Music and subjectivity in seventeenth-century free-style harpsichord music

Camara Queiroz de Souza, Luciana (2012) Music and subjectivity in seventeenth-century free-style harpsichord music. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information:


The present study explores the relationship between the seventeenth-century free-style repertoire for the harpsichord and the concept of subjectivity in early modern Europe. It involved considerations about the socio-historical role of music, the philosophic discussions on subjectivity, and cultural issues of the period. The reflection about the content of the works and the possible connection points between this music and subjectivity was centred on the concept of time in its musical, philosophic and cultural dimension. For the investigation of the textual and performative aspects of the musical discourse a phenomenological approach is chosen.
Free-style music both articulates and sheds light on significant aspects of early modern subjectivity: the ambivalence between quantifiable and unquantifiable, the theatricality of self-expression, the subjective as object of representation, the balance between authority and subjugation, and the separation of the subject and his or her representation through perspective. It also calls attention to some facets of subjectivity that may be particularly musical: the intentionality of time flexibility, the subject’s conflict between fixity and transiency (instantiated in notated free-style music), and the shared nature of musical subjectivity (in connection with the understanding that the individual readings of the musical text may be seen as ‘appropriations’ of the composer’s playing style). Free-style music may be seen as both reflection and constitutive part of the subject’s move towards autonomy in the sense understood within modernity. It also expresses the vagueness and changeability of the seventeenth-century subject.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available.
Keywords: Harpsichord music, music and philosophy, free-style music.
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Music
Supervisor's Name: Butt, Dr. John
Date of Award: 2012
Depositing User: Dr. Luciana Camara Queiroz de Souza
Unique ID: glathesis:2012-3328
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2012
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 14:06

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