Mozart and Enlightenment semiotics /
Stephen Rumph.
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2012.
xvi, 265 p. : music ; 24 cm.
0520260864 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780520260863 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2012.
0520260864 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780520260863 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
From rhetoric to semiotics -- The sense of touch in Don Giovanni -- Topics in context -- Mozart and Marxism -- A dubious credo -- Archaic endings.
general note
"An Ahmanson Foundation book in the humanities"--Dust jacket.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 239-256) and index.
A Look Inside
Flap Copy
"In Mozart and Enlightenment Semiotics, Stephen Rumph shifts the ground of interpretation for late eighteenth century European music by reinstating the semiotics and language theory of the period. In so doing, Rumph challenges and reappraises current orthodoxies. These challenges are extremely valuable, bravely offered, and intuitively right as well as convincingly argued." --Matthew Head, author of Orientalism, Masquerade and Mozart's Turkish Music "Stephen Rumph's book is, to my knowledge, the first successful attempt to ground classical music in its contemporaneous intellectual context. In this respect, Rumph's book is a great achievement. It is an imaginative tour-de-force bursting with dazzling insights, and with an apparently encyclopedic range of intellectual reference in several languages." --Michael Spitzer, author of Metaphor and Musical Thought
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2012-04-01:
At the outset of this book, Rumph (music history, Univ. of Washington) states that semiotic theory was invented long before the 20th century. The book, then, proposes views of Mozart's music in light of sign theories extant during Mozart's lifetime, notions to which Mozart likely was exposed. It seems to be a given for the author that Mozart's music could only have exemplified various notions of Enlightenment semiotics because no other framework of thought was available to the composer. The book is half primer on 18th-century aesthetics (quite valuable), half analysis of Mozart works in light of those aesthetics. There is some bias toward texted works, as more pages are devoted to pieces with words than to pieces without. One wonders, a little, if this is cheating, except that the whole enterprise is new and exploratory--and very difficult. Certainly, this is a provocative way of looking at Mozart or, indeed, at any 18th-century music. Doubtless it will lead to more conversation and to more work. Though the book might prove tough going for less experienced readers, it should be in substantial music collections. Summing Up: Recommended. Ambitious upper-division undergraduates through faculty. B. J. Murray Brevard College
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, April 2012
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Main Description
In this groundbreaking, historically-informed semiotic study of late eighteenth-century music, Stephen Rumph focuses on Mozart to explore musical meaning within the context of Enlightenment sign and language theory. Illuminating his discussion with French, British, German, and Italian writings on signs and language, Rumph analyzes movements from Mozart's symphonies, concertos, operas, and church music. He argues that Mozartian semiosis is best understood within the empiricist tradition of Condillac, Vico, Herder, or Adam Smith, which emphasized the constitutive role of signs within human cognition. Recognizing that the rationalist model of neoclassical rhetoric has guided much recent work on Mozart and his contemporaries, Rumph demonstrates how the dialogic tension between opposing paradigms enabled the composer to negotiate contradictions within Enlightenment thought.
Bowker Data Service Summary
In this historically informed semiotic study of late 18th-century music, Stephen Rumph focuses on Mozart to explore musical meaning within the context of Enlightenment sign and language theory.
Table of Contents
List of Music Examplesp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introductionp. 1
From Rhetoric to Semioticsp. 11
The Sense of Touch in Don Giovannip. 44
Topics in Contextp. 78
Mozart and Marxismp. 108
A Dubious Credop. 139
Archaic Endingsp. 171
Epiloguep. 209
Notesp. 213
Bibliographyp. 239
Indexp. 257
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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