Abstracts of issue 10-11 (1998)

Panos Vlagopoulos

An Epistemological Declaration of Principles (A) and a Study of Application: Tristanakkord and Ich möchte hingehen of Franz Liszt (B)

Taking as a starting point the debate on who was first to write down the so-called Tristan chord, Liszt or Wagner, an examination is made of mental models in the reception of the two composers. The article consists of:
  1. An epistemological introduction, where the definitions of mental models and cultural models are set, and
  2. The second part, where the mental models for the two composers are examined.
The conclusion is made that the apparently positive mental model for Liszt, pointing to the notion of musicality, veils what is actually a negative evaluation for him as a composer, because of the problematic relation this notion has to the cultural models of progress and creativity in nineteenth-century imagination. On the contrary, the mental model for Wagner, though often apparently negative, asserts Wagners uniqueness as a creator in the framework of the same cultural models of progress and creativity. The outcome is that the debate I have been referring to is already marked in favour of Wagner: the chord in question is always connected to his name and always referred to as the Tristan chord.

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