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La théorie musicale germanique du 19e siècle et l'idée de cohérence

Abstract : Analyses of tonal music are most often based, in practice, on the assumption that a work is a perfectly logical, consistent whole. The nature of analytical approach, and perhaps its main thurst, might thus be described in terms of uncovering the work's coherence. Such a view of musical analysis could be interpreted as the product of the “contemporary” period and its taste for scientific rationalism or structuralist rigor. Yet it derives from a much older theoretical tradition, which the author of this book proposes to explore. Indeed, from the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century, under the influence of German idealist philosophy, the concept of totality gradually permeated the various branches of musical theory in the German-speaking world: harmony, tonality, rhythm, form, thematic development. No longer was the perfection of the musical work – image of the Absolute and product of a genius – the sole object of endless contemplation; so was the perfection of the tonal system, which precedes the work and conditions its existence. Based on these premises, the book offers a historical perspective on the theoretical concepts that have played a role in the emergence of what can truly be called a concept of musical unity. The first part deals with the tonal system, which was first viewed as an abstract construction subject to mathematical or physical thought, and gradually took on the status of a hierarchical, dynamic, balanced system. Moving from the system to its products, the second part shows how the shaping process, far from juxtaposing the constitutive elements of the work, needs to integrate them into an “organism” determined by laws of unity, equilibrium, and logic, with the view to making their succession seem the result of necessity rather than arbitrary choices.
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Contributor : Marc Rigaudière <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, March 24, 2021 - 3:02:59 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, March 25, 2021 - 3:27:01 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-03179830, version 1



Marc Rigaudière. La théorie musicale germanique du 19e siècle et l'idée de cohérence. Hervé Lacombe. 13, 2009, Publications de la Société française de musicologie, 3e série, 2-85357-020-7. ⟨hal-03179830⟩



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