The Art of Post-Tonal Analysis: Thirty-Three Graphic Music Analyses

PDF The Art of Post-Tonal Analysis: Thirty-Three Graphic Music Analyses © Joseph N. Straus 2022

Book author
  1. Joseph N. Straus
019754397901 SCLZZZZZZZ SX500


Coproduction is dedicated specifically to the study of an emerging field in music production musicology. It explores the limits of what this field might be, from the workings of a few individuals producing music together in the studio, to vast contributions of whole societies producing popular music.

Taking a wide-ranging approach to examining the field, Coproduction looks through multiple formats including essays, interviews, and case studies, with analysis and commentary of coproduction experiences at Abbey Road studios. It does so by examining multiple disciplines from social science and coproduction in mental health, to philosophy and mathematics. At its extremes (which is the extreme middle and not the blunt ‘cutting edge’) the authors attempt to produce every song in their development of an all-encompassing pop music concept, peculiarly called Toast theory.

In attempting to unite the pragmatic collaborative patterns of Vera John-Steiner with philosophical postmodernist concepts of connection, Coproduction has something to offer readers interested in the traditional workings of teams of producers, as well as those seeking to understand the wider philosophy of collaboration in music production.

Description

The Art of Post-Tonal Analysis consists of analyses of thirty-three musical passages or entire short works in a variety of post-tonal styles. For each piece author Joseph N. Straus shows how it is put together and what sense might be made of it: how the music goes. Along the way, he shows
the value of post-tonal theory in addressing these questions, and in revealing something of the fascination and beauty of this music. The works under study are taken from throughout the long twentieth century, from 1909 to the present. Within the atonal wing of modern classical music, the
composers discussed here, some canonical and some not, represent a diversity of musical style, chronology, geography, gender, and race/ethnicity. Musical examples, plus a companion website full of analytical videos, carry the burden of the analytical argument, with rarely more than a few sentences of prose at a time. In writing these analyses, Straus imagined teaching these pieces to a class of undergraduate or graduate students, seated at the piano, pointing at score, listening as they go--the book is intended as a record of these (hypothetical) classes. His approach could be loosely described as transformational, rooted in an interest in seeing how musical ideas (shapes, intervals, motives) grow, change, and effloresce. When musical ideas are obviously dissimilar and possibly in conflict, the book teases out subtle points of connection between them. Above all, the book aims to create rich networks of relatedness, allowing our musical minds and musical ears to lead each other along some of the many enjoyable pathways through this challenging and beautiful music.

Preface

In this book, I analyze thirty-three musical passages (usually opening passages) or entire short works in a variety of post-tonal styles. For each piece I try to show how it is put together and what sense might be made of it: how the music goes. Along the way, I hope to show the value of post-tonal theory in addressing these questions, and in revealing something of the fascination and beauty of this music.
Repertoire. The works under study are taken from throughout the long twentieth century, from 1909 to the present. Within the atonal wing of modern classical music, the composers discussed here, some canonical and some not, represent a di- versity of musical style, chronology, geography, gender, and race/ethnicity.

Graphic analyses. Musical examples, usually incorporating score with analytical annotations, carry the burden of the analytical argument. There is relatively little prose, rarely more than a few sentences at a time. I try to show rather than tell. As the subtitle of this book suggests, I have in mind Heinrich Schenker’s Five Graphic Music Analyses (Dover, 1969) as a model.

Analytical videos. The website for this book contains video versions of all thirty- three analyses. In these videos, the analytical annotations appear as real-time animations, coordinated with the sounding music. These videos are not a mere supplement to the printed book; rather, the book you hold in your hands should be understood as a static version of the dynamic analytical process that unfolds dramatically in these videos. You can find the videos here: www.oup.com/us/ theartofposttonalanalysis.
Pedagogical orientation. In writing these analyses, I imagine I am teaching these pieces to a class of undergraduate or graduate students, seated at the piano, pointing at score, playing and listening as we go. The book and the videos are intended as a record of these (hypothetical) classes. The title of this book pays homage to a book that was produced in just that way: Carl Schachter, The Art of Tonal Analysis: Twelve Lessons in Schenkerian Theory (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Audience. This book is aimed at advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and music professionals. I try to explain things as I go, but some basic grasp of post-tonal theory will be useful. To help things along, I have provided a Post-Tonal Primer at the back of the book—a quick and dirty introduction to the relevant theoretical concepts.

How to use this book (and the accompanying videos). Readers (and viewers) are encouraged to graze and browse. It is not designed to be read through: there is no narrative arc (the organization is strictly chronological) and no graduation of difficulty. Rather, each analysis is designed to be self-contained. This book is a smorgasbord, an all-you-can-eat buffet, not a formal sit-down meal, served course by course, from soup to nuts.

Bibliography. In lieu of footnotes, the bibliographies at the back of the book acknowledge my intellectual debts and offer recommendations for further reading.

Methodology. I approach these pieces from the various angles and techniques that cumulatively are known as post-tonal theory. Although I deal in passing with character, affect, text setting, rhythm, and form, the primary focus of these analyses is pitch, including intervals, motives, collections, melody, harmony, and voice leading. My approach could be loosely described as transformational. I am inter- ested in seeing how musical ideas (shapes, intervals, motives) grow, change, and effloresce. When musical ideas are obviously dissimilar and possibly in conflict, I am interested in teasing out subtle points of connection between them. Above all, I am interested in creating rich networks of relatedness, allowing our musical minds and musical ears to lead each other along some of the many enjoyable pathways through this challenging and beautiful music.

Acknowledgments. The analytical videos that accompany this book and the musical examples that appear in it were created by Tim Mastic, a graduate student at the CUNY Graduate Center, where I teach. In producing these visual images and multi-sensory animations, Tim not only realized an extraordinarily powerful way of conveying analytical information, but directly shaped the content of the analyses themselves. He has been a brilliant and indispensable collaborator. At a late stage, Austin Lewellen expertly prepared the musical examples for the Post-Tonal Primer. At Oxford University Press, I received enthusiastic support for this enterprise at every stage from a superb editorial team headed originally by Suzanne Ryan and, more recently, by Norman Hirschy. I also benefitted from incisive critical comments from two anonymous reviewers. This is the eleventh book I have written. As with its ten predecessors, I take this opportunity to acknowledge Sally Goldfarb, whose love gives meaning to this work, and to everything I do.
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