Fifty Shades

By Howard, Patricia | Musical Times, Winter 2012 | Go to article overview

Fifty Shades


Howard, Patricia, Musical Times


Fifty shades Desire and pleasure in seventeenth-century music Susan McClary University of California Press (Berkeley, Los Angeles & London, 2012); xiii, 34opp; £41.95, $60. ISBN 978 o 520 24734 5.

According t? Susan McClary, the central experiences of 17th-century music are desire, in the form of protracted, and often frustrated, approaches to the cadence ('extended trajectories of desire') and pleasure ('prolonged, yet affectively heightened stasis'). She has written before, and most illuminatingly, on modal music in the 1 6th century (notably in Modal subjectivities, University of California Press, 2004). In Desire and pleasure she focuses on a period in which modal and diatonic languages co-existed in 50 shades of tonality, so that analysis needs to take account both of the varieties of modal resolution and the more familiar dynamics of tonal cadences. This, then, is a book about the evolution of a sense of direction in 17th-century music.

McClary would probably challenge the Darwinian implications of 'evolution'. She is concerned to deny that music progressed from mode to scale, and we are expressly warned not to see the one as leading inevitably to the other. Tonality, she argues, is not to be considered a more sophisticated language than the modal system; indeed some of the earliest manifestations of tonality in Venetian opera were regressive, a blatant response to commercial pressures to produce music that was both quick to write and easy to understand. The contemporaneous move from monody to aria reflected the same priorities. There is a convincing range of examples to show that something was lost - a degree of seriousness, a nuanced expressivity, subtle structural ambiguities - in the rampant growth of diatonic tonality. On the credit side, tonality enabled new genres to emerge, bringing coherence to expanded units of thought. The goal-oriented impulse of tonal music, with defining perfect cadences, structured sequences of modulations and reprises of tune and key, was quick to generate new forms that replaced the 'moment' in a Renaissance madrigal by the 'movement' in an 18th-century sonata. Above all - and the development is most noticeable in liturgical music - musical forms were freed from dependence on verbal texts.

Only France resisted the trend, prolonging the use of modal language as an occasional flavour, often indicative of high social status or sophisticated expression, through to the end of the 17th century. In three chapters devoted to the special case of French music in the late baroque, M c Clary, in a happy metaphor, contrasts the narrative effect of Italian music with the still life of French models. National taste and cultural politics conspired to dictate the necessity of putting as much clear water as possible between French and Italian culture. Only tragédie lyrique retained recitative as the language of heroes, with airs relegated to servants and confidants. Only French keyboard music avoided the extended modulatory schemes of Italian and Germanic suites and sonatas, and rejected textures that exploited imitation and motivic coherence. Remarkably, France had to wait until 1682 for the first native opera in which the majority of numbers are in diatonic major keys: Lully's Persée. This opera is also notable for its powerful portrayal of the tragic anti-heroine Mérope, whose unresolved passions of love and revenge linger to cast a long shadow over the happy ending. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Fifty Shades
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.