Music as Cultural Heritage and Novelty

Music as Cultural Heritage and Novelty Volume 24

Author in the category "Miscellaneous"
  1. Oana Andreica
Music as Cultural Heritage and Novelty

This book provides a multifaceted view on the relation between the old and the new in music, between tradition and innovation. This is a much-debated issue, generating various ideas and theories, which rarely come to unanimous conclusions. Therefore, the book offers diverse perspectives on topics such as national identities, narrative strategies, the question of musical performance and musical meaning.

Alongside themes of general interest, such as classical repertoire, the music of well-established composers and musical topics, the chapters of the book also touch on specific, but equally interesting subjects, like Brazilian traditions, Serbian and Romanian composers and the lullaby. While the book is mostly addressed to researchers, it can also be recommended to students in musicology, ethnomusicology, musical performance, and musical semiotics.

The series originates from the need to create a more proactive platform in the form of monographs and edited volumes in thematic collections, to contribute to the new emerging fields within art and humanistic research, and also to discuss the ongoing crisis of the humanities and its possible solutions, in a spirit that should be both critical and self-critical.

“Numanities” (New Humanities) aim at unifying the various approaches and potentials of arts and humanities in the context, dynamics and problems of current societies. The series, indexed in Scopus, is intended to target a broad academic audi- ence. Aside from taking interest in work generally deemed as ‘traditional humanities research’, Numanities are also focused on texts which meet the demands of societal changes. Such texts include multi/inter/cross/transdisciplinary dialogues between humanities and social, or natural sciences. Moreover, the series is interested also in what one may call “humanities in disguise”, that is, works that may currently belong to non-humanistic areas, but remain epistemologically rooted in a humanistic vision of the world. We also welcome are less academically-conventional forms of research animated by creative and innovative humanities-based approaches, as well as applied humanities. Lastly, this book series is interested in forms of investigations in which the humanities monitor and critically asses their scientific status and social condition.

This series will publish monographs, edited volumes, and commented translations.


Old and new, tradition and innovation, and heritage and novelty: these complementary categories, where they intersect and how they relate to one another, represent the basic premise for this volume. The debate around these notions, a commonplace in the study of culture, has nurtured many reflections within an area of musicological research that belongs to classical studies, comparative musicology, music anthropology and sociology alike. There can be no innovation without a tradition to refer to, and tradition always stems from what was new at a certain time in history. It goes without saying that we are dealing with a virtually infinite array of possible subjects, approaches and standpoints, which make such a general theme all the more appealing.

Readers of this volume will find a collection of topics originally introduced at the 14th International Congress on Musical Signification, held at the “Gheorghe Dima” Music Academy of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. These studies reflect the major purpose of this meeting, which was to re-examine some of the assumptions upon which the analysis of music has been based traditionally, and to propose ways in which not only these assumptions, but also recent methods and perspectives can open new pathways in musicological research. In these studies, the authors, leading experts in our field, as well as excellent young scholars, invite the readers to explore a vast cultural territory spanning from Serbia to Brazil, from Romania to Poland, and from Hungary to the United States, with the common purpose of investigating various musical phenomena in relationship with the tradition they belong to and how they forge—or are forged by—the modernity of their own times. What also unites these papers, belonging to scholars from different musicological traditions and focused on otherwise heterogeneous topics, is the shared belief that music signifies that it has a meaning and it has a message. Thus, musical signification stands at the core of this collection.

The book is divided into five sections. Part I is dedicated to broader views on music history. Eero Tarasti’s study sets the tone for the volume, contextualizing the central concept of “modern” and considering it from multiple angles—existential, philosophical and phenomenological. To find its meaning in music, Tarasti looks back to the beginning of the twentieth century and explores modernity as it manifested
in various geographical regions. “Modern” is then analyzed from a semiotic standpoint. An important aspect of Tarasti’s study is the distinction he operates between “innovation” and “novelty.”

Konstantin Zenkin discusses at length some of the paradigms that articulate European classical music, among which he analyzes speech, gesture-dance-ritual and the laws of natural processes. With special focus on the twentieth century, Konstantin Zenkin points to Igor Stravinsky as the leading figure of a generation that fueled radical changes while never abandoning the heritage of the predecessors.

In her interdisciplinary approach connecting music to literature and neurosciences, Márta Grabócz examines the invariants and universals and their influence on memory. She looks at the musical topics as a special type of invariants, with concrete examples from Classicism and Romanticism and from the works of composers such as Liszt and Mahler.

Dario Martinelli takes the debate around the two main concepts of this volume into the field of popular music: music videos are considered from the angle of historical semiotics, i.e., defined and classified according to their main stylistic traits, followed back to their roots in the late nineteenth century and marked by the revolutionary achievements of The Beatles.

Part II deals with the musical text from the point of view of philosophy and narrative strategies. Paulo C. Chagas proposes a phenomenological approach of the relationship between music and affect, discussing concepts such as “autopoiesis,” “self-organization” and “self-realization.” The same phenomenological perspective is subsequently used to look into electroacoustic music and the musics of Morton Feldman and Yannis Xenakis.

Mark Reybrouck’s paper discusses how listening to music creates a multi-layered experience and how the meaning of music comes from the complex interaction between the senses, physiology, behavior and cognition.

Takemi Sosa’s study focuses on narrativity and musical gestures. Byron Almén’s and Eero Tarasti’s theories, among others, are taken as references and applied to examples from Beethoven and Mahler.

Narrativity is also the concept at the center of Joan Grimalt’s research, this time oriented toward the instrumental music of the Classical era and the theory of musical topics. Joan Grimalt is particularly interested in finding the source of the musical humor and explores some of its various instances in the music of the Viennese composers.

Part III comprises studies on musical performance. Juha Ojala explores it from a semiotic perspective: the musical work is seen as a legisign, whereas the performance as a sinsign. The performer’s creativity, its boundaries and constraints, as well as the performer’s “working space” are among the main concepts analyzed.

Eveliina Sumelius-Lindblom examines Adorno’s critical theory from the performer’s standpoint, whereas the two methods she uses (conceptual analysis and embodied intertextuality) concern the act of musical performance in itself. This theo- retical basis is then used to explain Stravinsky’s neoclassicism and the substantial intertextual ramifications that define it.

Part IV of the volume focuses on the issue of national identities. Thus, self and identity are the two main concepts around which Ewa Schreiber builds her research. The two paradigms she chooses to exemplify her theoretical findings are the modern composers György Ligeti and Jonathan Harvey, two apparently diametrically opposed personalities as far as their views on the concept of identity are concerned, but who, nevertheless, share a common ground.

Iwona Sowkinska-Fruhtrunk examines the concepts of perception and mimetic hypothesis as theorized by Arnie Cox, which she applies to Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony.

Miloš Bralovic ́’s study is dedicated to Serbian composer Stanojlo Rajicˇic ́ and, more specifically, to the musical references he made to other composers, to how these references shaped Rajicˇic ́’s own vocabulary and how the two works chosen for a detailed analysis reflect the maturity of his style.
Dániel Nagy discusses Béla Bartók’s reception in Hungary, where he was considered as the leading representative of the cultural identity of the country. Dániel Nagy examines the place that Bartók occupies in the Hungarian discourse on national iden- tity and the influence that this discourse had on the musicological research on the composer.

Elena Boanca ̆ brings to the foreground a Romanian artist whose international reputation is mainly due to his successful career as a conductor, but who was also an outstanding composer. His musical career is scrutinized through the relationship with the communist regime of Silvestri’s native land.

Part V is dedicated to Brazilian traditions and also pays homage to a country from which many scholars preoccupied with musical signification have emerged. Ricardo Nogueira de Castro Monteiro analyzes, from a semiotic perspective, how myths and rituals are structured and provides the case study on the Reisado, a specific type of Epiphany celebration, encountered in the Brazilian region of Cariri.

Heloísa de Duarte Valente presents a history of the musical genre of fado, seen as a link between Brazil, its country of origin, and Portugal. Special attention is given to the Brazilian city of Santos, the place with the largest population of Portuguese immigrants.

Rodrigo Felicissimo’s study is a comparative analysis of Villa-Lobos’s tone poem Uirapuru, Stravinsky’s Firebird suite and Sibelius’s Tapiola, with the aim of revealing the common ground of musical signifiers that are to be found in these works. Conducting the research of primary documents that attest to the compositional process of the three works, Rodrigo Felicissimo discusses issues related to legends, myths and nature, and how they define national identities and musical styles.

I would like to express my gratitude to the authors for their contribution and commitment to making this volume possible, and I hope the readers will enjoy these pages as much as we enjoyed putting them together.

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Oana Andreica
February 2022
First release
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