Ambiguity as an Essential Aesthetic Principle in Musical Listening: an aporetic relation between discontinuity and coherence in Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearch

Abstract

Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments represents a remarkable example of discontinuity. Here, a traditional sense of continuous development is troubled by a sequence of segments, which at first sight seems non-related. However, the noticeable discontinuous gestures appear only as a superficial feature. In the compositional structure, there are several indications of connection and development which can be explored. Hence a ‘continuity-after-all’ comprehension has been an important principle guiding most commentators, from Edward Cone’s threefold conception of ‘stratification’, ‘interlocking’, and ‘synthesis’ (Cone, 1962: 19f), to Jonathan Kramer’s accentuation of discontinuity as a ‘profound musical experience’ with the ‘proportional lengths of moments as the one remaining principle of formal coherence’ (Kramer, 1978: 182). Though, the general attempt to reveal the music’s ‘secret connections’ in the ‘disguise’ of discontinuity implies an either-or viewpoint, which tends to overlook the fact that the musical progression suggests mutually contradistinctive impressions and, as such, is essentially ambiguous. Thus, in this paper it is not my intention to assert that the Symphonies in truth is continuous, if we only expand our musical thought beyond a superficial examination. Rather, I want to emphasize the assumption that the important musical experience is to be found in the ambiguity itself, caused by an aporetic relation between the apparent discontinuous gestures in the immediate listening and a sense of coherence in the subsequent musical reflection.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Second International Conference on Music and Gesture
EditorsAnthony Gritten, Elaine King
Number of pages9
PublisherRoyal Northern College of Music
Publication date2006
Pages36-44
ISBN (Electronic)0955332907
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventSecond International Conference on Music and Gesture - Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 20 Jul 200623 Jul 2006
Conference number: 2

Conference

ConferenceSecond International Conference on Music and Gesture
Number2
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityManchester
Period20/07/200623/07/2006

Fingerprint

Discontinuity
Wind Instruments
Aesthetics
Symphonies
Gesture
Commentators
Cone
Progression
Continuity
Length
Accentuation
Conception
Intentions
Music
Thought

Keywords

  • Stravinsky
  • Symphonies of Wind Instruments
  • Discontinuity
  • Coherence
  • Ambiguity

Cite this

Bonde, A. (2006). Ambiguity as an Essential Aesthetic Principle in Musical Listening: an aporetic relation between discontinuity and coherence in Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments. In A. Gritten, & E. King (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Music and Gesture (pp. 36-44). Royal Northern College of Music.
Bonde, Anders. / Ambiguity as an Essential Aesthetic Principle in Musical Listening : an aporetic relation between discontinuity and coherence in Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Music and Gesture. editor / Anthony Gritten ; Elaine King. Royal Northern College of Music, 2006. pp. 36-44
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abstract = "Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments represents a remarkable example of discontinuity. Here, a traditional sense of continuous development is troubled by a sequence of segments, which at first sight seems non-related. However, the noticeable discontinuous gestures appear only as a superficial feature. In the compositional structure, there are several indications of connection and development which can be explored. Hence a ‘continuity-after-all’ comprehension has been an important principle guiding most commentators, from Edward Cone’s threefold conception of ‘stratification’, ‘interlocking’, and ‘synthesis’ (Cone, 1962: 19f), to Jonathan Kramer’s accentuation of discontinuity as a ‘profound musical experience’ with the ‘proportional lengths of moments as the one remaining principle of formal coherence’ (Kramer, 1978: 182). Though, the general attempt to reveal the music’s ‘secret connections’ in the ‘disguise’ of discontinuity implies an either-or viewpoint, which tends to overlook the fact that the musical progression suggests mutually contradistinctive impressions and, as such, is essentially ambiguous. Thus, in this paper it is not my intention to assert that the Symphonies in truth is continuous, if we only expand our musical thought beyond a superficial examination. Rather, I want to emphasize the assumption that the important musical experience is to be found in the ambiguity itself, caused by an aporetic relation between the apparent discontinuous gestures in the immediate listening and a sense of coherence in the subsequent musical reflection.",
keywords = "Stravinsky, Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Discontinuity, Coherence, Ambiguity",
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Bonde, A 2006, Ambiguity as an Essential Aesthetic Principle in Musical Listening: an aporetic relation between discontinuity and coherence in Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments. in A Gritten & E King (eds), Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Music and Gesture. Royal Northern College of Music, pp. 36-44, Second International Conference on Music and Gesture, Manchester, United Kingdom, 20/07/2006.

Ambiguity as an Essential Aesthetic Principle in Musical Listening : an aporetic relation between discontinuity and coherence in Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments. / Bonde, Anders.

Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Music and Gesture. ed. / Anthony Gritten; Elaine King. Royal Northern College of Music, 2006. p. 36-44.

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearch

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AB - Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments represents a remarkable example of discontinuity. Here, a traditional sense of continuous development is troubled by a sequence of segments, which at first sight seems non-related. However, the noticeable discontinuous gestures appear only as a superficial feature. In the compositional structure, there are several indications of connection and development which can be explored. Hence a ‘continuity-after-all’ comprehension has been an important principle guiding most commentators, from Edward Cone’s threefold conception of ‘stratification’, ‘interlocking’, and ‘synthesis’ (Cone, 1962: 19f), to Jonathan Kramer’s accentuation of discontinuity as a ‘profound musical experience’ with the ‘proportional lengths of moments as the one remaining principle of formal coherence’ (Kramer, 1978: 182). Though, the general attempt to reveal the music’s ‘secret connections’ in the ‘disguise’ of discontinuity implies an either-or viewpoint, which tends to overlook the fact that the musical progression suggests mutually contradistinctive impressions and, as such, is essentially ambiguous. Thus, in this paper it is not my intention to assert that the Symphonies in truth is continuous, if we only expand our musical thought beyond a superficial examination. Rather, I want to emphasize the assumption that the important musical experience is to be found in the ambiguity itself, caused by an aporetic relation between the apparent discontinuous gestures in the immediate listening and a sense of coherence in the subsequent musical reflection.

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Bonde A. Ambiguity as an Essential Aesthetic Principle in Musical Listening: an aporetic relation between discontinuity and coherence in Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments. In Gritten A, King E, editors, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Music and Gesture. Royal Northern College of Music. 2006. p. 36-44