2nd International Congress of Musicology

Athens Concert Hall, 4-6 November 2003

Paper Abstracts

Makis Solomos

Adorno and Musical Analysis

Adorno wrote a lot of musical analysis – some of them are even very detailed. We can found them in the 18th volume of the Gesammelte Schriften, in the book about Berg, in the book Der getreue Korrepetitor; Lehrschriften zur musikalischen Praxis, and in some other writings (for instance, the books on Mahler and on Beethoven contain analyses or ideas for analysis). There is also a general text that was first published in English by Max Paddison, “On the Problem of Musical Analysis”. It is then evident that, for Adorno, musical analysis plays a very important role: we cannot work on music aesthetics without first dealing with musical analysis, says Adorno. 

This paper tries first to explain what role plays for him musical analysis in the construction of a concrete (and not “applied”) philosophy. Then, it examines some critics that we can address to his analysis: their traditional methodology and the fact that, sometimes, they are not complete. Finally, it explores one of the most important thing they achieved: the unification of the analytical and the aesthetical discourse thanks to the use of special terminology that can be applied to both – for instance the notion of Durchbruch (about Mahler). To illustrate this final point, this paper makes a reference to my own analysis about the music of Xenakis, where I use the notion of “gesture”.

© Musicology