Abstracts of issue 9 (1997)

George Fitsioris

Musical Narratology: A General Survey and an Application (Beethoven, Op. 59, No 3)

In recent years, musical narratology has emerged as one of the most promising methodological approaches in the field of musical hermeneutics. As Lawrence Kramer puts it in his Classical Music and Postmodern Knowledge, Narratological models have come to seem increasingly attractive as means of endowing untexted Euro-American art music with human content.
In view of the relative obscurity of the subject in this country, the first part of the present paper offers a brief introduction to the concept of narrative in general; it goes on to express a few thoughts concerning the possible structural relations between pieces of tonal music and narrative, and argues that similar perception strategies may guide the way perceivers understand and appreciate them both. In addition, it introduces the reader to the most basic tendencies and concerns of musical narratology, as they have evolved among scholars in the English-speaking world. The second part of the paper traces and presents some of the particular narrative techniques and devices discernible in the opening of the first movement of Beethovens String Quartet Op. 59, No 3.