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Beyond the ScoreMusic as Performance$
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Nicholas Cook

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199357406

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199357406.001.0001

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Objective Expression

Objective Expression

Chapter:
(p.176) 6 Objective Expression
Source:
Beyond the Score
Author(s):

Nicholas Cook

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199357406.003.0006

Building on the approaches outlined in the previous chapter, this chapter develops a corpus-based method for the analysis of phrase arching in the performance of Chopin’s mazurkas, showing how interpretive style can be linked to broad cultural issues. Computational methods help to avoid the pitfalls of traditional, selective approaches to performance analysis, and in so doing they raise fundamental issues of historiography. Widely seen as a basic characteristic of “musical” performance, phrase arching as theorized by psychologists and empirical musicologists turns out to be in essence a post-war phenomenon. Through relating it to contemporaneous developments in material culture, the chapter develops an interpretation of phrase arching as a core modernist practice: expression, formerly attributed to the performer, was now redefined as a property of the music itself, and in that sense objective.

Keywords:   style, computational, phrase, arching, expression, modernist, historiography, Chopin

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