Dissertation Index

Author: Walker, Jonathan

Title: The Work-Concept in Music and Musicology: A Philosophical Study." (provisional title) Queen's University Belfast, School of Music, 1996

Institution: Queen's University Belfast

Begun: October 1992

Completed: September 1996


This thesis concerns the complex of ontological, epistemological, aesthetic, and methodological issues raised by the concept of the musical work, as it arises both within musical practice, and within musicological discourse. The first two chapters provide the main philosophical substance of the thesis: a critique of existing treatments of these issues, and the construction of an alternative approach. The second pair of chapters employs the foregoing philosophical material in a critical study of various issues central to music theory, the cognitive psychology of music, and the New Musicology. The final pair of chapters applies some of my conclusions in an analytic and interpretative study of a small corpus of Beethoven's middle-period works.

Keywords: ontology, aesthetics, Platonism, Kant, Beethoven, Schenker, Forte, tuning (just intonation), cognitive psychology, post-modernism


1. Ontology of the Musical Work
A Critique of Musical Platonism
Epistemological problems arising from Musical Platonism
An Extensional Definition of the Work-Concept
The Institutional Context of the Work-Concept

2. Aesthetics of the Musical Work
Music and Kant's Third Critique
Aesthetic Properties as Prima Facie Sources of Value

3. The Autonomy of the Musical Work
Organic Unity in Music Analysis
Tuning, Structure and Schenker's Ursatz
The Perception of Form and the Cognitive "Unconscious"

4. The Heteronomy of the Musical Work
Post-Modern Resistance to the Work-Concept
The Musical Work as Text
Works and Canonicity

5. Beethoven's Heroic Period: Unity of Works and Oeuvre
A formal feature of Beethoven's Heroic period: Mediant
relationships and middle-ground arpeggiation
Extremes: Mediants and enharmonic spirals
The String Quintet, Op.29: I - vi - IV
The Sonata for Piano and Violin, Op.96: I - bVI - bbIV(III)
The Piano Trio, Op.97: I - vi - IV - bII

6. The Works and World of Beethoven's Heldendämmerung.
The politics of Beethoven's "Heroic" Period: From the
Joseph II Cantata to the Ninth Symphony
The 1805 version of Fidelio and the Austerlitz Campaign
The Fifth Piano Concerto and the Wagram Campaign
The 1814 version of Fidelio and the Congress of Vienna


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