UC San Diego
The dawning of musical aspect in process
- Author(s): Obrecht, Alexander Guy
- et al.
This dissertation investigates a way of coming to terms with the heterogeneity of musical phenomena rather than attempting to tame and control it through a reductive process, such as a forced mapping of musical theory to neuropsychological theory of musical perception. I probe the boundaries of current theories, musical and other, ranging from empirical process-oriented theories, to embodied phenomenology and Schenkerian theory--exploring how such theories relate to our perception and what kind of work they are doing. Instead of assuming that acts of perceiving and acts of theorizing are fundamentally different things, I suggest that musical perception should be understood as responsive to acts of theorizing. Critical to this is questioning the plausibility of theoretical singularity with respect to musical phenomena and seeking to come to terms with the manner in which theory opens perceivers to the aspect multiplicity of music. In this sense, I show how theory helps get us closer to the music and how music works in the world as a performance of something--be it culture, gender, sexuality, policy, anxiety, intellect, physicality, or something else. By turning our attention towards the heterogeneity of musical experience, we can begin to understand both culture and the "music itself." Such theorizing is tested in multidimensional analyses of operatic works by Mozart and one of his contemporaries where I explore the essence, or the implicit, of a musical piece from within. The analyses begin from music theorists David Lewin, Eugene Narmour, and Christopher Hasty, and attempt to carry their tools forward by mapping out multiple processes that draw us further into the implicit--a state that we might refer to as an assent to the ineffable