Theses Doctoral

Post-Ironic Sounds: Wallacian New Sincerity in “Unavoidably Sentimental” for Large Ensemble

Klartag, Yair

This essay presents a conceptual analysis of my piece Unavoidably Sentimental for Large Ensemble. Specifically, the paper traces the roots of the musical thinking in the piece to a notion of Sincerity that emerges from David Foster Wallace’s books and essays. The term New Sincerity, coined by Adam Kelly, is deployed to consider what a post-postmodern Sincerity could sound like in contemporary music. The paper provides general background to the literary discourse around the concept of New Sincerity as an extension of Lionel Trilling’s formalization of Sincerity and Authenticity. It suggests some examples of how a renewed sense of Sincerity could incarnate in contemporary music. As a background for the analysis of Unavoidably Sentimental itself, the paper provides background to my prior engagement with concepts like irony and authenticity in music. Unavoidably Sentimental is analyzed as a linear process, in which the piece tries to emerge out of a net of self-aware referential musical objects into the creation of sonic states of unmediated human communication between the musicians and the audience. I present different musical strategies in which the piece confronts the limitations of human communication through music, contextualized with reference to the portrayal of communication in Wallace’s writings.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Lewis, George E.
D.M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
March 14, 2019