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Of Children, Princesses, Dreams and Isomorphisms: Text‐Music Transformation in Ravel's Vocal Works

Of Children, Princesses, Dreams and Isomorphisms: Text‐Music Transformation in Ravel's Vocal Works M. Ravel, the composer of the Histoires naturelles, dark, rich, and elegant, urges me to go and hear his songs tonight. I told him I know nothing about music, and asked him what he had been able to add to the Histoires naturelles. He replied: I did not intend to add anything, only to interpret them. But in what way? I have tried to say in music what you say with words, when you are in front of a tree, for example. I think and feel in music, and should like to think and feel the same things as you.1 Assuming Renard's account is accurate, Ravel reveals here, in full force, his predilection toward `literalism' in text setting, i.e. the virtually mimetic translation of text into musical terms, by means of adopting the thoughts and feelings of the poet and suppressing his own. But Ravel's statement also carries deeper implications in the light of certain prevailing assumptions about the relationship between text and music in the analysis of vocal music. Of particular concern for this article is the relative status of text and music in song ± in particular, the extent to which the essence of the source http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

Of Children, Princesses, Dreams and Isomorphisms: Text‐Music Transformation in Ravel's Vocal Works

Music Analysis , Volume 19 (1) – Mar 1, 2000

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/1468-2249.00108
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

M. Ravel, the composer of the Histoires naturelles, dark, rich, and elegant, urges me to go and hear his songs tonight. I told him I know nothing about music, and asked him what he had been able to add to the Histoires naturelles. He replied: I did not intend to add anything, only to interpret them. But in what way? I have tried to say in music what you say with words, when you are in front of a tree, for example. I think and feel in music, and should like to think and feel the same things as you.1 Assuming Renard's account is accurate, Ravel reveals here, in full force, his predilection toward `literalism' in text setting, i.e. the virtually mimetic translation of text into musical terms, by means of adopting the thoughts and feelings of the poet and suppressing his own. But Ravel's statement also carries deeper implications in the light of certain prevailing assumptions about the relationship between text and music in the analysis of vocal music. Of particular concern for this article is the relative status of text and music in song ± in particular, the extent to which the essence of the source

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Mar 1, 2000

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