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The Death of Musical Analysis? The Concept of Unity Revisited

The Death of Musical Analysis? The Concept of Unity Revisited MUSICAL ANALYSIS? THE CONCEPT OF UNITY I In `The Concept of Unity and Musical Analysis', Robert Morgan examines doctrines expressed by five writers on music: Kofi Agawu, Daniel Chua, Joseph Dubiel, Jonathan Kramer and me. We all stand accused of the same heresy, a lapse in analytical orthodoxy that he calls `anti-unitarianism' (p. 8). Since this `opposition to unity' is no transient temptation, `but a major development associated with a distinguished group of scholars' (p. 8), it must be refuted before it leads others into error. Morgan fears that the `unitydenying disposition' (p. 7) will undermine basic tenets of the analyst's faith, because it originates in `a comprehensive recent epistemological transformation that has influenced attitudes about truth and knowledge' (p. 22). By embracing a postmodernist notion that `all language is necessarily metaphorical', antiunitarianism `eliminates the possibility of an objective account of music' (p. 22) and even destroys our belief that music makes sense: `analysis is based on the assumption that music ``makes sense'' without which it makes no sense itself as a discipline' (p. 27). Ultimately this retreat from making sense will cause the analytical enterprise to sink into a kind of mute self-abnegation: The mere claim that http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

The Death of Musical Analysis? The Concept of Unity Revisited

Music Analysis , Volume 23 (2‐3) – Jul 1, 2004

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/j.0262-5245.2004.00208.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

MUSICAL ANALYSIS? THE CONCEPT OF UNITY I In `The Concept of Unity and Musical Analysis', Robert Morgan examines doctrines expressed by five writers on music: Kofi Agawu, Daniel Chua, Joseph Dubiel, Jonathan Kramer and me. We all stand accused of the same heresy, a lapse in analytical orthodoxy that he calls `anti-unitarianism' (p. 8). Since this `opposition to unity' is no transient temptation, `but a major development associated with a distinguished group of scholars' (p. 8), it must be refuted before it leads others into error. Morgan fears that the `unitydenying disposition' (p. 7) will undermine basic tenets of the analyst's faith, because it originates in `a comprehensive recent epistemological transformation that has influenced attitudes about truth and knowledge' (p. 22). By embracing a postmodernist notion that `all language is necessarily metaphorical', antiunitarianism `eliminates the possibility of an objective account of music' (p. 22) and even destroys our belief that music makes sense: `analysis is based on the assumption that music ``makes sense'' without which it makes no sense itself as a discipline' (p. 27). Ultimately this retreat from making sense will cause the analytical enterprise to sink into a kind of mute self-abnegation: The mere claim that

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Jul 1, 2004

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