreaded “establishment” and its institutions had a great stake in continuing to assert the value of high culture. Rock music, meanwhile, potentially possessed great societal power in its embodiment of the countercultural program, in its ability to challenge conventions of value with shocking efficacy. Removed from its historical context, it would seem that rock, a low genre, had led to the advent of progressive rock, a style of rock that could be considered as high music. But at a time when such intimations of value were being called into question, those very signs of prestige left progressive rock with the overwhelmingly negative critical opinion it received.17 This reception represented no less than a complete inversion of musical values: striving for the conventionally high,

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Stylistic Characteristics of Progressive Rock18 Soundscape: Thematic material: Rhythm and meter: Harmonic progression: Lyrical material: Visual material: Influences: Length: Deployment of band: Form: Site: Historical period: Historical setting: Cultural influences: Audience: Gender:

Reaching “beyond” conventional rock instrumentation; explorations of sound; focus on keyboards; acoustic vs. electric sections Use of riffs (short repeating ideas); potential for “development” reminiscent of classical music Syncopations, tricky rhythms; less reliance on 4/4 Less reliance on “3-­chord” songs, simplest chords Mythology, nature, utopia vs. technology, modernism; surrealism Elaborate surrealistic album covers; elaborate stage shows Use of blues, jazz, classical, folk, Anglican Church, “exotic” musics Longer songs; toward whole album (concept album) structures Long instrumental sections; less focus on singer (tenor); virtuoso playing; “choral” vocal arrangements Embellishment of traditional shapes (AABA, verse-­chorus); less reliance on traditional shapes; unconventional forms Toward the mind; less focus on the (dancing) body Considered “flourishing” in the early-­to mid-­1970s originally Southern England, esp. London area; then, in the United States Psychedelia, late 1960s counterculture (against “establishment,” largely metaphorical) White, educated, upper-­middle class; slight differences in the United States Primarily male musicians; primarily male audience

as progressive rock was said to do, was devalued, and aspects conventionally ascribed to low music were prized. Such a formulation is reminiscent of, and represents a provocative twist on, Pierre Bourdieu’s portrait of how highbrow cultural production itself represents a “systematic inversion of the fundamental principles of all ordinary economies.” Genres such as symbolist poetry, for example, have little stake in a profit-­based market and, thus, function with relative artistic autonomy. But in doing so they give rise to an “upside-­down economic world” with distinctly opposing sets of values, where being monetarily successful is not lauded but, instead, is “symbolically excluded and discredited.”19 The case of rock music, where the baseline values are opposed to those of classical music, may then represent an inversion of an inversion. Rock criticism, rather than valuing rock primarily in economic terms, takes the initial reversal of value latent in classical music and reverses it to instead value music that would speak to mar­ ginalized segments of society. From this perspective, the denigration of prog from within rock criticism is more than a simple rejection of such music because it might function as a sort of classical music; rather, such a position represents a devaluing of prog’s attempt to turn the tables once more, to reverse rock’s reversal of classical music’s values, which themselves represent a reversal of conventionally dominant economic values in Western culture.

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A corollary point must be made: progressive rock’s defenders within the academy, the musicologists and music theorists interested in the style, who are in an institutional position to answer the widespread criticisms, largely agree that progressive rock displays strong connections to high music. (It’s worth noting that, within the ever-­growing field of popular music scholarship, progressive rock is “largely ignored.”)20 Analytic tools and language derived from the study of Western art music, and the implicit value judgments associated with them, are employed in such a way that analyses of progressive rock parallel analyses of classical music. Macan’s Rocking the Classics, the most complete, and in many ways effective, study of progressive rock thus far published, is a case in point. At the outset, Macan tells the reader that he is ready to “challenge virtually every assumption that my academic training had imbued in me” and that he has “resisted the musicologist’s temptation to make this book primarily an analytical study of progressive rock. I believe that rock . . . is as much a cultural practice as a musical style, and that the sonic element—­the music itself—­is not necessarily the ‘primary’ text.”21 However, the centerpiece of the book is an analysis of four different progressive rock pieces, and Macan’s concerns do not result in a different sort of analytical technique. The discussion of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s “Tarkus” (1971) focuses on the tonal plan, without interrogating the meaning that overall tonic-­to-­dominant-­to-­tonic motion might have in a work like this; Yes’s “Close to the Edge” (1972) is explained with (often questionable) analogies to sonata form, yet the assumptions behind why such a model might lend value to this piece go unexplored; the piano introduction to Genesis’s “Firth of Fifth” (1973), filled with pop-­derived and ragtime-­like figuration, is described as an “overture” that utilizes “fortspin­ nung” as in a “Baroque toccata.”22 A slightly earlier and less self-­conscious example can be found in Nors S. Josephson’s 1992 Musical Quarterly article on progressive rock.23 Classical terminology is used to describe just about everything: bubblegum pop “la la” refrains are considered a use of “Renaissance madrigal idioms”; repeating riffs are described as “Baroque passacaglia” patterns or “Classical/Romantic variation structures”; vocal techniques range from “recitative-­like” to emphatically “operatic”; and so on. It is not that there are no factual connections between these aspects of rock music and stylistic or formal tendencies in the art-­music tradition but that describing rock with the terminology of high music often seems to be an end in itself. The implicit message is that this music can be understood as good music because it can be written about in a similar manner to the music of the “great tradition.”24 Although progressive rock’s critics and defenders draw very different conclusions about the style’s value, there is widespread agreement on the level of observation: progressive rock is a

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musical style shot through with both surface and structural affinities for and connections to classical music. A result of strictly adhering to these value systems, whether the conventional sort applied to high music or the negative image used for evaluating rock music, is that critics and scholars alike seem to value stylistic purity. A “pure” music would transparently reflect a given system of value; indeed, a piece’s value would seem to be derived from the degree to which it matched expectations. Thus, in many cases, a lack of purity by itself is cause for criticism. For example, Robert Christgau, the influential, longtime record reviewer for the Village Voice, has written about Yes that “they segue effortlessly from Bach to harpsichord to bluesy rock and roll and don’t mean to be funny.”25 Rockwell denigrates progressive rock as “pastiche,” as “the free and often febrile switching among different styles within the same piece.”26 The best example comes from Lester Bangs, who describes ELP’s music as “the insidious befoulment of all that was gutter pure in rock.”27 The inversion of musical values is perfectly captured: rock, while a “gutter” music, is still best when it is “pure,” and to add influences of and references to the establishment’s high music is to “befoul” it in an “insidious” manner. Both classical and rock musics are supposed to be pure; to mix the two results in something “funny,” in a mongrel “pastiche” of styles. The problem with this view is that little in the world exhibits a true purity, least of all a musical style like progressive rock. Notions of “purity” are more properly recognized as the product of abstract critical systems, not deep understandings of real examples. To value purity is, in a sense, to put the cart before the horse: instead of drawing a critical method from the music, the music is instead held up to a standard that it cannot hope to meet, except perhaps in the most stereotypical examples. As the list above shows, progressive rock is doomed along these lines, because a hallmark of the style is precisely its widespread eclecticism. The rock critic treats the music as conventionally high—­a clear signal that this is “bad” rock music—­or as a stylistically impure music, resulting in the same conclusion. The scholar of popular music treats it as conventionally high music as well—­though here it’s a simply a sign of value in and of itself—­and through the use of traditional analytical language, leaves eclecticism off the table, because “impurities” would be a problem. Neither of the equal-­but-­opposite value systems constructed around classical and rock musics illuminate progressive rock convincingly. As obvious as it sounds, progressive rock, for all its classical leanings, is still a subgenre of rock music. As Chris Atton’s study of prog fanzines shows, fans are less interested in the particulars of progressive rock’s connections to classical music than in valuing progressive rock as an “authentic . . . type of ‘real’ rock music.

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It may be musically sophisticated and technically difficult to play, but these are factors that give it viscerality, not cerebrality, the argument runs.”28 Or, from the perspective of formal structure, Mark S. Spicer confronts directly prog’s concern with seemingly opposite tendencies toward both long-­range coherence and stylistic diversity to mark sections of an extended song.29 Any value system that relies on notions of stylistic purity will either find the style lacking or do violence to it by explaining so-­called impurities away. Instead, a more fruitful approach can be developed by jettisoning the strictures of these systems and, instead, using them as opposite ends of a spectrum that define the wide range of possibilities available within the style’s inherent eclecticism.30 Thus, instead of leaving the low aspects of progressive rock off the table (whether by taking them for granted or pretending that they don’t exist), or considering progressive rock as a successful “attempt to fuse rock and art-­music practices,” we should highlight the tensions, frictions, and incom­ patibilities between these very different musical value systems.31 The progressive rock repertory does not construct a synthesis at all but, instead, occupies the spaces between these value systems. Often, the same song—­sometimes the very same passage—­can be read in contradictory ways, and the dialectic itself can be the focus of discussion. The “Swirling Wind” of Value Systems in “Roundabout” To explore the overriding notion that progressive rock conforms to no single musical value system, consider Yes’s “Roundabout,” one of the first progressive rock singles to achieve commercial success. These observations are not meant to represent an exhaustive analysis of “Roundabout”; rather, they accentuate the ways very different modes of understanding music can be juxtaposed and simultaneously evoked. “Roundabout,” and the album Fragile from which it was drawn, represent strong examples of commercially viable progressive rock. Yes’s previous effort, The Yes Album (1971), while performing much more strongly than their first two records in America, barely cracked the Top 40. Fragile, in contrast, shot up the charts: by the end of February 1972 the album reached as high as no. 4 in Billboard, and before the end of April, the album had been certified as gold, selling over half a million copies. “Roundabout” did quite well as the album’s single, peaking at no. 13. In addition, Fragile began an extended period of success in the marketplace for Yes. All of their remaining studio albums dur­ ing the 1970s reached the top ten. My focus here on “Roundabout” makes no claim that the song is one of the best, or even most representative, examples of progressive rock, although

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it is an exceptionally strong song that remains a staple in the Yes canon even decades later. Indeed, the importance of “Roundabout” is best seen from the point of view of its reception. An exploration of “Roundabout,” therefore, can help us to gain a deeper understanding of how progressive rock is interpreted against the background of different musical value systems. I will focus on three general areas, each of which suggests how this song thematizes tensions between, in gross terms, conventional “classical” and “rock” (or more broadly, “vernacular music”) values: tensions between high and low; between traditions of musical fixity and improvisation; and between modes of understanding music primarily as sonic structure or as cultural product. high versus low The introduction to “Roundabout” (0:00–­0:43) is, in many ways, the locus of the song’s stylistic references to the art-­music tradition. The first sound heard, a crescendo, simple as it may be, strikes against the background of rock conventions. Regardless of the actual volume at which a rock song is played, it is almost always interpreted as loud. Fine gradations of dynamic level, while an essential part of the mixing process in the studio, are used to address relative balances among the different elements on the recording, but the overall dynamic level is quite static, save for an occasional explicit contrast between a “soft” section and the rest of the song. But one of the defining stylistic characteristics of the art-­music tradition, at least from the middle of the eighteenth century onward, was an ensemble’s ability to effect large-­scale continuous gradations of volume. Thus the “orchestral” timbre of the backwards-­taped piano chord rising from inaudible to strikingly loud that opens “Roundabout” is not a neutral event. It is heard as a reference to, and an intimation of, the sonic qualities of classical music. Within just the first few seconds, the song seems to announce that what will follow is decidedly not going to be your standard rock-­and-­roll fare. Immediately following the opening crescendo, the sound of Howe’s ny­lon-­string classical guitar continues to construct the network of classical associations. The harmonics and brief phrases around E minor are out of time, cadenza-­like, and the hushed and intimate atmosphere invites one to settle in and listen closely. The classical guitar reference, however, is in certain ways out of historical sync with the crescendo reference, because much of the guitar’s repertory stems from lute music of the seventeenth century and earlier. At the return of the introduction in the middle of the song (4:57–­5:49), the classical guitar timbre is joined by another reference to high music, an organ

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played with virtuosic figuration. The final use of the introduction music occurs at the very end of the song, during the “outro” (7:52–­8:29). Here, a harmonic twist provides another art-­music reference. At the end of the introduction, with classical guitar simultaneously playing bass line and melody, a descending sequence arrives on the tonic E minor to begin the first verse section. However, when that descending idea returns to conclude the entire song, the arrival on the expected tonic is changed to an E-­major sonority, and this final chord is held until the sound fades naturally. The use of the “Picardy third” to end the song, a formula first widespread in the sixteenth century and most characteristic of minor-­key pieces of the baroque era, is the last in the chain of high references that characterizes the introduction and its related sections. Though the allusions are somewhat haphazard from a historical point of view, they collectively create an atmosphere in which “Roundabout” can be heard in light of art-­music practices.32 Yet that is only the beginning of the story; the introduction and its related passages can also be interpreted outside the classical orbit. The second guitar phrase concludes on a held low C, the sixth scale degree in the key of E minor. A second “backwards-­piano” crescendo occurs at this point, on C, and at its peak is immediately followed by the re-­entrance of the guitar, once again on E minor. But this harmonic motion, from VI to I in E minor, is decidedly not the harmonic syntax characteristic of strict common practice period music; one would expect the submediant to descend a half step to the dominant, and then proceed unproblematically to the tonic. Here, though, even through the web of art-­music references, a less formal motion derived from modal prac­ tice—­one much more characteristic of rock music—­is used. The organ figuration during the internal statement of the introduction is worth revisiting as well. One can talk about the technique necessary to perform these quick arpeggiations, and even, perhaps, about the “development” from the introduction to this moment, because the organ fleshes out the harmonic background only implied in the song’s opening passages. But above all, Rick Wakeman’s organ here creates an “effect”: as a way of setting the lyr­ ic’s intimations of nature, specifically the lake, at this point, the undulating passagework and round timbre create the sonic equivalent of a peacefully burbling stream.33 There are, of course, many art-­music precedents of constructing similar textures. But from the perspective of values, how music is conventionally supposed to be understood, such an extramusical description would be considered a surface phenomenon at best, one that does little to plumb the depths of meaning in the artwork’s structure. This middle moment in “Roundabout,” though, seemingly asks to be heard as a coloristic effect; to

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do so is not to argue that the music is lacking depth but to argue that the high system of musical value is not the only, or most important, arbiter of what is essential in this song. The high/low tensions become even clearer when considering the introduction alongside the two main sections of the song, the verse and chorus. (The first verse lasts from 0:43 to 1:17; the first chorus from 1:45 to 2:14.) While the introduction is largely out of metered time and invites quiet contemplation, both of these sections are based on hard-­rocking, multilayered grooves that engage the body in sensuous movement. The verses are powered by Chris Squire’s virtuosic bass playing, but to use “virtuosity” as code for high music here is to miss the way that his prominent line creates a sense of rhythmic drive by articulating syncopations and then emphasizing the downbeats. The guitar riff and rhythm-­section stomp of the major-­key chorus sections work similarly and further highlight the degree to which this song breathes the air of the rock repertory. To be sure, there is a fair degree of complex metrical and hypermetrical planning through these sections. The second and third phrases of each verse shorten their second bar by two beats, resulting in a 2/4 measure in the midst of the expected 4/4 framework. Thus these phrases last for three-­and-­a-­half bars, not the conventional four. In addition, it is notable that the verses comprise a total of three phrases, not the two or four that would be expected in a straightforward hypermetrical scheme. The chorus, too, is based on the three-­and-­a-­half bar phrase, but here it is the fourth and final measure of each phrase that is shortened to a 2/4 bar. The chorus is hypermetrically tricky as well: before the held E-­minor chord on the word “you” that ends each chorus section, five of these altered phrases sound. Now, these structures are fairly intricate, especially compared to rock music in general. But the marvel of these sections, to my ears, is that the groove remains paramount throughout. The complexities are there to be counted, they are part of the “facts” of the song, but most listening experiences of “Roundabout” focus instead on the effect of the groove, on how smoothly the song moves along. The difficulties are not meant to be heard as such; they are subsumed within, as Cromelin writes, the “thick, chugging texture.” Two further aspects of “Roundabout” help to bring these dialectical tensions between high and low qualities to the fore. First, consider the tricky keyboard-­led moment that occurs before the third verse (2:14–­2:49), and again after the following chorus, just before the contrasting bridge section (2:49–­ 3:24). This can easily be heard as a brief “developmental” passage: there is a descent toward the E-­minor tonic reminiscent of the end of the introduction, and it is placed within a framework of shifting meters. Compared to the smooth effect of the meter changes during the verse and chorus, this moment

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is filled with striking activity: the introduction-­derived motive first sounds in 4/8 and is followed by four related motives in 3/8 (they are a single eighth note shorter because they do not repeat the final note). But at the same time, the passage functions within the equally audible hypermetrical groove. Preceding the moment before the third verse are six bars of 4/4: a four-­bar phrase concluded with a synthesizer lick and then two further measures. The verse groove serves as the background pattern for the entire six measures. The tricky moment itself lasts for sixteen eighth notes, or the equivalent of two measures in the background 4/4 meter. These two measures, added to the previous two measures of unproblematic 4/4, make up a four-­measure phrase that perfectly balances the initial four-­bar phrase. Thus, while the surface is momentarily broken with this developmental high passage, it also functions as part of a straightforward 4 + 4, eight-­measure introduction to the third verse. The second aspect concerns another intimation of development in the song. Example 4.1a sketches the guitar riff used during the E-­minor verses, while example 4.1b sketches the riff used in the G-­major choruses. Clearly, the verse riff is transformed, through a transposition to the relative major, into the main guitar idea of the chorus; such large-­scale processes could easily be seen as lending “Roundabout” something of a thematic unity if viewed through a high lens.34 But what shouldn’t be lost in this description is the nature of the material being described: these are not “themes” or “motives” but riffs, short emblematic repeating ideas that, through their repetitions and roles within the texture, help to create the grooves of these two sections. To point out their relations is not the same as describing their function. The riffs move up and down by step within their local tonic areas, round and round again, and keep time flowing forward with well-­placed syncopated accents interacting with other emphases on the beat, a valued attribute from the low Sheinbaum, example 4.1, 1 perspective. Interpreting “Roundabout” solely as a rock song misses much of the detail Example 4.1 that invites consideration alongside the art-­music tradition, but at the same Riffs from Yes, "Roundabout" (1972) Example 5.1a Verse riff (sketch)

# œ & c œœ J

œœ œœ # œœœ œœœ œœœ œœœ # œœœ œœ œœ .. œœ œœ œ œ. œ J

Example 5.1b Chorus riff (sketch)

# œ œ nœ œ & œœ œœ œœ œœ

n œœ œ

œœ œœ # œœœ œœœ œœœ œœ ww œœ œ w

œœ œœ úú œ œ ú

e x a m p l e 4. 1 . Riffs from Yes, “Roundabout” (1972). a, Sketch of verse riff (top); and, b, Sketch of chorus riff (bottom).

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time, to describe the song as if it were merely a piece of that tradition also misses much of the detail essential for understanding the song in terms of its background as rock music. The tensions between the systems provide a more complete framework from which to consider the song. f i x i t y v e r s u s i m p r o v i s at i o n We tend to view the written score as the ideal form of a piece of classical music; in contrast, we tend to value popular music as performance, specifically in the extent to which musicians can improvise new ornaments, figurations, and solos at each playing. Even considering only the studio recording of a song, something of these opposing approaches can be heard. Some aspects of the music are constructed such that we hear them as planned, fixed for all imagined performances, while others can be interpreted as singular events that we would expect to hear differently each time we attended a concert. In “Roundabout,” the extended solo section of the song (5:49–­7:04) illustrates this marriage of these two different approaches. Judging from live performances and live albums, the “Roundabout” solos were either largely composed in the first place or, if originally improvised, were then “fixed” on the recording and treated as set solos thereafter. But the effect of the solo section is an interplay of fixed and improvised elements; neither perspective can adequately describe the section. An organ solo begins this part of the song, and it is constructed like an improvised display. The band lays down the groove from the chorus and repeats this clearly structured theme four times. This provides a musical backbone on top of which the soloist may improvise. Wakeman’s solo has the sound of improvisation; there are numerous references to the G-­major tonic sonority, brief ideas seem happened on by chance and are then repeated and varied, and scalar runs and passagework connect one arrival with the next. But at the same time, the solo section is meticulously planned. The background chorus groove is not made up of easy four-­ bar phrases; the last bar of each phrase contains only two beats. Wakeman must keep the composed structure in mind to keep the phrases of his solo in sync with the fourteen-­beat repeating pattern played by the rest of the band. More to the point, the four organ solo phrases are immediately followed by a passage that doesn’t sound improvised at all, but gives the distinct impression of being composed (see example 4.2). The melody instruments suddenly come together for a virtuosic unison idea that is stated over four bars of 4/4. The figure rises and falls, with a syncopation at the apex; it is then repeated down a whole step, back at the original pitch level, and then back down with a rhythmic variation emphasizing the strong beats instead of the syncopated

Sheinbaum, example 4.2, 1

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Example 4.2 "Roundabout," unison lick during solo section (sketch)

# œœ œ œœœœ & c ‰ œœœœ œ &

# ‰ œœ œ œœœœ œœœœ œ

‰ nœ œ œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ

135

œ œ œœœ œœ nœ œ œ bœ œ

e x a m p l e 4. 2. Yes, “Roundabout,” unison lick during solo section (sketch)

spaces between. The underlying changes of this new material now function as a background groove in and of itself, and Howe takes an improvisatory electric guitar solo over the next four bars. Then, as two improvising musicians trading phrases might do, the solo passes back to the organ. But the two organ phrases here are the trickier three-­and-­a-­half-­bar variety derived from the chorus. Following the organ, the composed licks return, now with the melodic material moved up a fifth. When the guitar solo reenters for the final phrases of the solo section, there might be an expectation that freer improvisation would return. But compared to the spiky activity of the first guitar break, at this point Howe uses a great deal of sustain to present a soaring melody that seems composed. And for the last five bars of the section, the entire band comes together to play a planned, motivically based conclusion. Thus both soloing instruments display effective improvisatory rock soloing within the section, and there is even an air of the excitement of live performance amid the trading of phrases from one soloist to the other. Yet at the same time, the structures within the section are invariably, carefully worked out, and even the improvisatory style of soloing is challenged, because it is continually juxtaposed with fixed, developmental passages for the whole band. s t ru c t u r a l v e r s u s c u lt u r a l u n d e r s ta n d i n g Something of a values-­laden split exists between approaching music primarily as sonic structure or as the product of culture. Insights gleaned from an exploration of “the music itself ” seem to implicitly claim that these methods are the best path to a direct understanding of a given work. At the same time, writers who ground their analyses in culturally derived readings continue to argue for the importance and relevance of their approach, pointing out the range of ideological content inherently contained in seemingly “objective” structural analyses. The differing views of progressive rock outlined above exhibit this dichotomy. Structural analyses show—­and implicitly prize—­the complexity of this music and its affinities with the art-­music tradition. Meanwhile, culturally

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based critiques of the style argue that those very tendencies, in light of the social/cultural/political agenda ascribed to rock music as a whole, leave progressive rock lacking. And as I have argued, even though Macan’s study in the large is concerned with both sorts of paradigmatic approaches, the analyses of the music itself show little connection with the countercultural concerns present on a metaphorical level.35 More provocative, however, is the extent to which progressive rock songs can simultaneously suggest these different sorts of hearings. Indeed, the most thoughtful approaches to popular music analysis over the last generation or so explicitly engage with this dialectical crux, music’s relative autonomy from other sorts of cultural expressions, alongside the inevitable fact of music’s construction and function within a given culture. Middleton focuses on how performances attempt to “articulate [musical] materials to the needs of [the artist’s] particular audience”; David Brackett explores musical “codes,” which allow him to theorize “the connections between musical sound and such ‘extra-­musical’ factors as media image, biographical details, mood, and historical and social associations”; Keith Negus shows how understandings of popular music are “mediated by a series of technological, cultural, historical, geographical and political factors.” All three attempt in various ways to theorize an interpenetration of the seeming opposition between observations of the music itself and the notion that such observations can have no meaning apart from that constructed by people within particular contexts.36 On the one hand, a close reading of “Roundabout” invites a structural approach. In addition to the three-­and-­a-­half-­bar phrases outlined above, other rhythmic, metrical, and hypermetrical issues abound. The bridge section sticks to four-­bar phrases in a consistent 4/4, but the instrumental groupings of two phrases alternate with vocal groupings of three phrases. To cite one other example, the bulk of the “outro” oscillates between measures of three and four beats. Temporal parameters are not the only structures of note. Tonality is at issue, because against the background of most rock songs, “Roundabout” alternates between E minor and its relative major and concludes with a move to the parallel major. Form is notable as well, because the verse and chorus are full of interconnections, and those conventional sections are joined by the addition of numerous others, which serve to expand the song past the boundaries of most rock music. Yet at the same time, the lyrics of “Roundabout” invite readings beyond internal musical structures, to the concerns of the counterculture played out on a metaphorical level. The nature imagery throughout the song, with its references to mountains, lakes, and valleys, suggests (as in much progressive rock, particularly in the music of Yes) an imagined pastoral utopia of a time long ago or outside of our earthly realm, which stands in contrast to the

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dehumanizing technology of modern society.37 Nature is not at peace during the bridge section, though: amid the musical storm of minor-­key unison licks and active Latin-­tinged percussion, the lyrics present the “swirling wind . . . as weather spins out of hand.” The full nature/technology dialectic is not explicitly present in this song, but the storm may represent the effects of current corruptions against the eternal natural world; the last new line of text in this section states that “next to your deeper fears we stand surrounded by a million years.” Thus, “Roundabout” revels in the glory of timeless pristine nature both as an idealized past and as a utopian vision of the future, able to resist and withstand the bleak effects of modern society. The lyrics evoke not only the “countercultural ideology [of] resistance and protest,” as Macan suggests, but also the progressive rock phenomenon itself. The lyrics as a whole may have no clear coherent meaning, reveling instead in ambiguity, suggestion, and free association. The surrealist leanings here have wide connections to the uses of surrealism in progressive rock’s lyrics and visuals in general. Listeners would surely approach this song with the same expectations of seemingly hidden or shadowy meanings that they would bring to other examples of the style.38 The fact that most progressive rock of the time was specifically a British phenomenon is evoked as well: as a noun, “roundabout” is chiefly a British term, referring to a traffic circle or a merry-­go-­ round. Both meanings are evoked in the lyrics, through the “morning driving” described at the end of the verses, and the “ring” of dancing, singing children in the second verse. And on a more general level, references to circular motion abound throughout the lyrics, from the movement “in and around the lake” to the weather “spinning” out of control, and more generally to the cyclic rise and fall of the seasons through “ten true summers.” In fact, the “purely musical” devices and structures I’ve described above are anything but pure. A perspective that focuses on “the music itself ” is most effective when “Roundabout” is placed in context, when it is seen against the background of rock music and as a part of the historically situated progressive rock style. Observations about temporal parameters outside the foursquare mold—­multiple tonal areas, expansions of song forms, and so on—­ are important for our interpretations of “Roundabout” because these factors interact with our expectations for rock music as a whole. The norms of progressive rock, where we expect a fair degree of complexity, and where evocation and subversion of those rock structural traits are considered normal, are also essential baselines for our understanding. As with any piece of music, the “facts” worth incorporating into an analysis and interpretation function against the background expectations of a style, and that musical background can be more fully understood as interacting with its time and place.

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Periods in Progressive Rock and a Second Problem of Authenticity Beyond the fact that progressive rock seems connected to features of and expectations surrounding classical music, progressive rock may also evoke the classical in the ways these groups changed stylistically at strategic points in their careers to mark their artistic development, akin to the periodizations many find in the work of classical composers, such as the ubiquitous use of “early,” “middle,” and “late” labels for Beethoven’s music. As James Webster has shown in his studies of classical music history, periodizations are shot through with understated but critical value judgments. Webster outlines three chief periodization narratives. An “originary” narrative valorizes the early period, an “organic” narrative valorizes the middle period, and a “teleological” narrative valorizes the late period. The narratives that a given periodization presents can seem so compelling that we may ignore pieces within a “period” if they do not fit the expected characteristics of that style, and we may marginalize the music of entire periods if our narrative tells us that a different period contains more interesting or important music.39 Indeed, as we saw above, such an organic narrative often is applied to rock history as a whole, with progressive rock representing a weaker late period after the rock classics of the 1960s. But such a perspective has been no obstacle to replicating such a value-­based narrative for the history of progressive rock itself. The specific case explored here concerns the widely acknowledged changes in progressive rock in the early 1980s, when many prominent bands’ increasing use of digital signal processing and simpler, more conventional song forms led audiences and critics to identify the beginning of a new period in the genre characterized by commercialized and “inauthentic” releases. As with the exam­ ple of Beethoven, the notion of a new period largely fits a nexus of observable stylistic changes within the music and biographical shifts for the musicians themselves, all against a background of larger cultural trends and value systems.40 The conventional historical narrative of progressive rock tends to fit an “organic” model of periodization quite well: a story of rising (the late 1960s), a peak period of artistic maturity (the 1970s), and then an inevitable decline (the 1980s and after). Assumptions that progressive rock flourished during the 1970s are indeed quite common. For Macan, “The genre . . . achieved its ‘classic’ form at the hands of English bands during the early 1970s,” and John Covach posits a “rich period from about 1967 to 1977.”41 Bill Martin also links the style to a historical period, asserting that “progressive rock was able to partake of a certain energy, that of the late sixties, and to propel itself into the middle and even later seventies.”42

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Meanwhile, the common reaction to a perceived new period that begins around 1980 is one of strong criticism, where the defenders of progressive rock identify the dissolution of the style. As Covach describes it, “By the early 1980s progressive rock was thought to be all but dead as a style, an idea reinforced by the fact that some of the principal progressive groups had developed a more commercial sound. . . . What went out of the music of these now ex-­progressive groups when the more commercial sound came in was any significant evocation of art music.”43 For Macan, the same moment “was marked by the fragmentation of the genre into simpler, more commercially mainstream subgenres such as American stadium rock and British symphonic pop, as well as a noticeable decline in the creativity of the major progressive rock bands.”44 And Jennifer Rycenga, who interprets the extended nonstandard structures of progressive rock as “queering the concept of form,” laments the fact that, “by the end of the 1970s, they abandoned more experimental long forms for traditional song styles.”45 Kevin Holm-­Hudson has recently posited a label of “prog lite” for the commercially minded and “conceptually thin” mid-­1970s style that was strongly influenced by progressive rock but tailored for heavy radio play, and this designation would presumably apply to the “classic” groups’ changes in the early 1980s as well.46 The music industry at this time was changing to accommodate new digital music technologies and the popularity of cable television’s MTV, and the effects of these forces on this new period in progressive rock cannot be underestimated. Music video quickly became the “preferred method for launching a new act or promoting the release of a major superstar,” creating a “new generation” of telegenic musician-­celebrities who were supported by heavy doses of contemporary technology such as synthesizers and digitally manipulated samples of sound.47 As Theo Cateforis asserts, “At the time of its greatest popularity in the early 1980s, few paradigms rivaled the growing use of synthesizers associated with the rise of important new wave groups,” and the technology was easily matched to the “dizzying mélange of depthless surfaces and signs . . . typical” of the “music video aesthetic.”48 The new and explosively popular postmodern genre of the music video, composed of “multiple layers of media and . . . authorship,” may even have led consumers to qualitatively new modes of collective listening.49 The same moment also saw the widespread rise of Thatcher-­and Reagan-­ era political, cultural, and economic conservatism, which was felt quite strongly in the music industry by record companies that were increasingly identified as “subdepartments of huge transnational corporations.”50 These new industry demands required progressive rock bands to adapt if they were to continue

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to enjoy the benefits of active promotion from their labels and to command a large audience. While stylistic experimentation and change were important parts of the progressive rock aesthetic, pressures from corporations to develop slick products were antagonistic to these bands’ expectations of artistic freedom and their tendency toward nonstandard musical constructions. At the same time, fans’ expectations of music that sounded and felt like the bands’ earlier, defining releases would not rest easily with either imperative. What was at stake was nothing less than a supposed loss of “progressive rock authenticity.” The change toward a commercial sound did indeed lead to continuing platinum album sales and, in the case of Yes’s “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” discussed below, their only number-­one single on the Billboard chart. But with these changes came a perception that these bands had turned their backs on the musical style that made them notable in the first place. Timothy Warner, for example, has recently asserted that “Owner of a Lonely Heart” is a “radical departure” and “contrary to the typical work of the band,” and its chart success is “inappropriate to the group’s musical aspirations”; the song is best understood as part of a “trivial” and “ephemeral” pop music rubric as compared to a “serious” and “lasting” category of rock music.51 Critics and scholars of progressive rock, who tend to be faithful not to the musicians but to their perceptions of a particular musical style, instead focus on the “underground” bands who continued to cultivate the traditional sound of progressive rock in the 1980s and beyond. But to call these bands “neo-­progressive” and “post-­progressive,” as they do, signifies that for them the mainstream of progressive rock had indeed succumbed to a three-­stage “organic” narrative.52 I argue that while many progressive rock bands’ music did indeed change in the early 1980s, to focus on those changes exclusively ignores the significant remaining connections to the bands’ earlier music, discounts the fact that prog bands’ earlier music was always a subgenre within rock music and the larger pop music industry, and overlooks the ways “old” and “new” interact, creating a different—­but no less creatively potent—­stylistic eclecticism. In the newer music, overt electronic manipulations of sound and more conventional musical forms are often cleverly paired with sophisticated musical devices familiar from these bands’ classic releases. Paradoxically, the very sonic signifiers that progressive rock bands employed to conform with the demands of mainstream popular music can also be seen as signifiers of progressive stylistic development that follows a familiar narrative from the world of classical music. The reception of progressive rock in the 1980s intersects in provocative ways with the discourse around the notion of “late style” more generally, especially that centered on Beethoven. Indeed, though recent approaches problematize the very idea of late style, such a designation and its complex constel-

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lation of meanings remain widespread.53 Middle-­period Beethoven is usually interpreted as exhibiting “a reconciliation of opposites, a grand synthesis, at the end, . . . and with it an idea of a better world.”54 Similarly, in Macan’s view of classic progressive rock, a “major concern of the genre . . . [was a] symbolic playing out of many of the conflicts that were of great significance to the hippies . . . [in a way that] integrated into a larger whole,” though, as we saw above, the notion of “integration” is not the only way to interpret such diverse stylistic strands.55 The conventional sense of Beethoven’s “lateness,” in contrast, concerns “the weight . . . of originality, his expanded rhetorical vocabulary, his formulation of unprecedented ways of representing states of being that flourish beyond the boundaries of ordinary experience, and his transformations of Classical structural models, preparing the way for their eventual dissolution.”56 Such a description does not sit easily with the view of progressive rockers selling out their ideals for the commercial success of a simpler and more conventional pop-­based approach. But Theodor W. Adorno’s approach to late style, perhaps surprisingly, may resonate with the changes in progressive rock in question here and push against a cynical interpretation that hinges on concessions to the marketplace. He argues that just as characteristic of late music is the pronounced presence of “conventional formulae . . . in unconcealed, untransformed bareness” and that this represents “a peculiarity which is studiously ignored by . . . the accepted view of the late style.”57 As would be expected from Adorno, his conception of late style focuses on potentially irreconcilable poles in the music itself, as well as the notion that such a negative dialectic signifies the “concrete historical reality” of a broken modern society “bypassing . . . individual freedom.”58 From this perspective, progressive rock’s changes around 1980, rather than merely constituting an abandonment of countercultural and related musical concerns, also represented a continuing process essential to the authentic artistic endeavor, of interacting critically with the changing culture and the music industry that functions within it. The sense of progressive rock abandoning its earlier ideals and audience as a move at once commercial and critical resonates with a further aspect of Adorno’s late Beethoven; as Edward W. Said paraphrases, the late style is “a moment when the artist who is fully in command of his medium nevertheless abandons communication with the established social order of which he is a part and achieves a contradictory, alienated relationship with it. His late works constitute a form of exile.”59 These echoes are complex and contradictory at best; the notion that Beethovenian “late style is in, but oddly apart from the present” is in clear distinction to the ways post-­1980 progressive rock constructed its sense of late style through interacting with the musical trends of its present.60 And moving toward the commercial tendencies of that present,

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even as a potential strategy for challenging prog’s fans, surely complicates the notion of a music that, as Adorno desires, fundamentally resists mass culture. Along these lines, consider a Yes song that announced such changes in the early 1980s: “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” from their 1983 album 90125. This song is largely representative of the stylistic changes—­and the notion of style change in general—­widely perceived in the music of many progressive rock bands in the early-­to mid-­1980s.61 “Owner” was commercially successful (and was the first “concept video” produced by the band for airplay on MTV) and was a flashpoint around the notion of a lost progressive rock authenticity. Yet the song shows an essential dialectic between the “simple” and the “complex” and, hence, between the sense of a new period and the sense of continuity with earlier albums and styles. As Webster states with regard to perceptions of period change in Beethoven, “the prevailing image” centers around “reception history,” while “the picture that emerges from . . . compositional history is quite different.”62 “Simple Pop” and “Complex Prog” in “Owner of a Lonely Heart” A new identity for Yes in 1983 was practically a foregone conclusion. The group had officially dissolved after their 1980 album, Drama—­the only Yes album up to that time without lead singer Anderson—­and when the musicians assembled for these sessions, the group planned a release under a different name entirely. Even for a band long known for frequent personnel changes, the Yes lineup for 90125 was notable. Wakeman and Howe, the keyboardist and guitarist who played a large part in defining the “classic Yes” sound, were both gone, replaced by Tony Kaye, the original keyboardist, who returned to the band after more than a decade away, and Trevor Rabin, a South African guitarist with virtuoso chops but a more pop-­based sensibility. The only points of stability were in the rhythm section: cofounder and bassist Squire and drummer Alan White, who had been with the band for the better part of a decade. More than anything else, it was Anderson’s return midway through the recording process that signaled that this band could—­perhaps should—­be called Yes. With 90125, Yes turned away from the nature imagery, musical virtuosity, and complex song structures most fans associated with the band and with progressive rock in general. This announcement of the new began before a single sound was heard. Roger Dean’s fantasy-­nature landscape cover art, which visually marked most of their 1970s releases, was replaced with a stark computer-­generated image. Dean’s painting “Green Towers” was the cover of the 1981 greatest-­hits collection Classic Yes, which was released in the wake of the group’s at-­the-­time breakup, and the collection’s title itself does much to

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e x a m p l e 4.3 . Cover of  Yes, Classic Yes (Atlantic Records, 1981)

construct the sense of a period ending (see example 4.3). “Green Towers” is representative of the imagery fans had come to expect from the band’s album covers. Under Dean’s rounded, liquid lowercase “Yes” logo in a deep blue sky with fading light in the far background, serene water stretches from the middle ground to the foreground, broken only by grasses, trees, hills, and rocks. Out of this landscape, aqua and green towers that look like enormous stalagmites lit brightly from below rise high into the sky. Fans’ reactions to these images demonstrate the perceived connections between the band’s music, the depth and wonderment of a romanticized natural world, and fantastical but warm elements not of that world. For example, on the website rogerdean. com, one representative comment alongside this painting by a viewer posting under the name of a Greek saint, “Spyridon,” reads as follows: “The covers of Roger on the Yes albums become one with the music of the band, taking me to all those other worlds that Roger, Yes, and many other people have been.

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e x a m p l e 4. 4 . Cover of Yes, 90125 (Atco Records, 1983)

Roger’s paintings [have] made our eyes see places that ‘exist’ since the dawn of mankind, which we have only felt in our hearts.”63 The cover of 90125 presented a bold contrast (see example 4.4). The title itself announced the recording as a commercial product, since “90125” is the album’s number in the Atlantic Records catalog and therefore is part of the Universal Price Code (UPC) printed on the back.64 The background is a monochromatic gray, and while “Yes” appears in roughly the same position as it does on Classic Yes, here the band’s name is set in plain white capital letters in a nondescript sans serif font. The center of the cover contains an abstract image of a disc split at sharp angles into magenta, cyan, and yellow regions, the three primary shades of computer ink cartridges, which are partially encircled by a dark gray border punctuated by thin white lines, open only at the top. The border extends downward at the bottom, and this creates an overall shape that could be seen as a letter Y. If most earlier Yes albums credited a

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single artist with a cover painting, this album sets aside such romantic notions as individual authorship in favor of technological production, as the liner notes state: “Cover image produced on Robograph 1000 system utilizing Apple IIE 64K RAM micro-­computer and Bitstik controller. Plotted same size on HP7580B line plotter at 10 cm/sec courtesy Robocom Ltd. London.” The album 90125—­especially the hit single “Owner of a Lonely Heart”—­ was heard as different and more commercial than Yes’s earlier music, and reception focused on the album’s uses of technology and its decidedly simpler textures, harmonic progressions, and song structures. J. D. Considine’s review in Rolling Stone is a case in point: “Owner of a Lonely Heart” does not sound like the Yes of old. With its supple, understated dance beat . . . and noticeable lack of pseudo-­classical overkill, it seems too hip, too street-­smart for a band whose idea of a pop song was once something as rococo as “Round about.” . . . The result is a sound that relies on production and arranging tricks instead of instrumental flash . . . and most of the album is surprisingly spritely and poppish. Electronics, especially the new generation of synthesizers, are heavily used. . . . [The] emphasis on melodic appeal over instrumental prowess may alienate some of Yes’ longtime fans, but if it continues to result in records as listenable as this one, then this may turn out to be one reunion that tops the original.65

A close reading of the song, however, suggests not so much a thin stylistic change but, rather, an attempt to carve out a path to creative expression by thematizing the productive tensions between “simple pop” and “complex progressive rock.” As the formal sketch below shows, the overall structure is indeed quite conventional for a pop song, and quite far from the multisectional extended forms of many of the group’s songs from the 1970s such as “Roundabout.” After an introduction that presents the main riff, there is a verse-­plus-­ chorus structure that is repeated, a contrasting bridge section in the parallel major that leads to a guitar solo over the riff, two more choruses, and another bridge section that leads to a fadeout. More to the point is that this song is not formally “simple” so much as it seems to be constructed to highlight its presentation of pop-­song simplicity. Instead of contrasting verse and chorus sections, the norm in rock songs—­especially in multisectional progressive rock structures that utilize a repeated chorus—­this song uses the same chord progression in both, a particularly simple song form that, coming from a progressive rock band, seems to highlight how repetitive a conventional song may be.66 In the introduction and the second verse, the progression sounds in a distorted electric guitar; during the first verse and the guitar solo it is set in a thinner texture where the riff is easily heard in the bass guitar; and during the

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chorus sections the bass guitar is often joined by an arpeggiating “clean” guitar sound. But these texture changes, which communicate the section-­to-­section structure of the song, never conceal the main idea, which is almost always present at its original pitch and rhythm. Meanwhile, the riff ’s progression of power chords is equally clever in its simplicity. Counting one eighth note for each letter and slash, the riff does little more than move stepwise up the alphabet: A / / B C / D D, occasionally adding a turnaround G G that brings the riff back to the beginning. This simple riff is not painstakingly crafted nor is it the result of creative inspiration; rather, it is a self-­consciously “pop” progression. Yes may evoke some of their signature complexity in the texture and phrase rhythms of this song (discussed below), but they have largely traded it for a qualitatively different sort of complexity, a witty play on the simple and the commercial in rock, and an ironic genre-­based complexity somewhat distinct from the formal complexities of the band’s “classic” output. Yes, “Owner of a Lonely Heart” (1983), Overall Structure (0:00–­0:24) Introduction (0:25–­0:55) Verse 1 (0:55–­1:12) Chorus 1 (1:13–­1:43) Verse 2 (1:43–­1:56) Chorus 2 (1:57–­2:31) Bridge (2:31–­3:17) Guitar solo and “retransition” (3:18–­3:32) Chorus 3 (3:33–­3:46) Chorus 4 (3:46–­4:27) Bridge 2 to fade

And yet, in tension with this pointedly simpler style are a number of intricacies not unlike those in Yes’s earlier music (see example 4.5). For instance, the song’s phrase rhythm is unconventional. The riff ’s two-­bar phrases in the introduction are grouped into six-­measure units, not the standard units of four or eight bars. After opening with a one-­measure pickup in the drums, the electric guitar presents the riff three times alone, and then, as the rest of the band enters in support, the riff is sounded three more times before the entrance of Anderson’s vocals and the first verse. The pattern of six-­bar phrases in the introduction results in a mildly ironic situation where the conventional 8 + 8 phrase rhythm of the verses can sound out of the ordinary. Meanwhile, the chorus sections are based on an eight-­measure model, but this “normal” version of the chorus appears intact only once, on the section’s third presentation (out of four). The ends of the other choruses are elided with other mate-

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e x a m p l e 4.5. Yes, “Owner of a Lonely Heart” (1983), Phrase Rhythm Examples (All within 4/4 Meter) Introduction number of measures texture

1 drum pick-­up

Choruses 1 2 3 4

9 measures (8 + 1; or 7 elided with 2-­measure hold) 7 measures (elision with bridge 1) 8 measures (“model”) 7 measures (elision with bridge 2)

Bridges 1: number of measures event 2: number of measures event

6 guitar riff

6 riff + rhythm section

6 parallel major

4+4 lead vocal

4 lead-­in to solo

6 parallel major

4+2 lead vocal

8 key change to fade

rial: the first chorus by a two-­bar held sonority (making for a nine-­measure first chorus), and the second and fourth choruses after seven measures by the bridge section. The two bridge sections themselves, which are announced by bright A-­major brass-­like sounds in the synthesizer, also exhibit complex phrase rhythms. The first bridge contains phrases of 6 + 4 + 4 measures plus a four-­bar transition to the guitar solo; the second comprises a 6 + 4 + 2 structure plus an eight-­bar fadeout at the end of the song. Most provocatively, while “Owner of a Lonely Heart” is both in a pop-­song format and about the conventions of the pop song, from the beginning, the sound and structure threaten to open up beyond those conventions. While the first occurrence of the riff shows off the distorted electric guitar’s power by sustaining the concluding D chord with no loss of volume over an entire measure where nothing else happens, the same held sonority after the second occurrence of the riff is overshadowed by an intrusive, heavily processed drum break and a downward slide of the bass guitar on the last beat.67 After the rest of the group enters for the second half of the introduction, Yes demonstrates how a well-­amplified synthesizer can interrupt even a full rock band: after the second occurrence of the riff in this subsection the texture is dominated by a screaming timbre followed by a lower, fast-­paced slithery figure. The first verse and chorus operate on more of an even keel, but during the second verse, while the lyrics describe a “dancing eagle in the sky” and tell the listener to

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“give your free will a chance,” the seemingly straightforward section—­sixteen bars long with the too simple chord progression throughout—­is continuously disrupted by further timbral intrusions. These include synthesized trumpet screams, jangling sounds, sustained keyboard atmospheric effects, unpitched sounds of wind and motion, and acoustic guitar. The sonic interruptions even become structural: between the first bridge section and the guitar solo is a four-­bar subsection consisting of nothing but such intrusions—­all synthesized screams and drum breaks with heavy effects processing. This concludes with a final measure that adds disturbances of pitch and rhythm to the timbral and structural ones, as the screams and drums effect a chromatic rise in quarter-­ note triplets, a figure heard for the only time in the entire song. The tension is finally released on the next downbeat, as the triplet figure leads to one last scream on A to announce the entrance of the guitar solo. If the song continually defies its tightly wound structure and seems unable to fully contain itself, the final move breaks free. In the middle of the second bridge section, the song leaps from the A tonal center, which has defined the entire structure up to this point, and the lyric “don’t deceive your free will at all—­just receive it” is set in the distant flat-­VI area of F. In the world of Romantic music, the flat submediant is a common “Other” tonal area, and within this song, F provides a strong contrast, as every other diatonic pitch of A minor is either part of the main riff (which uses the collection G–­A–­B–­C–­D) or is an important note in the melody (the remaining pitch-­class E ends half of the verse’s twelve subphrases, and E begins each subphrase of the chorus). In a “prog lite” song like Styx’s “Come Sail Away” (1977), the flat-­VI area notably is also a structural surprise, set with electronic minimalist textures that wouldn’t be out of place in a Terry Riley composition, but ultimately the move is little more than a momentary interruption, an interlude between electric guitar riffs reminiscent of the British band The Who and sing-­along choruses in the main tonal area.68 In contrast, the new tonal area in Yes’s supposedly pop-­oriented “Owner of a Lonely Heart” is used in an almost radical way: the music never re­ turns to its tonic, and the “sublime” flat-­VI is the final destination, from which the song fades out with no contained conclusion.69 Inauthentic Rock and “Prog Authenticity” In popular music, “authenticity” may be the “most loaded value term,” as Allan F. Moore characterizes it, and often has no single meaning.70 Lawrence Grossberg, for example, has tied constructions of authenticity to phenomena as widespread as the utterances of a particular subculture, the sexuality of a dancing body, and even postmodernism’s reflexive inauthenticity.71 Moore

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notes that at times the term can be used for a perception of “intimacy” and “immediacy” between performer and listener; at other times, to capture a sense of an artist’s “responsibility” to his or her art, audience, background, or self; and at still others, as a judgment of “integrity” bestowed on performers who seem to lack artifice and pretension.72 In general, a label of authenticity is simply a shorthand, or code, used to communicate a positive value judgment. Moore suggests a useful framework for organizing the multifarious uses of the term: a “first-­person authenticity, or authenticity of expression,” where a performer communicates his or her “real emotion” with an audience in a seemingly unmediated way; a “third-­person authenticity, or authenticity of execution,” where, as in British blues, performers may appropriate the discourse of authenticity surrounding a preexisting style; and a “second-­person authenticity, or authenticity of experience,” where a performer “validates” and “represents” listeners’ life experiences and cultural situations.73 In the case of progressive rock, the hallmarks of the genre often contrast what counts as “authentic” in other pop and rock styles. Invitations to bodily movement and sexuality and expressions of everyday experiences are not key elements of the genre’s musical style. The expectation of grandiose musical journeys surely does not lend itself to any parallel expectation of intimacy and immediacy. Neil Peart, for example, the drummer and lyricist for the “progressive hard rock” Canadian trio Rush, writes that in the mid-­1970s the band was “urged to be ‘more commercial’ ” and to “write some ‘singles,’ ” and when the band responded instead with the “contrarian,” “ambitious,” and “weird” album 2112 (1976), which featured a “side-­long piece about a futuristic dystopia,” their sales quadrupled.74 Indeed, from the musicians’ point of view, progressive rock’s claim to authenticity seems directly related to perhaps another sort of authenticity, a “musicianly authenticity” where the performers’ job is to create challenging music whether or not it results in a sense of direct communication with most listeners. For Peart, There are talented performers who are capable of making really good music, but waste their abilities by contemptuously “dumbing down” their work for a mass audience. When I hear that kind of market-­driven music, produced and sold as a mere commodity, like any other, by those who could do better, I feel it in my skin, like a physical revulsion. To a discerning listener, such music is tainted by a fundamental dishonesty, a shallow aspiration for fame and riches—­at any cost.75

And perhaps befitting many fans’ and critics’ emphasis on connections to classical music in their reception of progressive rock, “authenticity” in progressive rock may also partake of the term’s application to classical music, as

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in the discourse surrounding “historically informed” performances of music from previous centuries on “period instruments” that attempt to follow the “original intentions” of the composer.76 Thus the most lauded progressive rock concert experiences are often those by the original recording artists painstakingly reproducing the sounds of decades-­old recordings. The very idea of a progressive rock authenticity is ironic in itself, given that, historically speaking, and as we explored above, most rock critics have been highly antagonistic toward progressive rock as a most inauthentic sort of rock music. In the late 1960s and 1970s, critics conventionally argued that “good” rock was music that would move people to work against the establishment and to effect social change. Thus progressive rock—­a style that, in its indebtedness to classical music, was not obviously antiestablishment and was not “pure” rock musically, either—­was considered a highly problematic genre. The specter of race clearly raises its head as well: many influential critics of the time assumed as axiomatic an “idealization of the blues and of things ‘black’ ” and an “implicitly anti-­European . . . anti–­high culture stance.”77 Though such a perspective stemmed from a politically progressive point of view that championed disadvantaged groups, viewpoints like these also treaded “dangerously” close to implying that “black” music was more au­thentically “natural” and closer to true “feeling” because people of African descent possessed a lower degree of civilization and “thinking.”78 Even within the progressive rock subculture, a calcified sense of what counts as authentic progressive style has left some bands, and certain long periods of artistic output, for dead. This may come into relief not from focusing exclusively on constructions of authenticity, which “all are applied from the outside,” but instead from exploring a potentially fundamental tension between the creators and receivers of popular music.79 A given genre may stem from a “constellation of styles” but takes on a powerful sense of singular identity because it becomes socially based in a network that is connected to a “sense of tradition.”80 As listeners become dedicated to artists or styles, they can become wedded to particular constructions of what constitutes the “authentic.” And such a strong identification with what is considered traditional for the artist or style can result in listeners expecting future iterations to conform to a stereotype. As Mark Mazullo puts it, “Popular artists are subject not only to the whims of the market but also to the demands of their fans in terms of what music they make and what messages such music relays.” But the artists themselves may have a very different orientation; they, rather, are likely to be “dedicated to expanding the possibilities of their work, demanding of their music the defiantly ‘anti-­ authentic’ qualities of versatility, change, indeed aesthetic ‘progression.’ ”81 Thus Johan Fornäs, contemplating the “future of rock,” argues against traditional

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dialectics of “authentic rock” versus “commercial pop” and, alternatively, for “pop/rock as one single, continuous genre field rather than as distinct categories,” a field that “contains a wide and open range of subgenres, moving within certain similar economical and social frames and circuits.”82 Instead of assuming that a given style can be defined in a satisfying, tangible way, it may be more useful to focus on the notion of persona, on the subtle and fluid ways bands and their audiences communicate with each other to construct expectations surrounding a group’s image and musical iden­tity. In all likelihood, the original audiences for progressive rock shared age, class, and British cultural backgrounds with the musicians themselves, as well as a physical proximity in the intimate club settings in which most of the bands got their start. And as the genre became popular through the 1970s and attracted arena-­size audiences in the United States, largely white and male American fans were drawn to the virtuosity and visual spectacle and perhaps to an “implicit British nationalism.”83 Though it may be a full generation “too late to do a statistically accurate demographic study of progressive rock fans,” fanzines of the last two decades provide important audience perspectives.84 Chris Atton argues that these publications arose at such a temporal remove from the genre’s original popularity not only because of flourishing internet culture in the 1990s but also because mainstream popular music publications such as Melody Maker previously did the job of providing “a link between fan and musician.” On the evidence of fanzines, devoted listeners are indeed fans of rock music rather than classical music, as mentioned above, but a group particularly attracted to complexities in the music, especially within the parameter of meter; the ability to recognize such details becomes “a signifier of the progressive rock fan.”85 For the progressive rock genre around 1980, we may have an example where musicians miscalculated this exchange. “Owner” was the very first track on an album meant to be heard as new territory and, as such, was a self-­conscious manifesto of period-­based differences. The irony is that while progressive rockers attempted to develop a classical-­like reception around themselves in this way, periodizations are anything but neutral chronologies of musical changes and often can have unintended consequences on reception. Yes’s effort to transform—­as an important part of a “progressive authenticity”—­was instead read as a move away from, rather than a change within, fans’ understanding of the style. Jarl A. Ahlkvist’s analysis of an enormous online trove of fan-­written progressive rock album reviews, for example, shows that early 1970s British releases are treated not only as canonical but also as paradigmatic for evaluations of later releases. From fans’ points of view, “while there are select ‘classics’ whose inclusion in the progressive rock paradigm is virtually undisputed, the majority

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of arguably progressive rock music, especially that created after the 1970s, remains under review.”86 Fan reviews show that “complexity is the hallmark of compositional quality,” while “unadventurous” and “predictable” features are reasons to “pan” a release.87 Meanwhile, scholars of progressive rock—­whose academic training may result in different perspectives from the conventional fan but whose training nonetheless may draw them to progressive rock in the first place—­can surely also be counted as a certain stripe of fan, and their comments about a perceived post-­1980 period are equally telling.88 For Macan, the major musicians’ output of this time signals the “wreckage” of the classic bands, the result a “commercial rock” with “musical creativity . . . no longer apparent”; such “bland, pop-­radio friendly” music “signaled” the end of “the dream.” Though there is “of course nothing wrong with the new digital sounds per se, . . .  the elimination . . . [of the genre’s] distinctive tone colors . . . destroy[ed] the soul of progressive rock.”89 As Atton characterizes the resulting paradox, “much of progressive rock fandom is not interested in music that ‘progresses’ at all.”90 The problem lies not in progressive rock per se but in the fact that both the detractors and the defenders of progressive rock assume that there is such a thing as an authentic stylistic purity in the first place. One would never confuse 1970s progressive rock with classical music; as we saw above, the style evokes both highbrow and lowbrow music and plays on the tensions between them. Even suggesting that progressive rock itself exhibits a unified “style” is obviously problematic, given the diversity of individual bands’ sounds and the diversity across bands commonly grouped under the prog umbrella. Similarly, focusing solely on the “commercial” features of the major bands’ changes around 1980 masks the extent to which there are also important continuities with the bands’ previous music and with classic progressive rock in general. These bands were not simply abandoning the tenets of progressive rock; in a complex way they were attempting to continue and to develop its ideals by constructing what can be read as a classical-­like periodization. As is the case within classical music, such a structure both can help make sense of complex multidimensional phenomena and can result in ideologically based receptions of those phenomena. Such transformations were no mere dissolution of the genre but, instead, represented a deliberate new phase of the progressive rock persona within the changing bounds of popular culture.

5

Heroic: “Classic” Jazz and Musical Dialogues

Any listener with even a casual interest in the practices of music collectively called jazz knows the conventional jazz value system quite well, which indeed captures many aspects of the music and its culture.1 Rhythms tend not to be “straight” and mathematical but, instead, exhibit a feeling of “swing,” impossible to define but just as impossible not to hear.2 Rhythms are often syncopated, emphasizing places in the rhythmic foreground where there is not an expected structural emphasis in the flowing timeline. The way pitch materials are employed also plays a large part in our perceptions. Derived from and in tandem with the language of the blues, jazz freely incorporates so-­called blue notes into its melodies and harmonies. Beyond this, most listeners would argue that what makes jazz jazz is the performer’s basic relationship to the material, normally expressed with the term “improvisation.”3 Jazz is a process, and not simply a product. The idea is not necessarily to compose a new masterpiece. Rather it is normal to begin with preexisting source material, whether a complete song or a well-­known chord progression, and to perform it in what listeners would recognize as a jazz style. Indeed, in a fundamental reorientation from how we tend to think about classical music, it’s not the preset “composition” that matters nearly as much as the specific performance, the one-­time-­only event we are witnessing at this very moment.4 Thus there’s a fascinating crux point around jazz and its reception. At a fundamental level, jazz necessitates numerous complex dialogic interactions, such as those between performer and source material, between performer and previous performances of the composition by others or even by the performer him-­or herself, between the various colleagues on stage that evening, and also, more subtly but perhaps as crucially, between the performer and

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the particular audience. Yet the thrust of much discussion surrounding jazz instead leans on quite a different metaphor, one that is more than a little reminiscent of conventional classical music reception: the notion of the singu­ lar hero. In this chapter, I explore this binary opposition, which ranges across the history of jazz reception. Whether to denigrate jazz or to praise it, familiar discourse hinges on conceiving jazz fundamentally as a music of difference, most often against a baseline of expectations grounded in classical music. Such a view focuses on aspects of performance, particularly in-­the-­moment improvisatory choices that would not be captured in a fixed score, and cultural assumptions surrounding the performers. At the same time, though, a contrasting perspective also can be teased out, one that in subtle but telling ways paradoxically finds jazz’s value in its potential correspondences with classical music. Rather than highlighting one side or the other of this opposition, close consideration of influential jazz recordings instead suggests that defining examples of jazz—­and perhaps defining examples of musical practices far beyond jazz—­construct not a thinly coherent definition of the style but, rather, a complex field in which fundamental contrasts and play with seeming points of tension lie at the core. “Standing Out Like a Mountain Peak” Gunther Schuller’s extended discussion of Louis Armstrong’s 1920s performances, in his 1968 landmark work Early Jazz: Its Roots and Musical Devel­ opment, makes the case that this is good music, plain and simple, even if it wasn’t the same sort of music usually considered “good.” (Schuller was, per­ haps, the perfect person to undertake such a project, well-­credentialed as he was in both the jazz and classical worlds and able to navigate such waters so successfully that a separate label—­the “third stream”—­was commonly ap­­ plied to his own compositions in the middle of the century.)5 Within the chapter titled “The First Great Soloist,” Schuller does much to explain the inner workings of this body of recordings eminently worthy of such attention; in his words: “Though nurtured by the crass entertainment and night-­club world of the Prohibition era, Armstrong’s music transcended this context and its implications.”6 For Schuller, there are “four salient features” that leave Armstrong “stand­ [ing] out like a mountain peak over its neighboring foothills,” and all are related to performance and process, not to composition and planning. The only one of the four that could even seem to be a “purely” musical feature, meaning something that could be understood through traditional notation, is the first, “his

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superior choice of notes and the resultant shape of his lines.” But as Schuller is discussing Armstrong as a jazz soloist, the reference to notes and lines concerns improvisatory choices. And the other members of the list are, without a doubt, particularly focused on performance factors, on the very sorts of things that notation does not capture and yet are the most important. They are Armstrong’s “incomparable basic quality of tone,” “his equally incomparable sense of swing,” and, finally, his “repertory of vibratos and shakes with which Armstrong colors and embellishes individual notes,” an aspect of Armstrong’s playing Schuller considers “perhaps his most individual contribution.”7 Schuller’s perspective, from the third quarter of the twentieth century, at the height of the civil rights era, contributed greatly to a new sort of understanding for jazz musicians like Armstrong. Similar perhaps to the reception history surrounding Beethoven, where he became the revolutionary “Beethoven” mainly in the generation after his death, Armstrong’s status as a towering figure was chiefly constructed only decades after the defining work of the 1920s was committed to disc. As Brian Harker observes, “Armstrong’s was a quiet revolution whose full implications went undetected for a long time, even within the black community. . . . 1920s listeners first understood his Hot Five music not as a major realignment of jazz but in more familiar terms as (1) traditional New Orleans dance music marketed toward black southern migrants (as race records), and (2) a manifestation of novelty entertainment such as one might hear on a vaudeville stage.”8 One of the great illustrations of Schuller’s approach can be found in his commentary on Armstrong’s recording of Joe “King” Oliver’s “West End Blues,” from 1928. Schuller characterizes this track as “perhaps  .  .  . the crowning achievement . . . of Armstrong’s recorded output.”9 Most striking is the fact that we begin with an extended unaccompanied solo by Armstrong (0:00–­ 0:12). In overall feel, the opening is closer to a classical soloist stepping away from the orchestra during a concerto, and Schuller describes it as a “startling breakthrough. . . . His introductory free-­tempo cadenza was for a time one of the most widely imitated of all jazz solos. It made Armstrong a household name, and to many Europeans it epitomized jazz.”10 Even today it’s quite common to hear undergraduate jazz trumpet majors in the practice rooms trying to make their way through these generations-­old phrases.11 Schuller is at his best when describing particular recordings in detail, and his discussion of this opening solo is masterful. Take the very first measure. On the page, it wouldn’t look like much, just four quarter notes (though at a very fast tempo), each one a small leap lower than the last. But as Schuller rightly explains, “The first phrase startles us with the powerful thrust and punch of its first four notes. We are immediately aware of their terrific swing,

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despite the fact that these four notes occur on the beat, that is, are not syncopated, and no rhythmic frame of reference is set (the solo being unaccompanied).”12 From most conventional perspectives of the notion of swing, this is shocking. Swing is most often described as how a beat is subdivided, and how syncopations can interact with our sense of the underlying timeline and our perceptions of alternating strong and weak beats. One would usually assume that you can’t learn much at all about swing from four quarter notes, let alone be given a window into the heart of jazz. But that is exactly Schuller’s point: no amount of theoretical or rhetorical talent can quite satisfyingly capture what Armstrong is doing. In the end, all we can do is hear the performance itself, and we must share in the experience of listening to understand what any of us is talking about when we talk about a particular performance. As Schuller argues, “These four notes should be heard by all people who do not understand the difference between jazz and other music, or those who question the uniqueness of the element of swing. These notes as played by Louis—­not as they appear in notation—­are as instructive a lesson in what constitutes swing as jazz has to offer.” But in trying to describe exactly what the effects are, he can only go so far; no amount of description will do justice to the act of listening itself: “The way Louis attacks each note, the quality and exact duration of each pitch, the manner in which he releases the note, and the subsequent split-­second silence before the next note—­in other words the entire acoustical pattern—­present in capsule form all the essential characteristics of jazz inflection.”13 We can’t know in the abstract quite what the attacks sound like, or what the releases and silences sound like. But we can listen attentively and know that Schuller is indeed onto something. After the lightning-­fast tempo of the free introduction, it’s a bit of a surprise that the rest of the performance moves along at a fairly slow pace, and from this point forward, the sense of dialogue with the underlying blues structure is paramount. But that allows the focus to continue to lie squarely on the performative choices and the way those choices interact with the expected structure. Armstrong takes the first chorus, along with sparse background figures from the other melody instruments (0:15–­0:50), and brings his instrumental rhetoric back to the starting point; Schuller describes it as “haunting in its utter simplicity.”14 This new beginning allows Armstrong to weave an elaborate dialogue, moving from the initial comfortable middle register to expansions both upward and downward, from the beginning simpler rhythms to flurries of scalar passages and arpeggios set at times with sixteenth notes and, at other times, triplets. To conclude the chorus Armstrong moves to a perfect climax, cascading ever higher through a “spiraling triplet arpeggio” until he reaches a

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high B-­flat, the fifth note of the tonic E-­flat scale, setting up a return to E-­flat to begin the next chorus. But as logical as that note is within the scale, the particular pitch goes far beyond the pitch ceiling he’s used up to this point. And once that B-­flat is reached, he holds it for two long beats, not in the way a piano holds a pitch but by bringing the note alive; it shakes and shimmies, leaving us hanging even as we’re brought to the next chorus. Following Fred Robinson’s lulling chorus for trombone (0:50–­1:24), a third chorus where Jimmy Strong’s clarinet trades subphrases with Armstrong singing in a “scatting” style (1:24–­1:59), and Earl Hines’s fluid fourth chorus for piano (1:59–­2:32), Armstrong picks up just where he left off. After a short anacrusis, Armstrong holds out a high B-­flat, the very pitch with which he ended his first chorus (2:33–­2:44). By beginning with the same note he demonstrates a strong sense of overall architecture, and perhaps plays into the listener’s sneaking suspicion that those inner choruses had a bit of filler about them. The B-­flat doesn’t get played with a shake, as before, so much as with a wide vibrato, but the long-­range connection is palpably clear. It’s also expansive, as Armstrong takes what was two beats long and now blows away expectations by making the note last for almost sixteen beats. Armstrong imbues the note with its own sense of drama. Under normal circumstances, a long-­held pitch like this can’t help but lower in volume at some point; the player simply is going to run out of air. But Armstrong has a plan: he begins softly, no mean feat by itself for a fairly high note on the instrument, and while the vibrato keeps the note alive, it steadily builds in volume and intensity, defying expectation. Then Armstrong concludes by unleashing a response that keeps playing with that high B-­flat, returning to it over and over again until he breaks that ceiling, too, eventually leaping up for a fully rounded high C before his waves of activity finally leave off a full octave lower (2:44–­2:56), and Hines can begin a short coda that will bring the number to its end (2:56–­3:16). As Schuller asserts, “This chorus fulfills the structural conditions of climax with a sense of inevitability that is truly astonishing in an improvised work.”15 How does all this compare to being a “great composer”? To drive the point home that it is the performers, and the performance, that are primarily influential in jazz, Schuller’s framing of composition’s place is instructive. The next chapter is indeed titled “The First Great Composer” and is largely dedicated to exploring the music of Jelly Roll Morton; the titles of the two chapters make for a clear pair. But Schuller has set up a binary opposition, and the “composition” side of the binary is clearly valued on a lower plane than performative “soloing.” Schuller begins the composition chapter with the summarizing statement that “jazz is primarily a player’s and improviser’s art; it has produced preciously few composers (in the strictest sense of that term).”

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In Schuller’s estimation, “the basic stylistic and conceptual advances in jazz have been determined by its great instrumentalist-­improvisers,” and while “players may admire and respect [composers’] work, may even be influenced by them in some secondary ways, . . . these are not the men they emulate on their instruments.” And as Schuller points out in a parenthetical aside, “It is, of course, quite the contrary in ‘classical’ music.”16 Jazz as a Music of “Difference” Conventional approaches to jazz, then, consistently engage not only what makes jazz tick in and of itself but, more pointedly, also construct clear op­ positions to classical music. The implications are provocative, however, pointing beyond the seemingly “pure” musical framework of the jazz value system and toward contemplating its cultural resonances as well.17 In short, while there was a decided shift in reception from treating jazz as bad music to treating it as good music over the twentieth century, the assumption that jazz was a “different” music remained and served to perform cultural work grounded in primitivizing stereotypes of “black maleness” that can be traced back to European commentators on jazz in the 1920s.18 Even among its devotees, the notion of jazz exhibiting musical difference grounded in racially gendered difference has supported a mode of understanding that affects the reception of jazz to this day. Ingrid Monson has explored this difficult history, particularly in the 1940s bebop era, and cleverly characterizes its crux as “the problem with White hipness.” As she explains, “The ‘subcultural’ image of bebop was nourished by a conflation of the music with a style of black masculinity that held, and continues to hold, great appeal for white audiences and musicians.” The standard construction of “hipness” encompasses numerous components, stemming from a general “attitude or stance marked through modes of symbolic display associated initially with bebop: beret, goatee, [zoot suits,] horn-­rimmed glasses, heroin addiction, bop talk, and, of course, the music itself.” The attitude of hipness is one where the hip person is “not to be duped by the world around one, and to react with dignity and ‘cool’ when faced with an assault on one’s being.”19 Thus while “the music itself ” is part of this description, the characterization is largely a nonmusical one. Though meant to be a positive image surrounding a community of musicians, music is somewhat on the periphery. The main signs are, instead, related to sartorial choices, speech patterns, and notable biographical tales, traces of reception rather than traces of the art. Further, in important ways the image engages the wider context of twentieth-­century American cultural politics. The notion of hipness as a mark

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of an individualistic, rebellious artist was instrumental in moving jazz from a low to a high music, as racist attitudes and social policies no longer needed to define the culture of jazz. The musical oppositions, outwardly symbolized by oppositions of dress, language, and all the rest, represented a nonconformity positioned against not only classical music but also conventional popular music. If white music culture encompassed two basic streams, high classical music on one hand and low popular music meant for entertainment on the other, then bebop represented a triangulation against both of those, a style opposite to classical music, yet simultaneously a serious music with just as little in common with mere entertainment. But as Monson argues, there are deep problems with this image, as important as it was for defining jazz as its own music and for valuing jazz in positive terms. For one, the extent to which such characteristics actually fit the musicians is nowhere near as clear as the features’ allure. Even something as superficial as the assumed visual component of the bop musician did not capture the diverse reality very well; as Monson puts it, “The lack of complete coincidence between musical genre and visual image, however, in no way altered the ability of the goatee, beret, glasses, and zoot suit to become symbolically associated with bebop, despite the fact that many bebop musicians—­Charlie Parker, for one—­did not dress accordingly.”20 More importantly, the “hip” construction of jazz, and all the baggage that surrounds the term, is largely a white image, and one that subtly reinforces stereotypical notions of racial and racially gendered difference even as it means to move beyond racism.21 The very term “bebop” was an outgrowth of the white reception of jazz, as performances during this time began to be offered to a racially diverse audience, rather than a term originating with the musicians themselves, who tended to call it simply “the music.”22 The white image of hipness Otherized in numerous ways, easily shown in press coverage—­even from pro-­jazz writers—­for it tended to focus on facts that could be seen as defying mainstream, white, middle-­class values.23 The breach is a devastating one; in Monson’s words, “The fact that Charlie Parker was known among his peers as an avid reader who liked to talk about politics and philosophy was less interesting to the press and his imitators than his drug abuse, time spent in a state mental hospital, [and] sexual excesses.”24 Dizzy Gillespie characterized this process in his autobiography: “Generally, I felt happy for the publicity, but I found it disturbing to have modern jazz musicians [in the mid-­1940s] and their followers characterized in a way that was often sinister and downright vicious.  .  .  . I wondered whether all the ‘weird’ publicity actually drew some of these way-­out elements to us and did the music more harm than good. Stereotypes, which exploited whatever our

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weaknesses might be, emerged. Suable things were said, but nothing about the good we were doing and our contributions to music.”25 The result of all this in the popular imagination was to link—­in newly positive, perhaps, but ultimately race-­based terms—­the idea of authentic blackness with “bad” men. As Monson makes clear, “The most damaging legacy of the mythical view of the rebellious, virile jazz musician may be perhaps that when African American musicians emphasize responsibility, dignity, gentleness, or courtship, some hip white Americans presume that the artist in question may not be a ‘real’ African American.”26 Perhaps the most notorious example of a white jazz lover trading in “sinister stereotypes” comes from Norman Mailer’s 1957 essay “The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster.” Mailer writes that “the Negro . . . lived in the enormous present, he subsisted for his Saturday night kicks, relinquishing the pleasures of the mind for the more obligatory pleasures of the body, and in his music he gave voice to . . . his rage and the infinite variations of joy, lust, languor, growl, cramp, pinch, scream, and despair of his orgasm. For jazz is orgasm.”27 In the essay’s 1950s cultural context, Mailer was arguing for the white “hipster,” the “American existentialist” in a world where “one is Hip or one is Square, . . . one is a rebel or one conforms, one is a frontiersman in the Wild West of American night life, or else a Square cell, trapped in the totalitarian tissues of American society.”28 What’s shocking, at a half-­ century remove, is not so much the extent to which assertions like these are shot through with race-­based binaries as the fact that formulations like this—­ representative of the “noble savage” rhetoric of the Beats—­could be used as an argument for appreciating jazz and jazz musicians in positive terms. The notion of existing without regard for the past or contemplation of the future paints African Americans as lacking essential human abilities. Such figures supposedly eschew engagement with civilization and community, with the responsibility of work, and instead merely do the bare minimum of what one has to do to survive until the next opportunity for pleasure. Even pleasure itself is understood with reference to a mind-­body split, with African Americans interested not in thought but in sex, a sexuality described in animalistic terms. And music is a pure, unmediated representation of this identity; jazz is considered unthinking, primitive, and corporeal, and improvisation is considered as a surrender to the moment, rather than a process accomplished through mastery of one’s instrument. To code all this in positive terms implies that Mailer is trading in equally unflattering absolutes implying “mainstream” white society’s suppression of “joy” and “lust,” “rage” and “Saturday night kicks.” But the stereotypes are not questioned, merely which side of the binaries is considered positive.

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This race-­based web encompassing sex, transgression, and primitivism is, of course, a recurring trope in the history of American popular music, with classic jazz merely one point in an unfortunate timeline. In this orbit, Monson goes back briefly to mention minstrelsy, perhaps the most popular entertainment during the nineteenth century.29 In the minstrel show, white performers donned blackface and presented stereotypical imitations of black music, dress, dancing, and speech patterns for a white audience, at once promoting the allure of exotic danger while also doing much to define the white Self through contrast with the black Other. The audience could thrill to a seemingly less civilized but freer existence, all the while remaining in a safe space, the transgressions contained within the frame of a humorous performance.30 And by the end of the nineteenth century, many of the most popular minstrel performers were African Americans themselves, still putting blackface makeup on, and still providing white audiences with roles that fulfilled white assumptions of blackness, the performers allowing themselves to be defined—­and consumed—­on someone else’s terms.31 Similar practices have continued largely unabated in more recent generations as well. The sound of 1950s rock and roll is largely borrowed, to say the least, from 1940s rhythm and blues; the novelty was not in the music per se, but in the widespread use of white musicians such as Elvis Presley perform­­ ing—­and white youth enjoying—­what was thought of as a black music.32 Earlier, most white teens wouldn’t have been caught thumbing through the “race records” or “rhythm and blues” bin of the record store. The combination of dangerous sexuality paired with the relative safety of white faces had much to do with the widespread success selling that sound to white audiences. Similarly, the success of 1960s British blues stemmed in part from a mild reworking of yet another largely black music with an eye toward selling to bigger (and whiter) audiences, while keeping the music’s allure through hints of racially based transgression. The twisted history of race in the United States left blues itself a niche genre, while the respeaking of blues from white British electric musicians, themselves transfixed by the idea that American blacks were authentically natural, formed the backbone of immensely popular classic rock.33 The hip-­hop revolution in current popular music works largely along the same lines: a music developed within and for the black community became truly “popular,” able to cross over to a mass white audience, when it was retooled for consumption by that much larger and more lucrative market.34 This was accomplished not by stripping the perceived “blackness” from it, as we might assume, but rather by focusing on the “black” aspects as important topics in their own right, while always doing so in a way that is only seemingly

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“dangerous.” By defining his or her identity through hip-­hop, a white subur­ ban teenager can anger or frighten parents and teachers—­the power systems against which he or she wants to rebel—­and can assert independence through oppositional forms of dress, speech, and music, ultimately while still living a relatively sheltered existence. And the underlying assumption remains that there is such a thing as “authentic blackness,” an essential identity of dangerous opposition to the white mainstream, a fetishization of transgression mapped onto the Other. All this is quite palpable when listening to mid-­twentieth-­century jazz. Two years after Mailer’s essay, Miles Davis released his breakthrough album Kind of Blue (1959), and the opening track, “So What,” is a fascinating recording to contemplate along these lines. From the widest perspective Kind of Blue remains connected to the bop tradition. Davis leads a combo broadly organized into a rhythm section (of piano, bass, and drums) and three melody instruments (Davis’s trumpet, joined by Julian “Cannonball” Adderley on alto saxophone and John Coltrane on tenor sax). Between soundings of each main tune, which frame the performances, long periods of solo improvisation dominate. Thus the bop-­based stereotypical image of the virile black male jazz musician, standing tall at the front of the stage, and possessing the power to create music in the moment for as long as he wishes, is a strong part of these performances. Two main features separate the recording from the conventional expectations of bebop, but both can nonetheless be heard as providing further evidence toward a reception of jazz already dominated by a desire to think of the music in hip terms. First, from the opening moments of “So What,” a difference in affect is clear: whereas bebop tends to be a “hot” music, often blazingly fast and performatively virtuosic, here the music is decidedly “cool” (and indeed, cool jazz was one of the main directions in post-­bop jazz, including a number of Davis’s performances and recordings during the late 1940s and 1950s). The opening dialogue (0:00–­0:33) is quiet, for Paul Chambers’s bass and Bill Evans’s piano alone; it exists out of time, with much space to let the music breathe between ideas. The main tune coalesces out of this beginning (the first chorus lasts from 0:33 through 1:32) and stays notably relaxed. Not only do medium tempos dominate, but, also, improvisations tend toward the melodic, and the instruments play with a round sound, avoiding the hardest accents and most pointed articulations. If one of the most important assumptions surrounding hipness was the ability to do your own thing in a racist world, the overall tone of this recording fits in well with what we might want to hear from jazz musicians, a convincing sonic analog to our assumptions about the musicians themselves.35

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Second, even though jazz and blues roots remain abundant, the fast-­ moving chord progressions, difficult harmonies, and twisting and turning melodies of bop are largely nonexistent. Instead, the music tends to linger on one chord for long stretches of time, and the melody instruments’ contribution to the main tune is little more than a descending two-­sonority idea, often repeated as a riff.36 This move toward planes of sound, rather than constantly changing chords, allows the players during the improvisatory sections to explore individual melodic modes over long stretches of time, and as such, this became a hallmark feature of early 1960s “modal” jazz.37 But such an unchanging, seemingly simplistic underpinning could also play into earlier notions that jazz was, at its heart, a “primitive” music. These long-­sounding static modalities are quite far from any harmonic analogies that could be drawn with traditional Germanic classical music, or even with jazz thus far in its history, linking instead to musics outside the Western tradition.38 The formal organization of “So What,” at least by this point in jazz history, could be seen as quite limited as well, consisting of a straightforward thirty-­two-­bar AABA framework, stripped down even further by the melodic material in the horns. The main melody, being little more than a two-­note riff repeated four times in each A section, seems quite “primitive” itself. Even the B phrase, which is meant to serve as a contrast, hardly functions in such a way: in this tune, the B is little more than a move of the riff up a half step and, thus, yet another repetition of the repetitions, before returning back down for even more of them in the final A. The sounds and structures of a performance like “So What” thus could be linked to Otherizing assumptions of exoticism and naturalness surrounding mid-­twentieth-­century understandings of race. “America’s Classical Music” And yet, for all the oppositional ways jazz has been considered against classical music, a paradoxical shadow perspective instead places the two musical practices quite close. Many classical composers in the 1920s and 1930s, including and especially French composers such as Darius Milhaud and Maurice Ravel, were themselves fascinated with jazz, and even traveled to the United States to listen to and incorporate jazz-­based influences into their own “concert” music.39 For them, jazz represented a way of constructing a modern music, an authentic music of the twentieth century, full of the dissonances and syncopations stylistically distinct from the sound of the conventional classical tradition and yet also distinct from the styles of musical modernism that were current especially in German-­speaking countries. Jazz represented a fecund source style, a sort of folk music that could inform contemporary

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concertos, sonatas, ballets, and symphonies. Additionally, transcriptions of jazz solos were published as early as the 1920s, facilitating the study of jazz out of real time, akin to the process classical musicians were trained to undertake with a precomposed classical score. And academic studies of jazz from at least Schuller’s on forward show that analytical tools developed for classical music are not inherently out of place when applied to jazz improvisations.40 Much jazz of the 1930s invites a number of comparisons with classical music. The most prominent style of the time is usually called “big band” or “swing” jazz, and it was in this era that jazz became a truly popular music. In order to reach larger audiences in larger spaces, the ensembles grew. The sophisticated effects and high volumes that could be achieved with all those musicians were quite amazing; it’s not for nothing that the groups were regularly called “orchestras.”41 And, as I argued above in chapter 1 with regard to the music of Duke Ellington, if one chooses to look for the supposed hallmarks of classical music in big band performances, often they can be found in abundance. Formal frameworks are treated flexibly and subjected to creative play; musical ideas develop at multiple levels across extended temporal spans; and details relate to structures in ways that create highly individualized expressions. By the later twentieth century, it did not seem strange at all to call jazz “America’s classical music.”42 Today, no one bats an eyelash at a conservatory degree in jazz performance, though such a concept simply didn’t make much sense half a century ago, and no one finds it the least bit strange to listen to jazz in a tuxedo-­clad concert hall or to use jazz as a sonic signifier of “classy” surroundings.43 Part of why we can so easily treat jazz as a “serious” music, I would assert, stems from the assumption of jazz’s purity, even if that purity is supposedly of an equal-­but-­opposite stripe to that which we want to find in classical music. But to accomplish such cultural work, to change the way we valued the values surrounding jazz, was no simple task. Returning to Schuller’s Early Jazz, one of the aspects along these lines that stands out today is the way that it frames jazz as not only a music possessing its own pure value system but also a music that nevertheless resonates easily with conventional modes of understanding classical music, given that music’s societal pre-­acceptance as high art. For Schuller, classical music remains a baseline for what counts as good music. No matter how different jazz is said to be from classical music, in this portrait it remains only as successful as it is possible to think about jazz from a classical-­like point of view. Most strikingly, at its heart Schuller’s portrait is still based around hero worship. The emphasis may have shifted from composer to performer in order

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to fit the broad outlines and realities of jazz, but the mode of appreciation and the locus of importance remains the same: the singular figure who rises above the rest, elevating beyond a network of influences—­a supposed mark of immaturity—­to a place of independence and dominance over everyone else. Similarly, though we understand that jazz is essentially a process created in the moment of performance, the focus is on the tangible document, the recording, not unlike classical music’s focus on the fixed score. Granted, there’s more than a bit of necessity here; the only way to write a detailed portrait of a jazz performance is to lean on recordings. But his perspective is inevitably affected by the nature of these documents, and by the fact that, reasonably, he wants to survey the best of them, thus leading us back to the individuals we can think of as hero figures.44 At a more subtle level, Schuller’s classical-­like values also color the very framework into which his observations are placed. For example, consider the notion of periodization. As discussed in the previous chapter, there is a strong tendency to make sense of a particular style, or genre, or individual composer—­or just about anything—­by constructing a narrative, a story. We may tell different sorts of stories, but many of them categorize historical information on a given subject into three stages, early, middle, and late. Each narrative then values one of these periods more highly than the others. The most common story—­and by no means is this relegated to music histories—­is one of a rise and fall, an “organic” narrative, so-­called because its broad outlines are based on metaphorical connections to the life cycle.45 In an organic narrative, then, it’s the middle period that is valued most, with early music thought of as immature, something on the way to, but not quite yet achieving, the highest levels. And after the perfect syntheses of the mature middle style, the late music becomes inevitably mannered, reliving past glories or heading down false paths, but no longer operating at the level and with the same kind of creativity as the adult—­but not yet elderly—­characteristics of the middle music. In conventional ways of understanding classical music history, the most familiar application of a three-­stage narrative like this comes from Beethoven reception. It is almost impossible to read about Beethoven without realizing how deep-­seated our tendency is to think of his output in terms of early, middle, and late music, and how the perception of such stages is used to create a compelling story of achieving greatness. On a larger level, the tale replicates itself: Beethoven often serves as the middle stage in an organic narrative applied to classical music history as a whole. We often understand earlier music as an inevitable march toward the hero Beethoven, and many pieces composed after are considered ex post facto responses to him.

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The more we can apply such narratives to other music, the more we can make it seem that this or that figure is similarly hero-­like, similarly Beethovenian. And so it is with Schuller’s discussion of Louis Armstrong. Armstrong represents the original hero figure in jazz history—­all before are precursors, and all after function in his shadow.46 Similarly organic, the 1920s-­era Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings are considered the high point of Armstrong’s career itself.47 And even Schuller’s detailed survey of those recordings replicates the narrative on the micro level. Their first recordings, in late 1925, “produced no earthshaking jazz,” and while the “second group of dates,” in early 1926, “was somewhat more successful musically and in addition produced the Hot Five’s first hit record, ‘Heebie Jeebies,’  .  .  . generally, however, the group was still finding itself.” But by December 1927, as Schuller has it, “Armstrong’s style had coalesced into a near-­perfect blend of relaxation and tension, as demonstrated on six spectacular sides.” In a sexist aside, Schuller informs us that “even Lil Armstrong,” Louis’s wife at the time and the piano player for many of the recordings, “is improved.” But just a short year later, by the end of 1928, “in over-­all quality [the recordings] were uneven” as they “suffered from stiff arrangements (or arrangements stiffly played), touches of sentimentality, and poor material. Commercialism was beginning to exert its subtle pressures, fore­­ casting the decline of Louis Armstrong as an innovative force.” Schuller asserts, in conclusion, that “it would have been beyond even his genius to develop past this point.”48 As these last statements make plain, the value placed on the heroic is related at its root to the idea of originality, of “innovation,” a notion borrowed directly from conventional portraits of classical music history, and one that creates a binary opposition between “entertainment” and “art.” As Schuller states grandly, “When on June 28, 1928, Louis Armstrong unleashed the spectacular cascading phrases of the introduction to ‘West End Blues,’ he established the general stylistic direction of jazz for several decades to come. Beyond that, this performance also made quite clear that jazz could never again revert to being solely an entertainment.”49 The more Armstrong’s music can be understood as the work of an original genius, a hero transcending the particulars of his time and place, the more it can be considered within the realm of Art, as creating a universal “classic” music. When music instead leans in the direction of “mere” entertainment—­“sentimental” music, music that is made to be “commercial”—­ that music is inherently “poor,” inherently incompatible with “innovation.” The high/low split, used throughout much of jazz’s history as a way of denigrating jazz against classical music, can also be used within jazz, and even within some of its most classic performances, to continue to chip away at anything deemed not sufficiently heroic, not sufficiently pure.

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Jazz as a Modernist Music As for mid-­twentieth-­century jazz musicians themselves, they consistently described their music as “modern,” and the term is a provocative one.50 As the new bebop style was formulated by players who felt stifled within the confines of big band swing and its tightly controlled arrangements that limited improvisation, the music focused on features easily heard in opposition to the music that characterized their main gigs. Thus the new approach was filled with scales that went beyond and defied the usual ones, rhythmic accents beyond the levels of syncopation that jazz fans expected, tempos approaching extremes both fast and slow, popular songs reworked in ways so radical it was at times difficult to recognize the source material, and performances so virtuosic and improvisatory that even many jazz musicians couldn’t keep up.51 At the same time, such conscious cultivation of new and difficult stylistic traits contained a political edge, representing a pointed reaction against, as they saw it, the minstrel-­show-­like mere entertainment of earlier jazz.52 No matter how much the fans and the press focused on surface images, for the musicians themselves it was the music that mattered most. In Monson’s words, “Recollections of Minton’s and the early years of bebop are singularly devoid of the sensationalism found in the popular press, which tended to stress the fashion, language, and substance abuse associated with bebop. Instead the conviviality and environment of musical exploration are recalled.”53 And when transposed downtown, confronted with the “white hip bohemian clientele” of the nightclubs in those neighborhoods, who didn’t emphasize the music but nevertheless considered themselves in the know, occasionally the musicians would lash out at this deep misunderstanding. Monson quotes extensively a “lecture from the bandstand” by Charles Mingus recorded at a gig in 1959, in which he said to the crowd, “You haven’t been told before that you’re phonies. You’re here because jazz has publicity, jazz is popular. . . . But it doesn’t make you a connoisseur of the art because you follow it around. . . . You’ve got your dark glasses and your clogged-­up ears.”54 The term “modern” used by the musicians also makes clear reference to—­ and asserts deep connections with—­the commitment to modernism witnessed in much twentieth-­century classical music.55 Whereas other familiar stylistic labels in classical music, such as baroque or Romantic, were not used by musicians or audiences in their own particular times, by the early twentieth century, classical musicians were acutely self-­conscious of their history and spent much time obsessing about becoming part of it. The overriding model was one of linear progress, and both portions of that term matter. It was essential to show progress, to be original, and to innovate based on what

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had come before. But the music couldn’t simply be different; it had to display the right sorts of innovations, such that composers could claim that their specific sort of modern music was the correct next style and was built around the correct next technique. Thus it wasn’t simply that Arnold Schoenberg and his circle were developing and using the twelve-­tone system in the 1920s as a way of creating coherent music outside the tonal system, which had been dominant over the previous three hundred years, but rather their ability to assert that the new system was the way to organize music of historical importance in the twentieth century. As Anton Webern put it, “There’s no alternative!”56 What was most influential, then, about the notion of musical modernism was not simply a particular style or technique but, rather, an overall approach to composing and playing music. Music was thought of as capital-­A “Art” that should be taken seriously, and musicians were Artists, whose prime loyalty was not to developing a large audience but to the art itself. If the innovations deemed necessary at a given time were difficult to follow by the audience, even potentially alienating, that was perhaps an unfortunate, but ultimately irrele­ vant, side effect of what had to be done for the sake of the art. This same aura permeated the discourse surrounding modernism in jazz as well.57 As a twentieth-­century music from the start, jazz always existed at a time when linear progress was assumed. And while a binary opposition of art versus entertainment generally fueled much negative criticism of jazz, the musicians themselves didn’t treat the fact of jazz’s existence within the popular music industry as a barrier to the self-­conscious drive for innovation said to mark the serious artist.58 Thus while we conceive of most stylistic periods in classical music history to have lasted a century or so, and sometimes considerably longer, the fast changes expected of modern society, and the related assumption that good music innovates, have always been a part of jazz’s stylistic history. In jazz, a style that holds sway for more than a decade is out of the ordinary.59 Experiments in arranging for larger ensembles that we now recognize as the big band concept were happening even before Armstrong recorded his defining Dixieland performances, and big band musicians themselves were using after-­hours sessions to develop the innovations of bebop while their main gigs were still stable sources of income. For the beboppers, their sense of modernism was acute, for it encompassed both their need as twentieth-­century musicians to experiment and push the boundaries of their art and their need to be treated with dignity and respect. Miles Davis’s long career shows, perhaps more strongly than any figure in the history of jazz, a commitment to jazz as a modernist music, as an art whose lifeblood is bound up with the idea of innovation. He began within

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bebop bands, but the style did not dictate his music so much as provide the starting point from which new directions would emerge. Davis’s experiments, most notoriously his attempts at “fusion” with rock instruments and sounds in the late 1960s and early 1970s, could sometimes lead so far afield that many questioned whether the music was jazz at all. But at a deeper level, perhaps reminiscent of the stylistic changes by progressive rock bands in the 1980s and the checkered reception surrounding them discussed in the previous chapter, this showed the tension between the commitment to modernism as a process and the conception of jazz as a fixed set of styles and techniques, a set of bound­ aries that could be violated.60 Above I argued that “So What” in particular and Kind of Blue in general play to the stereotypes surrounding “hipness” so thoroughly that it’s little wonder the track is often held up as a perfect example of jazz and that the album is one of the best-­selling, and perhaps the best-­selling album, in jazz history.61 The style is so cool, the tunes so simple, the improvisations undeniably expert. But without denigrating the importance of improvisation in these performances, there is also a tremendous amount of modernist abstraction in the conception of “So What.” Miles Davis is not simply beholden to standard forms and simplistic melodies; rather, this piece is nothing less than a radical deconstruction of, and critical comment on, the very idea of standardization and simplicity within jazz itself. The two-­note melody is too simple, too stripped down; it goes beyond any stereotypical notion of the “primitive” and forces one to contemplate the very idea of primitiveness in music. It serves as a convincing sonic analogue to the sort of modern visual art that similarly trades in simplicity so extreme that it shocks the viewer. Displaying a piece in a museum that, technically speaking, could be painted by a small child leads one to think critically about the institution of the museum, about the necessity for training and credentials, about cultural assumptions surrounding the very notion of talent. It’s essential that the artist is indeed a professional and not an untrained child; the point is that such an artwork is, at its base, a choice, a conscious move away from an attempt to capture the world in a photographically complex way, and toward a focus on the thought process we bring to artistic creation. The first two tracks on Kind of Blue, even within their cool guise, are a jazz manifesto of this sort of challenge. “So What” confronts, with its standardized AABA form filled with a nonmelody, and “Freddie Freeloader” is built around the other basic structural framework in jazz, the twelve-­bar blues, with its melody another descending two-­note riff, representing yet more repetitions of a musical idea barely worthy of the name. Thus Davis spends most

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of side 1 of the album putting forward the most abstract versions of jazz possible, bald forms filled with empty melodic space, yet all performed with the surest confidence. The metacommentary on jazz in “So What” extends beyond formal types and melodic construction to the very roles of the players within the group. Normally the rhythm section, made up of the drums, bass, and chording instruments like the piano, keeps the beat, lays down the groove, and provides the harmonic foundation. The others, who tend to play wind instruments like the trumpet and saxophone, are melody instruments; they play the tune at the beginning and end of the performance and improvise over the internal choruses. Normally the rhythm section keeps the structure of the piece intact, chorus after chorus, while the melody instruments focus attention on the tune, improvised commentary on the tune, and wider improvisations built on its structure. But in “So What,” the roles are often reversed. In fact, it’s easy enough to argue that the real melody of “So What” is not the two-­note riff in the melody instruments at all but, rather, the bass lick that serves as the pickup figure to it. That lick possesses melodic shape, rising toward the tonic note, overshooting it by a step, and then going back a bit to fix its mistake. And instead of plain restatements, it subtly changes each time. If the parts were reversed—­if the horns were the instruments with the “real” melody figures, and the rhythm section instruments the ones with a two-­chord response—­nothing would seem out of the ordinary. But here, the usually featured instruments are the ones with the background, and it’s the bass, the player who’s almost always somewhat in the background, with the real melody. Meanwhile, the very membrane separating melody and rhythm section instruments here is so permeable that even the two-­chord riff is affected. During the first A phrase (0:33–­0:48), the riff isn’t played by the melody instruments at all but by the piano. The second A (0:48–­1:02) finally adds the melody instruments on the riff, but so as to avoid allowing a listener to perceive a predictable pattern, Davis withdraws the horns for the phrase’s final statement of the riff, once again leaving only the piano on the figure. For the next phrase (1:02–­1:16), the B, Davis repeats this timbral pattern, and by keeping the pattern of colors constant, he effectively shifts attention back to the realm of pitch, putting focus on the contrast, the music’s shift up a half step. Then for the final A (1:16–­1:32), closure is constructed with the most stable statement of the phrase so far, repeating both the timbral and melodic patterns and placing the music back in the home tonic as well. We are treated to a jazz performance so elemental that we can immedi­ ately grasp the simple melodies and traditional structure, and the overall flow

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from composition to improvisation and back to composition again. But at the same time, Davis is like a master film director, not merely presenting us with a competent genre piece but, rather, leading us to contemplate the genre’s conventions themselves in all their nakedness and simultaneously drawing our attention beyond the abstractions to the surprising details in all their particulars. The musicians may provide more than enough evidence for audiences to find hipness, if that’s what we are looking for. But Monson’s more nuanced portrait of the self-­consciously modernist community of jazz musicians at the time is also there to be found. With a different filter in mind, white hipness, in all its problematics, need not dominate our hearings. Instead, the musicians’ sense of themselves as intellectual interrogators of their own art is just as strong. Jazz’s Developmental Dialogues One particular parallel between jazz and classical practices deserves comment: both musics prize a sense of musical coherence that, in classical music, usually goes by the code word “development,” or at times by the phrase “developing variation.” When one idea seems to grow out of the previous thought and flows easily to the next, in a chain of events that seems to make aural and logical sense, we often find a deep musical satisfaction. In classical music the assumption is that the composer is responsible for constructing such pleasures; in jazz the focus is on the performer’s ability to create them. But the satisfactions themselves are similar. If anything, knowledgeable jazz fans argue that jazz is even more rewarding than classical music because the performers are able to construct such connections within the fabric of real time.62 It’s surely worth considering the idea that we’ve got our terminology exactly backward: instead of assuming that great jazz improvisations aspire to the condition of logically planned compositions, it rather may be the case that much great classical composition results from a composer’s attempts to capture on paper the connections released during sessions of improvisatory music making. Thus it is no surprise that one of the towering achievements in the history of jazz scholarship is Paul Berliner’s Thinking in Jazz: The Infinite Art of Im­ provisation (1994). Berliner’s methodology is ethnographic, where the bulk of his research is in the act of talking, reflecting, and participating with jazz musicians themselves, thereby focusing on the participant’s thought process when improvising rather than the end product of a recorded solo. The resulting “inner dialogue,” as Berliner calls it, instantly and thoroughly interrogates

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the notion that jazz is a system of music making completely apart from that found in classical music. Berliner shows that many jazz performers are quite conscious, even acutely aware, of the extent to which their task is to weave improvisations that structure time through self-­dialogic connections and responses to what they’ve played thus far. Bebop drumming great Max Roach describes it like this: “After you initiate the solo, one phrase determines what the next is going to be. From the first note that you hear, you are responding to what you’ve just played: you just said this on your instrument, and now that’s a constant. What follows from that? And so on and so forth. . . . When I play, it’s like having a conversation with myself.”63 The players themselves discuss their process in terms of “motivic or thematic development, . . . holding onto [ideas] the instant they conceive them, manipulating them, and exploring their implications within the framework of a passing beat.”64 It’s also clear that effective improvising is more than a matter of moment-­ to-­moment connections: it is also a qualitative shaping of time over the entirety of a solo akin to telling a story. Once again, while the presumed site of authorship differs from that in classical music, the overriding concern for music that is effectively structured, dynamic, and dramatic is quite similar. And though such results in jazz may happen in the moment of performance, the preparation and intellectual focus that goes into an improvisation is no less important. According to Buster Williams, soloing is “like playing a game of chess. There’s the beginning game, the middle game, and then there’s the end game. . . . To accomplish this, the use of space is very important—­sparse­ ness and simplicity—­maybe playing just short, meaningful phrases at first and building up the solo from there.”65 As might be expected from the hair-­raising prospect of attempting to create music both viscerally exciting and mentally challenging in real time, many performers tell their share of stories when things didn’t work out so well on a particular occasion. As Berliner points out, there is an “unpredictable relationship between the musical materials they have mastered for their large store and the actual ideas that occur to them during solos.” The individual player in effect engages in a dialogue among the “theoretical” mind, which knows what patterns of notes fit over a given chord and what ideas were just played that can now be manipulated; the “singing mind,” which unpredictably “might assume control and choose the next several tones aurally”; and, just as unpredictably, “the player’s body,” which at any time may “pursue another option” if the ideas coming from the other “minds” exceed a player’s physical limitations or lead to an “idiomatic figure” on his or her particular instrument.66

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The occasional breakdown has its potentially positive side, too, as what Berliner calls “musical saves” can result and, indeed, can lead to further workable ideas. One of the most common is the “deliberately reproduced mistake”; as Kenny Barron states, “One of the tricks is that if you play something that you didn’t really mean to play, play it again. If you repeat it, it sounds like that’s what you meant to play.” As Berliner experienced at a particular performance, “a soloist’s drumsticks slipped through his fingers and rebounded on the drum head with a unique syncopated figure. As soon as the drummer reclaimed his sticks, he deftly repeated the syncopated figure, treating it as a motive. In another instance, when a trumpeter overshot a target pitch and hit a painful wrong note, he instantly pulled his finger off the offending key—­inadvertently raising the pitch a step—­then produced a rapid descent to the original target pitch. At that point, he deliberately proceeded to ornament each pitch of the chord in the same manner, creating a new phrase from the maneuver.”67 Sonic traces of that inner dialogue, and the notion of dialogue in general, can be heard easily enough if we are listening for them. For example, consider the late 1947 Charlie Parker recording of “Crazeology,” composed by the trumpeter Benny Harris, who also wrote the Parker classic “Ornithology.”68 This performance, as would be expected in a bebop style, focuses on fast and difficult virtuosic playing within a fairly small combo, here comprising six players. Even the main tune itself, which sounds complete at the beginning and end (0:00–­ 0:28 and 2:26–­2:55), has the distinct feel of a dialogic improvisation.69 The improvisatory choruses, sandwiched as expected between the opening and closing statements of the melody, continue the flow of ideas in ways that make sense yet are never static and predictable. Parker’s solo on the released track (0:28–­0:58), which was the fourth take in the studio, is a revelation.70 The sense of dialogue kicks off from the very opening of the solo and never lets up for more than an instant. Parker begins with a wildly fast upward climb and then, in response, he leaps down an entire octave for a short accented note that separates itself from the next idea. Listening to himself, Parker immediately creates a riff by repeating that daring opening gambit. Most impressive is the fluidity with which Parker works within the timeline. The second sounding of the riff is placed so unpredictably with regard to the beats and the bars that the sense of time is disrupted before we have a chance to catch our bearings. As the chorus goes on, the underlying four phrases of eight bars each may still be there, but it becomes downright difficult to count along with the rhythm section because of how Parker, without ever violating that structure, is able to move across the phrases. Ideas begin and end, transition and jump-­cut, with seemingly no regard for the beat groupings that keep the performance coherent, yet the flow always fits well with the harmonies

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implied by the bass and piano. As Martin Williams characterizes it, “The leaping solo on ‘Crazeology’ tells as much as any single performance about the ease with which Parker handled harmony, rhythm, and line.”71 Our potential disorientation aside, Parker’s inner conversation indeed makes sense all along, the parts fall into place brilliantly, and at the end we move right to the next choruses and the next solos. The dialogue between the players is at least as strong as the inner dialogue comprising any individual performance. The next chorus belongs to trombonist J. J. Johnson (0:58–­1:27), and as he pauses to reinforce the phrase structure of the first A going to the next, and the second A shifting to the B, drummer Roach hears the space and takes the opportunity to fill it. And then, as a response to what’s just happened, during the second half of the chorus, a full-­blown conversation takes place between Johnson and Roach; every stolen breath on the trombone is instantly responded to with a percussion bomb, and by the end of the chorus, they’re both able to come to the fore simulta­ neously without ever stepping on each other’s toes. Johnson, meanwhile, distinguishes the end of his final phrase with a series of attacks on the tonic note, and as a young Miles Davis takes over for the next chorus (1:27–­1:56), it becomes clear that he has been listening to the conversation closely; he begins right where Johnson left off with his own series of tonic-­note attacks on his trumpet and comments on the idea by occasionally dropping a semitone below before returning to the home pitch. The final solo chorus (1:56–­2:26) is distributed around the various members of the rhythm section, taking what’s normally their mutual interaction and temporarily isolating the individual components. Duke Jordan takes the first two A phrases on piano, then yields to Tommy Potter on bass for the B, before all give way to Roach’s drum theatrics on the final A. The entire group then joins together once again for the main tune and the last chorus. And even here, the tune is not treated mechanically. The B phrase (2:40–­ 2:48) is not the composed B at all but, instead, eight more bars of Parker’s bravura improvisation. In fact, he is so engaged, and the eight bars at this fast tempo so short, that he can’t even catch his breath to join his bandmates for the arrival of the final A (2:48–­2:55). Instead, Parker is noticeably absent on the first subphrase. Davis and Johnson soldier on with the melody, literally without missing a beat. Parker joins them shortly thereafter, and our laughter at the musical save dies down just about at the point where the tune comes crashing to an end a few seconds later. The presence of developmental connections within the musical fabric, then, rather than being a sign of individual transcendent creativity, might better be recognized as an important activity musicians engage in within and

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among themselves as a way of simply constructing something worthwhile to say. For “aspiring improvisers,” for example, as Berliner characterizes it, de­ v­eloping ideas during improvisation “facilitates the ability to think on their feet by providing them with well-­defined materials for composing their ongoing parts.”72 Thematic interconnections, as logically satisfying as they are, are just as bound up in the practicalities of music making as in the esoteric realm of artistic inspiration. Indeed, numerous stylistic traits in a given practice may be as related to the performative nature of that music as they are to any expression of abstract principles. Rather than simply an outgrowth of “artistic inspiration” and “creative genius,” jazz highlights the value of day-­to-­day, real-­world music making. Notions of dialogue—­horizontal interaction, as opposed to top-­down authority—­ permeate all levels of jazz practice and hint at important ways of rethinking the music-­making process in general, including that surrounding classical music.73 Singular authorship, groundbreaking originality, striving to break the bonds of commercialism, pure expressions of a pure culture: these are the sorts of things we want in the music we know, deep in our bones, to be the “good” music, in jazz as much as in classical music. But the more we look, the less we find.74 As much as we tend to assume that this is a fault of the music, closer to the truth is that this is a fault of the way we attempt to understand it. Dialogic Interactions in “Hotter than That” So the fact that jazz tends to be valued differently than classical music is not so much the end of the story, but more like the beginning. The musical techniques most strongly associated with jazz, especially improvisation, seem to differentiate the genre, but from a deeper point of view also show a developmental process not that far removed from the creative workings of most classical music. We might locate authorship in jazz at a different site than we do in classical music, with the performer rather than the composer, but we still tend to place the supposed prime movers in similar models of hero worship. Our historical conception of jazz tells its own story from style to style, but it is the same sort of narrative told in most histories of classical music, one built on assumptions of rising and falling, and focused almost exclusively on individual innovations that lead waves of progress. At the same time, jazz highlights—­and hints at for classical music as well—­how much is gained from instead paying attention to networks of influence encompassing wider sources of inspiration than the lone genius, wider groups of people than the assumed authentic ones, and wider interactions between the realms of exalted art and mere entertainment than we might have first assumed.

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A brief excursion into a final example can highlight this sort of approach. Commentators have often thought of “Hotter than That,” a 1927 Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five performance that involves a number of the figures we’ve met thus far, as a seminal early recording that can be used to develop our understanding of jazz.75 In Schuller’s words, these recordings of Armstrong from the later 1920s “probably contributed more than any other single group of recordings to making jazz famous and a music to be taken seriously,” and “Hotter” is deemed worthy of a fair amount of detailed commentary.76 “Hotter” was written by Lillian Hardin Armstrong, and arranged by Don Redman, the important arranger of such tracks as Fletcher Henderson’s 1924 recording of “Copenhagen.”77 The members of the band are, in addition to Louis on cornet and vocals and Lil on piano, Edward “Kid” Ory (trombone), Johnny Dodds (clarinet), Johnny St. Cyr (banjo), and Lonnie Johnson (guitar). From the perspective of conventional jazz values, there are a number of aspects that don’t fit very well at all. But if we don’t make a special effort to fit this performance into the mold, and if we don’t assume that such ill-­fitting features are problematic, we can enjoy “Hotter” precisely for the extent to which it is not pure, the extent to which it negotiates the boundaries of jazz, and the dialogue it undertakes between different sorts of musical values. This makes it no less classic a performance, no less real jazz, but instead it can lead us to recalibrate our very understandings of classic jazz itself. Given our conventional understandings of jazz, we would assume that this recording represents merely one of a multitude of versions. Each take in the recording studio would have different solos, as would each performance for a live audience. And given the limitations of the period’s recording technology, the version on the recording would, of necessity, have to fit within the roughly three-­minute length of a side, while performances in clubs would not need to be constrained in such a way. But there is strong evidence to indicate that these assumptions are incorrect. Especially in an era before studio overdubbing, when recordings were made more or less live, we expect the record to be just that, a sonic snapshot of what these individuals sounded like in their day-­to-­day lives playing together. Unless we were physically there, attending clubs every night to witness all the performances, we’re left merely with the narrow slice of the recordings, but at the same time we can get something of the sense of what the music was like. And yet, at least in the case of this group, such assumptions do not capture the reality at all. In Schuller’s words, though “its personnel . . . did play together in the band at the Dreamland and other clubs and ballrooms [in Chicago], . . . the remarkable thing is that the Hot Five never existed as a band outside the recording studios.” This is remarkable

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indeed: recordings like “Hotter” are not at all traces of the group’s real life as a working band; the fixed sonic documents alone are the reality. The group did not set out to capture their collective creativity developed on the bandstand so much as they came together as professionals to be creative for the express purpose of producing a product to sell to a growing jazz audience. This is no flaw, no bastardization of jazz values, but the reality, and one that was clearly no impediment to creating great art. Though Schuller himself finds the “pressures” of “commercialism” as a sign of “decline,” what is really worth grappling with is the fact that commercialism was always an important part of the group’s activity.78 Questions arise even about improvisation, the process most basic to the idea of jazz. Even if we accept that the Hot Five recordings represent the band’s work in total, we would still imagine that if the band performed together night after night, then the solos on the recordings would simply be one particular solo out of a potentially infinite number of others, limited only by the number of times the piece was played. Yet this might not be the case for a track like “Hotter.” Armstrong’s practice instead may have been to set many of his solos before recording them. As Joshua Berrett explains with regard to the “remarkable” unaccompanied solo by Armstrong that begins “West End Blues,” discussed above, “it was hardly a divinely conceived spontaneous creation, unique to the 1928 session. In fact, its genealogy went back almost four years—­a lineage of ‘licks,’ breaks, and gestures inspired by operatic bravura and such. . . . [The introduction] invites us to reexamine the very idea of improvisation.”79 Armstrong’s opening cornet chorus on “Hotter” (0:09–­ 0:43) represents a lightly paraphrased version of the composed tune itself, and his vocal scatting solo (1:19–­1:57), at least for its first half, is still structured around the main tune; the break in bars fifteen and sixteen of the scatting solo is particularly close to the one at the same spot in the opening chorus.80 Thus Armstrong’s solos here don’t stray very far from the composition and are likely planned in advance. This makes the solos no less creative, but in all likelihood they are less spontaneous than we might at first assume. Indeed, though “Hotter than That” demonstrates a “remarkable performance,” as Schuller acknowledges, close consideration shows that the recording is not determined chiefly by the performers but, instead, through interactions between (at least) the performers, the composer, and the arranger.81 Even the notion of composer is spread out in multiple directions, as the tune is credited to Lillian Hardin Armstrong, while the underlying chord progression is modeled on the trio strain of the song “Tiger Rag,” which itself was copyrighted not by one person but, rather, the entire Original Dixieland Jass

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Band, in 1917.82 And the formal structure itself is grounded in ragtime traditions, with most strains based around two balanced phrases of sixteen measures each. Then, from the point of view of the arrangement, Redman himself deserves credit for many specific choices that mold the abstract composition into this particular performance, including some of the most salient features of the recording. The collective improvisation of New Orleans jazz is on display, but only to open and close the track. And with only six performers on hand, Redman does not utilize section arranging, as he did with Henderson’s somewhat larger ensemble performing “Copenhagen.” Instead, between the framing phrases, individual choruses come to the fore in a progression determined by the arranger. After the full ensemble’s eight-­bar intro (0:00–­0:09), Armstrong takes the first chorus on cornet, and the next is for Dodds’s clarinet (0:43–­1:19). Armstrong leads the next chorus with scatting vocals, accompanied not by the entire rhythm section but by guitar alone. Then the voice and guitar engage each other more fully: for sixteen bars—­thus a passage outside the thirty-­two-­bar structure of the main choruses—­and with no accompaniment at all, Armstrong and Johnson dialogue by trading two-­bar phrases, often imitating each other and commenting on the ideas that have just flown by (1:57–­2:14). The piano then enters and sounds alone for four more mea­­ sures (2:14–­2:19), setting us up to move back into the main piece. The last section is the most arrangement intensive of the entire performance. The first half features Ory’s trombone, which has not yet been in the spotlight (2:19–­2:36); his half chorus closely follows the outlines of Armstrong’s choruses and perhaps hews the closest to the tune as composed. Then the textures start to change, and at an increasing rate. For eight measures, we return to the sound of collective improvisation (2:36–­2:45), and that texture closes the frame, as the performance began by utilizing that technique. But it’s Redman’s control over the group that has the last word. For the next four measures, “stop time” dominates (2:45–­2:50), where the band only plays on each downbeat, leaving the rest of the space open for Armstrong; a brief two-­measure segment returns to the collective sound (2:50–­2:52); and then the last six bars alternate (2:52–­3:00), two bars at a time, between cornet and guitar as an echo of the longer middle section from before. Thus while the first few choruses proceed reasonably normally, each one dominated by one particular solo instrument, from that point forward changes occur more and more frequently and don’t always fit neatly into the existing structure. As with “Copenhagen,” the piece belongs to the arranger at least as much as to the composer. One recurring feature of the arrangement deserves special notice. Almost every phrase in the main choruses begins with a two-­measure lead-­in called a

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break, a moment where the rhythm section cuts out, leaving the soloist alone. The macro-­level chorus-­to-­chorus textural changes of the arrangement are thus matched by these micro-­level jolts; as Schuller suggests, “The constant two-­bar breaks add much to the textural variety of the performance.” They give “Hotter” a good portion of its infectious energy: for eight beats leading into each phrase, the soloist is left alone, creating expectations for the reemergence of the band, and those desires are then fulfilled on the downbeat of the following phrase. Within each thirty-­two-­bar chorus the breaks occur in measures fifteen and sixteen, leading in to each chorus’s second half, and bars thirty-­one and thirty-­two, leading in to the next chorus. The breaks in the middle of a chorus are given to the featured instrument for that chorus, as the instrument in question will continue to solo, while the end breaks introduce the player who will lead the next chorus. This particular use of the break is notable in its own right; according to Schuller, the breaks in “Hotter” represent “the first instance, to my recollection, . . . that [are] not a phrase ending, but a connection to the next improvised segment.”83 And during later passages, the breaks engage in dialogues with the very expectations created by the breaks themselves in the opening choruses. Thus the middle section for unaccompanied voice and guitar trading subphrases does not come out of nowhere but, instead, can be thought of as a section composed of nothing but breaks. The passage perhaps can be further considered a single extended break on a higher level of organization within the entire performance. Then, near the end, breaks come to the fore in new guises. After the trombone-­led melody, Armstrong takes the break through measures fifteen and sixteen of that chorus (2:34–­2:36), and this is the first time in the entire performance that during a regular chorus the featured instrument switches after just one phrase. The stop-­time passage that sounds soon after, in effect, places a series of breaks one after the other, and for the first time in the performance, these each last for one measure each, instead of the two-­ bar breaks used exclusively up to this point. And the final passage is just as surprising, as the performance finishes not with a big ending but, again, with nothing but breaks, as the guitar and cornet trade off a few unaccompanied subphrases. “Hotter” seems merely to stop rather than conclude. But none of this is to suggest that the performers themselves are anything less than essential in their own right. The masterful swing on display throughout “Hotter” is a function not of the composition or the arrangement but of the particular sounding ways the players bring the choices of the composer and arranger to life. The exact placement of the notes within the fluid timeline; the extensions of some pitches and the stopping short of others; the effect of the articulations; the movement and changes within single pitches as they are

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held out and connect to the next notes—­these are aspects controlled by the performers, without which this piece would fall flat no matter how expert the work of Lil or Redman. A written version of “Hotter” simply could not capture the essence of this performance, even if it indicated every note, rhythm, and textural change. And while the solos may not have been improvised in exactly the way we expected, they are still bursts of creativity that linger in our minds and ears, and they have continued to do so long after fashion left the New Orleans jazz style behind and long after technology left the sound of 1920s recordings behind. The solos engage in the conversations, and self-­conversations, that are an essential ingredient in all great jazz. One passage is worth extended comment, as it represents a self-­dialogue so abstract one might expect it to show up only in a Miles Davis performance decades later. The first half of Armstrong’s scatting vocal solo is largely what we might expect, with syllables that imitate the different sounds of the cornet, and manifold ideas and moments that engage each other within and across the various subphrases. But the second half of the solo (1:39–­1:57) is a wonder. All elaboration is stripped away, and Armstrong focuses on one particular rhythm: two notes, the first one on the beat, and the second one, for a higher pitch, in the middle of the next beat. The placement of the second note does not precisely subdivide the second beat, but as we might expect in jazz the note swings, arriving somewhat later. But roughly speaking, this rhythm would be captured in notation with each note occupying a beat and a half, or three eighth notes, and thus the entire two-­note rhythm takes up three beats total. The rhythm is elemental, as it consists of nothing but alternations between on-­the-­beat and off-­the-­beat placement, non-­syncopation followed by syncopation. Such a stripped-­down idea allows the listener to focus on the fact that the rhythm’s three-­beat length runs out of phase with the underlying metrical structure of four beats to each bar. Thus the first statement takes up beats one through three of the phrase’s first measure (“1-­2-­3”), while the next statement begins on beat four, and finishes up on beat two of the next measure (“4-­1-­2”). Continuing the pattern, the following statement begins on beat three of that measure, and lasts through beat one of the third measure (“3-­4-­1”), and the next enters on beat two of that third measure, and finishes up on beat four (“2-­3-­4”), finally setting up a situation where the pattern will enter the following measure, the fourth measure of the phrase, once again on the downbeat. As Terry Teachout’s evocative language describes it, in this “electrifying passage” Armstrong “bounds across the beat like a flung pebble skipping over choppy waters.”84 Syncopations are operating on at least three different levels. On the level

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of the pulse, each statement of the rhythm begins on the beat and places its second pitch off the beat. On the level of the measure, Armstrong is creating new statements of the rhythm every three beats while Johnson’s guitar continues to play with a four-­beats-­to-­a-­bar underlying organization. And on the level of the phrase, Armstrong’s rhythms come back around to the downbeat of a measure every three measures, while the structure of each phrase consists of four measure groups that additively create sixteen-­bar phrases. In Schuller’s words, “This chain of syncopations goes right through and over the traditional eight-­bar division, to which soloists (especially in the twenties) tended to adhere to dogmatically. Armstrong pulls out of the 3/4 pattern only at the beginning of the twenty-­sixth bar of the chorus, thus introducing a startling touch of modern asymmetry that very few of his contemporaries ever chanced upon, except through incompetence.”85 All together, this is surprisingly easy to hear and contemplate. All other factors are kept to a minimum; there are no intervening ideas coming from Armstrong in the midst of this extended passage, and the accompaniment is left to the guitar alone. Instead, the patterns of tension and release, and the replication of those patterns on multiple levels, are the sole features on display, and they create a sensation as viscerally exciting as they are intellectually satisfying. What’s remarkable about “Hotter than That,” then, and by extension about classic jazz in general, is the extent to which the usual binary oppositions surrounding jazz reception are largely irrelevant. We can instead approach jazz as a vital practice of music making even though—­or perhaps precisely because—­ its own definition cannot adequately sustain its reality. The different sides of the binaries interact and coexist; it’s only on abstract levels that they are opposites. The performances are shot through with elements both improvised and planned—­features made essential through the particulars of the individual performance and through the fixed choices of the composer and arranger, traces of the one-­time-­only event and the fixed text. Parker’s “Crazeology” is no less fascinating because the tune is Benny Harris’s and the chord progression is George Gershwin’s, and the same is true for Armstrong’s performances of Oliver’s “West End Blues” and Lil’s “Hotter than That.” As Jeffrey Magee puts it with reference to Armstrong’s work in Henderson’s band during the mid-­ 1920s, “We hear Armstrong not as a ‘solitary star’ in the night sky but as a strong streak of color in a crazy quilt.”86 Indeed, the performances are often fascinating precisely because of the interactions among the various loci of authorship, the many levels of dialogue between performers and material. The music is no less entertaining because it is deeply artistically satisfying, and no less artistic because it is meant to entertain. The cultural specifics of its time

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and place both ground the work and simultaneously present no obstacle to its being worthy of attention decades—­soon to be centuries—­later. As with Mahler’s symphonies or the songs of progressive rock, jazz does not exhibit purely one side of the binaries so much as it thematizes the tensions between them. Those tensions are not a cause or a symptom of the music’s failings but an essential source of its undying strength.

6

Original: Handel Historiography and the Horizontal Remix

Constructing a history of something or someone involves uncovering the pertinent facts and then communicating them objectively, shining a clear light on a previously murky past. That, at least, is the conventional assumption. But we shouldn’t ignore that we have to construct the histories we choose to tell: choices are made from the biggest levels, such as where we aim our histori­ cal light in the first place, to the smallest ones, when incomplete data need interpretation to make sense. Inevitably, we make facts from the data we have at hand, and we make the frameworks into which we place those facts.1 Any given history represents not the only tale we can tell but, instead, the story that seems most likely to us, today, and thus the story that most closely fits our current values. A history works dialectically; it illuminates the object in ques­ tion, but it also bears traces of the subject who constructed the history and the culture within which the author is inevitably embedded. From this perspective, the reception surrounding George Frideric Handel (1685–­1759), one of the giants of classical music history, represents a fascinat­ ing case study of historiography, or, simply put, the history of writing history. While there’s inevitably a history of changing history at play for any composer, Handel has enjoyed a particularly extreme roller-­coaster ride. The track is full of twists and turns, climbs and plunges. His music allowed us, in the genera­ tion after his death, to construct for the very first time many of the values we’ve come to apply to classical music in general. Later, we focused on the fact that Handel’s music didn’t quite live up to the values we constructed around it, that it wasn’t perfect in the ways we wanted it to be, and this cognitive dissonance dominated much thinking about him for quite a long time. More recently, as our values and assumptions around music have shifted again somewhat, we’ve

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been able to rethink Handel once more, to approach his music in different ways yet again. Thinking historiographically, tracing the history of the histories, shows us an important window into how cultures change. Handel’s dots on the page were fixed by the time of his death. But the way we’ve thought about Handel in the two hundred fifty years since has varied quite a great deal indeed. There are individual interpretations, to be sure, but in the large certain characteris­ tic ways of thinking about Handel emerged in the late eighteenth century, for instance, that are distinct from the ways he and his music were approached a century later, and these, in turn, are not quite the same as perceptions a cen­ tury later again. Yet throughout this fluid history, the crux for engaging with Handel’s music has centered on perhaps the most deeply held musical value of all, and a value ultimately no less problematic than the others explored in this book: the assumed originality of vital expressions. Handel as an Early Musical Classic In the generation after his death, Handel was held in extremely high esteem and valued in important new ways. For example, the 1760 volume on Handel by John Mainwaring was likely the first biography of a composer, and the first histories of music, published in the 1770s and 1780s, included considerable discussion of the composer, all serving to construct an image of Handel as supremely talented, ethically moral, and entrepreneurially successful so as to embody an English national ideal.2 As Nicholas Mathew notes, “By the turn of the [nineteenth] century, Handel’s music . . . provided one of the most in­ fluential models for music in modern statecraft; grand choruses eloquently represented an idealized vision of community spirit and collective action.”3 In his study The Rise of Musical Classics in Eighteenth-­Century England, William Weber explores an English group formed in 1776 that was fascinated with Handel and that chose a provocative name and explicit agenda: the Con­ cert of Antient Music.4 A group calling themselves a “concert” sounds strange to our ears, but the term had a particularly pointed meaning in its time. It was a fairly new phenomenon for performances of nonreligious music to be aimed at the public instead of aristocratic or noble households that could af­ford their own staffs of musicians. The very idea of a middle class, a large pop­ulation who had ample money and time to enjoy an evening of music and who might spend such resources so as to self-­consciously show their aspira­ tions toward more exclusive social strata, was novel indeed.5 The particular case of the Concert of Antient Music, as Simon McVeigh characterizes it,

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involved a “serious-­minded . . . redefinition of the aristocracy as responsible guardians of the nation” who “attempted to link taste for great music of the past with the social élite.”6 Such a pointed use of the concert highlights the extent to which the Antient concerts constructed a particular set of musical values, ones we still largely share. We believe that good music should be avail­ able to all, not only the wealthy, and even today, when recordings dominate the ways we hear music, we still believe that there is something special about the public experiencing music as a social unit. The other part of the group’s name deserves comment as well. By and large, at concerts of classical music we expect to hear, primarily, old music. We don’t find it strange to attend a concert where all the works were com­ posed more than a century ago. Today, just about all our classical concerts are “ancient” concerts. But if performing old music is normal today, it again reflects a musical value that was invented at this point in the late eighteenth century, thus the need to mark these concerts as consisting of “ancient” music in the first place. As Weber explains, “Old works . . . amounted only to a lim­ ited portion of musical repertories until after 1840. But the leadership of the Antient Concerts gave a prominence and an authority to old music such as was found nowhere else in Europe for nearly fifty years.” Indeed, the practices of the Concert “became linked closely” to the very idea of calling this music classical in the first place. At the time, “for a concert series to offer a repertory restricted to old works was to break with one of the most basic conventions of secular musical life. It had always been assumed that the musicians who sponsored a concert would perform their own works and those of their col­ leagues. . . . The policy of performing only old works was dogmatic in the extreme, a willful rejection of convention that made the programs a wholly new social phenomenon.” Even “the antique spelling of the word ‘antient’ on the programs . . . suggests the historicity by which the series defined its taste.”7 So new was the idea of placing ancient works at the center of musical ac­ tivity that it’s striking what these musicians even meant by the term. The rule followed by the Concert was as simple as it is shocking to our assumptions: “A work selected for the repertory had to be two decades or so old.”8 The inten­ tion was to “exclude works from living composers,” and on the very rare occa­ sions where a newer work was programmed, the director Joah Bates may have had to pay a penalty. Yet of course it is perfectly normal today to build orches­ tral and chamber programs around music two centuries old, and pieces from such composers dominate the classical music industry. It’s no wonder that, in most people’s understandings, classical music by definition is old music. That the notion of a new-­music norm strikes us as strange at all is a testament

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to how thoroughly the values first promulgated by groups like the Concert have permeated our expectations. If we’re looking for a context in which the previ­ ous situation remains normal today, we need go no further than the popular music industry. We expect a steady stream of new music, with a small batch of songs at any given moment enjoying a few weeks of heavy airplay and down­ loads and streaming until the next hit comes along. If we’re the sort of person who likes popular music but is not particularly interested in the current Top 40, we might turn our attention instead to “classic rock” stations. That’s where we’ll get the old music, the music that seems to claim lasting value instead of merely being the flavor of the month. That’s where we’ll get the music that is, roughly, twenty or more years old. There are likely factors why English culture in the late eighteenth cen­ tury posited these new musical values, even though later generations in other places were happy to take up the cause for their own cultural reasons, and even though today the values seem entirely contextless. A generation earlier, Britain had been on the forefront of developing the first copyright laws, ex­ tending the idea of property ownership to intellectual property, which by 1777 included music.9 The money to be made from artistic works was now thought to belong to the creator. It’s worth noting that Haydn, near the end of the eigh­ teenth century, and usually in the employ of his Austrian prince, was able to generate a good deal of material wealth for himself by traveling twice to Lon­ don to promote his music. Once the creator became paramount, a number of now-­familiar situations could fall into place. Works of art were not only materials out in the world to be used but were associated with their authors. Established figures could en­ joy an easier time in the marketplace, because the public would be more likely to spend money on a new work if it was created by a well-­respected author. Works by new authors would be compared not only with other new works of the day but also with established works by well-­known previous authors.10 It was easy to assume that well-­known works were well known not through luck but because they were the best and had stood the test of time. The Concert of Antient Music wasn’t simply a prime place to hear good music of the previous generation; it was virtually a Handel appreciation soci­ ety. In effect, the twenty-­year rule that dictated the Concert’s repertoire was used as a reason to continue to play Handel even though the historical person was fading further and further into the past. Handel’s music enjoyed a par­ tic­ularly special role in the group’s programs, and, simply put, Handel thus represents the first example in music history of a composer being treated as a clas­sic in the way we’ve come to accept as normal. Weber’s data show that over the first fourteen years of the Concert’s activities, from 1776 to 1790, Handel’s

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music alone represented a majority of all the music performed by the group. Fully 60 percent of all the pieces performed during these years (representing 328 pieces overall, performed over a thousand times) was Handel’s, leaving a mere 40 percent (218 pieces, performed 724 times) for anything and everyone else. This pattern continued at the Concert’s performances for half a century, Handel comprising “half to two-­thirds of each program.”11 This is quite amaz­ ing even compared to our own standards for classical music; no one composer, not even Beethoven, dominates like that. Weber’s data also show an amazing diversity of Handelian repertory that was performed; the Concert presented much more than old favorites like the famous oratorio Messiah. This is an important point, because it highlights that it was the name of the composer that stood for the value of any individual piece. If it’s by Handel, then it must be good. Performances of numbers from Handel’s almost three dozen operas, which represented a third of the Handel pieces presented by the Concert, illustrate this well.12 Some of the most popular operas, such as Alcina or Giulio Cesare in Egitto, had numbers played very often, twenty-­five and twenty-­four times, respectively. But many operas showed up about once every year, and even the rarest works were represented at some point or other during this period. The situation is similar for Handel’s oratorios, a genre heard even more often at the concerts. The composer’s entire oeuvre needed to be repre­ sented to show that the quality of the music was a function of that composer’s genius, not some sort of fluke or talent that only manifested in a few works. It’s worth noting that this approach to “completeness” served the Concert’s new value system in a somewhat different way than what we would usually recognize as completeness in classical music today. Overwhelmingly, for the last century or so, when we choose to perform a particular work we commit ourselves to perform all the movements, in order, with no breaks between.13 So at first glance it might seem quite paradoxical that at the Antient Concerts no operas were ever performed from start to finish, and only five times was an oratorio performed complete, out of 455 occasions where music from orato­ rios was played. But as genres, operas and oratorios tell stories through their texts and thus constantly remind audiences of their extramusical contexts, pulling the audience outside “the music itself ” and toward the interactions be­ tween music and all the other aspects of the work. From the Concert’s point of view, then, fully staged opera performances would have detracted from their explicit agenda of focusing attention on the all-­important composer. Instead, almost all the time, individual numbers were removed from their larger context and presented in “concert” fashion, without the need to know the story and with the focus placed squarely on the beauties of the music and genius of the creator.14

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The Concert’s mode of performing was matched by the musical features of the passages they chose to present. Bates “struck a shrewd balance between the learned and the familiar. . . . He chose the works of that [previous] period that were the most approachable,” thus convincing the audience that old mu­ sic was indeed “accessible to a much larger public” and could be thought of as universal. The particular numbers put on display were often the sorts where listeners didn’t need to understand the dramatic context for the piece to make sense, further making the case that this was music for sheer sonic apprecia­ tion. Often this led to performing slow, reflective arias; such a style could help make the case that good music was serious music, thoughtful music, “art” in­ stead of “entertainment.”15 For example, one of the most performed individual numbers—­a dozen times in these fourteen seasons—­was “Verdi prati” from Alcina (1735), marked “larghetto” in Handel’s autograph score and possessing a “haunting nostalgia,” in Winton Dean’s words.16 The most common type of aria in Handel’s day was a da capo aria, where the main ideas were presented in an A section; a contrast­ ing B section was dominated by a shift in rhetoric and musical material; and then the music concluded by going back to the top—­the head, or the “capo”—­ and repeating the A. With regards to the written music this was a literal repeat: the composer would simply place a da capo designation at the end of the B, and the performers understood that they needed to go back to the opening sec­ tion. But this sort of notation did not mean that the performers would simply repeat verbatim; instead, listeners were kept interested through improvisatory and ornamental choices the singer would make while working through the A sec­tion a second time. This was a performer’s art, not a composer’s. Changes on a section’s repeat were important to keep the music from becoming boring, and responsibility for the dialogue between the original idea and its later ap­ pearances was placed squarely on the shoulders of the singer. In this way, per­ forming baroque music is quite jazz-­like: performers are meant to improvise around the structure and melodic outline provided by the composer. But quite notably, “Verdi prati,” sung in the opera by the knight Ruggiero, is not a da capo aria. Indeed, as Dean points out, “He is the only character in the opera whose utterances are not couched exclusively in da capo . . . form.”17 After an introduction that hints at the main melody, the singer presents that melody twice in full and then, alternating with contrasting episodes that use different text and travel to different key areas, repeats the main melody and text twice more. The number is thus organized more like an instrumental piece than a vocal one. Such a shape is reminiscent of the ritornello form com­ mon in Handel’s late baroque style, where statements of a main idea contin­ ually return (as the name implies), linked by contrasting episodes, or, perhaps

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even more closely, a rondo form of the later eighteenth century, where the rep­ etitions of the main theme are usually in the home key after episodes outside that key. Because “Verdi prati” has its music written out from top to bottom, with no da capo, there is much less of an invitation for the performer to improvise around the composed melody. Even though there are repetitions of the main material, and even though the tempo is slow—­characteristics that might lend themselves to vocal ornaments—­the first violins double the melody one octave higher throughout, virtually guaranteeing that there is little space for the singer to leave the confines of the written music (see example 6.1). Even on the 2000 William Christie–­led recording of Alcina, where the entire ensemble is well versed in baroque performance practice, it is notable how few deviations from the printed music are heard in this number. In the context of Alcina’s creation in the mid-­1730s, characterized by com­ petition with rival opera companies, “Handel needed to show, and what he suc­ ceeded in showing,” as Ellen T. Harris writes, “was that his compositional abil­ ity was more important to musical success than the talents of the best-­known singer of the day,” the famous castrato Farinelli. Thus the text of this particular aria was actually rearranged from the original libretto toward a rondo form rather than the expected da capo more aimed at the performer, and this indeed upset Handel’s singer, Farinelli’s rival Giovanni Carestini.18 For the Concert’s purposes a generation later, an aria like “Verdi prati” helped to highlight both the style of music they wished to promote and a mode of appreciation focused on the composer, with the performer squarely in the role of bringing the com­ poser’s markings to life in a re-­creative, rather than a creative, manner.19 The end result of season after season performing in this way was the formation—­the original formation in the Western tradition—­of a musical canon.20 Anyone attending the concerts could not help but get the idea that some composers were better than others and that we should spend our energies al­ most exclusively on this good music. A canon of great works by great composers that all should know of course proved to be an extremely important idea for the development of the classical music value system, which became widespread a generation later. All the values we have come to associate with classical music are there. First, old music is considered the best and is meant to be separated from other sorts of music; new music is left in a posi­tion where it is the exception, where there’s little opportunity for it given how much energy must be devoted to the greats who have stood the test of time. Second, the site of importance shifts unmistakably from the performer to the composer and from the overall functional genre of a piece to the in­ dividual work as a particular instance of creativity and originality. At most

Sheinbaum, example 6.1, 1

Example 6.1 Handel, Alcina, "Verdi prati," mm. 13-20

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concerts of the time, for example, an instrumental piece for the whole group would be labeled as an “overture” or a “symphony,” while pieces with a soloist would name the performer, along with a designation like “solo” or “concerto.” From the audience’s perspective, what mattered most was variety from piece to piece to keep the concert lively. Who the composer was and where that par­ ticular number fit into the composer’s oeuvre were incidental. Notably differ­ ent from standard practice at the time, the Concert’s written programs dem­ onstrated a special esteem for the creator and the creation that we have come to accept as normal for classical music, by always identifying the composers and usually naming each particular work.21 Third, the Concert helped promulgate the notion that classical music was

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supposed to be a highbrow activity. As Weber describes it, “The Antient Con­ certs established prototypically ‘serious’ repertory and manners that set the tone for the classical-­music tradition of the coming century. In abstaining from catches, ballads, opera buffa, and fashionable recent works it adopted a lofty moral tone, a kind of musical puritanism, that departed considerably from the social norms of concert life.”22 The “moral tone” is important to note, for it moved classical music from simply one sort of music to a music meant to be valued more highly than others, and it created the sense of an in-­group thought to be more cultured than those who didn’t know the music or the as­ sumptions and rituals surrounding it.23 And lastly, once the focus was placed squarely on the composer, the no­ tion of originality could come to the fore. When, as at most concerts of the time, the norm was merely a succession of types of pieces, then any piece of a given genre could substitute for any other to serve the event. But once the audience knew exactly what piece was being performed, and heard repeti­ tions of those pieces year after year, individual works could create singular identities for themselves, and attention would then necessarily be paid not to how well the given work fit the genre but, rather, how well the particular piece distinguished itself apart from the genre, as its own creative utterance.24 Thus in the decades after Handel’s death, his music began to be used in a manner that paved the way for the value system that attached itself to classical music and has largely not let up its grip since. Music written in previous gen­ erations became the norm, the composer as creator of original masterpieces became the focus, and the entire endeavor was considered a moral good be­ yond mere entertainment. All together, the treatment of Handel in this way laid the intellectual groundwork for the idea of a musical canon, which we take as axiomatic in our own time: we are supposed to know the great com­ posers, we get to know them by hearing their music year in and year out, and any other music must prove its worth against the past greats who have stood the test of time. Our very definition of “classical music” can be traced back to the early reception of this particular composer. Handel’s Seeming Violation of Musical Values Over the course of the next hundred years, this new way of approaching clas­ sical music became standard, and the lens through which virtually all music in the West created before and after has been seen. The Concert of Antient Mu­ sic’s practices in the late eighteenth century were somewhat idiosyncratic—­“a specialized taste pursued by an unusually serious public”—­but throughout the nineteenth century, these musical values moved steadily toward widespread

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acceptance.25 In Beethoven’s lifetime, just a generation later, the term “genius” started to take on the meaning we conventionally ascribe to it, as a special differentiation used for creators of the most towering achievements.26 In the following generation, his music began to be used similarly to Handel’s at the Antient Concerts, and this behavior became widespread throughout Europe. Performing organizations took it on themselves to perform Beethoven’s mu­ sic regularly, the symphonies in particular becoming a body of music that people were expected to know and appreciate. As a middle class began to form across the continent, large public concerts became more widespread; it’s no surprise that many of the world’s great concert halls were built during this time. Composers after Beethoven were placed in an extraordinary bind: they needed not only to compose music that could appeal to the ticket-­buying masses of their day, but they also had to compete with the past’s very best composers and individual works.27 At the heart of this process was the notion of originality. Historian Dar­ rin M. McMahon traces the reasons why the modern conception of genius, a “new type of cultural hero,” emerged from the Enlightenment and its pro­ foundly “altered religious and political environment.” In a world where heavenly forces were thought to be “less concerned with the affairs of human beings,” the genius, the “great exception” to the new idea of human equality, could embody the supposition that the “power of creation was [no longer] reserved exclusively for God.” And though both Handel and Bach were considered in certain in­ stances during the eighteenth century to possess original genius, the following generation’s “timing was even better.”28 Indeed, after Beethoven, originality be­ came perhaps the most important criterion for evaluating music. If there was no other piece of music quite like the Fifth Symphony, say, and if everyone invested in music got to hear the work performed over and over again, then it simply wasn’t enough for later composers to write similarly dramatic and emotional symphonies. If such new works were too reminiscent of the ways Beethoven’s music worked, then those pieces would likely not have much of a life beyond their premieres. If the audience simply wanted music that reminded them of Beethoven, they were more than happy to hear Beethoven yet again. New pieces instead had to make a claim to “belong to history” by evoking the feelings in­ spired by listening to Beethoven but had to get there along paths as original as Beethoven’s works were understood to be.29 In this later nineteenth-­century context, then, where a canon of great music was felt to be a reality, and where the main criterion for inclusion was origi­ nality, how did Handel fare? After all, he was one of the original members of that canon, one whose music formed the basis for inventing the very idea. But his reputation was affected perhaps more greatly than any other composer who

original

193

was assumed to be one of the timeless greats, and affected in a decidedly nega­ tive direction. At the core of this reversal was the nineteenth-­century reception of Handel’s “borrowing” from other composers. After the first few cases were noted, numerous scholars started to look more closely at his works, and found in­ creasingly copious examples. In fact, given that the vast majority of works written at any given time pass quietly into obscurity, we may have only scratched the sur­ face of the extent to which Handel’s musical ideas may have been borrowed.30 To get an idea of how Handel’s borrowings worked, and how they were viewed at this time, consider Sedley Taylor’s 1906 study, titled, in lawyerly fashion, The Indebtedness of Handel to Works by Other Composers: A Presenta­ tion of Evidence. His opening chapter, for example, compares numerous pas­ sages in Handel to obviously similar passages in pieces by Gottlieb Muffat, who lived at roughly the same time and was reasonably well known in his day but whose reputation over the nineteenth century was nothing compared to the figure of Handel himself. When the appropriate passages are placed side by side, as Taylor does, there is simply no question that musical borrowing is afoot. There are too many instances, and resemblances too close, for any­ thing like accident or serendipity to explain the similarities. Through examples originally laid out by Friedrich Chrysander, one of Handel’s most important biographers, in the nineteenth-­century edition of Handel’s works, Taylor shows many occasions where passages from Muffat’s “chief work,” a collection of key­ board pieces titled Componimenti Musicali per il Cembalo, are virtually identi­ cal to music of Handel’s. A Muffat adagio movement matches the chords and accompanying figuration of a recitative from Handel’s Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day; a Fantaisie movement is echoed, part for part, in Handel’s strings during an instrumental interlude from the same work; a Trio is virtually identical to a Trio section in the overture to Handel’s Theodora; and so on (see example 6.2 for a comparison of the opening of a Muffat Fantaisie and a passage from the overture to Handel’s oratorio Samson).31 A prosecutor’s case is not necessary to argue for the existence of one com­ poser copying from the other—­that is manifest by glancing at the examples—­ but one is needed to attempt to prove that it is Handel doing the copying, rather than the other way round. In the Handel-­Muffat set of examples, at least, the external evidence is not clear, and thus a circumstantial case must be built. Taylor’s reasoning goes something like this: a collection of Handel’s autographs, including numerous “disjointed musical scraps, of from 3 to 5 bars each,” was in the hands of Lord Fitzwilliam, who purchased them at an auction sometime after Handel’s death. Certain passages in the music of the Fitzwilliam autographs do not appear in any of Handel’s published works, but they do match, note for note and rhythm for rhythm, with sections of the

Example 6.2a Handel, Samson, Overture, mm. 72-74

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chapter six

Horn in G I., II.

Violin I., Ob. I., II.

Violin II.

Viola

Bassi

j ‰ œ œœœœœœœœ œ œœ œœ œú œ œ œ œ œ œ œ Œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ & c Œ œœœœ œœœœ œœœœœœœ œ œ œ c & œœœœœœœ œœœœœœœ #

# & c œ

Œ

B# c œ

œ ‰ œ œ œ œœœœœœœ

‰ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ

Œ

?# c œ œ Œ

‰B

œ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ

œ œ œ

œ œ œ œ ‰ ?œ œ œ

Sheinbaum, example 6.2a, 2

& œ Œ

74

H. I., II.

74

Vln. I.

Vln. II.

Vla.

B.

#

œ

œ ‰

œ J

œœ

Oboes 8va. . . . . . . . . . .

& œ # & œ B# ‰

?# œ

œœœœœœœœ œœœœœœœœ

œœ

œœ

œœ

unis.

œœœœœœœ œœœœœœœ

œ

œ

œ

œœœœ ≈œœœ

œ

œ

œ

œ

œ

œ

œ

e x a m p l e 6. 2. Comparison of Handel, Samson, Overture, measures 72–­74 (above), and Muffat, Componimenti Musicali per il Cembalo, VI, Fantaisie, measures 1–­3 (opposite).

Muffat. The most likely explanation, then, is that Handel jotted down in his own sketchbooks passages from the Muffat that struck him as interesting or fruitful to pursue in some way, and while some of these passages did indeed make their way into Handel’s music, other passages never did. The reverse possibility makes much less sense. If Muffat was copying from Handel’s pub­ lished works, then he couldn’t have included passages that only appear in sketches. And the likelihood that Muffat had Handel’s sketches at his disposal, and that he would have pored through those “scraps” instead of the copious published works of Handel, seems even less likely.32

Example 6.2b Muffat, Componimenti Musicali per il Cembalo, VI, Fantaisie, mm. 1-3

original

Harpsichord

3

Hpschd.

# & c

œú œ

? # c Ϝ .

? # ‰ú ?# œ

œ

œ

M œ œœœœœ

œ

195

M ? œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ú‰ œ œ œ j M œ œ œ œœ œ œ œ œœ œ œ ‰ ‰ œœœœœœœ I

úú ú !

M ´ ´ ´ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ú‰ œ œ œ

e x a m p l e 6. 2. (continued )

The practice of borrowing is so central to Handel’s creative process that there are numerous examples of “self-­borrowing,” where the composer took music he had written for one purpose and used it in different music on a later occasion. Striking cases can be seen even in Handel’s best known work, the pe­ rennially performed oratorio Messiah. For a number of the pieces in that work, Handel used music he had composed “only a few months before” for a set of Italian-­language duets.33 There is no reason to think that the duets were some sort of purposeful sketch pad for the oratorio;34 the duet texts are decidedly secular as opposed to the sacred texts of the later piece. Instead, expediency may have been the key connection. This music was in Handel’s mind at around the same moment he was set to compose the larger work, and there is little rea­ son to think that most audience members at the large public performances of Messiah would have known the duets. The genres are quite distinct beyond the language difference. The duets are meant for private performance; they call for continuo accompaniment only, and the singers are both sopranos. This is no­ table because the relationship between the voice parts is intimate, the two lines often weaving interactively around each other in similar registers, rather than theatrically filling up a large portion of the sonic space. The oratorio demands a very different sort of performance: set for orchestra, a choir made up of the usual four different voice types, and a team of vocal soloists, Messiah calls for forces as large as the sub­ject matter. And yet, there are so many borrowed passages it’s clear that this is no mere accident. Even Taylor’s examples don’t quite do justice to how extended the borrowings are. The correspondences are so complete, so thorough, that it

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quickly becomes more useful instead to hunt for any passages where the later music is at all different from the original. It’s even possible—­in fact, it’s not very challenging—­to actually follow the score to a duet while listening to the number in question from Messiah or, alternately, to follow the score to Messiah while listening to the given duet. When I do this in a classroom setting, the students, even the ones who defend Handel vociferously during our more abstract discussion of self-­borrowing—­arguing reasonably enough that our values surrounding originality are different from those of Handel’s day, that he is free to use his ideas however he wants to, and so on—­are silent in re­ sponse. The rational parts of our brain are quieted by the smack-­in-­the-­face intuitive reaction. In a phrase that comes up regularly in these seminar meet­ ings, Handel ripped off the earlier music. He didn’t even try to be creative. The notion of plagiarism rears its head often, and in strongly emotional terms, especially given the penalties that can come along with violating the univer­ sity’s honor code. The fact that this is self-­borrowing doesn’t seem to affect the reaction. Indeed, the code prohibits “double submission” of the same work in multiple courses in addition to forbidding the representation of someone else’s work as their own. The students expect the great Handel to provide convinc­ ing creativity of some sort, and their assumption is simply not met. The fifteenth duet, “Quel fior che all’ alba ride” (1741), can serve as an ex­ ample. The duet’s text likens the daily opening and closing of a flower to the larger life cycle. Handel’s setting begins in the first soprano with a leap up to the tonic note, a quick move up and down the first few notes of the scale, then another leap up to the fifth scale degree, and a florid bit of ornamentation that works its way back down to the tonic note. This line also matches, note for note, the opening to the well-­known choral number “His yoke is easy, and His burthen is light” from Messiah (see example 6.3). As the first soprano’s line comes to an end in the duet, the second voice enters with an imitative answer, and soon the first voice comes back in, imitating the imitation in overlaps of increasing interest and complexity. And so do the different voice parts in the Messiah chorus. The entirety of “His yoke is easy” can be followed, in fact, measure for measure, sequence for sequence, through the long A section of the duet. The borrowing encompasses every surprising chromatic twist and melodic flourish. Only twice does Handel go “off book,” as it were, both times to extend phrase endings for somewhat more dramatic effect in the oratorio.35 The aesthetic danger in Handel’s practice is the chance that the music writ­ ten for one text may not fit so well when employed for another. Most of the time music is ambiguous enough that the same tune can fit different words, but here Handel is shown in the most mechanical light. The word “easy” in the oratorio is set to the passage of ornamentation that links the high fifth note of

Sheinbaum, example 6.3a, 1

Example 6.3a Handel, "Quel fior che all' alba ride," mm. 1-8

original

197 Andante larghetto

b &b c Œ

Soprano 1

‰ œj œ . J Quel

b &b c

Soprano 2

? bb c œ œ œ œ

Continuo

fior



cheIall' al - ba

œ

3

3

C.

6

S1

S2

C.

^

ri

-

-

œ œ œ œ

œ

^



-

^

œ œ

œ

^

^

œ œœœ j œ œ œ œ b œ & b œ œ œJ ‰ J œ œ œJ Jœ J J ‰ œ œ œ œJ ‰ J J œ . œ œ &

S2

-

œ œ

^

S1

œ œ œ œ œŸ. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ

œ œ œœ œ R J

de

bb

il so - le poi l'uc - ci - de,



e tom - ba



ha

nel - la

Œ

se

-

Œ

ra.

‰ œj œ . œ Jœ œ œ J R

œ œœ œ ? bb œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ‰ œ œ œ J œ Quel fior

b &b Ó

^

^

^

Œ

^

‰ œj œ . œ Jœ œ œ œ J R

Ÿ b œ œ œ œ œ œ. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ &b J ri de 6 œ ? bb œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ^

^

^

Quel fior cheIall' al - ba - ri

^

&

^

^

^5

$

#

œ ‰ J

cheIall' al - ba -

^

œ œ œ œ œ. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ J

-

-

-

de

‰ œ œ œ œj œj œJ œ œ œj ‰ Jœ œ n œ œJ J il so - le poi l'uc - ci - de, e tom - ba œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ‰ J œ ^

^5

e x a m p l e 6.3 . Comparison of Handel, “Quel fior che all’ alba ride,” measures 1–­8 (above), and Messiah, “His yoke is easy,” measures 1–­8 (next page).

the scale to the tonic note. Over the ee sound of  “easy,” the singers hold the opening note for a little more than a beat, and then set off on a flight of fancy, mov­ing back and forth between two pitches in fast sixteenth notes on the second and fourth beats, and on the third beat with ornaments even more complex, as dotted sixteenth notes alternate with lightning-­quick thirty-­ second notes. This is very strange music for the word “easy.” But the line makes perfect sense in its original context: the same passage in the duet sets the Italian word “ride,” or “laughs,” and this is excellent laughing music indeed. Now the short bursts of breath and stepwise alternation of pitches make perfect sense. Only strained logic would allow us to conclude that Handel has made an effective

Sheinbaum, example 6.3b, 1

Example 6.3b Handel, Messiah, "His yoke is easy," mm. 1-8

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chapter six

Allegro

Ob. I, II with Sopr. tutti œ œ œ œ œ œ . œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ œ Jœ b j œ & b c Œ ‰ œ œ. œ J œ œ J J

Soprano

His yoke - is - ea

b &b c

Alto



-



-

sy,

His bur- then

b Vb c







Bass

? bb c







œ ? bb c œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ^

^

con fag.

4

S

&b &

A

V

T

b œ œ œ ‰ j œ œ ‰ Jœ œ œ œ œ . œ œ œ œ J J R

bb

light,

4

-

His bur - then, His



bb



? bb

B

^

? bb

œ

œœ ^

bur

Œ

-

^

Ó

œ ‰ œj œ . œ œJ œ œ tutti



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-

is - ea

œ œ ‰ Jœ œ œ œ‰ œ œœ œ J œ ^

^

^

$

#

^

œ œ œ œœœ œ ^







e x a m p l e 6.3 . (continued )

^5

Œ

then is light,

His

œ

is



Tenor

Bassi

B.

-

‰ œj

Œ

œ œ œ œ œ. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ His

-



-

-

œœœ œ œ œ œ œ ^

^

&

choice in Messiah; perhaps, we might attempt to argue, in the hands of excel­ lent singers, or as a description of our bond with God, such complex music is still easy. Taylor, in contrast, does not mince words: the example “has a special interest as clearing up a difficulty which has doubtless puzzled many admirers of Handel as it used to puzzle me. . . . The first syllable of the word ‘easy’ is set to the following almost grotesquely inappropriate passage. Why Handel should have perpetrated such a monstrosity was to me an insoluble crux. A glance, however, at the text to which the passage was originally composed suffices to explain the difficulty. . . . Evidently [this is] a piece of word-­painting, quite appropriate in its original position, but grievously out of place where it now stands.”36

example 6.3b, 2 o r i g iSheinbaum, nal

Vln. I

b &b



Œ

Vln. II

&b

b



Œ

B bb



Œ

b



7

Vla.

S

&b

A

&b

7

j œ. œ œ œ œ œ

yoke

-

is - ea

b œ V b œ œJ ‰ Jœ œ œ œ

T

? bb

B 7

B.

b

sy,

His



e x a m p l e 6.3 . (continued )

œ œ œ ‰ J œ J p ‰ Jœ œ œ œj p œ ‰ J œ œ œj p

senza rip.

œ œ œ œ œ. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ‰ -

bur-then

? bb œ œ œ œ œ

199

-

-

sy,

œ œœ œ J œ œ œ ‰ Jœ

is

light,

Œ

-

His bur - then

‰ Jœ œ . œ œ J His yoke

-

‰ Jœ œ . œ œ œ œ œ œ J

-

-

-

^

Once we’re familiar with the duets, it’s difficult not to notice the abrupt changes in meaning placed on the shoulders of the same music. The sixteenth duet in the set begins with the text “Nò, di voi non vo’ fidarmi, cieco Amor, crudel beltà!” (No, I will not trust you, blind Love and cruel beauty! [1741]), but this is the music Handel uses in Messiah for the chorus “For unto us a Child is born” (see example 6.4).37 In general, the music can support both texts equally well; if anything, a case can be made that the major-­key tune and its rising sequences fit the Messiah text more easily than the original. But the shift in meaning from duet to oratorio is still jarring; there is no connec­ tion between “blind Love and cruel beauty” and the infant Jesus, no artis­ tic reason why the music, though it can support both, should support both. And even if there are no major clunkers along the lines of setting “easy” to laughing music, Handel’s setting of the first syllable in “For unto us” is still odd enough. From the point of view of the duet, the word “Nò” is set in the voice quite effectively: a high quarter note sounds without any introduction from the continuo and is set apart from the rest of the line by an eighth-­note rest before leaping down a fifth for the next pitch. The word is used as an

Sheinbaum, example 6.4a, 1

Example 6.4a Handel, "Nò, di voi non vo' fidarmi," mm. 1-8

200

C.

7

S1



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^

Œ

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Œ

tà!

7

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fi - dar - mi,

$

^

Œ ∑

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œ

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œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ^

di

œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ^5

^

^

Ó

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‰ œj di

œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ

‰ œj œJ œJ Jœ œJ œ œ œ œ

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cie-coIA - mor,



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C.

# & œ &

4

Nò,

‰ œj œ Jœ Jœ Jœ œ œ Œ J J J

œ œ œ œ œ ?# c œ œ œ œ œœ œ œ œ œœ œ œ œ œœ

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S2

#

& c

Soprano 2

4

Andante

œ & c

Soprano 1

S1

#

chapter six

#

voi non

œ

vo'

fi - dar

œ œ œ œ ^5

e x a m p l e 6. 4 . Comparison of Handel, “Nò, di voi non vo’ fidarmi,” measures 1–­8 (above), and Messiah, “For unto us a Child is born,” measures 7–­14 (opposite).

interjection, and its musical setting reinforces this meaning. In the oratorio, though, the same music is used for the preposition “For,” strangely separating it from “unto us” by the leap down of a fifth. It’s hard to imagine that Handel would have begun with quite that musical idea if he was composing for that particular text in the first place. Taylor is tortured by all this. He knows, deep in his bones, that Handel is one of the great composers of all time. But the cognitive dissonance between his understanding of musical genius and the clear fact of Handel’s extensive borrowing is near impossible to resolve—­an “insoluble crux” of its own. The first step is for Taylor to argue that, indeed, Handel remains a great composer, and as a great composer, even if he borrows, he improves the music he takes.

Sheinbaum, example 6.4b, 1

Example 6.4b Handel, Messiah, "For unto us a Child is born," mm. 7-14

original Violin I

Violin II

Viola

Soprano

Tenor

# œ Œ & c # & c œ Œ œ B# c Œ

œ ‰œ œœ Œ p ‰œœœ Œ œ p œœœ ‰ œ Œ p senza rip.

Ó Ó Ó

œ œ ‰œ œ

Œ

‰œœœ

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Œ



œ

œ ‰œ œœ

Vln. II

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# V c

For

un - to us a Child is born,





un - to

us



a Son is

Vla.

T

& V

# #

œ

Œ

us

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11

B.

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Œ

œ B# ‰œœ œ 11

S

#

‰ œ

œ œ œ ‰ œj

j j ‰ œj œJ œ œ œ Œ J

∑ Œ

Œ

‰ œ œ œ ‰ jœ œ

a Son is

giv - en.

Ó

Ó œ

tutti

œ œ œ ‰œ œ œ œ œ

For

‰ œJ œ ‰ œJ œ Ó

‰ œœ J

For

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un - to

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un- to

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‰ Jœ œ

œ

œ Œ

Œ

giv-en,

senza rip. ?# c œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ Œ ‰ œœ œ œ Œ ‰ œ œ œ œ œ ^5 p 11 œ œ œ # ‰ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ ‰ œj ‰ œJ ‰ Jœ Œ œ œ &

&

œœœ

œ ‰ œœ œ Œ

Œ

Bassi

Vln. I

201

us a Child is born,

Ó

Œ

-

us a Child is born,

œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œœ œ œ

e x a m p l e 6. 4 . (continued )

For example, to return to the borrowings from Muffat, Taylor places side by side a section of an Allemande from the Componimenti with Handel’s jotting down of the same music in the Fitzwilliam autographs.38 Though the music is the same, note for note and rhythm for rhythm, Handel has shifted Muf­ fat’s bar lines by two beats, making Muffat’s mid-­measure strong beats into downbeats at the beginning of Handel’s bars and making Muffat’s downbeats into mid-­measure moments for Handel. By doing so, Handel makes a rising sequence begin on a downbeat with a clear pickup, instead of Muffat’s plac­ ing the same music in the middle of a measure. Taylor concludes that “here the difference of barring makes Handel’s version much the better of the two.

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We cannot suppose that Muffat had it before him and deliberately worsened its vigorous accentuation, and therefore must here see Handel copying from Muffat and improving on him while doing so.”39 Handel often can be seen to improve what he copies even in the case of self-­borrowing. Though, as we saw above, on occasion the music first written for the Italian duets doesn’t quite fit individual moments of the Messiah text so well, at times Handel creates new passages of distinction and interest in their own right. The most memorable music in “For unto us,” for example, is not the beginning but, rather, the fortissimo refrain music used for “Wonder­ ful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,” which simply has no counterpart in the original duet. In this passage Handel shifts from the polyphonic setting of the rest of the number to a homophonic texture, where all the voices sing the same words in the same rhythm at the same time, creating a glorious harmony. Handel himself surely knew how ef­ fective this music was, for he incorporates it no less than four times in a num­ ber that lasts just shy of a hundred bars. Taylor calls this music “the great cho­ ral shouts” and considers it to be a clear “stroke of genius.”40 This perspective, that by definition Handel’s genius is most clearly on dis­ play in his most original music, leads directly to Taylor’s second point in his defense of the composer. As a great composer, Handel writes great music, and great music, by its very nature, should be original, should be solely the prod­ uct of the singular author’s creative mind. Thus for Taylor it is essential proof of his musical values that Messiah’s self-­borrowings “are the only ones which have been detected in that masterpiece, where, so far as research has at pres­ ent gone, not a single instance has been found of the introduction of music not composed by Handel himself. One would fain hope that this immunity is inherent in that sublime work by the deliberate will of the composer, whose religious emotions are known, from his own statement, to have been deeply stirred while he was engaged on it.”41 Taylor’s imagery is notable here: borrowing is a disease that threatens the health of the artwork, the perfection of which is signaled by the religious subject matter. The oratorio is thankfully “immune” because other compos­ ers’ works are not interpolated here, as is so often the case in other pieces of Handel’s. Indeed, the widespread nature of Handel’s borrowings implies that the disease is quite contagious in the body of the composer’s output. The oratorio is able to resist because Handel has chosen to fight the sickness, to impose his “deliberate will.” This is why, even though Taylor’s study shows that the sickness can show up just about anywhere, Messiah stands out in our imaginations as a “masterpiece.” It is not only that the music is great but also that an essential component of why the music is great is its singular origins.

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But in the end, this is still the prosecutor’s case. Taylor’s counterarguments are merely a feint to acknowledge the extent to which we want to defend the great Handel. The last word, instead, clearly condemns the composer. The point so forcibly put about the benefits which Handel conferred on the reputations of his predecessors by appropriating their music, loses some of its force if we remember that these appropriations were invariably made without acknowledgment, just as in Handel’s Fitzwilliam extracts the name of the composer copied from is in no single instance recorded. How then can the reputation of a predecessor be said to have gained by the credit due to him for something he had written having been absorbed by Handel? . . . To the bulk of the music-­loving world the very names of . . . Muffat and the rest are unknown and likely to remain so.

Thus Taylor ends the book with the following thought: “The fact remains that he accepted, indeed practically claimed, merit for what he must have known was not his own work. That this was wrong can, it appears to me, be denied by those only who are prepared to estimate the morality of an act according to the amount of genius shown in performing it.”42 Attempts to Explain Away Handel’s Borrowing Taylor’s metaphorical prosecution of Handel around the turn of the twentieth century was not the only possible position during this generation. Indeed, various defenses of—­or at least proposed explanations for—­Handel’s borrow­ ings abounded.43 For example, in 1882 Sir George Grove, the editor of the music encyclopedia that bears his name and which is still (in numerous re­ visions) the standard English-­language reference, argued that, for better or worse, the root of Handel’s practices lay with the realities of daily life for a highly sought-­after composer.44 Another option was an appeal to historical context; the first half of the eighteenth century had different expectations re­ garding originality and citation of sources, and we cannot condemn him for the inevitable fact that he was a product of that time.45 Indeed, while critics like Taylor were following a trail of assumed universal values, our very knowl­ edge of Handel’s borrowing stems from work that praised the composer. We can trace back observations of borrowing to Handel’s time and the generation after, from writers as influential as Johann Mattheson and Charles Burney, and their comments are uniformly without a whiff of the unseemly.46 Yet an­ other sort of explanation centered on Handel’s illness during the 1730s: we can excuse the great composer for a lapse in his artistic faculties during a difficult period over which he had little control.47

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Most notable, then, is not any particular perspective on Handel’s borrow­ ings but, rather, the larger point that during this time period so many people felt the need to weigh in. The twin notions of originality and creative genius held so much sway during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centu­ries that it was practically impossible to approach Handel without grappling with the issue. The musical canon, as a collection of composers of genius and works of originality, was such a powerful and established idea by this point that Handel, a bona fide charter member, simply could not be tossed out. But at the same time, Handel’s seeming violation of the very criteria that argued for inclusion could not be ignored. Sweeping the issue under the rug was not possible any longer—­knowledge of the borrowings was widespread by this point—­so it was essential to try and explain it away as best as possible. “Handel lived in a dif­ ferent time, and we know better today,” or “Handel did what he could while fighting a grave illness and was still able to compose beautiful music”: these are supremely comforting thoughts, for they keep Handel in the pantheon while never questioning the correctness of the rules themselves. But if compositional originality is valued because of practices that arose largely after Handel’s death, we can be aware of how such a value is histori­ cally and culturally contingent, and continually contested. Once the notion of originality is softened somewhat, still important but no longer universal, and historicized as the product of a particular set of values in particular places and times, we can take a critical look back. Handel’s borrowings were so im­ portant to explore, and possibly to explain away, because they violated those values. If we now stand outside those values, or at least can toy with such an idea, we can take a fresh look at the explanations themselves. If protecting Handel’s reputation no longer does the cultural work we once needed it to do, we are free to examine whether the explanations actually make much sense. As John H. Roberts’s study of the reception surrounding the borrowings shows clearly, these traditional explanations do not hold up well at all. As to the idea that historical context gets us out of the conundrum, that Handel was simply following the practice of the day, instead we’re confronted with the fact that the sheer volume of borrowings is not only great but consider­ ably greater than that witnessed in the music of his contemporaries. There’s even evidence that Handel at times attempted to “cover his tracks,” as Richard Taruskin puts it, implying that borrowing in the earlier eighteenth century indeed carried some degree of “stigma,” by changing the derived passages more greatly when chances were the highest that members of the audience might be familiar with the borrowed music.48 The timing of the borrowings, many coming before the date of Handel’s stroke, seriously undermines the

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illness-­based theory. And even the notion of practicality, that Handel liked to use pre-­composed ideas and then to improvise around them, also falls apart. In Roberts’s words, “Here the problem is that the most conspicuous type of borrowing has been mistaken for the most common. The more we learn about Handel’s use of external sources, the more apparent it becomes that he habitually availed himself of a remarkable variety of ideas. Not only incipits attracted his attention but also secondary figures of all kinds, colora­ tura, cadential phrases, B-­section formulas, even highly colored recitative. . . . In many cases they are demonstrably the fruits of deliberate searching.”49 In light of all this, then, what exactly is left? The only remaining thought, perhaps, is the one that simply couldn’t seem possible in light of our conven­ tional conception of the composer. Roberts takes the dare: “I would like to suggest another explanation for Handel’s borrowing, one that has never been seriously proposed, though often hastily discounted: that he had a basic lack of facility in inventing original ideas. That, after all, is the obvious answer.”50 What could never be taken off the table was the notion of Handel’s creativity, for it had always been beyond debate that his music is among the best ever cre­ ated.51 With the idea of artistic creation inextricably bound up with the God­ like ability to make new music out of the void, we could never even conceive of en­tertaining the idea that Handel simply wasn’t very good at doing just that. Indeed, the only way to reconcile the intuitive truth that Handel’s music is great with the knowledge that he was not particularly skilled in “inventing ideas” is to take a critical eye toward the very notion of originality as the well­ spring of creativity in the first place. Thus Roberts disagrees strongly with Taylor’s position that originality should be considered a sign of the moral truth of art: “Some no doubt will resist these speculations as tending to di­ minish Handel’s stature. I would argue that they do not. Like any artist, he deserves to be judged not by his methods, still less by his motives in employ­ ing them, but solely by the effects he achieves. . . . In his best music he always transformed his models radically and built from them structures that only he could have conceived. For this reason his admirers have nothing to fear from whatever revelations may lie in store.”52 As shocking as Roberts’s conclusion may seem, then, and as strongly as the Romantic part of us may want to believe that this position must be somehow incorrect, two points are clear. First, negative views of  borrowing as witnessed in writings like Taylor’s have had such a strong effect on the composer’s repu­ tation that for a century or more we’ve felt the need to grapple with this aspect of Handel, that, in the terms of pop psychology, we haven’t been able to move on. Second, if to some extent we’re starting to get over the perceived problem

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of Handel’s creativity, it’s not because we’ve discovered anything new about Handel. It’s instead because our musical values are in the process of changing. Only a current-­day scholar like Roberts could even suggest that it’s “obvious” that Handel lacked the ability to invent new ideas, and could even entertain the notion that we might reformulate what it means to be a great composer in the first place. Engaging Handel Today If we’re starting to approach Handel without the albatross of borrowing weigh­ ing over us as strongly as it had, what then does today’s Handel look like? If Handel was treated as one of the first examples of a musical classic in the generation after his death, and a century later worry about his fit within that very designation dominated thinking, what sorts of issues inform our think­ ing about Handel a century still further on? One aspect of approaching Handel today centers on historical context once more, but with a fundamental difference. Previous appeals to context were not so much about Handel against the background of his own time as an attempt to use context to explain away Handel’s assumed violation of a uni­ versal value. Now, however, we take as axiomatic that exploring different his­ torical periods is equivalent to exploring different cultures. We are not meant to fit other cultures into our terms but, rather, to construct our understand­ ings through an insider-­based approach to theirs.53 We might, then, start with the conventional assumption that the borrowings are a blemish on Handel’s record, the impact of them needing softening. Instead, keeping in mind the historical context, there is no inherent contradiction between borrowing and the highest artistic achievement. Many recent discussions that center on bor­ rowings are in fact little concerned with the morality of them and simply fo­ cus on the range of ways the borrowings work.54 As George J. Buelow put it in 1987, “In actuality, until Handel scholarship arrives at a solid understand­ ing of what Handel’s borrowings mean as such for our comprehension of his compositional genius, until we face the issue of borrowings as a positive one charged with unique possibilities of probing into a great composer’s style and creative thought processes, and until Handel’s borrowings are studied with the same seriousness as Beethoven’s sketchbooks, Handel scholarship lives in a void of ignorance, suspicion and even embarrassment.”55 This is a fascinating rhetorical shift. If we do not feel the need to bind origi­ nality to the larger notion of artistic creation, we are invited to imagine a very different sort of narrative for Handel’s practices. In Buelow’s words, “We do

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not know why Handel, more than any other composer, adopted a method of composing that often emphasized the craft of reworking, revising, adapting and transcribing musical ideas of his own and others. None of these procedures was new to music, and indeed Handel’s art can be seen as a culmination of these traditional values of compositional craft.”56 From this perspective Handel rep­ resents no unfortunate tributary along the historical path toward musical origi­ nality but, instead, can be seen as a high point, the “culmination,” of processes long embedded in music history. Or, in Taruskin’s formulation, looking forward instead of back, Handel’s “uncanny ability to remake himself and his works in response to the conditions and the opportunities that confronted him . . . marks him as perhaps the first modern composer.”57 The fact that Handel’s borrowings stand out even among his peers’ no longer needs explaining away but instead provides important evidence for Handel’s proper position in the clouds. And the fact that, all through Handel’s output, borrowed passages stand side by side with original ones no longer seems strange, or evidence of some internal battle within the composer, but simply reflects the entire toolbox available to, and used expertly by, this rightly important figure.58 This call to explore Handel’s creative process leads to a second important aspect of understanding Handel today: the need for interpretation. Scholars no longer easily place observations about Handel’s music within a Romantic framework and its claim to universal truth. As Harris acknowledges, “Let us say it outright: Handel borrowed frequently from himself and others as an integral part of the composition process. The question this raises is: so what?”59 As we move beyond the old questions and concerns, new perspectives arise. We are invited to think intertextually, as we explore the aesthetic reasons for Handel’s practices, and ponder why Handel chose just that earlier music for just that passage in the new piece, and why Handel transformed the earlier music in the ways he did.60 We are thus invited to think  functionally as well, as Handel’s success in placing a particular passage within a new context is, at least in part, related to how well the music serves that new context. In the realm of vocal music, for example, where Handel’s primary reputation lay, the chief issue was how effectively the music set the text, not the extent to which that setting was created entirely anew. And we are invited to think performatively; the musical work is seen not as a static object, fixed for all time, but as a living art that, through performance, necessarily and authentically changes, breathes, and grows. Caring about historical context as we do, “we know that Handel’s music was performed with improvised keyboard continuo, and with vocal and in­ strumental ornamentation.”61 Thus we can use our best knowledge of how im­ provisation and ornamentation worked in Handel’s time to study the choices

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that performers make, without worrying that such choices—­necessarily result­ ing in music that doesn’t match the composer’s score—­somehow impugn the integrity of the perfectly original work or its composer. These notions of intertextuality, functionality, and performativity as al­ ternative ways to approach Handel come to life through concrete examples. Harris leans on intertextuality and the functional effectiveness of works as performed, for instance, in her study Handel as Orpheus: Voice and Desire in the Chamber Cantatas. Handel left Italy for London around 1710 and spent most of that decade and the early 1720s there, often living in the homes of aristocrats such as Lord Burlington. A good number of Handel’s pieces from that period were Italian-­language works for solo voice with limited accompa­ niment, written for and performed at private concerts in these households, thus giving them the genre designation “chamber” cantatas.62 Handel seems to have approached these pieces as a distinct body of work. Compared to ear­ lier chamber cantatas Handel composed while in Italy, the English ones focus on the tuneful arias that tend to begin and end each work. (The earlier pieces, in traditional fashion, place emphasis squarely on the recitatives, which estab­ lish the main key areas and from which the arias expound on the recitative’s mood or affect.)63 More fascinating, though, is a particular stylistic feature Harris finds in the London cantatas: the use of silence. These moments are not mere rests in the voice while the continuo plays on, but moments where Handel explic­ itly asks all the musicians to pause at the same time. At times, the silences are “madrigalistic,” where “the rest depicts (or imitates) an act of respiration (breathing, sighing) or a break in activity (as a command to stop, or depic­ tions of death or dying).” And at times the silences are, musically speaking, “grammatical,” such as when the silences separate the sung music from the surrounding instrumental ritornellos, thus helping to “articulate” the differ­ ent sections of the number.64 Harris is particularly interested in “truly disruptive” silences, which go be­ yond any simple explanation. For example, in the aria “L’aure grate” from La solitudine, while the text speaks of “welcome breezes, the cool river, the quiet shade of the wood,”65 each thought is set off from the others with silence; a full half dozen of them appear in Handel’s setting of the opening sentence of text, even though the text does little to invite such a treatment.66 If the silences make any sense in the immediate context of this cantata, it’s due to the “bittersweet fact” that in the contrasting B section of the aria the pleasures of nature “are said to replace the pleasures (and pains) of love.” But this means that in the A section the singer is being asked not to express the text at that spot, per se, but rather to act out the larger emotion of the aria, even before the text lets the

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listener know quite from where that emotion derives. In Harris’s words, “Dis­ ruptive and fragmenting silences . . . are tied more to performance than to the text. That is, these silences transform the disembodied cantata voice into a theatrical presence struggling with expression. The silences tear the fabric of sound; they suspend time; they disrupt grammar. Sometimes they place the compre­hension of the affect ahead of the comprehension of the text.”67 Harris argues that disruptive silences like these resonate far beyond any individual work and an interpretation based solely within a particular piece. Instead, thinking intertextually and keeping a close eye on the particular com­ munity for whom these works functioned, Harris considers the fact that “the increased use of silence in Handel’s work in England coincides with an in­ creased use and appreciation of gaps and silences in literature and drama; this was a period of heightened political and social tensions that also emphasized the value of silence and secrecy.” Casting a wide net, Harris makes a case for a number of potential contemporary resonances that the musical use of silence might have held for this close-­knit audience. In the political context of the time, “Lord Burlington, although at least superficially a member and supporter of the Whig party loyal to the Hanoverian Succession, may actually have been . . . a leader of the Jacobite party that was working through both po­ litical and military channels to restore the Stuarts to the throne of England,” and such “political maneuvering demanded dissembling and concealment.”68 Additionally, there is at least a circumstantial case to be made that Burling­ ton, though married and having fathered three children, “may also have been someone who concealed private desires” of homosexuality “behind a public facade. . . . The artistic coterie that surrounded Burlington, especially between 1710 and 1720, consisted of a number of artists who have been associated with homosexuality or homoeroticism, including the authors Alexander Pope and John Gay, both of whom later contributed to texts which Handel set.” The evidence for connecting the artistic expression of silence to homosexuality in this specific cultural context is provocative.69 As Harris explains, “For artists who experienced the emotion of same-­sex love, silence increasingly became the only form of expressing it. . . . The increased prohibitions, arrests, pun­ ishments, and executions in the early eighteenth century meant that even as the ‘molly’ subculture was thriving, the necessity of concealment was grow­ ing.” Harris notes the “ludicrousness” of silence in relevant court documents, which could include passages such as “The Prisoner said —­—­and —­—­, and Jack said —­—­, and the Prisoner said —­—­, by which I concluded that they were committing Sodomy together.”70 Harris’s overall conclusion, then, is that the silences in the chamber cantatas, against all this deep background, may have evoked the political and cultural situation embedding the circle within which

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the music functioned and did so by employing a particularly marked device in cultural expressions specific to the time. With regard to thinking performatively as a way of understanding Handel, consider two differing recordings of the aria “Sta nell’Ircana” from the opera Alcina, the same work from which “Verdi prati” comes. At this point, early in the third and final act, the knight Ruggiero (written roughly in the range of a mezzo soprano, as were many heroic roles of the day) is no longer under the spell of the sorceress Alcina and is contemplating his next move. The text uses a metaphor of an angry tigress in a stony lair, confronted with the choice of escape or facing the hunter. Handel sets the tense mood quite effectively: the music is loud and fast; a pair of horns, instruments associated with hunting, take a lead role in the orchestra; and the strings are asked for a fair amount of close dissonance on quick repeated notes and lots of fleet back and forth be­ tween high pitches. Dean describes the aria as Handel “go[ing] all out to dis­ play Ruggiero’s full stature as warrior and hero.”71 In numerous passages within the main A section, Handel provides composed-­out sequences and ornamen­ tation on a single syllable to heighten the effect of the text at those spots, most notably for two passages that dramatically extend the o sound in the phrase “Tigre sdegnosa” (“angry tigress”) to over six full measures each time. A well-­known performance from 1962 features Teresa Berganza, and a fair amount of baroque performance practice is on display, most easily heard, as would be expected in a da capo aria, on the repeat of the A. The initial time the text “Tigre sdegnosa” is sung, Handel employs a straightforward syllabic setting, the o sound highlighted with a leap from D up to the G on the top of the staff, and jumping back down to the D. This is the highest sung pitch in the entire number as written; the note is only called for three more times in the aria, and none of them last as long as the full quarter note here. On the repeat, Berganza connects the D to the G through a scalar run that takes away the exciting gap between the two notes but substitutes a just-­as-­thrilling moment up to the top of the aria’s range before leaping back down to the D. This sort of move characterizes Berganza’s ornaments throughout. She may fill in gaps in Handel’s melodic contours or rhythmic spaces, yet always allows the listener to keep in mind the melody as composed. But in the recording of the opera led by William Christie mentioned above, with Susan Graham singing Ruggiero, a whole new level of ornamentation and freedom from the score is on display. As would be expected from Christie, one of the foremost proponents of the historically informed approach to baroque performance, the tempo is lightning-­quick, and the pitch is adjusted down a half step as compared to the Berganza. But most notable is the very interpre­ tation of the relationship between performer and composer. Throughout the

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second A, Graham does not ornament Handel’s melody so much as impro­ vise around it, and with no less flair than an expert jazz musician channel­ ing a conversation with Gershwin. At times, she keeps Handel’s main pitches while playing with rhythm, at others she keeps his rhythms while altering the melody, and on numerous occasions the music is altogether new, while still fitting well with the busy accompaniment. Her final cadence, in collusion with Christie, leans even more heavily toward the improvised. The conduc­ tor stops the orchestra entirely, and as the accompaniment cuts out, Graham sets off on a flight of fancy. But the spot is not for her alone: her phrases are echoed by one of the horns, sending her improvisations right back at her in a manner not all that different from the voice and guitar in the middle of Louis Armstrong’s “Hotter than That.” Whereas the Berganza performance uses ornamentation to highlight the composer’s authority—­the deviations from the score spice up, but always keep in focus, the written text—­the Graham performance shows the performer on an equal plane to the composer, a col­ laboration where understanding just who is contributing what recedes into the background for the pleasures and thrills of music making in the moment. Thus through the example of Handel, we see that today close explora­ tions of music tend to focus toward context instead of assumed universals, interpretation instead of inherited dogma, and the exploration of assump­ tions rather than simply accepting assumed truths. This is by no means the end of the story, of course. Just as surely as our values today are somewhat distinct from those of a century ago, our approach to Handel a hundred years from now will be different again, even if we have no current basis from which to guess what the generating issues and underlying values will be. Current-­ day lenses inevitably bring into focus some strands of a past context, while leaving other strands less noticed. A century from now, something else will demand our attention, and in retrospect that something else will seem so obvious we’ll wonder why we hadn’t spotted it before. Handel within the Culture of the Remix The fluidity of Handel’s reception since his death, then, suggests a basic his­ toriographical point: contexts change over time, bringing widespread shifts of values. We have a history of upset over Handel’s borrowings not necessarily because they were wrong in an absolute sense but because they seemed wrong in certain times and places. It’s possible to imagine different values where the morality of Handel’s practices need not be the central question, and numerous experts argue that such different values for Handel can operate for us today. As a final thought, though, Harris’s “so what?” regarding borrowings could

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invite a somewhat different line of thinking. As we’ve seen in the other case studies in this book, aspects of music that have seemed contentious under the conventional value systems not only can be reimagined less problematically but can also often be reconceived as central strengths of that music. Handel’s borrowings are thus not simply relatively unimportant from contemporary points of view but, rather, are deserving of a more fundamental rethinking. The answer to “so what?” might be that “borrowings indeed do matter today, because they teach us something important about creativity.” In many situations, of course, originality is not considered an absolute value. Legal documents, laws, and statutes, for instance, necessarily employ common language to achieve a common purpose in many different par­ ticular circumstances. It would be absurd to expect every contract—­or any contract—­to cite all the previous contracts that have used similar language or to expect contracts to attempt to trace back their language to the contract that first used this or that particular phrase. Even in the area of university honor codes, these rules against borrowing are not necessarily free of bor­ rowing themselves. A simple Google search reveals that, frequently, distinc­ tive phrases in one school’s code can easily be found in other schools’ codes. This may at first seem to represent a grand irony, and tends to be reported in the press as a delicious scandal, but at the very least there’s a solid argument to be made that honor code documents do not represent the sort of creative work meant to be protected by the code itself.72 It’s worth contemplating the idea that even creative work need not be thought of as fundamentally different from legal contracts or honor code docu­ ments in this regard. Creative expressions also can be thought of as material for use by the community. Originality might remain one of our values but need not be considered the sole source from which goodness flows. This is close to the notion of the “cultural commons,” as promulgated by such scholars as Lawrence Lessig and Lewis Hyde: a metaphorical space in which ideas, freely available to all, allow the community to develop a creative richness and a stream of innova­ tion that otherwise would be stymied, the argument goes, by such devices as copyright laws that extend long past creators’ lifetimes.73 In Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership (2010), for example, Hyde argues that the goal of copyright traditionally has been to strike an es­ sential balance between promoting creativity by ensuring the creators’ ability to earn rewards on the one hand and, on the other, encouraging an enriched community by limiting the term of those individual rewards so that the com­ munity will become able to use those creations as each individual might see fit. Hyde’s analysis, though, shows that “the history of copyright since 1710 has been the story of a limit that has lost its limit.”74 Lessig explains in Free Culture: How

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Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity (2004) that this trend has only increased recently, as the “average term of copyright” shifted from slightly over thirty years in the early 1970s to ninety-­ five years by the early twenty-­first century. Additionally, and crucially, current copyright law draws no distinction “between republishing someone’s work on the one hand and building upon or transforming that work on the other.”75 Lessig’s immediate context is the fast-­ growing and contested area of inter­net-­based creative activity. He argues for the value—­and, he hopes for the near future, the legality—­of new creators “remixing” earlier works by others. Using the language of permissions associated with computer files, he calls for a hor­izontal “read/write” culture, where one has both access to and the ability to change content, in addition to the more traditional twentieth-­century practice of a top-­down “read/only” culture meant to be passively consumed.76 Lessig has put his ideas into practice by helping to form the Creative Commons, a non­ profit organization that provides legal and software tools for creators to choose various levels of rights for their works that function less restrictively than cur­ rent rules surrounding copyright. He is also fully aware that such remix-­based culture is merely the latest instance in a long line of practices historically that utilize and value an engagement with earlier creations, rather than expressions formed around expectations of perfect originality. In Lessig’s words, “The very best of what these new technologies make possible” is nothing more than “a return of something we were before. We should celebrate that return, and the prosperity it promises. . . . Most of all, we should learn something from it—­ about us, and about the nature of creativity.”77 Handel’s compositions are excellent candidates to reconsider from the con­ temporary perspective of the cultural commons. In the abstract, the culture derives a good from the creation of new music, and such music that contributes to the culture may come not only by starting from scratch but also by develop­ ing work that grows out of other music, while still being tailored for the specific audience at that particular point in history and cultural context. Further, using previously created music to produce new work doesn’t somehow deplete the world of music, as would happen through the overuse of a consumable mate­ rial good, but rather has the potential to foster the opposite result, to increase the creation and performance of music.78 There would be nothing wrong with presenting such new music so that its sources are cited, of course, but its value derives not from the scholarly rigor of the citations but rather from its place in the network of music used by the larger community and from its reception by the audience. Along such lines, the value of Handel’s music can be contem­ plated not in spite of its debt to other composers but precisely because it is both embedded in a network of contemporaries’ ideas and generates new ones,

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all the while remaining so effective for the specific purposes for which it was used within its various cultural contexts. As Lessig writes, “The artist or stu­ dent training to [remix] well learns far more about his past than one commit­ ted to this (in my view, hopelessly naive) view about ‘original creativity.’ ”79 Handel’s music—­a foundational repertoire in the development of classical music—­might be thought of fruitfully through lenses usually applied to popular music rather than through conventions of discussing classical music itself or, at the very least, from the perspective of an essential interplay and interpen­ etration of multiple musical value systems. Handel’s music is best understood, as are many practices within popular music and jazz, as essentially performa­ tive in nature rather than representing a static fixed text. In addition, the remix qualities that are so clear in popular music and jazz illuminate Handel’s work as well. Common chord progressions and melodic and lyrical tropes in blues, for example, are better thought of as fertile soil from which new songs might grow, rather than as lesser creative expressions because they’re not wholly orig­ inal. Handel’s borrowings are similarly intertextual, in dialogue with rather than disconnected from earlier works. Further, as again perhaps more easily understood in the context of popular music, Handel’s practices were driven in his own time by the marketplace. Handel’s success was directly connected to his ability to create music enjoyed—­and paid for—­by the public, and indeed, eventually he was able to make his living from box office proceeds. One particular example of Handel’s market-­based remix practices con­ cerns the way he often used numbers from his operas beyond their original context. Eighteenth-­century opera itself teemed with remix qualities. Or­ dinarily, operas were conceived as events aimed at a particular theater and audience, often consigned to oblivion once the production closed. Thus in Handel’s time it was normal and expected that some successful numbers might find their way into later opera productions, whether through the prac­ tice of singers utilizing their favorite arias when they might fit a particular dramatic situation or through composers themselves constructing pasticci—­ collages of preexisting numbers woven together through new recitative to help a new story cohere. And beyond the theater, Handel regularly would also arrange numbers from his operas to fit various other settings, especially within genres appropriate for home performance. Arias recast as pieces for harpsichord, or harpsichord and flute, or as string trio sonatas allowed previ­ ously operatic compositions to generate further sales in these new contexts.80 The issue was not Handel’s ability to create original work; rather, Handel ap­ proached new work and remixes of preexisting work on a level playing field, all as creative expressions that might be used effectively for various sorts of events.

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Handel’s example thus not only illuminates certain practices of the eigh­ teenth century that may seem odd in light of the classical value system that developed in later generations but might also be seen as newly relevant in con­ temporary contexts that center on remix practices. The explosion of creativity, musical and otherwise, hastened by digital tools that allow for the intersection of previous expressions, commentary on those expressions, and new expres­ sions, is fundamentally similar to the creative processes at the heart of Handel’s work. And Handel’s entrepreneurial spirit throughout his professional life to bring his work to the public resonates with the prospects musicians, includ­ ing classical musicians, find themselves in today. The desire to create a life in music often clashes dissonantly with the harsh realities of profound uncertainty and change surrounding conventional musical organizations and institutions, few opportunities on traditional paths, and fierce competition for capturing the interests of potential listeners. Handel developed a significant audience and created a substantial body of music for which that audience was willing to pay, and his work models the fact that such music can be good music. It’s not that pure originality is irrelevant, or unimportant; rather, it’s simply not the be-­all and end-­all of creative work. We can authentically value origi­ nality, to be sure. But originality per se is no more important than the webs of connections to and tensions with other expressions. Such webs themselves demand deep creativity of their own to construct and understand. There is joy in engaging with the act of producing something of real use, and imagi­ native abundance, by and for real people. Perhaps it is just this engagement that Handel used so effectively to create such beloved music in his day, and for the ages.

7

Connected: What’s at Stake in How We Love the Music We Love?

Superhero movies go in and out of style, but in recent years the genre has experienced enormous commercial and even critical success. Aliens on Earth, humans with mutant powers, or rich heirs with unthinkable budgets for gadgets and workout routines fight for the forces of good. Such stories share more than a few characteristics with the accounts that often develop around our greatest musicians. Powers manifest at an early age, and the precocious youth learns how to harness these preternatural skills to change the world. Talent is inherited from past greats, and a foreordained destiny is realized. The hero is misunderstood in his or her time, must struggle against ignorant authorities and a skeptical public while still accomplishing great deeds, and is only later recognized for the wonders that were always there. Also similar to musical reception, the way superhero tales are told over time can be fascinating historiographically, as each age constructs versions of the stories that resonate with wider cultural issues of the given era.1 The current wave of these fantasy narratives illustrates one of these telltale shifts: from traditional lone hero figures to teams who must work together to win the day. The Marvel studio’s strategy is notable: each in a series of ostensibly standalone blockbusters released over a period of years drops hints that the lead characters from each film would band together. All this is aimed toward an eventual mega-­blockbuster Avengers movie that realizes the promise.2 (Not to be outdone, their rival DC Comics, perhaps taken aback at Marvel’s accomplishment, reorganized to create its own many-­year and many-­film plan to bring their stable of characters together on screen.) Earlier versions of the superhero trope emphasized the separation between the main character and everyone else, most commonly wrapped up in the device of the secret identity. The hero had to take on the burden of the double life, or, the

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audience is told over and over again, the hero’s loved ones would be placed in grave danger. In the newer tellings, though, the secret identity often seems little more than an afterthought, and narrative emphasis is instead placed on the group working together to accomplish their mighty task. Also notable is the extent to which powered and nonpowered people alike collaborate. In the Avengers film, for example, the heroes tend to get in their own way, their substantial egos often on the verge of thwarting victory. It’s the ordinary humans who keep the team on task and provide an extensive network of technical sup­ port and intelligence to ensure that the heroes are in the right place at the right time, with the right directions for success. This phenomenon, a movement from worshipping singular figures to playing out collaborations between a diversity of people with different abilities and points of view and to focusing on how the hero interacts with others as part of a time and place, extends well beyond the bounds of popular culture. Large trends in historical scholarship over the last generation or so show a decided shift in focus from “great man” narratives to careful reconstructions of how groups worked together to shape important events and, more broadly, to the roles wider contextual factors may have played.3 As the science writer Steven Johnson characterizes Thomas Edison’s contributions to the history of artificial light, “the lightbulb was the kind of innovation that comes together over decades, in pieces. There was no lightbulb moment in the history of the lightbulb. . . . [Edison’s] greatest achievement may have been the way he figured out how to make teams creative: assembling diverse skills in a work environment that valued experimentation . . . and building on ideas that originated elsewhere.”4 Similarly, a notable emphasis is now often placed on the fabric of ordinary lives within a given context, particularly the lives of those who might have been systematically excluded from such historical writ­ ing in earlier eras.5 This is not to say that all is sweetness and light. Weighty issues often overshadow the alliances in these cinematic “universes,” and heroes find themselves on opposing sides. Not surprisingly, such grave fictional topics mirror fraught debates in the real world, once again marking the films as part of their wider cultural moment. When Batman views Superman as an alien outsider who can destroy entire cities from the sky, or when the various Avengers cannot find common ground on whether the team should be held accountable for destructive results in the name of fighting for good, the tense drama can resonate powerfully with a post-­9/11 audience. Perhaps uncannily crystallizing the tensions just below—­and not always below—­the surface of today’s society, we see dramatized on-­screen partnerships broken, social contracts torn, behavioral norms flaunted, and apocalyptic visions realized in photo-­realistic grandeur.

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The teams fall apart, even do battle with one another. The Avengers engage in a “civil war”; Batman fights Superman seemingly to the death. And the tone is often unrelentingly dark, not so much an escape as a special effects–­laden reminder of our troubles outside the theater. As this book has argued while ranging over numerous contexts and repertoires, music-­historical narratives are ripe for a greater participation in such rethinking as well. Most commonly, classical music composers and performers in fields of popular music have continued to be portrayed as playing the singular heroic role, reminiscent of the conventional presidential biography or old-­style tales of costumed do-­gooders. Reception histories around those musics have developed regulative systems of values that have reinforced impressions of valid authority and dominance. In some cases, such as how 1960s and 1970s classic rock tends to be used in early twenty-­first-­century America, music once considered subversively dangerous to the status quo can be co-­ opted by groups with relatively high positions of cultural influence as a way of promulgating myths about American society that serve to maintain their power. But more and more often, as with the recent scholarship on jazz and Handel outlined in chapters 5 and 6, the seemingly hermetically sealed world of the lone original genius has given way to narratives centered on the extent to which the musical hero is embedded into wider processes of music making and part of the wider world in all its contradictory and fascinating nuance. As the interpretations of Beethoven and the Beatles, Mahler, and progressive rock suggested in other chapters above, many pieces of music themselves can express multifaceted perspectives, even among seemingly incompatible systems, musical styles, and artistic registers of high and low value, rather than being solely—­or even primarily—­concerned with ideals of musical (and societal) unity or purity. Focusing on dynamic processes of music making, and on a lively plurality of reception, doesn’t merely suggest some sort of utopian vision. Rather, given that musical and cultural values are always contested, and that artists and their music often challenged or undermined various forms of authority in their original contexts, such a perspective represents a means of resistance against dominant values, particularly when a culture’s values are employed to reinforce unequal and oppressive systems of power. Indeed, contemporary music making itself is changing its focus in similar ways. Of course, there are still plenty of traditional orchestras and string quartets, and the overall artistry in such ensembles is perhaps higher than ever before. But the extent to which even conventional classical groups have explicitly pivoted to focus on outreach to their communities is surely notable, aiming to increase audience numbers and deepen musical education, widen appeal across lines of race and class, decrease the average age of patrons, and

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generally demystify the off-­putting aura often seen to surround classical music.6 Even in the realms of pop and hip-­hop stardom, rather than project a separation between artist and audience, contemporary performers tend to care­fully curate their identities and relationships with fans through social media platforms and to construct a sense of musical community by including numerous tracks with “featured” performers from within and beyond their immediate musical circles in order to perform, as George Lipsitz explains, “mo­­ ments of mutual recognition, affiliation, and alliance.”7 Perhaps most characteristic is the recent rise of chamber music collectives. Groups such as the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), to name one of the most prominent examples, are made up of extraordinarily talented artists who trained at the best conservatories but place their energies into rethinking the very paradigm of a classical music ensemble that exists primarily to conserve, as the name implies, the great works of the past. The members of these groups still spend much of their time bringing previously composed works to life and often still imagine their music from the perspective of great “works.” But they also take on artistic leadership roles such as writing and commissioning new pieces, range widely in their musical interests and styles, and lean heavily toward performing in nontraditional performance spaces and with nontraditional performance atmospheres, all while simultaneously engaging in the difficult tasks of running their own business. They reject any suggestion that their music making belongs in some sort of sonic museum de­ void of the intensity of the current historical moment, that classical music’s audience must necessarily be aging out of existence or excluding broad segments of society, or even that traditional collections of instruments should constitute the norm. As the ensemble’s website asserts, they are “innovative, modular, [and] artist-­driven. . . . ICE redefines concert music as it brings together new music and new audiences.”8 One of the key factors in the excitement around such collectives is that a group of individuals have connected with each other through their creative passion, rather than functioning as mere satellites orbiting some “star” conductor or soloist. Music making always transpires in a cultural context and always speaks to and shapes deep issues of social organization. The development of the orchestra during the eighteenth-­century Enlightenment is surely connected to questions of that age surrounding the relationships between the individual and the collective, not unlike the balance between freedoms and governmental structures outlined in the Constitution. The growth of hip-­hop in the late twentieth century is similarly embedded in its American urban settings, particularly in modes of vocal production and backing support created by people systematically robbed of musical training and investment in

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a supposedly universal practice of timeless great music. In the case of the chamber music collective, perhaps the focus on smaller forces speaks to realities of current-­day audiences for classical music compared to that implied by the enormous numbers needed to staff the traditional orchestra. But the collectives also embody the notion of classical music as a living art, actively participating in an age of recognizing and valuing diversity, fast-­paced change, resistance to reactionary reverence for dubious traditions, and creative grassroots attempts to solve seemingly intractable problems. Indeed, such a model interacts with many of the themes identified and outlined in this book and crystallizes an alternate “connected” approach to the wonders and mysteries surrounding music making. In this concluding discussion, I will synthesize the arguments made in the previous individual chapters, suggest potential paths for rereading the values that emerge from the strands of compositional and reception histories we’ve explored, and outline how various modes of “con­ nectedness” might be brought to bear in our approaches to musical value. Gaps between Imagination and Reality Perhaps the largest theme that emerges from the case studies above is the notion that discourse surrounding music has a decided effect on our judgments about it. Words matter, as much as we’d like to believe that music works on us directly, with no intermediary required. Music is inherently ambiguous, and though there may be limits to the ways one might react to any given piece of music, the boundaries afforded by a piece are quite open—­one person’s workout song might be another’s lullaby. Within such a range of possibilities, the framing devices we are taught inevitably shape our hearings. Further, the language we use is not merely descriptive but is, instead, shot through with values about music. Even seemingly neutral descriptions are by no means value free but, rather, presuppose the judgment. And as we have seen, often such discourse constructs a narrow sort of goodness, centered on various metaphors of purity. Styles of music considered to be less than purely serious, such as jazz, rock, and hip-­hop, were and are routinely dismissed out of hand even though their musical processes are inherently no more or less compelling than those operating in classical music. Notions of mixture or hybridity almost always lead to negative judgments. Classical music critics around the turn of the twentieth century stumbled to find language to describe the seemingly impure surface effects of Mahler’s symphonies and often settled for conclusions suggesting the composer misunderstood or otherwise didn’t belong within the great tradition. Several generations later, rock critics didn’t know what to make of progressive bands who performed in ways that

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didn’t fit well the musical, lyrical, or cultural expectations of rock music and similarly drew savagely negative conclusions about its supposed lack of authenticity. Critics drawn to jazz developed a positive discourse for it, drawing out seeming distinctions with classical music, but kept important facets of the heroic ideology familiar from classical music and skirted over aspects of jazz practices that lay at odds with those ideals. Discoveries about the beloved composer Handel’s creative process flew in the face of the very metaphors of originality that grew up around classical music in general, and Handel’s reception in particular, leading critics for well over a century not to reexamine such notions of goodness but, rather, to make excuses for the composer or take the radical step of excising him from the group of good composers within which initially he was located at the center. The case studies in this book show that, across manifold time periods, contexts, styles, and genres, there is often an important gap between traces of reception, whether from scholarship, critical discourse, or popular reactions, and the processes that went into creating the music, along with the art that resulted—­the “music itself.” This is true for examples with somewhat checkered reception histories, as perhaps might be expected, but also for repertoires often seen to be defining examples of a particular set of musical practices. And notably, such a gap is no less important for some of the most famous and beloved individual pieces of music. Even and especially for widely lauded masterpieces, such as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in the realm of classical music and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper in the realm of pop, the very metaphors posited as the sources of such high value—­musical unity, above all—­prove to be only one of numerous perspectives that might be applied to the music and perhaps one not even particularly convincing in light of other possibilities. Collectively, the case studies imply that inverting, reversing, or turning upside down the ingrained values can be a productive way to approach music. These metaphors of transformative motion are apt, as the discussions question not only the traditional values themselves but also the conventional wisdom that such values are static, timeless, and universal. Instead, the usual and seemingly immobile judgments were once themselves new and were developed in their own contested cultural moments for their own, often forgotten, purposes. They thus need to be placed under close scrutiny so that we can explore the extent to which they have met, and still meet, the challenges of various settings and circumstances beyond their time. In our current context, such movement away from the traditional metaphors can be productive from numerous perspectives. Normally marginalized aspects of music can be captured in works already valued. A piece that contains a wealth of materials might lead us to praise its diversity, rather than

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attempt to explain it away. Dialogues among works and interactions among creators might create meanings beyond notions of pure originality. The door could be opened to bring our attention to bear on whole repertoires of music normally discounted for not seeming serious enough, or deep enough, or authentic enough and on music makers and listeners routinely disregarded for their engagement with and love of such types of music, who not coinciden­ tally often stem from communities possessing relatively low positions of power within Western society. Just as importantly, we can reimagine the behavior shaped by the discourse around conventionally “good” music. As the thinking goes, if a piece of music is complexly unified, wholly autonomous, and created by an original genius, our primary task as a listener is to uncover through solitary focus and close study the complex weaving of original unity, thereby recognizing and reaffirming the composer’s genius. A darkened silent space to prevent visual and auditory distractions from the other audience members—­or, more recently, perhaps an even more concentrated version of the ideal, realized in a quiet room with a good sound system and a desk topped with a written score of the composer’s markings, all paired with extended training to engage in this type of contemplation—­surely can help one realize such truths. At one time those rituals represented a newly beneficial way of valuing music. For hundreds of years previous, composers were considered relatively unimpor­ tant, performances were often ill-­prepared, and large portions of the audience were not particularly interested in listening closely and did not have the technological tools to engage repeatedly with a piece of music even if they were so inclined. The shift to these rituals in the nineteenth century supported and surely helped to create the new Romantic-­era notion that music could be considered the most important form of art, its mysterious depths lying beyond the reach of ordinary life and ordinary listening, a perspective that profited music in uncountable ways. But the perhaps unintended side effects of the system of concert behaviors, which have been reinforced since the nineteenth century, have been just as profound. We worship a predetermined set of great composers but crowd out innumerable others whose value may be left undiscovered. We polish performances with a sheen that would be the envy of any previous era but often lose a spontaneity or potential for individual performers’ voices to shine through and thereby reduce the chances a performance will move its audience. We are told to listen closely without bodily engagement to the point that many find themselves bored, if not falling asleep. And we must study the music so closely to be able to “appreciate” it such that large swaths of potential audience members feel themselves shut out—­or choose to shut themselves out—­from experiencing the

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music at all. In short, we have learned to love music, particularly classical music, in such a way that a great deal of society has chosen to leave much potentially rewarding music by the wayside and has internalized a perverse perspective telling us that the nonclassical music we love is not worth valuing aesthetically. No wonder, then, that changing the physical setting and social expectations of a classical concert, as in a performance of a Bach cello suite or a set of opera arias in a bar rather than a concert hall, for instance—­the performers wearing denim jeans and T-­shirts rather than formalwear, the audience encouraged to react physically and audibly when moved—­often results in a profoundly different experience even while the sounds produced are essentially the same.9 Thus it’s not that older music has little to say to us today or that there’s little reason to make room for Bach amid the almost infinite wealth of music available to us. Rather, we can contemplate how such music might speak to us differently than it did generations ago, just as concert-­hall Bach speaks to its audiences in a fundamentally different way than how Bach likely imagined the relationship between performer and listener. We can’t truly re-­create what Bach might have envisioned, whatever that might be, and neither should we fetishize an attempt at re-­creating what any other generation might have valorized. But we might find gratifying our engagement with Bach in our world. Admittedly, the musical values explored in this book that paint such a portrait are somewhat arbitrary, or at least represent a mere subset of what could have been included. Alternate versions could have instead, or additionally, considered various other underlying assumptions about good music. A discussion centered on “long” works, for instance, would show how reception tends to assert the power of classical music through its demand for concentration over long spans of time, and a similar impulse is brought to bear on various popular musics as well, not the least being the progressive rock discussed in chapter 4 and its penchant for “concept albums.”10 Contemplating the notion that good music is “timeless” could easily establish such a value in the reception of various styles. A discourse on the notion of “human” music making might explore in various historical contexts arguments painting musical technology as depersonalizing and artistically sterile, combined with passionate arguments for the purity of “real” performance. Surely a raft of other possibilities, all at least as im­­ portant as the ones included, could also be imagined. At the same time, investigating other such musical values likely would lead to similar conclusions as the particular topics with which I have engaged. During the Romantic era, for example, musical miniatures such as the Lied or the characteristic piano piece were at least as representative as large genres and exemplified the musical aesthetics of the time at least as well as the giant works did; indeed, musical extremes in Romanticism are more to the point

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than temporally extended works per se. Regarding the notion of good music being timeless, quite commonly works that enjoy such a distinction in their reception histories in fact took decades, if not centuries, before being considered on such a lofty plane; greatness beyond the confines of context is an ideal ironically shot through with contextual meaning.11 With regard to fears of technology, the notion of a truly unmediated performance is always an illusion. Any musical instrument, whether a flute or a piano or even a human voice in classical music, or the synthesizers and computers at play in current-­ day electronic dance music, necessarily mediates between the performer and the resulting sounds. Hand wringing at recording studio trickery in today’s context is little different than that witnessed, for example, in nineteenth-­ century orchestration treatises at the new musical technologies of their day, such as the valves that had been added to the “natural” horn.12 The grand piano represents a confluence of some of the most advanced technologies of the later nineteenth century, just as the sonic possibilities of the laptop computer combine many of the most advanced technologies of the early twenty-­ first. Such devices can be seen as opening new avenues to, amplifying rather than diminishing, the human creative process.13 The musical values explored in Good Music are only a subset of those used to argue for goodness in music but are also representative of that larger network. And often, those systems of values surrounding music belie music making in the real world. Reimagining the Conventional Musical Values The fact that there are gaps between abstract systems of conventional musical value and the realities of music making need not be considered purely a negative, however. As the case studies also show, a perspective somewhat closer to reality does not represent some fall-­from-­Eden narrative, where important aspects of music used to be perfectly pure but later became corrupted. Rather, different sorts of potential musical values, ones that can be seen as positive in their own right, might be constructed around a given repertoire. And such re­ imagined musical value might be applicable widely beyond that repertoire too. The customary values are mythical, to be sure. It feels compellingly satisfying to argue that a beloved piece of music is a perfectly unified and original work of genius. But while myths may construct powerful narratives within their culture, their power stems from the extent to which the story brings a coherent and compelling organization to a wealth of complex information. The inherent fluidity of cultures, though, means that significant gaps between realities and the principles meant to organize them may emerge periodically,

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clearing a path toward hard-­won but necessary revisions of the organizing narrative itself. Stated simply, myths can transform as society transforms. Thus the potential transformations implied in the chapters above can be just as com­ pelling, just as satisfying, as the conventional values they question: f r o m “ s e r i o u s ” t o “ p l ay f u l ” Popular styles, by definition, aim at a wide public and often do so with catchy melodies, engaging textures, and generally a light touch. Such features might seem anathema to developmental workings of musical material, connecting themes and motives across large time spans, and integrating the surface and the structure of the piece. But stylistic characteristics are often independent of the structural ones. Plenty of pop songs aren’t particularly interesting structurally, but plenty are. Numerous classical works, of course, show structural riches when analyzed, but many others are less compelling under such scrutiny. We tend to approach popular music in certain ways, and classical music in different sorts of ways, and circularly we often focus on pieces of music in the given style that we know already fit the values we bring to that style. But those are choices rather than inherent tools we must employ. Instead, we can (and do) have multiple sorts of aesthetic experiences with music, regardless of the given style, and that multiplicity should inform our critical discourse. Good music thus can be music that engages our sense of play, and indeed, a quickly growing area of scholarship is often given the Latinate prefix ludo-­, as in “ludomusicology.”14 A metaphor of play would likely take strides toward constructing images of classical music that are less off-­putting to those who are wary of its supposed inherent seriousness. It would also serve the purpose of helping music that tends to be stylistically lighter seem less aesthetically suspect. There is no shame at being drawn to a work that we enjoy because of a catchy tune, even from the perspective of the traditional values: acknowledging the primacy of such enjoyment would invite us to listen again and again, reexperiencing the pleasurable musical moments and, as we get to know the music more closely, potentially opening the door to hearing the connections that may have eluded us before. And this is not a matter of using surface pleasures as a lure to the better parts of the art, an inviting but nutritionally empty sauce enticing us to eat the healthy vegetables below. Motivic and thematic development itself can be seen from a perspective of play, as an impulse of listening and responding in the moment, of a composer or performer fulfilling a musical promise or twisting the musical fabric to ends one couldn’t have guessed in advance, and the fun that results from feeling engaged by that temporal flow.

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from “unified” to “diverse” As the presumed chief characteristic of music with serious intent, “organic” relationships within a work—­all the ideas seeming to grow out of the same genetic stock—­continue to signify the reigning metaphor in closely argued analyses of music. The value of musical unity remains unquestioned in most contexts; indeed, intimations of unity are often all that is needed to assert the goodness of a piece of music, even though the surface style of the music, rather than its structures, is likely what attracted such focused attention in the first place. Thus it’s little wonder that works that strike us as unmitigated masterpieces, Beethoven’s Ninth and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper alike, would have reception histories heavily concerned with demonstrating the work’s unity, as a way of “proving” the conventional wisdom of that work’s lofty status. But the ink spilled in the service of such an attempted proof belies the fact that so much analysis often is needed not because unity is so immediately evident; rather, such close readings are necessary because the works instead tend to be striking in their musical diversity. Imagining a metaphor of diversity as the starting point of a discussion can shine a different light on the works, one at least as effective as the assumption of unity. From a stylistic point of view, such masterpieces may seem to capture the world so effectively because they embrace a multiplicity of musics and perspectives, rather than working to exclude differences. And diversity may characterize the works’ perspective on structure just as strongly, pushing against and breaking through boundaries as a strategy to dramatize the work’s ability to become open to such multitudes. from “mind versus body” to “body and mind” Developmental unity can seem so compelling as a musical value because, in many cases, focused study primarily engaging the intellect is necessary to uncover such levels of organization. Such directed attention often necessarily operates out of musical time so that one can pause, reflect, check back, and then move on, closely relating to the long-­held assumption that notated music—­where such activities are possible, compared to the “real time” of a performance—­is better than music communicated through aural channels. A bias toward the intellect is strong enough that even styles of music ripe with interconnections can be disparaged if the musical networks are deemed too easy to perceive, as is the case in various popular styles as well as later twentieth-­century classical “minimalism.” But effective music is often called spine-­tingling for a reason: our bodies react to the sounds, providing the

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pleasurable reinforcement that makes us want to conduct the more abstract search for how the music might be coherent in the first place. The traditional binary opposition between body and mind is no longer aesthetically—­let alone scientifically—­tenable. Indeed, it’s the conjunction between body and mind, the entire person working as a unit, wherein our ability to explore music deeply lies. Positive bodily reactions to music lead us to reflect on it and choose to reexperience it, which leads us to have further bodily reactions to it, and so forth, in a delicate yet robust feedback loop. My spine tingles not only when a melody reaches a satisfying high point but also when, in a piece of music I love and know well, I recognize a developmental connection I hadn’t noticed before. The seemingly intellectual satisfaction possesses a strong corporeal component too. Beyond leading us to seek out explanations of coherence, a bodily engagement with music can and should be valued in its own right, as a source of building community, as a wellspring of understanding the self, as a path to increased physical and psychological health, and as the likely foundation of the love for music that leads so many of us to spend so much time interacting with it over the course of our lives. Such experiences with music do no harm to the intellect; to the contrary, such a framework helps create the spaces within which we explore music as a primary means of our attempts to make sense of the world. f r o m “ d e e p ” a n d “ au t h e n t i c ” m u s i c t o “dialogue” among styles and genres For a good while, I had wondered why I was drawn to certain sorts of music as a listener and, later, as areas of focus in my scholarship. Mahler’s symphonies, by the turn of the twenty-­first century, were of course staples of the classical repertory, but even superficial scanning of liner notes made it clear how checkered Mahler’s reception history had been, and my friends’ reactions to Mahler similarly could be quite polarized. Progressive rock bands could fill arenas decades after they had first risen to prominence, but even so, my fandom felt like a guilty pleasure, so often did pop music authorities pepper “worst” lists of songs and albums with examples drawn from prog. I felt—­feel?—­as if in an uncomfortable middle zone, fascinated by music often disparaged critically yet somehow with a large following nonetheless, music not “good” enough to be obviously good and not “cool” enough to be considered good from a position of resistance against the musical authorities or the masses, either. Just as vexing to me was why I was interested in these various musics from quite different traditions and practices, or, perhaps more to the point, why my thinking about them seemed to run consistently counter to the

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grain, fascinated by the “surface” features in the classical music, yet spending my time closely picking apart the structures of the pop music. What I’ve concluded is this: real people in a given time and place interact with many different kinds of music, and each interaction in turn mingles with the others. The diversity of a masterpiece convincingly models the plurality of experience and identity that defines our existence. We don’t keep our classical experiences in a box, sealed off from our experiences with pop music or music from cultures beyond our own. Instead we hear any particular sort of music resonating in the others, leading us to compare aspects that initially might seem far apart and to contrast aspects that at first might seem similar. Further, traces of those dialogues can be heard in the music, created as it is by other multifaceted real people.15 All classical music is in a dialogue between its structures and its sounding surface, and between its internal sound world and the wider world of other pieces of music. Mahler’s music happens to bring that crux to the fore with an uncommon focus on its sounds and seeming, so often, to reach beyond pure classical music. Conversely, all popular music carries its attractive and attention-­grabbing sounds through psychologically fine-­tuned structures. Progressive rock happens to play up that dialogue with an uncommon focus on extended forms and by seeming so often to allude to classical and other musics beyond pure pop. These repertoires highlight how music more generally negotiates perceived boundaries of style and genre, creating not impurities that need to be pushed to the side but productive tensions to be highlighted at the center of our explorations. from “original heroes” to “ c o l l a b o r at i v e ” m u s i c m a k i n g Such dialogues within pieces or styles are more than a metaphorical tool for how to approach our understandings of music; they are often the lifeblood of the music-­making process itself. Across the history of jazz, while reception is often focused on individual performers and their contributions to pushing the music in a forward-­seeming direction, against other players as well as the music industry—­a modernist bent often internalized by the players themselves—­ evidence from the bandstand and recordings shows players listening to each other and responding to each other as a primary force. Many notable improvisations themselves focus on the performer constructing a multivoiced dialogue with his or her own ideas within the musical timeline. Without a doubt the classic jazz greats deserve much of their attention, but a perspective centering on the collaboration among the team helps to underscore and provide a context for their achievements, as well as hinting at how we might

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also recognize the achievements of all the team’s members, and the team as a whole. The reception of jazz along heroic lines owes more than a small debt to the reception of classical music over the course of the Romantic era, obvious differences among the musical practices notwithstanding. Musical values radiate forward in time and affect our thinking beyond the initial context. The values diffuse temporally backward, too, affecting the reception histories of earlier figures just as robustly. The case of Handel is perhaps the strongest one to show that assumptions of heroic originality can falter in the light of investigating the creative process closely. Beyond the fact that Handel’s eighteenth-­ century practices seem questionable within a nineteenth-­century framework of musical values, the very notion of pure originality—­a belief again held at least as strongly by generations of musicians—­fails to account for composers’ intertextual play, interactions with performers, and dialogues with each other. Rather than consider such music problematic, the issues may lie more centrally with the foundations of evaluation themselves. Collaborative processes are no impediment to creativity but, rather, may lie at the heart of the creative impulse itself.

*

Encompassing the potential transformations above is an argument for imagining spectrums of inquiry, categories of musical value leading to open questions. I am not implying, for example, that “serious” works should no longer be seen as good and that instead we should now see “playful” works as the ones in a positive light. Rather, I’m suggesting that exploring the tone of a piece is important, the essential point being that any given piece of music is potentially good, regardless of where it may happen to lie on a spectrum between “serious” and “playful,” depending on its aims, creators, audience, and reception, including a potentially long reception history spanning changes in ideas about music. Thus my subheading “from serious to playful” is worded to describe an inclusive range of inquiry rather than a different but equally restrictive approach. Each of the spectra implied by the case studies above function similarly. Issues of musical coherence may matter very much but need not be weighted purely toward notions of “unity” or “deep” structure at the expense of musical diversities and engaging surfaces. Constructions of style and genre need not tilt toward authenticity at the expense of intertextual dialogues and changes over a long musical career. And the creative process can be explored without a bias toward singular figures and pure originality. Musicians and the music they create stake out a rich multiplicity of positions, all worthy of inquiry and attention, and all worthy of value.

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Sketching a Model of  “Connected” Music Synthesizing the reimagined musical values above implies something of a general shift. Over the last two hundred years, it’s not that examples of intertextuality have never been noted, for example, but rather that pieces of music that claim their status as unified works categorically have been valued more highly. In each case, as is the norm when a spectrum of possibilities is conceived as a binary opposition, one pole has been valued more highly than the other, and the further away from the ideal, the more negative the resulting judgment. I argue instead for a more level field from which to view each metaphorical spectrum. And in doing so, I argue for a new sort of musical value: from a narrow sort of goodness often concerned with individual achievement and abstractly pure aspects of music, to valuing a “connected” music and a “connected” approach to understanding music and music making. Within such a model, a number of perspectives that might otherwise be pushed to the margins can instead be rethought at the center of discourse about music. Rather than thinking about composers, performers, audiences, and scholars in a way that isolates their distinct positions, we can focus on the extent to which all involved connect to each other as a normal—­an essential—­ piece of the music-­making process. As Elisabeth Le Guin suggests, reflecting on her various roles interacting with the music of Luigi Boccherini (1743–­1805), “anyone who performs old music or who has written about its history can attest to identifying with composers. . . . At its best and sweetest we might call it intimate, implying that it is somehow reciprocal. . . . It can and should be a primary source of knowledge about the performed work of art.”16 And instead of imagining music as an art created by lone hero figures, we can focus on the extent to which individuals work together symbiotically in the moment of performance. Nicholas Cook suggests that “what you are hearing when you listen to [Mozart’s String Quartet in G] K. 387 is precisely the sound of social interaction, the sound of community.” Noting the parallels with how jazz performances are more routinely perceived, he argues that “the language developed to characterize the performative qualities of black discourse become[s] available as a vocabulary for performance in general.”17 Indeed, a “connected” approach would also focus on the extent to which music intersects with its cultures, both in the time of its creation and in the multifarious contexts in which a given music is heard beyond its original time and place. Rather than highlight a work as somehow hermetically sealed off from the world, emphasis would be placed on how the given music is shaped by and shapes the cultures in which it is heard. Instead of imagining music as somehow separate from its listeners, constructing the audience

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as fundamentally passive, we can focus on the extent to which listeners in their particular cultural situation actively engage with music in manifold ways to construct meaningful experiences and ultimately function actively and creatively within the processes of making music. Thomas H. Greenland, for instance, in his ethnography of jazz scenes in New York City, proposes multifaceted ways audience members, club presenters, critics, photographers, and so forth are themselves active performers and collective improvisers in constructing the jazz community. The music-­making process is inherently dynamic, as players connect with listeners while audiences simultaneously affect the players.18 Such a paradigm for valuing music can illuminate numerous sorts of examples that otherwise might be treated as value problems, or marginalized from discourse, rather than as fruitful sources for our thinking. A sample of such musics, particularly along the lines of repertoires discussed in this book, could include, for instance, Uri Caine’s recordings that blend Mahler’s compositions with the performing forces and musical approach of jazz. By doing so, Caine constructs a dialogue across genre and style and across musical generations. One of the most notable features of Mahler’s music is how supremely planned the music is notationally. Yet, paradoxically, the meticulous articulations, phrase markings, and rhythmic nuances Mahler attempts to capture in his scores leads to music that highlights its performative nature when realized in sound. Caine’s performances seem to home in on this aspect of Mahler, staying grounded in the composed structures, melodies, and harmonies while simultaneously using the music as a source for expression in the moment. When “the notes” largely remain the same as in Mahler’s original, as is often the case in the versions of the Fifth Symphony’s first and fourth movements (on the 1997 album Urlicht/Primal Light), the players’ performing inflections reinforce their background as jazz artists. In other performances, such as the third movement of the First Symphony, Mahler’s stylistic references to nonclassical music become an invitation for Caine’s group to construct extended klezmer-­inspired improvisations, picking up on important strands of Mahler’s reception. Mahler’s tendencies toward extreme musical contrasts and references across works transform into other performances. The song “Ging heut’ Morgen über’s Feld” (“I Went Out This Morning over the Countryside”) from the cycle Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer), itself the basis for the main theme of the First Symphony’s opening movement, appears in the guise of a jaunty jazz piano trio. This shifts to a funk-­inspired middle section structured around the first theme of the Second Symphony’s opening movement, its loud minor-­key paragraphs in thrilling

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contrast to the quiet major-­mode theme of the song. And throughout, added sounds and samples, often deriving from Danny Blume’s electronics and DJ Olive’s turntabling, reference Mahler’s penchant for incorporating uncanny “outside” voices into his works. The effect is not “ ‘jazzed-­up’ Mahler” or a watered down jazz-­classical crossover, but rather, as Björn Heile puts it, a “ ‘polyphony’ of musical idioms,” a “genuinely dialogic and non-­hierarchic” approach to music making.19 Similarly, jazz trio the Bad Plus often construct performances around previously composed rock songs, particularly ones by progressive bands. In their version of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” (1981), from their 2007 album Prog, for instance, the source material doesn’t simply serve as a background on which the Bad Plus improvises. Instead, the dialogue is a richer one, with the original song and its complexities remaining in sight while implications hinted at in the song become an opportunity on which the later group often expands. A held chord in the Rush song, for instance, which slows down the rate of harmonic change over the continuous rock beat, turns into an occasion for the Bad Plus to stretch time by blurring the pulse. In another distinctive moment, the jazz group pairs an extended rising scalar passage in the rock song with a lengthy dramatic crescendo. Similarly, their version of Nirvana’s 1991 “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (appearing on the group’s 2001 self-­titled album) takes a conventional rock riff of a rising fourth and uses it as an opportunity for explorations of quartal harmonies. Distinctive moments in the song where guitar strings are bent upward to reach the desired pitch invite Ethan Iverson to hit expected melodic arrivals on the lead piano a half step too low against the expected harmonies. A particularly fascinating example of connected music making might be drawn from the “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” series of video games popular in the first decade of the twenty-­first century, especially the version of the “Rock Band” game built around the Beatles’ catalog (2009). The game does not center on an intertextual exploration across styles and genres, like Caine’s or the Bad Plus’s approach; instead the Beatles’ music and career is treated as a sacrosanct repertoire and heroic tale worth repeating and recreating as much as any mythmaking around a classical great. Provocatively, however, the game connects the audience to the music by moving the players from a largely passive position, or at least a position essentially inconsequential to the recordings, to an interactive plane where the participants’ actions—­on custom controllers designed to mimic instruments such as guitars and drums—­actually affect the sounds themselves. If the player doesn’t hit the right combination of buttons at just the right time on the guitar-­shaped controller, George Har-

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rison will suddenly miss an important note in his solo, or Paul McCartney’s melodic bass line will suddenly drop out of the texture, and so forth. Miss too many notes, and the Beatles won’t make it through their 1964 performance on the Ed Sullivan television show, or their concert the following year at Shea Stadium. Beyond the game’s attempt to deepen (and market) the Beatles’ in­ tergenerational appeal, the move from outsider to insider, from audience mem­­ ber wishing to connect with the Beatles to a virtual player in the band itself, is profound.20 Opera as a genre, as well as other sorts of musical theater, can be an antidote to a number of the issues I’ve drawn out in exploring various musics closely. Opera scholarship, especially over the last generation, directly engages with the collaborative processes inherent in the creation of opera, “that gaudy potpourri,” as Roger Parker observes, between composer, librettist, conductor, director, and performers, along with set designers, costume designers, lighting designers, producers, and so forth, even extending to different productions or the ways particular roles are re-­created over generations or even centuries.21 David J. Levin’s exploration of critical methodologies that can be brought to bear on operatic stagings, for example, deals directly with such an inherent “proliferation of expressive means.”22 Operatic “music itself ” is seen to call out for understanding the potential interactions between score, performer, and audience, as in Mary Ann Smart’s study of “choreographic” music in nineteenth-­century opera, which in telltale passages provides “codes whose meaning has been largely forgotten . . . [that send] us signals about where to look or what to feel while looking at a body on stage.”23 In the realm of Broadway musicals, such multiple authorship regularly extends even to the creation of the score itself.24 Carolyn Abbate captures the paradox for our approach to musical value well in her discussion of Mozart’s Magic Flute: “Music transcends narrative, or image, or philosophy, yet remains wholly tied to the material means of its production. And the latter, perhaps, is what we are least likely to honor.”25 It’s exactly these interactions, the knowledge of opera’s multiple authorship and status as an event rather than a fixed work, that prevented the genre from functioning at the center of scholarly musical discourse for such a long time—­fitting “the established patterns (and battle lines) rather ill,” in Parker’s formulation—­and exactly why so much vital work in the field now focuses on it.26 Much of the model I’m sketching here resonates with Christopher Small’s influential 1998 book Musicking, and with good reason. Small engages in an extended deconstruction of the ritual behaviors and cultural mythmaking at the heart of an orchestral performance. He draws out that the essential

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meanings of music can be found precisely in the behaviors of making mu­ sic, collaborating with people possessing manifold talents and interests, and en­ gaging listeners in a way that creates community. Throughout the course of the discussion we are reminded, beyond our conventional assumptions about and values surrounding music, that “music is not a thing at all but an activity, something that people do. . . . The act of musicking establishes in the place where it is happening a set of relationships, and it is in those relationships that the meaning of the act lies.”27 Small’s analysis centers on how the “doing” of music explores, affirms, and celebrates the dominant values of the culture.28 But a connected perspective can go beyond hegemonic values. Instead, such an approach can also recognize the “otherness” incorporated in musicking, as one musician interacts with others in all their relational complexity, and musicians interact with diverse sets of listeners. Thus such a model can easily include music making, and interacting with music, by groups often marginalized culturally. Rose Rosengard Subotnik, as discussed in chapter 1, suggests that conventional musical values masquerade under a cloak of abstract neutrality, while we actually use them to avoid styles that aren’t “congenial.”29 The reality, though, goes beyond mere avoidance. Often we aggressively and actively argue against musics made by and for people who are in low relative positions of cultural power. A negative view of stylistic diversity, hybridity, and plurality maps on all too easily, if merely metaphorically, to arguments for social homogeneity and societal purity. And the effects are not only metaphorical: long-­standing criticisms of jazz in the twentieth century, later applied to disco, and more recently to hip-­hop, made clear the ease with which seemingly abstract arguments resulted in marginalizing music of African American communities, among others. Long-­standing valorization of seemingly heroic figures who create original masterpieces resulted in masculinizing metaphors that served to marginalize music making by women. A connected approach instead takes a skeptical position toward such systematic dismissals, provides a model for inclusion of such musics within a positive critical discourse, and opens up newly imagined possibilities for exploring more traditionally valued repertoires. Such an outlook thus closely resembles Richard Shusterman’s call for an “aestheticization of the ethical,” linking the notion of good art not to a traditional disinterested stance but to the ways that approaches to art might do cultural work we deem as good, such as furthering notions of a humane, pluralistic society and providing us with tools for engaging life’s challenges.30 My perspective thus does not—­and explicitly means not to—­reduce to “meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” an argument for employing a different viewpoint that would nevertheless result in valorizing some musics

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and marginalizing others.31 Plurality of approach seems closer to the mark. We can imagine unconventional ways of approaching classical music but also unconventionally classical ways of approaching popular music. The implication is that any given music can invite, support, and be illuminated by a diversity of approaches, can be understood as relating to a multiplicity of codes from a variety of cultural positions, and instead of seeming somehow weaker, rather can be seen as richer as a result. Implied in the model may also be something of a spiraling notion of historical change, where linear motion forward through time is tempered with a pendulum-­like motion back and forth, points later on the timeline distinct from but also connecting to earlier ones. For instance, while many aspects of connected music making reflect today’s contemporary moment, and stake out positions notably distinct from music making in the post-­Beethovenian generations, there are other aspects reminiscent of earlier approaches to music making, such as some prominent trends of the eighteenth century, including the sorts of music making Beethoven himself knew. In certain ways, Enlightenment ideals may be rearing their heads once more, moving us away somewhat from the long influence of the Romantic era. For instance, the eighteenth-­century attempt for good music to appeal to both “Kenner und Liebhaber,” specialists and amateurs alike, surely plays a part in currently emerging approaches to music making. Ironically, it was the reception of this repertoire in the following Romantic era that constructed and solidified the notion of fixed perfect artworks that would eventually marginalize many of the musical experiences of the very audience for whom those works were originally aimed. As Melanie Lowe argues, “Conditioned by Romantic and modernist notions of the autonomy of art, most twentieth-­century criticism of this music sidesteps (or even belittles) its original purpose to entertain its listeners.” Instead, we might focus on the rich aesthetic, philosophical, and political overtones of pleasure and entertainment as was vital in the eighteenth century and is again in today’s cultural contexts.32 Another important aspect of eighteenth-­century practice once again at the fore involves reaching beyond what today we tend to recognize as individual musical specialties and toward integration of the musical endeavor as widely conceived. When we say that Beethoven wouldn’t have recognized the “Beethoven” of reception in the generations after his death, partly what we mean is that, for Beethoven himself, being a musician meant composing and improvising and performing and presenting his own music. To return briefly to the example of the International Contemporary Ensemble chamber music collective, it’s not quite right to conceive of their project as fundamentally “entrepreneurial,” to use an increasingly familiar buzzword in today’s music

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schools and conservatories. At its base, these musicians don’t simply opt for a newly active role selling their music and making a living at their passion, while leaving the processes of music making itself unexplored and unchallenged. Rather, the ensemble members actively think hard and take responsibility for the “it,” for the music and the making of the music, and the meanings created in the bonds they form with each other and with their audiences. Their essential pivot began with an initially pessimistic realization that their collective of thirty or so musicians, talented and trained as they were, could not emulate a top orchestra, as Claire Chase, one of the group’s cofounders, tells the story. Eventually they were able to reframe the issue optimistically: “If we can’t be the New York Philharmonic, then what can we do that the New York Phil can’t do?”33 Such perspectives invite a deep rethinking of professional music education, as is occurring in many top-­down as well as bottom-­up ways. It is increasingly becoming common for conservatories themselves to seemingly upend their curriculum, such as by including improvisation along with score study, composition along with performance, entrepreneurial perspectives along with extended solitary hours in the practice room. The impulse for such changes is often in the name of relevance in the ever-­more-­difficult world of contemporary music making. But the approach is more than a little evocative of earlier approaches to training, by combining the various components of making music, reflecting on the music-­making process along with developing fluency in performance, and developing a sustainable life in music.34 Perhaps the deeper point of referring to that old German phrase isn’t so much in the “knowers” or the “lovers” themselves but, rather, in the “and” between them. As above, we have another set of seemingly opposed poles that regularly function beyond such abstractions, in a realm of interconnections and simultaneities. It’s not that good music be serious or playful but serious and playful, planned and improvisational, seriously playful as well as playfully serious. Good music is not “original” or “intertextual,” but intertextually original, about its own ideas while engaging in dialogues with other musics. The “and” does not simply link ideas but also, and essentially, connects different people with varying perspectives on music. Thus the connected approach to music I’ve attempted to sketch also brings me back to the thorny linguistic device of “we,” and why I’ve chosen to continue using it. Of course, ultimately, I am the one making these arguments. But “we,” for better or worse, acknowledges a construct of a broader “American society” or even “Western society” meant to be engaged by music making and the values expressed through it. “We” can also acknowledge the fundamental multiplicity and individual agencies at the dialectical heart of constructing

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the notion of those broader groups. Ultimately, I envision “we” as a musical community, we who listen closely and care deeply about music and connect with others who share the same passions unashamedly. For me—­and certainly not only for me—­the real experience of loving music is full of connections: numerous styles and manifold cultural roles, potentially infinite ideas that breathe the open air of interaction with other styles and ideas and, above all, with other people.

Notes

Introduction 1. Gopnik, “Music to Your Ears,” 32. 2. Randel, “The Canons in the Musicological Toolbox,” 10. 3. See, for example, Chabris and Simons, The Invisible Gorilla. 4. See Dickie, Art and Value, 106. Indeed, David Graeber theorizes that actions, rather than objects, lie at the heart of understanding value; see Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value. 5. Such a view hints at why the field traditionally has struggled with approaching popular music in positive terms. See Beard and Gloag, Musicology, 187–­89. 6. See Beech, Art and Value. 7. See, for instance, Taylor, The Sounds of Capitalism. 8. See Levinson, Musical Concerns, esp. 67–­86. The quotes are from 68, 67, and 80. 9. Guillory, Cultural Capital, 270. 10. Tommasini, “Should I Put Away My Levine Collection?” 11. Kramer, introduction to Musical Meaning and Human Values, 2. 12. George Dickie, for example, asserts that his theory of art “does not neglect art history, rather it just does not view it as being involved in the defining of ‘art’ ” (Art and Value, 49). 13. Durant, “Value”; Kramer, introduction to Musical Meaning and Human Values, 5. 14. Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production, 130, 82. 15. Ibid., 75, 102. 16. Bourdieu, Distinction, 468. 17. Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production, 255. 18. Bourdieu, Distinction, 486, 490, 491. 19. Eduard Hanslick, for example, in his significant 1854 treatise On the Musically Beautiful, argues for the centrality of “purely musical ideas,” as well as for “pure contemplation,” rather than attending to “the effects of music upon feeling,” as the proper mode of musical perception; the quotes are from 10 and 58. See also Bonds, Absolute Music, esp. 141 ff. 20. Bonds, Music as Thought, xv. 21. Weber, The Great Transformation of Musical Taste, 14. 22. Ibid., 239–­40. 23. Ibid., 35.

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24. See Weber’s charts and related discussion in ibid., 169 ff. 25. See ibid., 273 ff. 26. Gelbart, The Invention of “Folk Music” and “Art Music,” 7. 27. Middleton, Voicing the Popular, 23. 28. Kramer, introduction to Musical Meaning and Human Values, 6–­7. 29. See, for example, Gienow-­Hecht, Sound Diplomacy; and Campbell, “A Higher Mission than Merely to Please the Ear.” I thank Greg Robbins and Mark Evan Bonds, respectively, for these references. 30. Quoted in Krehbiel, The Philharmonic Society of New York, 82, cited by Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow, 132. 31. Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow, 133. 32. “Editor’s Easy Chair,” 261, quoted in Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow, 146. 33. Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow, 140. 34. Russell, The American Orchestra and Theodore Thomas, 174, quoted in Levine, Highbrow/ Lowbrow, 145. 35. Later, after marrying Leopold Stokowski, Samaroff added the conductor’s last name as well (Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow, 140). 36. Thomas, Memoirs of Theodore Thomas, 16, quoted in Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow, 134. 37. Russell, The American Orchestra and Theodore Thomas, 88–­89, quoted in Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow, 134. 38. Dwight, “Music as a Means of Culture,” 324, quoted in Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow, 134. 39. Damrosch, My Musical Life, 75–­76, cited in Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow, 135–­36. 40. Shusterman, Pragmatist Aesthetics, 144. 41. Goehr, The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works, 273, 253–­54. 42. Watkins, Metaphors of Depth in German Musical Thought, 19–­20. 43. Gopnik, “Music to Your Ears,” 38. 44. Ross, “Listen to This,” 154. 45. Shusterman, Pragmatist Aesthetics, 140. 46. Ibid., 140, 173, 184, 142. 47. Guillory, Cultural Capital, 336. 48. Richard Taruskin argues similarly regarding the “historically informed” approach to classical music of past centuries. See Text and Act. 49. Samson, “The Great Composer,” 259. 50. Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production, 131. 51. See Fink, Repeating Ourselves. 52. Middleton, Voicing the Popular, 23. 53. Gracyk, Listening to Popular Music, 4. Kalefa Sanneh makes a similar point in his New York Times essay “The Rap against Rockism”: “A rockist is someone who reduces rock ’n’ roll to a caricature, then uses that caricature as a weapon.” 54. Randel, “The Canons in the Musicological Toolbox,” 15; Goehr, The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works, 245 (emphasis in the original). 55. The Hip-­Hop Fellow, directed by Kenneth Price. The quote also appears in a National Public Radio story (Bates, “Hip-­Hop Academy”). 56. Such imagery regarding reception history thus evokes Beethoven’s position in many accounts of compositional history. See, for example, Dahlhaus, Nineteenth-­Century Music, esp. 75 ff. and 152 ff.; and Bonds, After Beethoven.

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57. Kevin Korsyn even refers to “the tyranny of privileged contexts,” which become “stereotyped and predictable, limiting the questions that we ask about music.” See “Beyond Privileged Contexts”; the quotes are from 70 and 67–­68. 58. This point evokes James Currie’s argument surrounding the methodological dialectic of music and context during our current cultural moment; see “Music After All.” 59. Gracyk, Listening to Popular Music, 77. Gracyk borrows the notion of stylistic and strategic competencies from Hatten, Musical Meaning in Beethoven, 29–­32. 60. Gracyk, Listening to Popular Music, 96–­97. In this passage, Gracyk is deriving his framework from Walton, “Categories of Art,” particularly 337 ff. 61. Gracyk, Listening to Popular Music, 77. 62. Walton notes that while there are surely “correct” ways to perceive a work grounded in cultural context, “works may be fascinating precisely because of shifts between equally permissible ways of perceiving them” (“Categories of Art,” 362–­63). Fabian Holt suggests a similar dialectic in his recent study of categorization in popular music; see Genre in Popular Music, 180, 159. 63. Brackett, Interpreting Popular Music, 23. 64. See Cheng, Just Vibrations. 65. See Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 66. Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production, 40, 60. Chapter One 1. Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind, 73. 2. Ibid., 73–­74. For a critical discussion of Bloom’s assertions, see Gracyk, “Jungle Rhythms and the Big Beat.” 3. Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind, 81. 4. See Subotnik, “The Closing of the American Dream?”; the quote is from 187–­88. 5. Kramer, Why Classical Music Still Matters. 6. Ibid., 171. 7. Ibid., 173, 175. 8. Ibid., 175. 9. Ibid. 10. Ibid., 185. 11. Ibid., 185–­86. 12. Ibid., 178. 13. Ibid., 180, 184. 14. This sequence appears about seventeen minutes into “Itchy and Scratchy and Marge,” originally broadcast on December 20, 1990; Kramer incorrectly has the date as 1992 (ibid., 181). 15. Ibid., 184, 188. 16. Ibid., 192. 17. Ibid., 193. Dan Blim’s analysis of Transmigration and related audience surveys instead highlights “disunity and multiplicity,” arguing that such a framework better “evokes the experience and processing of traumatic memories.” See “Meaningful Adjacencies”; the quote is from 384. 18. As David Schiff points out in “Memory Spaces,” an essay accompanying the recording, “terrifying and heartrending, it offers reassuring proof that contemporary classical music—­too often dismissed out of hand as obscure and unpleasant—­has something unique to say to a wide public.”

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19. Kramer, Why Classical Music Still Matters, 199. 20. As Jonathan Dunsby wonders in his review of Kramer’s book, “the interesting question, however, . . . is why non-­classical music matters so much, as it seems to do” (677). 21. “Healing” is a common thread through much of the reception of The Rising; see, for example, Harde, “May Your Hope Give Us Hope”; Gengaro, “Requiems for a City”; and Yates, “Healing a Nation.” 22. This sonority, with its final configuration of subdominant E-­flat chord and held dominant pitch F in the backup vocals, is also reminiscent of the “so-­called ‘rock dominant,’ ” as Mark Spicer puts it, which combines aspects of subdominant and dominant functions. See “(Ac)cumulative Form in Pop-­Rock Music,” 38. 23. See Sheinbaum, “Think about What You’re Trying to Do to Me.” 24. See Brackett, Interpreting Popular Music, 108–­56. 25. An abridged version appears in Frith and Goodwin, eds., On Record. The complete essay appears in Adorno, Essays on Music; that version is cited in this chapter. 26. Adorno, with Simpson, “On Popular Music,” 438. 27. Ibid., 444–­46. 28. Ibid.; the quotes are from 444, 439, and 441–­42. 29. Ibid., 439–­41. 30. Indeed, for Adorno, due to mass media such as radio, even classical music takes on a “commodity character” that “tends radically to alter it . . . There exists today the tendency to listen to Beethoven’s Fifth as if it were a set of quotations from Beethoven’s Fifth” (Current of Music, 137, 139; emphasis in the original). 31. Adorno, with Simpson, “On Popular Music,” 437, 439–­42. 32. See, for example, Leppert’s commentary on Adorno’s essays covering “mass culture” in Adorno, Essays on Music, 327–­72, esp. 342; and Hamilton, “All That Jazz Again.” 33. Adorno, with Simpson, “On Popular Music,” 442, 462. 34. Ibid., 458–­60. 35. See, for instance, Middleton, “Pop, Rock and Interpretation,” 216; and Leppert, in Adorno, Essays on Music, 346. 36. See Miklitsch, Roll Over Adorno. Adam Krims posits that Adorno represents the “foundational trauma” of the field (“Marxist Music Analysis without Adorno,” 131). 37. Adorno, with Simpson, “On Popular Music,” 464. In contrast, for example, Daniel Cavicchi’s ethnography of Springsteen fandom shows that popular culture “does not unhinge the self, . . . but rather anchors the self, allowing people to shape a coherent idea of their individuality” (Tramps Like Us, 157). For a more theoretical treatment of this point, see Martin, “Music, Identity, and Social Control.” 38. See, for example, Gracyk, “Adorno, Jazz, and the Aesthetics of Popular Music,” and “Adorno, Jazz, and the Reception of Popular Music”; and Subotnik, “Shoddy Equipment for Living?” 39. Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra, “Concerto for Cootie,” Victor 26598-­A, Swing Music Series, 1940. 40. Adorno discusses Ellington a bit earlier than “Cootie,” in the 1936 essay “On Jazz.” Adorno, “Über Jazz”; “On Jazz,” trans. Jamie Owen Daniel. Daniel’s translation is “modified by Richard Leppert” in Adorno, Essays on Music, 470–­95; the latter is the version cited here. Adorno refers to Ellington as “a trained musician. . . . In Parisian nightclubs, one can hear Debussy and Ravel in between the rumbas and Charlestons.” Similar to his conclusions in “On Popular Music,” however, the potentially “subjective” element from impressionism “must first be rendered

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harmless by jazz, must be released from its historical element, before it is ready for the market” (483–­84). 41. See, for example, the detailed discussions of “Cootie” in Hodeir, Jazz, 77–­98; and Rattenbury, Duke Ellington, 164–­201. 42. Rattenbury discusses the “X motif,” as he labels it, in just this way. See Duke Ellington, 165–­66. 43. See, for instance, Monson, “Riffs, Repetition, and Theories of Globalization.” 44. Monson, Saying Something, 88–­89. 45. Hodeir compares Williams’s use of color to Schoenberg’s Klangfarbenmelodie in positive terms; see Jazz, 92–­93. In pointed contrast, Adorno concludes “On Jazz” with critical thoughts about timbre; the “jazz vibrato” of the “unbearable Wurlitzer organ,” the “muted distortions of the horns, the chirping and vibrating tonal repetitions of the plucked instruments” all remain fundamentally “mechanical. . . . The objective sound is embellished by a subjective expression, which is unable to dominate it and therefore exerts a fundamentally ridiculous and heart-­rending effect” (491–­92). 46. McClary and Walser, “Start Making Sense!,” 286. 47. Ibid., 277. 48. Covach, “We Won’t Get Fooled Again.” 49. Smith, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and American Song, 121. Smith renders the end of the line more grammatically, as “anti-­intellectual.” 50. To my ears, a triplet interpretation can be heard as far back as the earliest commercial recordings of the Fifth, such as Arthur Nikisch leading the Berlin Philharmonic (1913), and may be the most common reading, including even Roger Norrington’s “historically informed” recording with the London Classical Players (1989). 51. Robert Pascall relates the “rhetoric of disorientation” to the “radical claim” that Beetho­ ven often “harnesses the structure and processes characteristic of improvisation.” See “Beetho­ ven’s Vision of Joy”; the quotes are from 109 and 106. 52. Kinderman, “Improvisation in Beethoven’s Creative Process,” 307–­8. As Angus Watson suggests, “Improvising on paper in his sketchbooks and improvising on the piano were two sides of the same coin” (Beethoven’s Chamber Music in Context, 16). In an 1823 letter to his pupil the Archduke Rudolph, Beethoven notes that while at times it is “necessary to write without a keyboard,” he should “continue particularly to practice, when at the keyboard, immediately writing down those fleeting inspirations that may come” (quoted in Le Guin, Boccherini’s Body, 277–­78). 53. Locke, “Music Lovers, Patrons, and the ‘Sacralization’ of Culture in America,” 158–­59. Chapter Two 1. Clark, What Is a Masterpiece? 2. Ibid., 9, 26, 5, 29, and 5. 3. Ibid., 39, 10. 4. Burnham, “Our Sublime Ninth,” 241. 5. Solie, “Beethoven as Secular Humanist,” 6. 6. Lockwood, Beethoven, 412. 7. Riley, Tell Me Why, 205. 8. Covach, “From ‘Craft’ to ‘Art,’ ” 48. 9. Moore, The Beatles, 71, 59, 62, and 70. 10. Ibid., 64.

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11. Mellers, The Music of the Beatles, 86–­87. 12. Moore, The Beatles, 22, 24. 13. Ibid., 71, 72, 75, 76. 14. Goehr, The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works, 148, 155, and 162. This imagery is almost identical to Peter Kivy’s portrait of creative artists of the time, Beethoven above all, as “a God himself, . . . a genius who makes creation happen.” See The Possessor and the Possessed; the quote is from 21. 15. Kant, Critique of Judgment, 174 (§46, “Fine Art Is the Art of Genius”). 16. Ibid., 175. 17. Cook, Beethoven, viii. 18. Ibid., ix. 19. Solie, “Beethoven as Secular Humanist.” 20. Ibid., 10. See also Rehding, Music and Monumentality, 203, 271. 21. Mathew, “Beethoven and His Others,” 148. 22. See Knittel, “The Construction of Beethoven,” esp. 146–­47. 23. Mathew, “Beethoven and His Others,” 151. 24. Cook, Beethoven, 39. 25. Gelbart, The Invention of “Folk Music” and “Art Music,” 11; and Curtis, Music Makes the Nation, 9. 26. Gelbart, The Invention of “Folk Music” and “Art Music,” 200. 27. Quoted in Cook, Beethoven, 72. 28. Quoted in ibid., 81. 29. Mathew, “Beethoven and His Others,” 152. 30. See, for instance, Cook, “Heinrich Schenker, Polemicist.” 31. Schenker, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, 225–­27. 32. See Sanders, “Form and Content in the Finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,” and “The Sonata-­Form Finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.” 33. See Webster, “The Form of the Finale,” 39; and Tusa, “Noch einmal.” 34. Levy, Beethoven, 89. 35. Goehr, Elective Affinities, 128. 36. Cook, Beethoven, 98. 37. Rehding, Music and Monumentality, 204. 38. Webster, “The Form of the Finale”; the quotes are from 26 and 36. 39. Cook, Beethoven, 103, 37. 40. Taruskin, “Resisting the Ninth”; the quotes are from 257, 250, 255, 256, 253, 251, and 250. 41. The quotes are from Fink, “Beethoven Antihero,” 129; and Korsyn, “Beyond Privileged Contexts,” 61. 42. Fink, “Beethoven Antihero,” 129. 43. Bonds, Music as Thought, 53, 63–­64. Indeed, Nicholas Mathew argues that Beethoven may have “conceived of symphonic rhetoric . . . as an instrumental transmutation of grand choral writing” (“Beethoven’s Political Music,” 138). 44. Goehr, Elective Affinities, 47–­48. 45. Fink, “Beethoven Antihero,” 112. 46. See Webster, “The Creation,” 57; and Notley, “With a Beethoven-­like Sublimity,” 253. 47. Rehding, Music and Monumentality, 27. 48. Taruskin, “Resisting the Ninth,” 248.

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49. Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful, 39, 40. 50. Kant, Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime, 46–­47. 51. Burke did not think of music as being able to possess the sublime, however; see Webster, “The Creation,” 59–­60. 52. Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful, 82–­84. 53. Ibid., 117. 54. Quoted in Webster, “The Creation,” 62–­63. 55. Fink, “Beethoven Antihero,” 111. 56. Hanslick writes, for instance, that “the concept ‘music’ does not apply strictly to a piece of music composed to a verbal text” and that “where it is a matter of the ‘content’ of music, we must reject even pieces with specific titles or programs” (On the Musically Beautiful, 15). 57. Dolan, “The Work of the Orchestra,” 5, 33. 58. Antony Hopkins suggests that Beethoven evokes Haydn’s title “The Representation of Chaos” from The Creation (The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven, 273). 59. Webster, “The Form of the Finale,” 53. 60. One sketch even includes words (Cook, Beethoven, 36). 61. Pascall, “Beethoven’s Vision of Joy,” 126. 62. Gelbart, The Invention of “Folk Music” and “Art Music,” 205. 63. See Glauert, “Nicht Diese Töne,” 59. 64. As Mathew notes, “The chorus . . . came to be seen as a serious generic transgression—­ that is, as ‘pure’ instrumental music becoming vocal—­in the era of Wagner and Brahms” (“Beethoven’s Political Music,” 147). 65. There is some debate about what “tones” Beethoven is rejecting; see Hinton, “Not ‘Which’ Tones?,” esp. 67; and Tusa, “Noch einmal,” 129. In a 2012 performance in Chapel Hill led by John Eliot Gardiner, the soloists were positioned behind the instrumentalists, implying that “not these tones” was addressed not to the music per se but to the orchestra itself. I thank Mark Evan Bonds for sharing this anecdote with me. 66. See Webster, “The Form of the Finale,” 35; and Cook, Beethoven, 106–­9. 67. Stayer, “Bringing Bakhtin to Beethoven,” 54. 68. The later version “tone[s] down . . . the more overtly political lines” (Cook, Beethoven, 101), for Schiller “had become disillusioned with the consequences of the French Revolution” (Rehding, Music and Monumentality, 200). 69. Rice, “Representations of Janissary Music,” 64. 70. Hunter, “The Alla Turca Style in the Late Eighteenth Century,” 44. 71. Ibid., 51. Alluding to Cook’s memorable characterization of the Turkish music’s opening sonorities, Jayme Stayer suggests that “Beethoven’s farts do not paradoxically intrude on the seriousness of his message; they are an intrinsic part of its seriousness. It is such carnivalistic effects as these that show up the pretensions of ultraserious forms” (“Bringing Bakhtin to Beethoven,” 59). 72. See Kramer, “The Harem Threshold,” 80. 73. Mathew, “Beethoven and His Others,” 158–­59. 74. Lockwood, Beethoven, 412. 75. Rehding, Music and Monumentality, 197. 76. In certain tellings, the Beatles instead represent the villains of rock history. See Wald, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ’N’ Roll, 5; and DeRogatis and Carrillo, eds., Kill Your Idols, 11–­20. 77. See, for example, Grout, A History of Western Music (the most recent edition is the 9th); and J. Kerman and Tomlinson, with V. Kerman, Listen (the most recent edition is the 8th).

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78. See, for example, Covach and Flory, What’s That Sound? 79. Brackett, The Pop, Rock, and Soul Reader, 209. 80. Covach, “From ‘Craft’ to ‘Art,’ ” 38. See also Sheinbaum, “Think about What You’re Trying to Do to Me.” 81. On Beethoven, see, for example, Goehr, The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works. On the Beatles, see, for example, Mellers, The Music of the Beatles; and Everett, The Beatles as Musicians. 82. A possible exception is David Schiff ’s Gershwin. Burnham’s quote can be found in “Our Sublime Ninth,” 246. 83. Kennett, review of Moore, The Beatles, 262. 84. Moore, “The Act You’ve Known for All These Years,” 139. 85. Mellers, The Music of the Beatles, 101. 86. Moore, The Beatles, 64. 87. Wald, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ’N’ Roll, 1. 88. See Everett, The Beatles as Musicians, 99 ff., esp. 122–­23. 89. Negus, Popular Music in Theory, 156. 90. Everett, “Painting Their Room in a Colorful Way,” 85. 91. Zolten, “The Beatles as Recording Artists,” 48–­49. 92. Northcutt, “The Spectacle of Alienation,” 131. 93. Gloag, “All You Need Is Theory?,” 581. 94. Wald, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ’N’ Roll, 247. 95. The tuning sounds were recorded with the “A Day in the Life” orchestra (Martin, with Pearson, With a Little Help, 65). The audience sounds here were recorded at the British stage-­revue satire Beyond the Fringe. See Martin, with Pearson, With a Little Help, 65; and Moore, The Beatles, 27. 96. Riley, Tell Me Why, 213. 97. See Moore, The Beatles, 20–­21. Even the segue only arose at the second-­to-­last recording session. Heylin, The Act You’ve Known for All These Years, 171. 98. Everett, The Beatles as Musicians, 102. 99. On the announcement about being unbanded, see Moore, The Beatles, 58. 100. See Womack, Long and Winding Roads, 170–­7 1. 101. Riley, Tell Me Why, 203. 102. See O’Grady, “Sgt. Pepper and the Diverging Aesthetics of Lennon and McCartney,” 32. 103. Martin, with Pearson, With a Little Help, 149–­50. 104. On the mono version the band also screams various parting thoughts to the audience. 105. Susan McClary’s approach to Bizet’s opera Carmen functions similarly; see Georges Bizet. 106. Everett, The Beatles as Musicians, 122–­23. 107. Whiteley, “Tangerine Trees and Marmalade Skies,” 22, 12. 108. Everett, The Beatles as Musicians, 117. 109. Northcutt, “The Spectacle of Alienation,” 144. 110. In Evans, ed., The Beatles Literary Anthology, 282. 111. On the use of Stockhausen’s image, see Everett, The Beatles as Musicians, 119. 112. Martin, with Pearson, With a Little Help, 53. 113. Ibid., 60. 114. See Everett, The Beatles as Musicians, 118–­120; and Martin, with Pearson, With a Little Help, 57. 115. Moore, The Beatles, 52–­53. 116. Ibid., 56. 117. Ibid., 24.

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118. Hannan, “The Sound Design of Sgt. Pepper,” 61. 119. Moore, The Beatles, 54. 120. Hannan, “The Sound Design of Sgt. Pepper,” 61. 121. The compact disc includes the play-­out loop for twenty seconds and then fades. Chapter Three 1. La Grange, “Music about Music in Mahler,” 124–­25. 2. Ibid., 126. 3. The examples are located in ibid., 149–­68; the quote is from 145. 4. See McCaldin, “Mahler and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony”; and Knittel, “Polemik im Concertsaal,” regarding Mahler and Beethoven’s Ninth. 5. Emily I. Dolan traces how timbre came to be considered ideologically suspect in mid-­ nineteenth-­century criticism; see The Orchestral Revolution, esp. 211 ff. 6. La Grange, “Music about Music in Mahler,” 122–­23. 7. The copy of Études d’art étranger that William Ritter sent to Mahler was postmarked May 11, 1906. Blaukopf, ed., Mahler’s Unknown Letters, 141–­42. 8. See ibid., 142n3. 9. Martner, ed., Selected Letters of Gustav Mahler, 212. 10. Schorske, Fin-­de-­Siècle Vienna. Schorske’s influence spread well beyond turn-­of-­the-­ twentieth-­century Vienna. For example, see Schwartz, Century’s End; and DeJean, Ancients against Moderns. 11. See, for example, Gluck, “Afterthoughts about Fin-­de-­Siècle Vienna”; Spector, “Marginalizations”; Steven Beller, introduction to Rethinking Vienna 1900; Shedel, “Fin de Siècle or Jahrhundertwende”; and Karnes, A Kingdom Not of This World. The quote is from Spector, “Marginalizations,” 132. 12. Samuels, “Narrative Form and Mahler’s Musical Thinking,” 238. 13. Janik, “Vienna 1900 Revisited,” 40. 14. West, Fin de Siècle, 50 ff., 16 ff. 15. Pynsent, “Conclusory Essay,” 170. 16. Dowling, Language and Decadence in the Victorian Fin de Siècle, 61–­67. 17. Jackson, The Eighteen Nineties, 134, 136. 18. Spitzer, “Metaphors of the Orchestra,” 248 ff. 19. Schorske, “Mahler and Klimt,” esp. 45 ff. 20. Knittel, “Polemik im Concertsaal,” 300. 21. Painter, “The Sensuality of Timbre,” 236–­37. See also Johnson, “The Breaking of the Voice,” esp. 190 ff. 22. Bischof, “Aspekte zur Umbruchsituation des Fin de siècle in Wien.” 23. McColl, “Max Kalbeck and Gustav Mahler,” 181. 24. Botstein, “Listening through Reading,” 140–­41, 143. 25. Le Rider, Modernity and Crises of Identity. 26. Ledger, “The New Woman and the Crisis of Victorianism,” 22. 27. Pynsent, “Conclusory Essay,” 179. 28. Anderson, Utopian Feminism. 29. Pynsent, “Conclusory Essay,” 178–­86, esp. 179–­80. 30. Showalter, Sexual Anarchy, esp. 3–­4; the quote is from 9. 31. Auerbach, “Magi and Maidens,” 31.

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32. Hurley, The Gothic Body, 11. 33. Ibid., 119–­20, 3, 9. 34. Dijkstra, Idols of Perversity, viii–­x; 210 ff., 224 ff., and 333 ff. 35. Painter, “The Sensuality of Timbre,” 241. 36. Ibid., 237, 242, 239. 37. Bronner, preface to Vienna. 38. Geehr, Karl Lueger, 16. 39. Ibid., 265–­97. 40. Pick, Faces of Degeneration. 41. Ibid., 20. 42. Gilman, The Case of Sigmund Freud, 4. 43. Ibid., 69 ff. 44. Pykett, introduction to Reading Fin de Siècle Fictions, 13. 45. See, respectively, Pick, “Terrors of the Night”; Parry, “The Content and Discontents of Kipling’s Imperialism”; and Said, “Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and the Histories of Empire.” 46. Showalter, “The Apocalyptic Fables of H. G. Wells,” 70–­7 1. 47. McColl, “Max Kalbeck and Gustav Mahler,” 172 ff. 48. Notley, “Brahms as Liberal.” 49. Knittel, “Ein hypermoderner Dirigent,” and Seeing Mahler. 50. Knittel, “Ein hypermoderner Dirigent,” 257, 272 ff. 51. Painter, “The Sensuality of Timbre,” 246, 249. 52. See, for example, Dahlhaus, Nineteenth-­Century Music, 1; and Samson, “Music and Society,” 45. 53. Samson, Music in Transition, 1. 54. Levy, “Covert and Casual Values,” 4. 55. Zychowicz, “Gustav Mahler’s Second Century,” 479. 56. Sandell, review of Sound Color, by Slawson, and New Images of Musical Sound, by Cogan, 255. 57. Batchelor, Chromophobia. 58. Lichtenstein, The Eloquence of Color, 5. 59. Gage, Color and Culture, 10. 60. Lichtenstein, The Eloquence of Color, 4. 61. Hopkins, Closure and Mahler’s Music. 62. See ibid., 34 ff.; the quotes are from 158 and 56. 63. See, for example, Pinch and Bijsterveld, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies; Sterne, ed., The Sound Studies Reader; Born, ed., Music, Sound and Space; and Kapchan, ed., Theorizing Sound Writing. 64. The quotes are from Cusick, “Musicology, Performativity, Acoustemology,” 30; and Born, “Introduction—­Music, Sound and Space,” 5. 65. See Barry, “In Search of an Ending”; and Whitworth, “Aspects of Mahler’s Musical Language.” 66. Bauer-­Lechner, Recollections of Gustav Mahler, 45. 67. There are allusions to material from the second and third movements, a quote from Mahler’s song cycle Kindertotenlieder in the coda, and an oft-­noted reference to the opening theme of Beethoven’s “Les Adieux” sonata, for example. 68. See, for example, Lewis, Tonal Coherence in Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, 105; and Newcomb, “Narrative Archetypes and Mahler’s Ninth Symphony,” 131.

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69. Johnson, Mahler’s Voices, 281. 70. Floros, Gustav Mahler, 293–­94. 71. Koury, Orchestral Performance Practices in the Nineteenth Century, 302 ff. An important precursor to such a gesture, though not in a cadential passage, can be found in the opening theme of the finale of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony (1893), the “Pathétique,” which Mahler knew quite well. The continuous descending scalar melody, bathed in Tristan-­inflected sonorities, alternates pitches between the second and first violins, evoking “interlocked,” “star-­crossed” lovers. See Jackson, Tchaikovsky, esp. 90–­96; the quotes are from 53. Jackson explores the symphony’s potential relationship to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde on 56 ff. 72. Micznik, “The Farewell Story of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony,” 160. 73. See Caplin, “The Classical Cadence,” 82. 74. For links between Mahler’s discontinuities and narrative-­based interpretations, see Abbate, Unsung Voices, 119–­55. 75. Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” finale is again instructive as a forerunner. When the initial theme is recapitulated, for instance, the provocative initial note-­by-­note trading of the melody between the first and second violins is now gone, and befitting the emphatic return, the first violins take the linear melody throughout the passage. 76. Cooke, Gustav Mahler, 84; Floros, Gustav Mahler, 165; and Monahan, “Success and Failure in Mahler’s Sonata Recapitulations.” 77. See, for example, on coding along gendered lines, Citron, Gender and the Musical Canon, 121; and McClary, “Narrative Agendas in ‘Absolute’ Music,” 328–­29. 78. Cooke, Gustav Mahler, 86. 79. Ibid. See also La Grange, Gustav Mahler, 2:1162. 80. Seth Monahan explores the discomforting subtext in “I Have Tried to Capture You.” 81. See, for example, Cooke, Gustav Mahler, 86, for a description of this symphony as sentimental, passionate, and intense. 82. Monahan argues that the orchestration is “uncharacteristically dense” for Mahler’s secondary themes (“I Have Tried to Capture You,” 133). 83. Del Mar, Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, 39. 84. Samuels, Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, 147. 85. McClary, Feminine Endings, 14. 86. Del Mar, Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, 40. See also, for example, Matthews, “The Sixth Symphony,” 373. 87. See Hepokoski, “Beyond the Sonata Principle,” and “Back and Forth from Egmont.” 88. Samuels, Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, 158. 89. Franklin, “A Soldier’s Sweetheart’s Mother’s Tale?,” 114. See also Monahan, “Success and Failure in Mahler’s Sonata Recapitulations,” 52. 90. Samuels, Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, 152–­54. 91. Horton, “Tonal Strategies in the Nineteenth-­Century Symphony,” 263. There is some controversy surrounding the order of the inner movements; see, for example, Kaplan, ed., The Correct Movement Order of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony; and La Grange, “The Middle Movement Order in Mahler’s Sixth Symphony.” 92. See Webster, “The Form of the Finale,” as well as the discussion of this essay above, in chapter 2, regarding the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth. 93. The chief source for approaching Mahler’s music through dialectic is Adorno, Mahler: Ein musikalische Physiognomik, widely available in English translation by Jephcott as Mahler: A Musical Physiognomy.

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1. Holm-­Hudson, introduction to Progressive Rock Reconsidered, 2. 2. See Macan, Rocking the Classics, 13–­14, and 144–­66; Moore, Rock, 65; and Keister and Smith, “Musical Ambition.” 3. Covach, “Progressive Rock,” 3. See also Covach’s “The Hippie Aesthetic,” 6. The quoted material is from Macan, Rocking the Classics, 3. 4. Macan, Rocking the Classics, 12–­13. 5. See, for example, Bowman, “Let Them All Make Their Own Music,” 184–­89; and Covach, “Progressive Rock,” 8. 6. Anderson is quoted in Covach, “Progressive Rock,” 7. Palmer is quoted in Bangs, “Blood Feast of Reddy Kilowatt!,” 44, reprinted in Mainlines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste, 52 (page references in the text will be to this version). The Palmer quote also appears in Macan, Rocking the Classics, 168. 7. See Macan, Rocking the Classics, 64; and Bangs, “Blood Feast of Reddy Kilowatt!,” 49. 8. See Macan, Rocking the Classics, 167–­78. The epithet is from Bangs, with reference to ELP, in “Blood Feast of Reddy Kilowatt!,” 48, quoted in Macan, Rocking the Classics, 167. Admittedly, Macan quotes Bangs somewhat out of context; noting the enormous amount of equipment ELP uses on tour, Bangs quips that “if there is an energy crisis, these guys amount to war criminals.” 9. Middleton, Studying Popular Music, 31. 10. See Koegel, review of The Yes Album, 40, 42. 11. See Cromelin, review of Fragile, 56. 12. DeCurtis and Henke, eds., with George-­Warren, The Rolling Stone Album Guide, 793. The Yes essay is written by Mark Coleman. 13. For an explication of linear narratives in the construction of many music histories, see Webster, “The Concept of Beethoven’s ‘Early’ Period.” 14. Rockwell, “Art Rock,” 322. 15. Guterman and O’Donnell, The Worst Rock ’n’ Roll Records of All Time, 13–­15. 16. Stump, The Music’s All That Matters, 10. 17. Macan’s thesis, that progressive rock metaphorically played out the concerns of the counterculture, attempts to recapture value for the style on the very terms used by its critics. 18. This list is derived from Macan, Rocking the Classics. 19. Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production, 39–­40. 20. Macan, Rocking the Classics, 3. 21. Ibid., vii, 4. Macan is referring to the subtitle of Moore’s Rock. 22. See Macan, Rocking the Classics, 85–­125. 23. Josephson, “Bach Meets Liszt.” 24. See chapter 5 for discussion of this topic with regards to jazz. 25. Christgau, Rock Albums of the ’70s, 435. 26. Rockwell, “Art Rock,” 323, 324. 27. Bangs, “Blood Feast of Reddy Kilowatt!,” 50, quoted in Macan, Rocking the Classics, 169. 28. Atton, “Living in the Past?,” 35–­36. 29. See Spicer, “Large-­Scale Strategy and Compositional Design.” 30. Covach suggests that what drives the style is a “fascination with engaging art-­music practices in a rock context.” See “Progressive Rock,” 6. Tim Smolko similarly considers prog’s classical-­ and rock-­based practices as complimentary; see Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play. 31. The quote is from Covach, “Progressive Rock,” 7.

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32. Covach suggests that, “for these rock musicians, as well as for the audience . . . , all of these borrowings are of the same kind: ‘classical.’ ” See ibid., 8. 33. Cromelin’s Rolling Stone review describes Rick Wakeman’s work here as “liquid organ trills.” 34. Lyrics also “unify” different sections. The bridge ends by repeating the first two lines of the first verse, for example, and the middle repetition of the introduction includes a quiet version of lines from the chorus. 35. Bill Martin writes that “to integrate the two levels of analysis, formal and historical, that is of course the great difficulty—­and I do not know that Macan has completely pulled this off.” See Martin, Listening to the Future, 132. Moore has taken strides to bridge this gap (see “British Rock”), as has Macan himself, referring to Stump’s The Music’s All That Matters, in “The Music’s Not All That Matters.” 36. Middleton, Studying Popular Music, 26; Brackett, Interpreting Popular Music, 9; and Negus, Popular Music in Theory, 65. 37. See Macan, Rocking the Classics, esp. 69–­84, on prog lyrics. 38. Ibid., 70–­72. 39. See Webster, “The Concept of Beethoven’s ‘Early’ Period,” and “Between Enlightenment and Romanticism in Music History.” 40. Webster, “The Concept of Beethoven’s ‘Early’ Period,” 1. 41. Macan, Rocking the Classics, 10; and Covach, “Progressive Rock,” 4. 42. Martin, Listening to the Future, 58. 43. Covach, “Progressive Rock,” 5. 44. Macan, Rocking the Classics, 179. 45. Rycenga, “Queer Exuberance in Large-­Scale Form in Rock,” 237. 46. Holm-­Hudson, “Come Sail Away,” 379. 47. Starr and Waterman, American Popular Music, 383. 48. Cateforis, ed., The Rock History Reader, 207, 213. 49. Dell’Antonio, “Collective Listening,” 201. 50. Starr and Waterman, American Popular Music, 384. 51. Warner, Pop Music, 73, 64, and 4. 52. On the labels of neo-­progressive and post-­progressive, see Covach, “Progressive Rock,” 6; Macan, Rocking the Classics, 197–­219. 53. Painter, “On Creativity and Lateness,” 5. 54. Said, On Late Style, 13. 55. Macan, Rocking the Classics, 43–­44. 56. Solomon, Late Beethoven, 2. 57. Adorno, Beethoven, 124. 58. Subotnik, Developing Variations, 17. 59. Said, On Late Style, 8. 60. The quoted material is from ibid., 24. 61. Other hit singles in a similar orbit include Genesis’s 1981 title track “Abacab”; Rush’s “Subdivisions,” the opening track from Signals (1982); “Heat of the Moment” (1982), the opening track from the debut album Asia by a “supergroup” made up of former Yes, King Crimson, and ELP members; and “Touch and Go” (1986) from the only 1980s studio album with the “ELP” label. 62. Webster, “The Concept of Beethoven’s ‘Early’ Period,” 3–­4. 63. This page was available at www.rogerdean.com/upclose/greentowers.htm in March 2008. 64. See Warner, Pop Music, 64–­65.

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65. Considine, review of 90125, 63. 66. See Covach, “Form in Rock Music,” 72–­73. 67. For a description of the masculinizing power often accorded to the distorted electric guitar, see Walser, Running with the Devil, 41–­44. 68. Holm-­Hudson, “Come Sail Away,” 386–­88. 69. While Warner is right that it is “not particularly rare in popular music” for a song to modulate to and end in a new key area (Pop Music, 68), most often that move is in an upward direction to create a sense of intensity and does not create any important tonal conflict. Yes instead highlights the tonal breaking away by moving to the distant area of F and staying there for the very next track on the album, “Hold On.” 70. Moore, Rock, 199. 71. See Grossberg, “The Media Economy of Rock Culture.” 72. Moore, Rock, 199. 73. Ibid., 200–­201, and, in more detail, Moore, “Authenticity as Authentication.” 74. Peart, Roadshow, 17. It’s Bowman who has suggested such a genre-­crossing moniker for the band in “Let Them All Make Their Own Music,” 189–­91. 75. Peart, Roadshow, 90. For a discussion of this sort of authenticity in the discourse surrounding (and often consciously created by) Rush, see McDonald, Rush, 101–­33. 76. Beard and Gloag, Musicology, 17–­18. 77. Moore, Rock, 66. Macan, Rocking the Classics, 172. 78. See Moore, Rock, 75; and Macan, Rocking the Classics, 171–­73. 79. The quote is from Moore, Rock, 199. 80. Holt, Genre in Popular Music, 18. 81. Mazullo, “Authenticity in Rock Music Culture,” 21, 179. 82. Fornäs, “The Future of Rock,” 112. 83. Macan, Rocking the Classics, 151–­58; the quote is from 154. Stump’s focus in The Music’s All That Matters similarly is almost exclusive to British bands. Compare, however, Anderton, “A Many-­Headed Beast.” 84. Macan, Rocking the Classics, 151. 85. Atton, “Living in the Past?” 29–­31, 34. 86. Ahlkvist, “What Makes Rock Music ‘Prog’?,” 653. 87. Ibid., 650, 646–­47. 88. On scholars being drawn to progressive rock, see Robison, “Somebody Is Digging My Bones,” 233. 89. Macan, Rocking the Classics, 189, 193. 90. Atton, “Living in the Past?,” 43. Chapter Five 1. See, for example, Porter, What Is This Thing Called Jazz?; Walser, “Valuing Jazz”; Austerlitz, Jazz Consciousness; and Ake, Garrett, and Goldmark, eds., Jazz / Not Jazz. 2. Geoffrey L. Collier and James Lincoln Collier, “A Study of Timing in Two Louis Armstrong Solos”; and Butterfield, “Why Do Jazz Musicians Swing Their Eighth Notes?” 3. Schuller, Early Jazz, 58. 4. See, for instance, Monson, Saying Something. 5. Schuller, “Third Stream Redefined,” 54.

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6. Schuller, Early Jazz, 89. Giddins and DeVeaux echo Schuller’s label in Jazz, titling the relevant chapter “Louis Armstrong and the First Great Soloists.” 7. Schuller, Early Jazz, 91. See also Gabbard, Hotter than That, 73. 8. Harker, Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings, 6. 9. Schuller, Early Jazz, 115. “West End Blues” was originally released as a 78 rpm disc along with “Fireworks” (OKeh 8597). Such superlatives are common: see, for instance, Storb, Louis Armstrong, 40; Brooks, The Young Louis Armstrong on Records, 442; and Teachout, Pops, 113. 10. Schuller, Early Jazz, 115. See also Berrett, “Louis Armstrong and Opera.” 11. Walser, “Valuing Jazz,” 315–­16. 12. Schuller, Early Jazz, 116. 13. Ibid. 14. Ibid., 118. 15. Ibid., 110. 16. Ibid., 134–­35. 17. Kenney, “Historical Context and the Definition of Jazz”; and Myers, Why Jazz Happened. 18. See Gioia, “Jazz and the Primitivist Myth”; Evans, Writing Jazz; and Rustin and Tucker, eds., Big Ears. 19. Monson, “The Problem with White Hipness,” 402, 397, and 399. 20. Ibid., 400. 21. Ibid., 398. See also Panish, The Color of Jazz; and Yaffe, Fascinating Rhythm, esp. 150–­97. 22. Monson, “The Problem with White Hipness,” 406–­7. 23. See, for instance, Ross Russell’s Bird Lives!, written by the founder and president of Dial Records, and Parker’s manager in the late 1940s. 24. Monson, “The Problem with White Hipness,” 414. See Woideck, Charlie Parker, 131; and Spencer, Jazz and Death. 25. Gillespie, with Fraser, To Be, or Not . . . to Bop, 279, quoted in Monson, “The Problem with White Hipness,” 414. 26. Monson, “The Problem with White Hipness,” 415–­16. 27. Mailer, “The White Negro,” 279, quoted in Monson, “The Problem with White Hipness,” 403–­4. An early reprinting of the full essay can be found in Mailer, Advertisements for Myself, 337–­58. As Krin Gabbard explains, “By the 1920s the term [ jazz] was appearing in literary works as a synonym for sexual intercourse” (“The Word Jazz,” 2). 28. Mailer, Advertisements for Myself, 339. 29. Monson, “The Problem with White Hipness,” 404. 30. Lott, Love and Theft. 31. Chude-­Sokei, The Last “Darky.” 32. Walser, “Rock and Roll,” 486. 33. Schwartz, How Britain Got the Blues. 34. As the “hip-­hop” entry in Larkin, ed., The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, notes, “70 per cent of hip-­hop albums are bought by a white audience” (4:304). 35. Monson, “The Problem with White Hipness,” 399. 36. See Barrett, “Kind of Blue and the Economy of Modal Jazz.” 37. Kahn, Kind of Blue, 68. 38. Barrett, “Kind of Blue and the Economy of Modal Jazz,” 196. 39. See, for example, “Jazz, Says Darius Milhaud, Is the Most Significant Thing in Music Today.”

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40. Larson, Analyzing Jazz; and Waters, The Studio Recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet. 41. See Andrew S. Berish’s reading of the sonic markers of swing-­era music in Lonesome Roads and Streets of Dreams. 42. At times, such a label has been taken up by jazz musicians themselves; see Playboy magazine’s February 1964 “jazz summit meeting,” in Walser, ed., Keeping Time, 261–­93. 43. See Ake, “Crossing the Street”; and Gabbard, Hotter than That, 183–­84. 44. Gabbard, “The Jazz Canon and Its Consequences,” 8–­9. 45. See Webster, “The Concept of Beethoven’s ‘Early’ Period.” 46. Jeffrey Magee notes that, for Armstrong, “the Great Man narrative has taken hold . . . like Beethoven in the history of European concert music” (The Uncrowned King of Swing, 73). 47. James Lincoln Collier’s discussion is framed similarly (Louis Armstrong, 169). 48. Schuller, Early Jazz, 98–­99, 109, 124, 131. David Stricklin surveys Armstrong’s mixed reception after 1930 in Louis Armstrong, 79 ff. 49. Schuller, Early Jazz, 89. 50. Monson, “The Problem with White Hipness,” 406. 51. Ibid., 407. 52. Indeed, Schuller’s take on Armstrong represented a rehabilitation of his reputation against the point of view of the previous generation. 53. Monson, “The Problem with White Hipness,” 409. 54. Ibid., 415. Monson’s source is Dorr-­Dorynek, “Mingus,” 17. 55. See Schleifer, Modernism and Popular Music. 56. Webern, The Path to the New Music, 54. 57. See, for instance, Levin and Wilson, “No Bop Roots in Jazz,” originally published in Down Beat, September 9, 1949; and Schuller in the Playboy panel, in Walser, ed., Keeping Time, 269. 58. Wald, “Louis Armstrong Loves Guy Lombardo.” 59. The foundational essay discussing the narrative of jazz history is DeVeaux, “Constructing the Jazz Tradition.” 60. As Davis writes, even though Birth of the Cool (1957) sounded “sweet,” the turn away from bebop led to “a lot of people [thinking] the shit we were playing was strange.” With regard to incorporating rock elements on Bitches Brew (1970), “I wanted to change course, had to change course for me to continue to believe in and love what I was playing” (Davis, with Troupe, Miles, 119, 117, and 298). These passages appear in Walser, ed., Keeping Time, 365, 366, and 372. 61. Williams, The Blue Moment, 8. 62. Davies, “Music,” 494. 63. Berliner, Thinking in Jazz, 192. 64. Ibid., 193. 65. Ibid., 201. 66. Ibid., 205, 207–­8. Vijay Iyer focuses on the corporeal component in performance; see “Exploding the Narrative in Jazz Improvisation.” 67. Berliner, Thinking in Jazz, 212, 213. 68. Harris’s recording was titled “Little Benny,” and the tune itself is structured around the harmonic progression underlying George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm.” See Martin, Charlie Parker and Thematic Improvisation, 64–­65. Parker’s recording can be found on Charlie Parker, Volume Four (Dial LP207, 1951). See Komara, The Dial Recordings of Charlie Parker. 69. The main melody is not actually improvised; blazingly fast as it is, the instruments play in unison, and the phrases are constructed in conventional AABA fashion.

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70. Dial Records released a disc including all four takes of “Crazeology” (Dial 1034); see Komara, The Dial Recordings of Charlie Parker, 156. 71. Williams, “Charlie Parker: The Burden of Innovation (1970),” 19. See also Martin, Charlie Parker and Thematic Improvisation, 66–­67. 72. Berliner, Thinking in Jazz, 193. 73. Exploring recording session outtakes shows Kind of Blue “as a collaborative rather than an auteur work” (Tackley, “Jazz Recordings as Social Texts,” 175). Waters describes a similar “collaborative workshop” for Davis’s 1966 Miles Smiles (The Studio Recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet, 4). 74. See Solis, “Genius, Improvisation, and the Narratives of Jazz.” 75. See, for example, Austin, Music in the 20th Century, 280–­83; and Anderson, The Original Hot Five Recordings of Louis Armstrong, 174–­80. “Hotter than That” was originally released as a 78 rpm disc with “Savoy Blues” (OKeh 8535). 76. Schuller, Early Jazz, 110–­12. The quote is from 98. 77. See Magee, “Revisiting Fletcher Henderson’s ‘Copenhagen.’ ” 78. Schuller, Early Jazz, 98, 124. 79. Berrett, Louis Armstrong and Paul Whiteman, 77. There is no direct proof that Armstrong set his solo for “Hotter,” but the evidence for Armstrong generally planning his solos is strong. In Armstrong’s own words, “Once you got a certain solo that fit in the tune, and that’s it, you keep it. . . . There’s always different people there every night, and they just want to be entertained” (Meryman, Louis Armstrong—­a Self-­Portrait, 42–­43). See also Magee, “Revisiting Fletcher Henderson’s ‘Copenhagen,’ ” 64. 80. Anderson, The Original Hot Five Recordings of Louis Armstrong, 178–­79. 81. Schuller, Early Jazz, 110. 82. Anderson, The Original Hot Five Recordings of Louis Armstrong, 175–­76. 83. Schuller, Early Jazz, 110–­11. 84. Teachout, Pops, 107. 85. Schuller, Early Jazz, 112. 86. Magee, The Uncrowned King of Swing, 74. “Solitary star” refers to Panassié, Hot Jazz, 60. Chapter Six 1. See Dahlhaus, “What Is a Fact of Music History?”; Treitler, “The Historiography of Music,” esp. 376–­77; and Cook, “Teaching Others, Others Teaching.” 2. Hunter, “Writing a Nation’s Musical Taste”; and Chrissochoidis, “Handel’s Reception and the Rise of Music Historiography in Britain.” The primary sources are Mainwaring, Memoirs of the Life of the Late George Frederic Handel; Hawkins, A General History of the Science and Practice of Music; and Burney, An Account of the Musical Performances in Westminster Abbey, part of which appears in Burney’s A General History of Music. 3. Mathew, Political Beethoven, 103. 4. See Weber, The Rise of Musical Classics, esp. 168–­97. 5. Supičić, “Early Forms of Musical ‘Mass’ Culture”; and Olmstead, “The Capitalization of Musical Production.” 6. McVeigh, Concert Life in London from Mozart to Haydn, 7, 23. 7. Weber, The Rise of Musical Classics, 168, 194, 169–­70. 8. Ibid., 169.

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9. The 1710 Statute of Anne—­signed the year Handel arrived in England—­was not concerned with music explicitly; the decision in (J. C.) Bach v. Longman (1777) found that music was indeed covered. See Small, “The Development of Musical Copyright,” esp. 270–­93, and 360–­70; and Rabin and Zohn, “Arne, Handel, Walsh, and Music as Intellectual Property.” 10. See Weber, “The Intellectual Origins of Musical Canon in Eighteenth-­Century England,” and “From Miscellany to Homogeneity in Concert Programming.” 11. Weber, The Rise of Musical Classics, 248, 172. 12. Ibid., 174. 13. See Weber, The Great Transformation of Musical Taste. 14. Weber, The Rise of Musical Classics, 171. Roger Parker explores ways “Dove sei,” from the opera Rodelinda (London, 1725), continued to be removed from the larger work beyond the Antient Concerts, including musical changes and new texts (Remaking the Song, 121–­40). 15. Weber, The Rise of Musical Classics, 170, 174. 16. Ibid., 175; Dean, Handel’s Operas, 330, 318. 17. Dean, Handel’s Operas, 323. 18. Harris, “Handel”; the quote is from 836–­37. 19. The Concert’s choices of da capo arias similarly featured slow tempo and serious tone and focused on the composer’s craft. “Dove sei,” mentioned above, was performed eight times in these seasons (Weber, The Rise of Musical Classics, 175); its melodic contours leave little room for ornamentation. 20. Ibid., 168. 21. Ibid., 180, 172. 22. Ibid., 197. 23. Weber explains that “to perform the arias without . . . theatrical variety gave the music an intellectuality quite foreign to its intent, and this quality was central to the redefinition of the music as belonging to a ‘higher’ genre” (ibid., 183). 24. Ibid., 180. 25. Ibid., 196. See also Wiley, “Re-­ Writing Composers’ Lives”; and Gur, “Music and ‘Weltanschauung.’ ” 26. DeNora, Beethoven and the Construction of Genius. Peter Kivy argues that similar imagery was applied to Handel; see The Possessor and the Possessed, esp. 37–­56, though he includes an extended critique of DeNora on 175 ff. 27. Dahlhaus, Nineteenth-­Century Music, 152–­60, esp. 152–­53. 28. See McMahon, Divine Fury, esp. 67–­103. The quotes are from 69, 73, 74, 91, and 94. 29. Bonds, After Beethoven. 30. Specific cases of borrowings continue to be uncovered with reasonable frequency. 31. Taylor, The Indebtedness of Handel, 1, 6–­14; the comparison in example 6.2 can be found on 14. 32. Ibid., 2. 33. Ibid., 36. For an overview of the duets, see Knapp, “Zu Händels italienischen Duetten.” 34. See Burrows, Handel, 410–­11. 35. Additionally, Handel used the B section to construct another Messiah number, “And He shall purify.” 36. “And He shall purify” has similar results. The duet’s ornamental “running passage” for “primavera” (“spring”) becomes “hardly appropriate” when, in Messiah, it is used for “purify” (Taylor, The Indebtedness of Handel, 37).

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37. The final section becomes the Messiah number “All we like sheep have gone astray.” 38. Taylor, The Indebtedness of Handel, 4. 39. Ibid., 5. 40. Ibid., 40. This view is echoed in Thomas Forrest Kelly’s First Nights: the duet-­based choruses are “astounding examples of transformation,” and this number’s “origin in an Italian love duet is hard to believe” (71). 41. Taylor, The Indebtedness of Handel, 46. Messiah’s religious and political resonances have been the subject of recent debate, particularly on the issue of potential anti-­Jewish sentiment in Charles Jennens’s compilation of the libretto and Handel’s settings. See Erhardt, Händels Messiah; Marissen, “Rejoicing against Judaism in Handel’s Messiah”; and, in response, Roberts, “False Messiah.” 42. Taylor, The Indebtedness of Handel, 187–­88. 43. See Roberts, “Why Did Handel Borrow?” 44. Discussion of Osborne, “Musical Coincidences and Reminiscences,” 112, quoted in Roberts, “Why Did Handel Borrow?,” 84. 45. Marshall, George Frederick Handel, 35, quoted in Roberts, “Why Did Handel Borrow?,” 84. 46. See Buelow, “The Case for Handel’s Borrowings,” 63–­66. Most of the later discussions lean on the nineteenth-­century British music critic William Crotch, even though originally his point was in a footnote, with no hint of judgment against Handel. See Irving, “William Crotch on Borrowing,” 237. 47. Dent, Handel, 100–­102, quoted in Roberts, “Why Did Handel Borrow?,” 85. See also Hunter, “Handel’s Ill Health.” 48. See Taruskin, The Oxford History of Western Music, 2:329–­31; the quotes are from 331. 49. Roberts, “Why Did Handel Borrow?,” 86–­88. 50. Ibid, 88. 51. As Buelow asserts, “Handel deserves a special place of honor, not only as a famous composer of Baroque music but also for the imperishable genius of so much of that music” (A History of Baroque Music, 476). 52. Roberts, “Why Did Handel Borrow?,” 91. 53. Buelow argues that “we need to . . . see Handel’s musical art in the appropriate and only true context of its own historical time” (“The Case for Handel’s Borrowings,” 61). 54. Gregory Barnett, for instance, argues that focusing on how a passage “is styled and how it is used . . . is unfamiliar territory in the identification and interpretation of borrowings” (“Handel’s Borrowings and the Disputed Gloria,” 86). 55. Buelow, “The Case for Handel’s Borrowings,” 61. 56. Ibid., 62. 57. Taruskin, The Oxford History of Western Music, 2:340. 58. As Buelow makes clear, “For the first time since Sedley Taylor the issue begins to take on a positive dimension. At last, Handel scholars have begun to see that the composer’s extensive and manifold adaptations of his and other composers’ works contain vital clues for defining the genius of his compositional craft and stylistic individuality” (Buelow, “The Case for Handel’s Borrowings,” 77). 59. Harris, “Integrity and Improvisation in the Music of Handel,” 305. 60. In Graham Cummings’s words, “He displays a remarkable ability to combine diverse influences, references and even borrowings, be they poetic, artistic or musical, to convey both a subtle dramatic and musical subtext and atmosphere” (“Handel and the Confus’d Shepherdess,” 587).

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61. Harris, “Integrity and Improvisation in the Music of Handel,” 312, 315. 62. Harris, Handel as Orpheus, 173. Ten were new works, and ten were revisions. 63. Ibid., 173–­74. 64. Ibid., 194, 200. 65. Ibid., 321. 66. An earlier setting, without the silences, was part of an incomplete version included in the nineteenth-­century Händel-­Gesellschaft edition edited by Chrysander. The version discussed by Harris was uncovered in the 1960s. See Boyd, “La solitudine.” 67. Harris, Handel as Orpheus, 207. 68. Ibid., 177, 184, 188. 69. Such a perspective is indebted to Gary C. Thomas’s essay “Was George Frideric Handel Gay?” 70. Harris, Handel as Orpheus, 188–­90. Silences also marked powerful moments in eighteenth-­ century literature, such as in Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (1759), or acting, as with David Garrick (1717–­79) (191–­92). 71. Dean, Handel’s Operas, 323. 72. A March 2008 controversy at the University of Texas at San Antonio was reported in the San Antonio Express-­News (Ludwig, “UTSA Honor Code Raises Questions”), for example, and was picked up by many news organizations, including the Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog (Hermes, “A Plagiarized Honor Code? Oops”). A long-­circulating draft of UTSA’s honor code was partly lifted from Brigham Young University’s. The first comment after the Chronicle’s blog entry, by Dan Larkin, makes the point about honor codes and creativity: “An honor code, like a law or ordinance, cannot be plagiarized. It is not a work of creativity. It is a rule. If it were found that, e.g., Pennsylvania’s fair housing statute contained much of, say, New York’s, that would not be plagiarism.” 73. See, for example, Lessig, Free Culture; and Hyde, Common as Air. See also Halbert, Resisting Intellectual Property. 74. Hyde, Common as Air, 56. 75. Lessig, Free Culture, 135, 19. 76. Lessig, Remix. Lessig explores restrictions on creative uses of digital works in Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, and Code Version 2.0. 77. Lessig, Remix, 18–­19. Indeed, such a view of creativity does not fit easily with either the Godlike Longinian or the passive-­receptacle Platonic models of genius posited by Kivy in The Possessor and the Possessed. 78. Lessig, The Future of Ideas, 22. Such work responds to the ecologist Garrett Hardin’s “The Tragedy of the Commons,” which is concerned with examples such as overfishing or overgrazing. 79. Lessig, Remix, 93. 80. I thank Ellen T. Harris for suggesting this particular Handelian practice to me. Chapter Seven 1. See, for example, Wright, Comic Book Nation; Johnson, Super-­History; and Dittmer, Captain America and the Nationalist Superhero. 2. Anthony R. Mills explores this change in American Theology, Superhero Comics, and Cinema. 3. See, perhaps most famously, Goodwin, Team of Rivals.

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4. Johnson, How We Got to Now, 209, 212. The notion of “networked innovation” also runs through Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From. 5. James W. Loewen diagnoses the issues associated with conventional historical narratives in Lies My History Teacher Told Me. 6. Conservatories are often requiring courses that help prepare students for these aspects of professional life, such as the Manhattan School of Music’s Musician as Educator class within their Orchestral Performance program. In 2015, Oberlin, a founding member of the National Association of Schools of Music, even withdrew from that accrediting organization, due to, in the view of Dean Andrea Kalyn, the association not “tackling the very pressing need for advocacy for arts education.” See Lebrecht, “College Shock.” 7. Lipsitz is reflecting on the pop hip-­hop group Black Eyed Peas’ 2003 hit “Where Is the Love?” See “Reveling in the Rubble,” 34. 8. The quote appeared on the International Contemporary Ensemble’s home page, iceorg .org, in August 2015. 9. The cellist Matt Haimovitz, for example, is well known for performing in such settings; the various chapters of Opera on Tap approach public outreach similarly. 10. The music critic Anthony Tommasini, for example, writes that “length itself is one of [classical music’s] defining elements” and suggests that “the big news in pop music today” similarly centers on “longer total-­concept albums” stemming from the legacy of Sgt. Pepper. See “A Patience to Listen, Alive and Well.” 11. In another example from the popular press, Jeremy Eichler explains that Antonio Vivaldi’s early eighteenth-­century Four Seasons concertos, “perhaps the single greatest hit of classical music,” only became considered “timeless” after World War II (“The Masterpiece That Took 200 Years to Become Timeless,” 32). 12. David Laderman, for instance, explores purposefully bad lip syncing by punk rockers to highlight the artificiality and commodity status of recording; see “(S)lip-­sync.” For a classical performer’s perspective on the anxieties associated with recording, see Denk, “Flight of the Concord.” Regarding the valved horn, Salomon Jadassohn’s 1889 Lehrbuch der Instrumentation, for example, asserts that “the beauty of the tone is lessened in accordance with the number of valves employed. . . . A skillful performer will certainly know how to improve this condition in the production of pure tones, but he cannot prevent the rough and less noble tones of the horn” (Jadassohn, A Course of Instruction in Instrumentation, 261–­62). 13. Gary Giddins, for example, notes how a seemingly unnatural technology such as the microphone could result in a performance style seen as more natural and intimate (the “crooner”) than that created by traditional operatic or vaudevillian technique; see Bing Crosby, 117–­18, and 228 ff. Regarding the collaborative creative process resulting from the technology of the recording studio, see Watson, Cultural Production in and beyond the Recording Studio, esp. 32 ff. 14. See, for instance, Kamp, Summers, and Sweeney, eds., Ludomusicology; and Moseley, Keys to Play. 15. Kevin Korsyn uses the work of Mikhail Bakhtin to argue for a dialogic model that could be applied to music, as an alternative to both analytic notions of unity and historical notions of narrative continuity. Such an approach “would move towards heterogeneity, activating and releasing the voices of a musical heteroglossia.” See “Beyond Privileged Contexts”; the quote is from 64–­65. 16. Le Guin, Boccherini’s Body, 14. 17. Cook, “Making Music Together,” 21–­22; the article is reprinted in Cook’s Music, Performance, Meaning, 321–­41, the quote appearing at 337–­38.

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18. Greenland, Jazzing. 19. See Heile, “Uri Caine’s Mahler”; the quotes are from 230, 232, 247, and 253. 20. See Miller, Playing Along. 21. Parker, Remaking the Song, 3. 22. Levin, Unsettling Opera, 26. 23. Smart, Mimomania, 5–­6. 24. See, for example, McHugh, “I’ll Never Know Exactly Who Did What.” 25. Abbate, In Search of Opera, 103. Foundational for such perspectives on opera is Petrobelli, Music in the Theater. 26. Parker, Remaking the Song, 7. 27. Small, Musicking, 2, 13. 28. Ibid., 182–­83. 29. Subotnik, Deconstructive Variations, 188. 30. See Shusterman, Pragmatist Aesthetics; the quote is from 237. 31. See chapter 1; John Covach, in “We Won’t Get Fooled Again,” is responding to Susan McClary’s influential work on what repertoires and aspects of music are considered central and which are likely to be marginalized, in particular the essay “Terminal Prestige.” 32. Lowe, Pleasure and Meaning in the Classical Symphony; the quote is from 99. 33. Chase made this comment on November 23, 2014, during a question-­and-­answer session (“Conversation with Claire Chase”) at the annual meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music, in Scottsdale, Arizona, following her keynote address, “Debunking, Disrupting and Rethinking Entrepreneurship: Inside the ICE Model.” 34. Such an approach to curricular reform lies at the heart of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Music Major’s Transforming Music Study from Its Foundations, a 2014 report from the College Music Society.

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Index

“Abacab” (Genesis), 251n61 Abbate, Carolyn, 233 Adams, John, 26 Adderley, Julian “Cannonball,” 162 Adorno, Theodor W., 16, 34–­35, 39, 41–­42, 45, 49, 57, 142, 242n30, 242n36; classical vs. pop­ ular music, 36–­39; on Ellington, 242–­43n40; late style, conception of, 141; “On Jazz” (Adorno), 242–­43n40, 243n45; on “serious music,” 36 aesthetics: concept of, 3, 16; economic value of, 4–­5 Africa, 98 Ahlkvist, Jarl A., 151 Alcina (Handel), 187–­89, 210 American Dreams (television series), 26–­27 American Opera Company, 8 Anderson, Jon, 121, 142 “An die Freude” (Schiller), 52 anti-­Semitism, 94–­95, 97, 99 Armstrong, Lillian Hardin, 166, 176–­77, 180–­81 Armstrong, Louis, 168, 176, 178–­79, 211; Great Man narrative, 254n46; “Hotter than That,” 211, 255n79; organic narrative of, 166; as origi­ nal hero figure, 166; salient features of, 154–­55; scatting style of, 157; solos of, 177, 180, 255n79; status of, as towering figure, 155; “West End Blues,” performing and recording of, 155–­57, 166, 177, 181. See also Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five; Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven art-­music tradition, 130–­31, 133–­35 art rock, 123. See also progressive rock Asia (Asia), 251n61 Atlantic Records, 144

Atton, Chris, 128, 151–­52 authenticity: and blackness, 33, 160–­62; as positive value judgment, 149; progressive rock, 17, 121–­ 22, 140, 142, 149–­52; and rock, 121–­22, 150–­51 Avengers, The (film), 216–­17 Bach, Johann Sebastian, 128, 192, 223 Bach v. Longman, 256n9 Bad Plus, 232 Bakhtin, Mikhail, 259n15 Bangs, Lester, 128, 250n8 Barnett, Gregory, 257n54 Barron, Kenny, 173 Batchelor, David, 102 Bates, Joah, 185, 188 Battlestar Galactica (television series), 27 Bauer-­Lechner, Natalie, 104 Beatles, 218, 232–­33, 245n76; classical music, 74; “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” 78; Sgt. Pep­ per’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 16–­17, 52–­54, 59–­60, 74–­81, 83–­86, 120, 221, 226; “She’s Leav­ ing Home,” 80; “With a Little Help from My Friends,” 77–­79; “Within You Without You,” 78 Beats, rhetoric of noble savage, 160 bebop, 159, 162–­63, 167, 169, 254n60; black mascu­ linity, 158; modernism of, 168; as term, 159 Beethoven, Ludwig van, 11–­13, 38–­39, 42, 61, 63–­ 67, 69–­73, 75, 76, 79–­81, 86, 119–­20, 138, 155, 206, 218, 240n56, 244n43, 245n58, 245n65, 248n67, 254n46; Fifth Symphony, 7, 23–­25, 34–­ 36, 45–­49, 192, 242n30; as genius, 192, 244n14; improvisation of, 243n52; late works of, as form of exile, 141; Ninth Symphony, 1, 16–­17, 52–­53, 88–­91, 93, 221, 226, 245n71; organicism of, 31, 37, 55–­56, 68, 165; organic unity, lack of, 57–­58;

282 Beethoven, Ludwig van (cont.) periods of, 140–­41, 165–­66; reception of, 49, 55, 59–­60, 62, 74, 76, 142, 165, 226, 235; rhetoric of disorientation, 243n51; Sixth Symphony (Pastoral), 7, 23–­27, 31, 33, 43; Third Symphony, 104 Berganza, Teresa, 210–­11 Berliner, Paul, 172–­73, 175; methodology of, 171; Thinking in Jazz, 171 Berlin Philharmonic, 243n50 Berlin Wall, 73 Berrett, Joshua, 177 Beyond the Fringe (stage revue), 246n95 binary opposition, 27, 44–­45, 49, 55, 98, 227; in jazz, 154, 157, 160, 181–­82 Birth of the Cool (Davis), 254n60 Bitches Brew (Davis), 254n60 Black Eyed Peas, 259n7 blackness: and authenticity, 162; authenticity, and “bad” men, 160; hip-­hop, 161–­62; and Other, 162; signifying of, 33; white assumptions of, 161 Blim, Dan, 241n17 Bloom, Allan, 16, 20–­23, 26, 45 Bloom County (comic strip), 44 Blueprint, The (Jay-­Z), 33–­34 Blueprint 3, The (Jay-­Z), 33–­34 blues, 163, 169, 214; British blues, 161; as niche genre, 161 Blume, Danny, 232 Boccherini, Luigi, 230 Bolero (Ravel), 21 Bonds, Mark Evan, 5, 9, 59–­60, 240n29, 245n65 Botstein, Leon, 94 Bourdieu, Pierre, 5, 11, 15, 126; and habitus, 4 Bowman, Durrell S., 252n74 Brackett, David, 14, 74, 136 Brahms, Johannes, 98, 245n64 Brigham Young University, 258n72 Britain, 186. See also England Broadway musicals, 233 Brown, James, 33 Buelow, George J., 206–­7, 257n51, 257n53, 257n58 Bülow, Hans von, 9 Burke, Edmund, 60–­61, 245n51 Burlington, Lord, 208–­9 Burney, Charles, 203 Burnham, Scott, 52, 74 Caine, Uri, 232; Urlicht/Primal Light, 231 Carestini, Giovanni, 189 Carmen (Bizet), 246n105 Carter Family, 27 Cateforis, Theo, 139 Cavicchi, Daniel, 242n37 Chambers, Paul, 162 Chase, Claire, 236, 260n33

index Chekhov, Anton, 65 Cheng, William, 14 Chicago, 176 Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 7 Christgau, Robert, 128 Christian Social Party, 97 Christie, William, 189, 210–­11 Chrysander, Friedrich, 193, 258n66 “Clap, The” (Yes), 122 Clark, Kenneth, 51–­52 classical music, 6, 10, 16–­18, 20, 26–­27, 34, 36, 43, 45–­46, 87–­89, 101, 120, 134, 152, 154, 158, 214–­15, 218–­20, 223, 228, 241n18; appreciation of, 49–­50; classical composers, and jazz, 163–­64; class identification, 49–­50; and color, 93–­94; com­ modity character of, 242n30; as Eurocentric, 8; folk material, 67; as “good for you,” 3; as good music, 5; healing power of, 22–­23; as highbrow, notion of, 190–­91; and intellect, 21; and jazz, 164–­66, 171–­72, 175, 229; jazz, in opposition to, 158–­59, 163; length of, 259n10; masterpiece, notion of, 52–­53; and modernism, 167–­68; as morally good, 50; musical coherence of, 171; organic narrative of, 24, 31, 37, 55–­56, 62, 68, 100, 165; originality, idea of, 166, 192, 204; and progressive rock, 121, 127–­28, 138, 149–­50; and rock, 126, 130; sacralization of, 7, 50; sole genius approach, 42; symphony, as strong­ hold of absolute music, 96; as timeless, 259n11; value system of, 11 Classic Yes (Yes), 144; “Green Towers” painting, 142–­43 “Close to the Edge” (Yes), 127 Cold War, 73 color, 101; and “chromophobia,” 102; as marginal, 102 Coltrane, John, 162 “Come Sail Away” (Styx), 148 Common as Air (Hyde), 212 Componimenti Musicali per il Cembalo (Muffat), 193, 201 conceptual imperialism, 12 Concert of Antient Music, 184–­92, 256n14, 256n19 “Concerto for Cootie” (Ellington), 39–­41; timbral detail of, 42–­43 confirmation bias, 20 Conrad, Joseph, 98 Considine, J. D., 145 Cook, Nicholas, 54, 57, 230, 245n71 “Copenhagen” (Henderson), 176, 178 copyright law, 186; cultural commons, 212; internet-­based creative activity, 213; and remixing, 213–­14 Covach, John, 44, 53, 74, 138–­39, 250n30, 251n32, 260n31 “Crazeology” (Parker), 173–­74, 181

index Creative Commons, 213 creativity, 206, 258n77; and originality, 189, 205, 215, 229 Critique of Judgment (Kant), 54 Cromelin, Richard, 122, 132, 251n33 Crotch, William, 257n46 Cummings, Graham, 257n60 Currie, James, 241n58 Daniel, Jamie Owen, 242–­43n40 Darwinian evolutionary theory, 97 Davis, Miles, 171, 174, 180; Birth of the Cool, 254n60; Bitches Brew, 254n60; “Freddie Free­ loader,” 169; fusion, attempts at, 169; innovation of, 168; Kind of Blue, 162, 169, 255n73; Miles Smiles, 255n73; “So What,” 162–­63, 169–­70 “Day in the Life, A” (Beatles), 53, 79–­81, 83–­85, 246n95 DC Comics, 216 Dean, Roger, 142–­44 Dean, Winton, 188, 210 Dial Records, 255n70 Dickie, George, 239n12 digital music, 10 disco, 234 DJ Olive, 232 Dodds, Johnny, 176, 178 Dolan, Emily I., 62, 247n5 Douthit, Patrick, 12 Dracula (Stoker), 95, 98 Drama (Yes), 142 Dreamland Café, 176 du Maurier, George, 95 Dunsby, Jonathan, 242n20 Durant, Alan, 4 Dwight, John Sullivan, 9 Dylan, Bob, 27, 45, 74 Early Jazz (Schuller), 154, 164 Edison, Thomas, 217 Eichler, Jeremy, 259n11 1812 Overture (Tchaikovsky), 73 Eighth Symphony (Mahler), 88 “Ele e ela” (Valle), 34 Ellington, Duke, 16, 39–­42, 164, 242–­43n40 Emerson, Keith, 121 Emerson, Lake, and Palmer (ELP), 121, 128, 250n8, 251n61; “Tarkus,” 127 England, 120, 125, 209. See also Britain Enlightenment, 55, 192, 219, 235 E Street Band, 28, 30, 43. See also Springsteen, Bruce Etudes d’art étranger (Ritter), 247n7 Europe, 5, 7–­8, 24–­25, 55, 97, 185 Evans, Bill, 162 Evans, Mal, 80–­81, 83 Everett, Walter, 76

283 Fantasia (film), 25 Farinelli, 189 Fifth Symphony (Beethoven), 7, 23–­25, 34–­36, 45–­49, 66, 192, 242n30, 243n50 Fifth Symphony (Mahler), 90, 231 fin de siècle society: and atonality, 99–­100; crisis of identity during, 94–­95, 97; feminine, fears of, 92, 94–­97; gender roles, 95–­96; Gothic in, 95; male authority, undermining of, 94; order, disintegration of musical, 92–­94; outsider, fear of, 92, 97–­99 Fink, Robert, 11, 58, 60, 62 First Nights (Kelly), 257n40 First Symphony (Mahler), 88, 231 “Firth of Fifth” (Genesis), 127 Fitzwilliam, Lord, 193–­94, 201, 203 “Form of the Finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, The” (Webster), 57 Fornäs, Johan, 150–­51 Four Seasons (Vivaldi), 259n11 Fragile (Yes), 122, 129 Franklin, Aretha, 33 Franklin, Peter, 118 “Freddie Freeloader” (Davis), 169 Free Culture (Lessig), 212–­13 French Revolution, 245n68 Freud, Sigmund, 95 Gabbard, Krin, 253n27 Gage, John, 102 Gardiner, John Eliot, 245n65 Garrick, David, 258n70 Gautier, Théophile, 93 Gay, John, 209 Gaynor, Gloria, 33 Gelbart, Matthew, 6, 9 gender, 94, 110, 113, 158–­59; female, as transfor­ mative, 95; female body, “thing-­ness” of, 95; gendered instability, 116; gender rules, anxiety over, 96 Genesis: “Abacab,” 251n61; “Firth of Fifth,” 127 genius, 51–­52, 187, 202, 218, 244n14, 257n51, 257n58, 258n77; and art, 54; and originality, 204; sole genius approach, 42; as term, 192 Germany, 37 Gershwin, George, 181, 211; “I Got Rhythm,” 254n68 Giddins, Gary, 259n13 Gillespie, Dizzy, 159 Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Handel), 187 Gloag, Kenneth, 76 Goehr, Lydia, 9, 54, 60; conceptual imperialism, 12 Gopnik, Adam, 1, 10 Gracyk, Theodore, 12–­15, 241n59, 241n60 Graeber, David, 239n4 Graham, Susan, 210–­11

284 Greenland, Thomas H., 231 Grossberg, Lawrence, 148 Grove, George, 203 Guillory, John, 3, 10 Guterman, Jimmy, 123 habitus, 4, 13 Haimovitz, Matt, 259n9 Handel, George Frideric, 16, 18, 186–­87, 188–­89, 194, 218, 229, 256n9, 256n26, 257n46, 257n53; Alcina, 210; borrowings of, 193, 195–­96, 200–­207, 211–­12, 257n54, 257n58, 257n60; chamber cantatas, 208; cognitive dissonance about, 183, 200; condemnation of, 203; creativity of, 205–­6; cultural commons, 213; double submission, 196; English national ideal, embodying of, 184; genius of, 202, 257n51, 257n58; interpreta­ tion, need for, 207; and intertextuality, 207–­8; Italian duets (“Quel fior che all’ alba ride” and “Nò, di voi non vo’ fidarmi”), 195, 202; Mes­ siah, 187, 195–­202, 256n35, 257n41; music of, as performative, 214; Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day, 193; and performativity, 207–­8; and plagiarism, 196; reception of, 183, 204, 211, 213, 221; reception of, and classical music canon, 191–­93; remix prac­ tices of, 214–­15; reputation of, 205; Rodelinda, 256n14; Samson, 193; self-­borrowing, 195–­96, 202; silence, use of, 208–­9; Theodora, 193 Handel as Orpheus (Harris), 208 Hanslick, Eduard, 62, 239n19, 245n56 Hardin, Garrett, 258n78 Harker, Brian, 155 Harris, Benny, 173, 181; “Little Benny,” 254n68 Harris, Ellen T., 189, 207–­9, 211–­12, 258n66, 258n80 Harrison, George, 78, 232–­33 Hatten, Robert, 241n59 Haydn, Joseph, 60, 186, 245n58 “Heat of the Moment” (Asia), 251n61 “Heebie Jeebies” (Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five), 166 Heile, Björn, 232 Henderson, Fletcher, 181; “Copenhagen,” 176, 178 Hickenlooper, Lucy, 8 high music, 27, 55, 124–­25, 130–­32; and jazz, 159; vs. low, 130; organic processes of, 124; progressive rock, connections to, 127–­28 Hines, Earl, 157 hip-­hop, 11–­12, 27, 45, 219–­20, 234; mass white audience, cross over to, 161–­62, 253n34. See also rap Hip-­Hop Fellow, The (film), 12 hipness, 162, 167, 169; and cool, 158; and jazz, 159; as Otherized, 159; rebellious artist, as mark of, 158–­59; white image of, 159–­60 Hirschfeld, Robert, 99 Hodeir, André, 243n45

index “Hold On” (Yes), 252n69 Holm-­Hudson, Kevin, 139 Holt, Fabian, 241n62 homosexuality, 209 honor code, 258n72 Hopkins, Antony, 245n58 Hopkins, Robert G., 102 Horton, Julian, 118 “Hotter than That” (Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five), 176–­77, 211, 255n75; break, use of in, 178–­79; self-­dialogue in, 180; solo in, 180, 255n79; stop-­time passage in, 178–­79; swing in, 179–­80; syncopation in, 180–­81 Howe, Steve, 122, 130, 135, 142 Hunter, Mary, 70 Hurley, Kelly, 95 Hyde, Lewis, 212 “I Got Rhythm” (Gershwin), 254n68 Indebtedness of Handel to Works by Other Composers, The (Taylor), 193 India, 98 International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), 219, 235 intertextuality, 207–­8, 229–­30, 236 Island of Dr. Moreau, The (Wells), 98 Italy, 208 Iverson, Ethan, 232 “I Will Survive” (Gaynor), 33 Jackson, Holbrook, 93 Jackson, Michael, 20–­21, 249n71 Jadassohn, Salomon, 259n12 Jagger, Mick, 20–­21 Janik, Allan, 92 Jay-­Z, 33–­34 jazz, 11, 13, 16, 18, 36, 42, 45, 49, 155, 176, 214, 218, 220–­21, 234; as America’s classical music, 164; big band, 164; binary opposition in, 154, 157, 160, 181–­82; blue notes, 153; classical composers, interest in, 163–­64; classical-­like values in, 164–­ 66, 171–­72, 229; classical music, 175; classical music, in opposition to, 158–­59, 163; developing variation in, 171, 174–­75; hero worship in, 164–­66; as high music, 159; hip construction of, as white image, 159–­60; and hipness, 162; and improvisation, 153, 157–­58, 164, 171, 173, 175, 177; inner dialogue in, 171–­75, 179–­81; modal jazz, 163; as modernist, 167–­69, 171; musical coher­ ence of, 171; as music of difference, 154, 158; and nonconformity, 159; originality, idea of, 166, 175; and Otherizing, 163; as performative art, 43; periodization, notion of, 165; as primitive, 163; as process, 153; purity of, 164; reception of, 153–­54, 158–­59, 162, 181, 228–­29; as “serious” music, 164; soloing in, 172–­74, 177; stereotyping

index of, 159–­62; and swing, 153, 156, 164; as term, 253n27; white hipness, problem with, 158. See also bebop Jennens, Charles, 257n41 Jewishness, 98–­99; as racial category, 97 Johnson, J. J., 174 Johnson, Julian, 15, 105 Johnson, Lonnie, 176, 178, 181 Johnson, Steven, 217, 259n4 Jordan, Duke, 174 Josephson, Nors S., 127 Kalbeck, Max, 94 Kalyn, Andrea, 259n6 Kanne, Friedrich, 55 Kant, Immanuel, 54, 60–­61 Kaye, Tony, 142 Kelly, Thomas Forrest, 257n40 Kennett, Chris, 74–­75 Kerman, Joseph, 56 Kinderman, William, 49 Kind of Blue (Davis), 162; as collaborative, 255n73 King Crimson, 251n61 Kipling, Rudyard, 98 Kivy, Peter, 244n14, 256n26, 258n77 Klangfarbenmelodie (Schoenberg), 243n45 Knittel, K. M., 93, 98–­99 Koegel, John, 122 Korsyn, Kevin, 241n57, 259n15 Kramer, Lawrence, 4, 6, 15–­16, 22–­28, 31, 33–­34, 38–­39, 43, 45, 241n14, 242n20 Krims, Adam, 242n36 Kubrick, Stanley, 80 Kuhn, Thomas S., paradigm shifts, 14–­15 Laderman, David, 259n12 La Grange, Henry-­Louis de, 87–­89 Larkin, Dan, 258n72 La solitudine (Handel), 208 Le Guin, Elisabeth, 230 Leipzig Gewandhaus, 6 Lennon, John, 78–­81, 83–­85 Leppert, Richard, 242–­43n40 Lessig, Lawrence, 212–­14 Levin, David J., 233 Levine, James, 3 Levine, Lawrence W., 6–­8, 50 Levinson, Jerrold, 3 Levy, David Benjamin, 56 Levy, Janet M., 100 Lichtenstein, Jacqueline, 102 Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer) (Mahler), 231 Lincoln Center, 26 Lipsitz, George, 219, 259n7 Lisbon earthquake, 25

285 “Little Benny” (Harris), 254n68 Locke, Ralph, 50 Lockwood, Lewis, 52 London Classical Players, 243n50 London Philharmonic, 6 “Lonesome Day” (Springsteen), 30, 32–­34, 38–­39, 43; healing power of, 27–­28, 31 “Lonesome Day” (Waters), 27 “Lonesome Day Blues” (Dylan), 27 Long, Michael, 15 Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five, 176; “Heebie Jeebies,” 166; “Hotter than That,” 176–­81, 211, 255n75, 255n79; “Savoy Blues,” 255n75; “West End Blues,” 155, 166, 177, 181. See also Arm­ strong, Louis Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven, 166. See also Armstrong, Louis Love and Theft (Dylan), 27 Lowe, Melanie, 235 “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” (Beatles), 78 Lueger, Karl, 97 Macan, Edward, 121, 127, 136–­37, 139, 141, 152, 250n8, 250n17, 251n35 Magee, Jeffrey, 181, 254n46 Magic Flute (Mozart), 233 Mahler, Gustav, 16–­17, 91, 94, 97, 182, 218, 220, 228, 247n7, 248n67, 249n71, 249n82; as anachronis­ tic, 118; anti-­Semitic lens, as seen through, 99; and cadence, 103–­7, 109–­10; detractors of, 96; Eighth Symphony, 88; Fifth Symphony, 90, 231; First Symphony, 88, 231; Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer), 231; musical style of, 87–­88; music of, as notionally planned, 231; music of, as rootless, 99; Ninth Symphony, 104–­7, 109; orchestra, inventive uses of, 88; outside voices, incorporating of, 232; as per­ formative, 119; reception of, 89, 93, 96, 98, 100, 120, 227, 231; secondary aspects of, 89, 101–­2, 118–­19; Second Symphony, 90, 231–­32; Seventh Symphony, 88; Sixth Symphony, 110–­11, 113, 116, 118; symphonic experiments, unmusicality of, 96; Third Symphony, 88; and timbre, 88–­89, 99, 101–­3, 109–­10, 116; tonality, as threat to, 109; tone color, 101 Mailer, Norman, 162; “White Negro,” 160, 253n27 Mainwaring, John, 184 Manhattan School of Music, Musician as Educa­ tor, 259n6 Martin, Bill, 138, 251n35 Martin, George, 78, 80–­81 Marvel studio, 216 masterpieces, 62, 202; as coherent, 58–­59; and genius, 51–­52, 54; organic unity, 52–­54; sublime, notion of, 60–­61, 86; unity, as hallmark of, 56–­57, 85–­86

286 Mathew, Nicholas, 55, 184, 244n43, 245n64 Mattheson, Johann, 203 Mazullo, Mark, 150 McCartney, Paul, 78–­81, 83–­84, 233 McClary, Susan, 44–­45, 113, 116, 246n105, 260n31 McMahon, Darrin M., 192 McVeigh, Simon, 184–­85 Mellers, Wilfrid, 53, 75 Messiah (Handel), 187, 195–­201, 256n35, 256n36, 257n37, 257n41; as masterpiece, 202 Metropolitan Opera, 3 Michaelis, Christian Friedrich, 61 Micznik, Vera, 109 Middleton, Richard, 6, 12, 122, 136 Miles Smiles (Davis), 255n73 Milhaud, Darius, 163 Milli Vanilli, 123 Mingus, Charles, 167 minimalism, 11–­12 minstrelsy, white Self vs. black Other, 161 modernism, 91; classical music, 167–­68; critical modernism, 92; jazz, 168–­69, 171 Monahan, Seth, 249n82 Monson, Ingrid, 42, 158–­61, 167, 171 Moore, Allan F., 53, 74–­75, 81, 148–­49, 251n35 Morton, Jelly Roll, 157 Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 60; Magic Flute, 233 MTV, 21, 121, 139, 142 Muffat, Gottlieb, 193–­94, 201–­3 music, 19, 22, 23; as ambiguous, 220; as “bad,” 3, 12; binary opposition, 44–­45, 49, 55, 98, 227; body-­mind connection, 45, 160, 227; color, as marginal, 102; connected approach to, 18, 230–­31, 233, 235–­37; as cool, 227; functions of, 2; gendered rules, anxiety over, 96; as “good,” 1–­3, 5, 9, 12, 18, 43–­44, 100, 154, 175, 222, 225, 227, 235–­36; as high, 8–­9, 12, 55; and hybridity, 18; as low, 8, 12, 55; and “ludomusicology,” 225; middle class, rise of, 184; musical masterpieces, 16; organicism, and synthesis, 56; otherness of, 234; “player’s body,” 172; as playful, 229; pure music, 98, 128, 230; reception history, 13, 16–­18, 23, 54, 56, 74–­75, 86, 103, 142, 216, 218, 220, 223–­24, 229; as secondary, 17; as “serious,” 2, 20, 22, 36, 44–­ 45, 140, 159, 164, 168, 188, 191, 226, 229; “singing mind,” 172; as spine-­tingling, 226–­27; “theoreti­ cal” mind, 172; as timeless, 223–­24; and timbre, 45; understanding of self, 227; and unity, 56, 58; value of, 3; valuing of, 1–­4, 14–­16, 229–­31; virtue, notions of, 16; ways of being, modeling of, 3. See also classical music; digital music; hip-­hop; jazz; popular music; progressive rock; rap; rock Musicking (Small), 233 music making, 218–­19, 224, 228, 236 musicology: inattentional blindness, 2; morally good experiences, 2; and value, 2

index Napoleon, 23 National Association of Schools of Music, 259n6 Negus, Keith, 76, 136 Nettl, Bruno, 15–­16 New Orleans jazz, 155, 178, 180 New Woman movement, 95 New York City, 26, 231 New York Philharmonic, 7, 26, 236. See also Philharmonic Society of New York Nikisch, Arthur, 243n50 90125 (Yes), 142, 144–­45 Ninth Symphony (Beethoven), 1, 16–­17, 56, 63, 78–­79, 88–­91, 93, 119, 221, 226; finale of, 55–­56, 63–­64, 68, 76, 79, 86; as masterpiece, 52–­54, 62, 74, 86; “Ode to Joy,” 66–­73; Other, diversity of, 86; Sgt. Pepper, as analogous, 74, 76; as sublime, 60, 62, 73, 86; “Turkish march” in, 55, 57, 69–­73, 245n71; unity, notion of, 55–­59, 62, 68; utopia, vision of, 68 Ninth Symphony (Mahler), 106–­7, 109; finale of, 104–­5 9th Wonder, 12 Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” 232 Norrington, Roger, 57–­58, 243n50 North America, 120 Northcutt, William M., 76 Oberlin College, 259n6 Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day (Handel), 193 “Ode to Joy” (Beethoven), 66–­69, 71–­73 O’Donnell, Owen, 123 Oliver, Joe “King,” 155, 181 Olympic Games, 73 “On Jazz” (Adorno), 242–­43n40, 243n45 “On Popular Music” (Adorno), 34, 38–­39 On the Transmigration of Souls (Adams), 26, 241n17 opera, 3, 8, 65, 187–­89, 191; Opera on Tap, 259n9; as potpourri, 233; remix qualities of, 214 organicism, 24, 31, 37, 55–­56, 62, 68, 100, 123–­24, 138, 140, 165–­66, 226 Original Dixieland Jass Band, “Tiger Rag,” 177–­78 originality, 184, 212–­22; art, moral truth of, 205; creative genius, 204; and creativity, 189, 215, 229; creativity, as Godlike, 205 “Ornithology” (Parker), 173 Ory, Edward “Kid,” 176, 178 Other, 99, 113; anxiety about, 97; and blackness, 162; fears of, 98; and hipness, 159; “pure” music, degrading of, 98; and race, 163 “Our Sublime Ninth” (Burnham), 52 “Owner of a Lonely Heart” (Yes), 142; as radical departure, 140, 151; structure of, 145–­48 Painter, Karen, 96 Palmer, Carl, 121 Palmer, Robert, 123

index Paris Conservatoire Society of Concerts, 6 Parker, Charlie, 159, 254n68; “Crazeology,” 173–­74, 181, 255n70; “Ornithology,” 173 Parker, Roger, 233, 256n14 Pascall, Robert, 243n51 Pastoral Symphony (Beethoven). See Sixth Symphony (Pastoral) (Beethoven) Peart, Neil, 149 Peraino, Judith A., 15 performance norms, changing of, 5–­6 performativity, 207–­8 periodization, 121, 138, 151–­52; organic narrative of, 165 Philharmonic Society of New York, 7. See also New York Philharmonic Plato, 102 Pope, Alexander, 209 popular music, 6, 12, 20, 34, 37–­38, 42–­43, 49–­50, 136, 161, 214, 218, 228, 235; aesthetic value in, 13, 15; and authenticity, 148; concept albums, 259n10; emotions, engaging of, 21; identities, curating of, 219; and jazz, 159; masterpiece, notion of, 52; paradox of, 35; as standardized, 35–­36; tone color, 101 Potter, Tommy, 174 Presley, Elvis, 161 Prog (Bad Plus), 232 progressive rock, 124, 129, 136, 182, 218, 220–­21, 227–­28, 250n18, 250n30; adaptation of, 139–­41; art-­music tradition, affinities with, 135; audi­ ence of, 125; and authenticity, 17, 121–­22, 140, 142, 149–­52; as British phenomenon, 137, 151; characteristics of, 125; classical music, indebt­ edness to, 121, 127–­28, 138, 149–­50; concept albums, penchant for, 223; and counterculture, 122; criticism of, 121–­22, 125, 128, 139; eclecti­ cism of, 120, 128; form, queering the concept of, 139; high music, connections to, 127–­28; hybridity of, 120; as inauthentic, 150; musical values, inversion of, 125–­26; organic model of periodization, 138, 140; organic narrative of, 140; as pretentious, 123; prog lite, 139; and race, 150; reception of, 121–­22, 124–­25, 130, 140, 145, 149, 150–­52, 169; self-­consciousness of, 122; as serious, 121. See also art rock punk rock, bad lip syncing, 259n12 Rabin, Trevor, 142 race, 161; Otherizing of, 163 ragtime, 178 Randel, Don Michael, 2 rap, 10. See also hip-­hop Ravel, Maurice, 21, 163 Reagan, Ronald, 139 Redman, Don, 176, 178, 180 Rehding, Alexander, 73

287 “Resisting the Ninth” (Taruskin), 57–­58 Riley, Terry, 148 Riley, Tim, 52–­53, 77 Rise of Musical Classics in Eighteenth-­Century England, The (Weber), 184 Rising, The (Springsteen), 27; healing, as theme in, 242n21 Ritter, William, 89–­90, 247n7 Roach, Max, 172, 174 Robbins, Greg, 240n29 Roberts, John H., 204–­6 Robinson, Fred, 157 rock, 10–­11, 16–­17, 21, 27, 45, 85, 120, 127–­28, 133–­34, 220–­21; and authenticity, 121–­22, 150–­51; classi­ cal music, 130; classical music, reversal of, 126; classic rock, 218; classic rock stations, 186; and counterculture, 125; decadence of, 123; organic narrative of, 123, 138; vs. pop, 12; as rebellious, 121–­22; rock and roll, borrowed from rhythm and blues, 161; rock criticism, 126; rock domi­ nant, 242n22; and rockists, 240n53; as serious, 74, 140; social change, effecting of, 150. See also progressive rock; punk rock, bad lip syncing Rockwell, John, 123, 128 Rodelinda (Handel), 256n14 Romanticism, 9, 54, 88, 111, 167, 205, 207, 222–­24, 229, 235 Rosen, Charles, 56 Ross, Alex, 10 “Roundabout” (Yes), 129, 145; crescendo reference, 130–­31; keyboard moment, 132–­33; lyrics of, 136–­37; organ effect, 131; “Picardy third,” 131; solo section, 134–­35; thematic unity of, 133; tonality in, 136; utopian vision of, 136–­37 Rudolph, Archduke, 243n52 Rush, 149; Signals, 251n61; “Subdivisions,” 251n61; “Tom Sawyer,” 232 Russell, Charles Edward, 8 Rycenga, Jennifer, 139 sacralization, 7, 50 “Sad and Lonesome Day” (Carter Family), 27 Said, Edward W., 141 Samson (Handel), 193 Samson, Jim, 11, 99–­100 Samuels, Robert, 92, 116 Sanders, Ernest, 56 Sanneh, Kalefa, 240n53 “Savoy Blues” (Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five), 255n75 Schenker, Heinrich, 56, 75–­76 Schiff, David, 241n18 Schiller, Friedrich, 52, 68, 72, 245n68 Schoenberg, Arnold, 35, 168, 243n45; Klangfarben­ melodie, 243n45 Schorske, Carl E., 91–­92, 247n10

288 Schuller, Gunther, 155–­58, 164–­66, 176–­77, 179, 181; “third stream” compositions of, 154 Second Symphony (Mahler), 231; finale of, 90 Seidl, Arthur, 90–­91 Seventh Symphony (Mahler), 88 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Beatles), 1, 16–­17, 60, 120, 221; appeal of, as universal, 53; classical music, tie to, 53–­54, 74–­75; as concept, 53; concept albums, legacy of, 259n10; dream passage, 84; E chord, use of, 84–­85; finale of, 79–­80, 85–­86; as flawed synthesis, 76; and genre, 75; “loud silence,” 85; as masterpiece, 52–­ 54, 74–­75, 86; Ninth Symphony, as analogous, 74–­76, 79; orchestral passages, 80–­81, 83–­84; Otherness in, 79–­80, 83, 86; performance, illu­ sion of, 77; reception of, 53, 74–­75, 78, 226; rock auteur, invention of, 53; as serious, 74; stylistic diversity in, 78; as sublime, 86; unity, notion of, 53–­54, 59, 75–­76, 78–­79 “She’s Leaving Home” (Beatles), 80 Showalter, Elaine, 95 Shusterman, Richard, 9–­10; ethical, aestheticiza­ tion of, 234 Signals (Rush), 251n61 Simpsons, The (television series), 25 Sixth Symphony (Mahler): “Alma” theme, as femi­ nine, 111, 113, 116, 118; sonata-­form construction of, 110 Sixth Symphony (Pastoral) (Beethoven), 7, 23, 26–­ 27, 31, 33, 43; healing power of, 24–­25 Sixth Symphony (Tchaikovsky), “Pathétique” finale, 249n71, 249n75 Small, Christopher, 233–­34 Smart, Mary Ann, 233 “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Nirvana), 232 Smith, Larry David, 243n49 Smolko, Tim, 250n30 Solie, Ruth, 52 Solis, Gabriel, 15 sound studies, 103 “So What” (Davis), 162–­63, 170; hipness of, 169 Soylent Green (film), 25 Spector, Phil, 27 Spicer, Mark S., 129, 242n22 Springsteen, Bruce, 16, 45; fandom of, 242n37; “Lonesome Day” (Springsteen), 27–­28, 30–­34, 38–­39, 43; The Rising (Springsteen), 27 Squire, Chris, 132, 142 Starr, Ringo, 77, 79 Statute of Anne, 256n9 Stayer, Jayme, 245n71 St. Cyr, Johnny, 176 Stockhausen, Karlheinz, 80 Stoker, Bram, 95, 98 Stravinsky, Igor, 35 Strayhorn, Billy, 42

index Strong, Jimmy, 157 Studies on Hysteria (Freud), 95 Stump, Paul, 125, 251n35 Styx, “Come Sail Away,” 148 “Subdivisions” (Rush), 251n61 sublimation, 86 sublime, 60–­62 Subotnik, Rose Rosengard, 22 “Superbad” (Brown), 33 superhero tales, 216–­18 symbolist poetry, 126 “Tarkus” (ELP), 127 Taruskin, Richard, 57–­58, 60, 204, 207, 240n48 Taylor, Sedley, 193, 195, 198, 200–­203, 205, 257n58 Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich, 73, 249n71, 249n75 Teachout, Terry, 180 “Thank You” (Jay-­Z), 33–­34 Thatcher, Margaret, 139 Theodora (Handel), 193 “Think” (Franklin), 33 Thinking in Jazz (Berliner), 171 Third Symphony (Beethoven), 104 Third Symphony (Mahler), 88 Thomas, Gary C., 258n69 Thomas, Theodore, 7–­9 “Tiger Rag” (Original Dixieland Jass Band), 177–­78 timbre, 92–­93, 96, 99, 101, 103, 247n5; fear of, 94; as marginalized, 102 Time Machine, The (Wells), 98 Tin Pan Alley, 35, 39 Tommasini, Anthony, 3, 259n10 “Tom Sawyer” (Rush), 232 “Touch and Go” (Emerson, Lake, and Powell), 251n61 Transforming Music Study from Its Foundation (Task Force on the Undergraduate Music Major), 260n34 Trilby (du Maurier), 95 Tristram Shandy (Sterne), 258n70 2001: A Space Odyssey (film), 80 United States, 6, 8–­9, 25, 129, 151, 161, 163, 218; classical music, Eurocentrism of, 7; and sacralization, 7 unity, 53–­55, 58–­59, 62, 68, 75–­76, 78–­79, 85–­86, 120, 133, 229; developmental unity, 226; master­ pieces, as hallmark of, 56–­57 University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), honor code, 258n72 Urlicht/Primal Light (Caine), 231 Valle, Marcos, 34 value, 9, 11, 14–­15; contextualizing of, 6; as instrumental, 2; as intrinsic, 2; notions of, 2;

index philosophical considerations of, 2–­4; and sa­ cralization, 7; valuing, musical purity, idea of, 8 “Venture, A” (Yes), 122 video games, 232 Vienna, 91–­93, 247n10; national identity in, 97 Vienna Philharmonic, 6, 93 Vivaldi, Antonio, 259n11 Wagner, Richard, 3, 56, 63, 93, 98, 245n64 Wakeman, Rick, 131, 134, 142, 251n33 Wald, Elijah, 75–­76 Walser, Robert, 44–­45 Walter, Bruno, 107 Walton, Kendall L., 241n60, 241n62 Warner, Timothy, 140, 252n69 Waters, Muddy, 27, 255n73 Watkins, Holly, 9 Watson, Angus, 243n52 Weber, William, 5, 184–­87, 191, 256n23 Webern, Anton, 168 Webster, James, 57–­58, 61, 64, 138, 142 Wells, H. G., 98 “West End Blues” (Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five), 155, 181; solo introduction to, 166, 177

289 “What Is a Masterpiece?” (Clark), 51 “Where Is the Love?” (Black Eyed Peas), 259n7 White, Alan, 142 “White Negro, The” (Mailer), 160, 253n27 Who, 44, 148 Williams, Buster, 172 Williams, Cootie, 39–­40, 42–­43, 243n45 Williams, Martin, 174 “With a Little Help from My Friends” (Beatles), 77–­79 “Within You Without You” (Beatles), 78 “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (Who), 44 World War II, 25 Yes, 121, 128, 251n61, 252n69; “The Clap,” 122; Classic Yes, 142–­44; “Close to the Edge,” 127; Drama, 142; Fragile, 122, 129; 90125, 142, 144–­45; “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” 140, 142, 145–­48, 151; “Roundabout,” 129–­37, 145; “A Venture,” 122; Yes Album, 122, 129 Yes Album, The (Yes), 122 Zolten, Jerry, 76 Zychowicz, James L., 101