Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

A Theory of Virtual Agency for Western Art Music

Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

A Theory of Virtual Agency for Western Art Music

Article excerpt

B. Beethoven in Context: Aesthetics, Criticism, and History

Hatten, Robert S. A Theory of Virtual Agency for Western Art Music. Musical Meaning and Interpretation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2018. x, 326 pp. ISBN 9780253037978 (hardback), $85; ISBN 9780253037985 (paperback): $32; ISBN 9780253037992 (ebook): $31.99. www.iupress.indiana.edu.

Robert Hatten s deep explorations of Beethoven's music appeared in two previous books from Indiana's Musical Meaning and Interpretation series (for which he is the editor): Interpreting Musical Gestures, Topics, and Tropes: Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert (2004) and Musical Meaning in Beethoven: Markedness, Correlation, and Interpretation (2004; first published in 1994 as part of the Advances in Semiotics series). This new book builds on his previous work to develop a theory that "embraces gesture and emotion as part of a more comprehensive theory of musical meaning" (p. 15). By "virtual agency" he is referringto the implied (or inferred) actions of musical elements within the context of the work, as distinct from the embodied agents exemplified by composers and performers. …

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