With her usual combination of erudition, innovation, and spirited prose, Susan McClary reexamines the concept of musical convention in this fast moving and refreshingly accessible book Exploring the ways that shared musical practices transmit social knowledge, Conventional Wisdom offers an account of our own cultural moment in terms of two dominant traditions tonality and blues.McClary looks at musical history from new and unexpected angles and moves easily across a broad range of repertoires the blues, eighteenth century tonal music, late Beethoven, and rap As one of the most influential trailblazers in contemporary musical understanding, McClary once again moves beyond the borders of the purely musical into the larger world of history and society, and beyond the idea of a socially stratified core canon toward a musical pluralism Those who know McClary only as a feminist writer will discover her many other sides, but not at the expense of gender issues, which are smoothly integrated into the general argument In considering the need for a different way of telling the story of Western music, Conventional Wisdom bravely tackles big issues concerning classical, popular, and postmodern repertoires and their relations to the broader musical worlds that create and enjoy them....
|Title||:||Conventional Wisdom: The Content of Musical Form (Ernest Bloch Lectures)|
|Publisher||:||University of California Press First Edition edition May 9, 2000|
|Number of Pages||:||219 pages|
|File Size||:||987 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Conventional Wisdom: The Content of Musical Form (Ernest Bloch Lectures) Reviews
If you ever met Susan McCalry, you'd find it hard to believe that this petite, soft-spoken, witty woman could inspire such ardent hatred from scores of musicologists. Moreover, the sociological and feminist concepts that she brings to bear on Western art music are already old hat in literary and art criticism. But musicology is, to a large extent, still in denial about Modernism, so Post-Modernism is way beyond the pale. So McClary's first book, "Feminine Endings," rocked the world of musicology to its hardbound, white-male foundation, and provoked round after round of McClary-bashing. Her new book, based on a series of lectures given at UC Berkeley, therefore occasionally sounds a bit defensive. (At one point she notes that she *can* say something nice about Beethoven, as if pointing out the sexual agenda in the 9th Symphony needed an apology.) For any reasonably intelligent reader who has wondered how Western music works, this new book is superb at explaining those mechanisms. McClary uses her usual catholic tastes to discuss everything from Vivaldi to the Blues, and you will come away understand how both of them function, and why we feel moved when listening to either one. Armed with her usual wit and unusual perceptivity, McClary lays bare the workings of Western music with clarity and grace. In the process, she nearly redeems musicology as a discipline worth taking seriously. You go, girl.
During an analysis of a Stradella aria, McClary discusses how the music which starts in a sunny mood (in a major key) moves to a relative minor, and it's as if a cloud has passed overhead. She shows how this modest but effective narrative, dramatic device eventually became a convention (modulation to the relative major or minor) that was so widely used, the dramatic roots became obscured and this modulation began to be taught as a purely "formal" device.
This book is better than Feminine Endings. Its conclusions and assumptions are less questionable, but it also explains her approach in Feminine Endings. Only a very basic knowledge of music theory is necessary, I imagine you could have a friend in their first year of music theory explain it to you while you listened to the music she discusses. Yet she explains more than most first year theory classes would.