Music and World-Making: Haydn’s String Quartet in E-Flat Major (op. 33 no. 2)
This chapter proceeds from an acknowledgement that human identity emerges in and through time, that self-identity entails self-construction and that, therefore, self-knowledge arises through a process wherein past aspects and events are approached from the standpoint of the ‘now’, acquiring a certain salience as a result. In this way meaning is assembled, as is identity. Elaborating upon this recognition, the chapter will draw out the idea that as a ‘border people’, that is, as always ‘in between’ in Caputo’s sense, human beings are spatially as well as temporally situated. That is, meaning is not only constructed through time but in space, emerging from the interrelation between features of an environment and the particular situation, the ‘here’ of an individual. On this basis, music as a means of world-making will be considered:4 just as humans are a border people so music is a border or liminal practice, operating by means of thresholds. That is, just as human identity emerges through a relational process, one that requires the constant transcendence of physical and imaginative limits, so music does the same. It
sensuously constructs time and space, facilitating the production and renewal of relations and enabling different constructions of subjectivity. The chapter consists of four sections: the first outlines what is meant by world-making and why the notion of place is valuable; the second sketches the ways in which music worldmakes, creating ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ places, and grounds this capacity in its reliance upon thresholds (and the types of relations that these enable); the third considers the connection between self-construction in autobiography, on the one hand, and the music event, on the other, in order to bring attention to key aspects that are at play in a subject’s interaction with musical place; the fourth will turn to the final movement of Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in E-flat major (op. 33 no. 2, 1781) in order to outline how the self becomes emplaced within music and how worldmaking can be said to occur in practice. It will do so by positioning the virtual musical place of the movement in relation to the broader ‘region’ of tonality in which it is embedded.