Topics in Contemporary Music: Intertextuality in Modern European Avant-Garde
In this seminar we will study the burgeoning of theoretical and philosophical approaches to literature in the late 1960's - 1980's that focused on the notion of "intertextuality" and attempt to apply some of these approaches to musical "texts." We will attempt to find meaning in musical works by tracing their interconnection with other works (primarily but not always musical). We will investigate what is involved in translating musical meaning into words, and what limitations or failures can be expected from this (intrinsically intertextual) process. We will explore the political implications of de-privileging the composer in the process of making and understanding music, and situating the work in a liminal space between multiple musical agents of different kinds. We will attempt to use these tools to capture such slippery notions as style, identity, humor, emotion, and communication in musical practice, through investigation of a wide range of recent European repertoire. Our mission will be to find tools and approaches that are useful and beautiful for scholars, performers, and composers alike.