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Motives for Allusion: Context and Content in Nineteenth-Century Music: Book by Christopher A. Reynolds

Motives for Allusion: Context and Content in Nineteenth-Century Music

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ISBN: 9780674010376    Publisher: Harvard University Press Year of publishing: 2003     Format:  Hardback No of Pages: 248        Language: English
When a critic pointed out to Brahms that the finale theme in his First Symphony was remarkably similar to the Ode to Joy theme in Beethoven's Ninth, he is said to have replied, "Yes indeed, and what's...Read more
When a critic pointed out to Brahms that the finale theme in his First Symphony was remarkably similar to the Ode to Joy theme in Beethoven's Ninth, he is said to have replied, "Yes indeed, and what's really remarkable is that every jackass notices this at once". Not every musical borrowing is quite so obvious but the listener who does perceive one is always left wondering, what does the similarity mean? Christopher Reynolds gives answers to that complex question. Reynolds identifies specific borrowings or allusions in a wide range of 19th-century music. He shows the kinds of things composers do with borrowed musical ideas and discusses why a composer would choose to deploy such allusions. A rich historical background for the practice emerges from this analysis. Musical borrowing touches directly on issues of central importance for 19th- and 20th-century composition: notions of creativity and originality, the constraints of tradition and innovation, musical symbolism and the listener's ear. Reynolds clarifies what it can mean when one piece of music invokes or refers to another.
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About the author: Christopher A. Reynolds
Christopher Alan Reynolds is Professor of Music at the University of California, Davis.

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