Phrasing – the very life of music: performing the music and nineteenth-century performance theory

Dogantan-Dack, Mine (2012) Phrasing – the very life of music: performing the music and nineteenth-century performance theory. Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 9 (1) . pp. 7-30. ISSN 1479-4098 [Article] (doi:10.1017/S1479409812000055)


Our contemporary perspective of the relationship between the composer, the score and musical performance during the nineteenth century has been largely shaped by Lydia Goehr's widely accepted and equally widely contested narrative regarding the appearance of the regulative concept of the ‘musical work’ at the end of the eighteenth century. This narrative has been based on the assumption that during the nineteenth century the score was regarded as the locus of the work and the music. Goehr's account, however, is contrary to the essence of performance-oriented discourses of the nineteenth century. In this article, I present a narrative account of a neglected thread running along the music theoretical, aesthetic and pedagogical discourses of this period leading to the emergence and establishment of a profound conceptual transformation in the way the fundamentals of music making were understood and explained, and depict the rise of the concept of ‘phrasing’ as a specifically nineteenth-century phenomenon that diverges from the fundamentals of eighteenth-century performance pedagogy. I discuss the role of the new concept of phrasing in the performance theories of Mathis Lussy, Tobias Matthay and Stewart Macpherson and point out some of the widely employed metaphors and images in the teaching of phrasing during this period. The article posits that in the performance-oriented discourses of the nineteenth century, the performer's first and foremost loyalty was expected to be to ‘the music’ rather than to the score, the work or the composer.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts
Item ID: 11293
Depositing User: Teddy ~
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2013 14:34
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:27

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