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Frames of reference: three late-modernist case studies in music composed after painting

Green, Julian Jay 2008. Frames of reference: three late-modernist case studies in music composed after painting. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Music composed 'after' painting has featured prominently in the repertory of Western art music, yet it has received little scholarly attention as an aesthetic phenomenon. Despite certain commonalities with programme music on the one hand and forms of musical multimedia on the other, music after painting (MaP) differs crucially from these manifestations, in that the non-musical component - the painting - is conspicuous by its absence, hence its more usual treatment as a feature incidental to the music, a mere citational allusion. But what happens when the painting is treated as integral to the aesthetic experience In what ways can music reach towards this other experiential domain, and how might the seeming incommensurability of music and painting - as 'temporal' and 'spatial' media - be transcended Drawing on, among other sources, the philosophy of Adorno, the phenomenology of Husserl and Clifton, the literary theory of Iser and recent theories of metaphor (Scruton and Guck), this thesis argues that the experience of music is never phenomenally 'self-present', that it is always supplemented by an element of 'ideation' (Iser), the evocation of non-existent or absent objects. Moreover, theories of multi-sensory perception challenge the idea of a musical experience that is purely auditory, demonstrating, rather, its susceptibility to a crossed modality in which one domain of experience either invokes or proves to be dependent on the memory or excitement of another. A dynamic response theory is therefore put forward to account for the painting as a frame of reference which directs, selects and contextualises this embodied experience. These possibilities of cross-domain mapping are then explored in three case studies - Morton Feldman's Rothko Chapel (1971) Henri Dutilleux's Timbre, Espace, Mouvement: ou La nuit etoilee (1978) and Tan Dun's Death and Fire: Dialogue with Paul Klee (1992) - each of which highlights a different aspect of the music-painting conjunction while suggesting reasons for the resilience of MaP within aesthetic modernism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
ISBN: 9781303185571
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2016 23:14

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