By Robert Winston Witkin
Adorno is without doubt one of the major cultural thinkers of the 20th century. this is often the 1st distinctive account of Adorno's texts on tune from a sociological standpoint. In transparent, non-technical language, Robert Witkin courses the reader in the course of the complexities of Adorno's argument in regards to the hyperlink among track and morality and among musical works and social constitution. It used to be mostly via those works Adorno proven the appropriate of the humanities to be said as an ethical and demanding strength within the improvement of a contemporary society. by way of improving them for non-musicologists, Witkin provides immeasurably to our appreciation of this great of twentieth-century proposal
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Extra resources for Adorno on Music
After an introductory C it puts a C# before the D , so that it no longer scans 'heav-en 's blue' 'mead-ow-land', but 'O-thou heaven's blue', 'G reenest meadowland', 'Fare-thee well for aye'; and this added C# is the most moving, consolatory, pathetically reconciling thing in the world . (T. Mann 1968: 56-7) The poet in both Mann and Adorno has no difficulty in theorising this purely instrumental piece of music as having a 'subject', which they identify with the 'motive' that enters into all kinds of relations and undergoes all manner of changes and development - 'the black nights and dazzling flashes' - until it re-emerges, altered and yet the same, reconciled within the composition as a whole and restoring the equilibrium that had been disturbed by the development.
It was not really until the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that bourgeois societies might be said to have more or less decisively gained the ascendancy over traditionalist thought and practice (which is not the same as eliminating it) and in their internal relations to have reached some degree of equilibration between individual freedom and social constraint. Any such approximation to equilibrium was only partial and only transient. As bourgeois societies develop , the problems of constructing 'second nature' grow more complex and the organisational process develops to the point where it threatens to submerge individuals and to bring about an end to the antinomy of indi vidual and society: not through an equilibration between the two, as sought in the earlier phase of bourgeois development, but through penetrating the boundaries of the individual and entirely subsuming its constitutive elements in the collective order - in other words, through becoming totalitar ian.
By contrast, the classical bourgeois novel is steeped in background, in suspense, both at the level of the personalities and biographies of its main characters and at that of the larger culture and history which shapes their existence. The representation of reality in terms of an articulation of foreground and background, of outer appearance and inner meaning, makes of the immediate visible surface of a representation a sign of an underlying dynamic stretching back into the past and forward into the future .
Adorno on Music by Robert Winston Witkin