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Title: Music theory and analysis : the limitations of logic
Author: Borthwick , Alastair Bruce
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1993
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The motivation for this thesis is rooted in the problems arising from the lack of a single theoretical framework within which to assimilate different analytical methods; whether they are applied to an individual work, compositions embracing an underlying common practice or to the study of stylistically remote pieces. By devising a series of logical axioms and definitions, collectively referred to as a metatheory and situating them - as an expression of the neutral level originally proposed by Jean Molino - in the context of the semiological tripartition, it is found that the metatheory can be used to construct aspects of existing music theories. The precise extent to which a specific theory of music can be derived from the metatheory is not considered, but the many examples used to illustrate the application of metatheoretical logic to music analysis clearly demonstrate that meaning can only be ascribed to the structural configurations so determined if the poietic and esthesic dimensions of the tripartition are invoked as a means of distinguishing the actual from the logically possible. It is in this sense that logic is found to be limited. Two important consequences follow from this conceptual framework. Firstly, the involvement of the poietic and esthesic dimensions in the final analysis potentially enables many diverse theories to be derived from the metatheory, thereby preserving the important differences that exist between analytical methods. Secondly, the whole notion of a text-centred theory of music is challenged since the importance of the poietic and esthesic dimensions to the provision of meaning is such that these dimensions can theoretically overwhelm the configurations established within the text by the application of logic.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available