Words and Music

Words and Music

Words and Music

Words and Music

Excerpt

Word and Music' studies today have a new stature in the Humanities. They have a home (the International Association for Word and Music Studies), with a web site (http://www.goshen.edu/wma/index.html), a new series of dedicated publications of which the first three volumes have already appeared, regular conferences, and, since 1989, a shiny new term, melopoetics, coined originally by Lawrence Kramer. The organizers and the moving spirits reflect the birth of the idea in departments of Comparative Literature but musicology has come to contribute its full share in the interdisciplinary movement. As one of the founders noted, 'interdisciplinary' was the magical buzz word that sanctioned the expansion of, and growth of confidence in, a movement that was initially more than a little apologetic. Worries about professional competence among the practitioners themselves all too often arose from a reluctance to engage with music theory, particularly at a time when the categories of Formenlehre, with which many non-musicians were reasonably familiar, were being rethought in the terms of Heinrich Schenker. As music theory became seized with post-

1. Lawrence Kramer, 'Dangerous Liaisons: The Literary Text in Musical Criticism',
19th Century Music 13 (1989/90), 159.

2. Steven Paul Scher, 'Comparing Literature and Music: Current Trends and Pros
pects in Critical Theory and Methodology', in Zoran Konstantinović et al. (eds),
Literature and the Other Arts: Proceedings of the Ninth Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association (Innsbruck: University of Innsbruck,
1981), p. 216.

3. Lawrence Kramer's essay on 'Music and Representation: The Instance of Haydn's
Creation' is an interesting example of the inventor of the term melopoetics en
gaging with Schenker on ground prepared by that master of the colourful meta
phor Tovey: see Steven Paul Scher (ed.), Music and Text: Critical Inquiries (Cam
bridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 139–62, in particular pp. 143–8.

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