A Theory of Musical Narrative

Auteur: Byron Almen
Taal: Engels
A Theory of Musical Narrative
  • Engels
  • Paperback
  • 9780253030092
  • Druk: 1
  • september 2017
  • 264 pagina's
Alle productspecificaties


Byron Almén proposes an original synthesis of approaches to musical narrative from literary criticism, semiotics, historiography, musicology, and music theory, resulting in a significant critical reorientation of the field. This volume includes an extensive survey of traditional approaches to musical narrative illustrated by a wide variety of musical examples that highlight the range and applicability of the theoretical apparatus. Almén provides a careful delineation of the essential elements and preconditions of musical narrative organization, an eclectic analytical model applicable to a wide range of musical styles and repertoires, a classification scheme of narrative types and subtypes reflecting conceptually distinct narrative strategies, a wide array of interpretive categories, and a sensitivity to the dependence of narrative interpretation on the cultural milieu of the work, its various audiences, and the analyst. A Theory of Musical Narrative provides both an excellent introduction to an increasingly important conceptual domain and a complex reassessment of its possibilities and characteristics.


Reimagining literary narrative theory in musical terms, Almen (Univ. of Texas, Austin) has appropriated, explicitly, various constructs and methods, albeit with qualification. The endeavor is informed by semiotic and topic theories--The Semiotics of Music, ed. by Eero Tarasti (1987), was a progenitor. That the outcome seems so natural, elegant, and convincing testifies to the author's careful work and deep understanding. He asserts that the book does not provide an analytic method but, rather, a framework; several analyses, large and small, will serve as a primer for others. In the first part of the book, Almen explains the theoretical underpinning; in the second part, he introduces four narrative archetypes that correspond precisely to the four mythoi Northrop Frye gave in his essay 'Archetypal Criticism' (Anatomy of Criticism, 1957). It would seem that Almen's theory can be applied as a means of understanding any musical work, regardless of type or style or purpose. Might a fundamental connectedness of seemingly disparate musics be revealed? That would be something. The book is out of range for all but the most intrepid undergraduates, but it is a must for all music theory collections. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through researchers and faculty. --Choice B. J. Murray, Brevard College, August 2009 In this pathbreaking study, Byron Almen convincingly demonstrates that a piece of music can convey a narrative that is intrinsically musical, not added by a program or text. -J. Peter Burkholder, Distinguished Professor of Musicology, Indiana University [N]atural, elegant, and convincing... a must for all music theory collections. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through researchers and faculty. -Choice Almen's work is far reaching both for music theory and musicology and will make a substantial and timely contribution to the study of musical narrative. - Michael Klein, Associate Professor of Music Theory, Temple University A Theory of Musical Narrative is an impressive and thought-provoking study which includes many fascinating ideas and insights as well as a comprehensive critique of previous literature. -Music Analysis



september 2017
Aantal pagina's
264 pagina's


Byron Almen
Indiana University Press



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