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Musical Meaning – Toward a Critical History - California Scholarship Online
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Musical Meaning: Toward a Critical History

Lawrence Kramer


This book argues that humanistic, not just technical, meaning is a basic force in music history and an indispensable factor in how, where, and when music is heard. The book draws on a broad range of music and theory to show that the problem of musical meaning is not just an intellectual puzzle, but a musical phenomenon in its own right. How have romantic narratives involving Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata affected how we hear this famous piece, and what do they reveal about its music? How does John Coltrane's African American identity affect the way we hear him perform a relatively “white” pop s ... More

Keywords: humanistic meaning, technical meaning, music history, Beethoven, John Coltrane, Shostakovich, jazz, popular music, film music, television music, identity issues, gender issues, cultural theory

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2001 Print ISBN-13: 9780520228245
Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520228245.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Lawrence Kramer, author