DOI link for Music narrative
Music narrative book
Musical narrative, its defining features, scope, boundaries has been contested terrain for a generation within the fields of music theory and musicology. Anthony Newcomb has argued that nineteenth-century conceptions of musical style encompassed the notion of music as a temporal succession of thematic events that had the potential to display conventional plot archetypes. But it is probably legitimate to argue that the entire project of musical hermeneutics was viewed with considerable suspicion by the English-speaking music-theoretical community for most of the twentieth century. Between 1982 and 1987 a trio of articles in 19th-Century Music brought narrativity back into the spotlight, initiating the development of a mature and uniquely musical narrative theory. Fred Everett Maus’s 1988 article “Music as Drama” and his 1991 article “Music as Narrative” take an important step toward chipping away at Carolyn Abbate’s and Jean-Jacques Nattiez’s contemporaneous critique of musical narrativity. Music’s lack of “realistic” representation also becomes less of a concern with a sibling model.