2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

Theodor Adorno: Philosophical Interpretations in Musical Analysis
Renee M. Gordon
Dr. Patricia Burton, Dr. Stephen Pollard, and Dr. Brent Orton, Faculty Mentors

Philosopher Theodor Adorno’s (1903-1969) works dealing with negative dialectics and aesthetic theory assimilate the areas of music and philosophy. An approach to musical analysis which interprets a musical composition using the criteria of Adorno’s philosophy reveals the conflict between opposites (subject-object, whole-part, etc.) within the piece. From this interpretation, music provides insights into the socio-historical state of reality. First, from Adorno's analyses of Beethoven's Sechs Bagatelles and Berg's Violinkonzert, conclusions are drawn concerning the philosophical and socio-historical implications of the pieces. Then, Henryk Górecki's Symphony No. 3 is treated similarly to offer philosophical connections to Adorno's negative dialectics and the development of Polish music and society after World War II. Musical analysis which accounts for technical demands of autonomous musical works and the piece's relationship to society allows for philosophical insights which enrich the musical material as well as the culture consuming the artwork.

Keywords: Theodor Adorno, philosophy, musical analysis, negative dialectics, aesthetics, Beethoven, Berg, Górecki

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 43-1
Location: VH 1412
Time: 1:15

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