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Review of Dell'Antonio, Andrew, ed. 2004. Beyond Structural Listening? Postmodern Modes of Hearing. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Horton, Julian

"Diagnosing the present," writes Rose Subotnik in her afterword to Beyond
Structural Listening? Postmodern Modes of Hearing, "is a lot like predicting
the future, only riskier" (280). Subotnik's cautionary remarks notwithstanding,
it seems that few periods in the history of musicology have inclined so
thoroughly towards disciplinary self-scrutiny as the past twenty years. Despite
widespread protestations of pluralism, the sources of influence propelling
this introspection are relatively homogeneous, and as such are readily
identifiable. If the recent course taken by Anglo-American musicology is
characterized by anyone single development, it is surely a belated engagement
with the various discourses of postmodernity that have gathered force
in other areas of the humanities since the 1960s.
In the wake, so to speak, of this postmodernization, concerted efforts
have been made towards institutional consolidation, evinced in the various
corporate and single-author volumes seeking to define the scope and terms
of the "new paradigm," to use Subotnik's term. Beyond Structural Listening
adds fresh momentum to this tendency. Its point of orientation is the concept
of "structural listening" as defined and critiqued by Subotnik: the reason-
centered mode of engagement with autonomous musical structure,
particularly as propagated by Schoenberg and Adorno, that had, until recently,
come to dominate Anglo-American music-analytical practice. The
collection assembles essays by Fred Everett Maus, Tamara Levitz, Robert
Fink, Paul Attinello, Joseph Dubiel, Andrew Dell' Antonio, Elisabeth Le Guin,
and Martin Scherzinger on a wide range of topics, from Beethoven's Ninth
Symphony to MTV, with the broad intent of establishing what it might mean
to listen or think beyond these parameters. In so doing, it delineates very
clearly a gamut of "modernist " musicological and analytical tendencies and
their putative postmodern alternatives.

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Title
Current Musicology

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Academic Units
Music
Publisher
Columbia University
Published Here
October 31, 2014
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