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Beyond Structural Listening?Postmodern Modes of Hearing$
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Andrew Dell'Antonio

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520237575

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520237575.001.0001

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One Bar in Eight

One Bar in Eight

Debussy and the Death of Description

Chapter:
(p.233) Eight One Bar in Eight
Source:
Beyond Structural Listening?
Author(s):

Andrew Dell'Antonio

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520237575.003.0009

This chapter examines the song “Soupir,” which was the first of the Trois Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé of 1913. It also introduces the poem and provides a way for a listening familiarity with its spoken event, which is intended to approximate the degree of familiarity that Debussy's 1913 audience would have had. Debussy's music encourages the tendency of approaching aural experience through an analogy to the visual mode and in the process questions the contradictory subject which still needs to be sorted out. The chapter deliberately establishes an inexplicit relationship between the song and the poem in which the poem forms an implicit and half-articulate frame of sound-meaning for subsequent listening. Soupir subtlety suggests that timbral meaning is perceptually constituted through transitions and contrasts with preceding/proceedings and moments of change. The positing of a synoptic model in music can represent a way of flashfreezing the fluid nature of temporalized perception, which converts experience into an object, and thus render it available to description.

Keywords:   Soupir, timbral meaning, temporalized perception, aural experience, synoptic model

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