EuroMAC 9

  • Rebecca Day (Speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


The social, philosophical, and narrative act of music analysis: Towards a theory of the immanent musical subject

The history of music analysis might be drawn broadly alongside the dichotomy between subject and object: from a focus on subjectivity within the Enlightenment project of aesthetic autonomy, the ‘music itself’ was then separated from this inherently philosophical and social context in formalist ‘objective’ reactions, before a final return to ‘the subject’ in The New Musicology’s project to re-humanise the discipline. It is my contention, however, that the act of music analysis cannot be separated from either part of the subject/object dialectic, but rather that it exists somewhere between these categories.

This paper will trace the ways in which corresponding symbolic networks of musical form and philosophical subjectivity map onto each other using narrative theory. In doing so, it will construct a network of ‘the relations between things’ that when combined with analysis, allows for the emergence of an immanent musical subject. It will show the ways in which this subject ultimately manifests as a dialectical opposition between subjectivity and objectivity, aesthetics and formalism, and deviation and convention through a narrative analysis of the opening of Beethoven’s ‘Waldstein’ Sonata, that focuses upon basic tonal principles. Through this, a ‘toolkit’ for reading these narrative relational networks will be offered that ultimately demonstrates the ways in which the aesthetic might be reconnected with the analytical—or the subject with the object—and that argues that the act of music analysis is therefore as philosophical and social as it is musical.
Period28 Jun 20171 Jul 2017
Event typeConference
LocationStrasbourg, FranceShow on map