[Smt-talk] the impossibility of listening

Richard Cohn richard.cohn at yale.edu
Wed Oct 31 13:04:03 PDT 2012

I just received a copy of A History of Opera, a new book co-authored by
Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker. In their preface, they write that "at a
very early stage... we we decided that this history would contain no
musical examples...we wanted to write a book without reference to musical
scores." After the usual justification about not wanting to swamp readers
with anything that might be challenging to their technical facility, they
write the following: "Readers will look in vain for abstract structural
analyses of music, or extended descriptions of notes interacting with each
other: that kind of information, although relatively easy --- with training
--- to extract from a score, is virtually impossible to extract from
listening to or attending an opera."

Without further comment on my part, I thought this was a sufficiently
provocative set of claims that I would just pass it on to the community for
savoring, in advance our congregation in New Orleans.

--Rick Cohn
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.societymusictheory.org/pipermail/smt-talk-societymusictheory.org/attachments/20121031/391bceb1/attachment-0003.htm>

More information about the Smt-talk mailing list