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Distributed for Museum Tusculanum Press

Layers of Musical Meaning

This book is a radical attempt to explain musical meaning as the complex fabric of tension and relaxation resulting from the courses of the individual musical elements: e.g. rhythm, where the musical tension manifests itself by the opposition between strong and weak beats – or harmony, where the chords of the tonal cadence generate courses of tension and relaxation.

It is strongly emphasized that the total structure of contributors to the web of tension/relaxation, in short, the musical style, is constantly changing, and it is an error to believe that any musical way of articulation is eternal: new ways of expression arrive and others drop out gradually – precisely as with ordinary language. This consideration, however, implies that too many and radical changes over a short period of time are foredoomed to go over the head of the ordinary listener. The radical modernism of the 1950s illustrates how composers in their endeavour to wipe the slate clean in order to start from scratch largely failed.

Attempts at semantic interpretations of music are rejected. Such interpretations belong to the private sphere and cannot be scholarly supported. No hermeneutic interpretation, however elaborate, can claim higher truth value than another.

333 pages | 9.6 x 7 | © 2006


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Table of Contents


1. The Theory
The uniqueness of the individual musical composition
Language and music     
The musical experience in audiendo
Anything may be perceived as anything  
The integrator  
Nature and culture
Pioesis and aesthesis
Representation, paraphrasing and interpretation
2. Musical Hermeneutics
Hermann Kretzschmar
Arnold Schering
Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony
            2nd movement   
            3rd movement    
Lawrence Kramer
Eero Tarasti, A Theory of Musical Semiotics
            Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata    
                        The dimension of actoriality
            Chopin’s Polonaise Fantasy
3. Tonality in Gregorian Chant
The melodies in the f-a system
                        Cadences in protus maneria
                        Cadences in tritus maneria
                        Cadences in deuterus maneria
                        Cadences in tetrardus maneria
The melodies in the c-e system    
The melodies in the b?-d system
Systems with quintal identity
Further development of the tonal theory
            Modulating melodies
The incidental tertian structure
Tonality based on tertian structure
The development of tonal codes  
            Tone alienation 
4. Cadential Harmony
The tonal cadence
            Digression on the dualistic theory of harmony
                        Gioseffo Zarlino
                        Jean-Philippe Rameau    
                        Moritz Hauptmann
                        Arthur von Oettingen     
                        Hugo Riemann  
                        Criticism of the dualistic theory  
            Transformations of the tonal cadence
                        Liking of cadences
                        Exclusions of either S or D from the cadence
                        Repetition of tonal functions
                                    Repetition of the tonic
                                    Repetition of the dominant function
                                                Fourth suspension of the dominant
                                                Fourth-sixth suspension of the dominant
                                                Seventh suspension of VII/3
                                    Repetition of the subdominant function
                                    The Phrygian half-cadence
                        A non-existent transformation
                        Secondary dominants
            Altered chords
                        The Neapolitan subdominant
                        The altered double dominant
            Enharmonic change
                        The diminished-seventh chord
                        The altered double dominants with augmented sixth
            Descending-fifth sequence
            The Rosalia
            The third-Rosalia
            Ascending-fifth sequence           
            The inganno sequence
            Primary member: descending fifth sequenced in descending thirds
            Primary member: ascending fifth sequenced in descending seconds<

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