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With Voice and PenComing to Know Medieval Song and How it Was Made$
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Leo Treitler

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199214761

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199214761.001.0001

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The Politics of Reception: Tailoring the Present as Fulfilment of a Desired Past

The Politics of Reception: Tailoring the Present as Fulfilment of a Desired Past

Chapter:
(p.211) CHAPTER 9 The Politics of Reception: Tailoring the Present as Fulfilment of a Desired Past
Source:
With Voice and Pen
Author(s):

Leo Treitler

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199214761.003.0009

Much of what has been written thus far reveals that coming to know medieval song has been more a matter of its appropriation to the familiar — placing our distant objects under the control of modern language, concepts, and values — than is consistent with the goal of hearing them in their own voices. This chapter pursues the history of a seemingly opposite strategy of knowing that nevertheless works a similarly constraining effect on our objects: conjuring an ancient unfamiliar, an other, with which they are contrasted to show their match to what we regard as ours, and to reveal in them the roots of what we value in our own music. It is a strategy whose paradoxical character — justifying the past with the present and the present with the past — is meant to be reflected in the chapter's title.

Keywords:   medieval music, Gregorian chants, Greek culture, medieval song, familiar

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