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Toward a Deconstruction of Structural Listening: A Critique of

Schoenberg, Adomo, and Stravinsky

The hish- criticism is tbatwhich leaves an ~ession identical withthe one called fotthby tbe thitlg ditidzed. _Robe:rt~l "phys:ical"and or w~youwiH--one~ingWith qu:_itmtIofquantiQtive 8tMit,ute, ~otherwith th~qualig,es that eonstitutea "worte"" Computational representadons ... C!QlJJd !l~er.of th~ves, cQnstitute "iconi.c" representatiQns. these reptesentationswhich are the very threadand stuff ci li.fe .... ~ is nQt PQSsible' until it is o~ized iconieally;action is not possible unle8l\it is otganlzed iccmically .... The final form of cerebra! n:pr~taticm m1.l$t be; er aUow,"an" --the attful scenet:yandmelodyof experienceand action. ...:.oliver Sacks~ '1>hen~," and ~

We'hfweal\V.aV$two iJniversa ofd~tl~

Emotion andmeaning are cotning out of themusicological cleset, The undergtOund pa.~ out of uncrhical fottnalism.,which Leonard Meyer began te chattmore than thirtv .yearsago. are in the process of being dlscevered by ~tican musicologyat latge. This developing critique of musical forrnaliSlli wouldbe facilitated by areexamination ofwhat 1 wouldUke to call"struct\,lral listenlng," allle.thod that concentrates a~ntiQn primarilyon the formal relationshipSestahli.hed over the course of a single composition. The generalprinciple ofstructurallis~'~ becotne so well establi$hed asa norm initbeadvacedstudv and teacbingof music,at least in this counttv, dlat.tisall tOo -v fot us to assume tts value _ selfevident and univet$aland to ovetlook tts birth out of pan:tcular hist~calcircumstances an,dideological c~ Likewise, itbasbecome easy to "bget:' in Nietzsche'ssense, that


theobject of sttUctul'allis~ing.a .sttueMELthat is.msome Mll$eabstract. CQnStitutes only one pole oE a mo~ ~al,dial~~~k'ln which medem Western conceptiOfl$.ofm_~.~ ,~()t*l.3 Theothu pole-medium-isll historical ~.i(~,~theongoing relationship of any COIll.PQSition toa~'~.fIJf._'_.cWtUl'e,. ftom . the time of itsinitial~ceuptq ~~.:~~;ts~pr~i~ pally tlu-cugb,.thepreseQ:tatioo.. of..soon ~bv;~~()t dar, aetuistic usage6. into parttcu1ar conbgun!ltiOtls, eaI~stfl"l$ obi~' .f a physical yet eulturallv conditioned perception. The ptcc.isenat\Stt tionshipbetween sound and. style is an. interesting problemthat given 'll,ttention beee, lnthe. discussionthat follows.the tenns"~'an.d "style," '<:1$ intertwmedaspectsof the common ,parameterofmediwn Will. be ~ted8$ moreor less interchangeable. The presentdiscwlsi~ whicili de.veloped ttOlll amuch' sh.ortercritique in anearlier article, has resultedunmtendonally in somerhingy,eryelose to a QecONltUcti.Qn." eccgniziPg a hi~oppQlIitton betw~ st11l,C~_ mediumas fundatnentalto,theQOllCelltohmrotutallistening.1 havein. effect ttiedto reverse. the conv~lrllSllUJ.tled priotities .in this hterarchy, to undeteutthe distinctwn berwemitspolel br presentingthe .tnOdean.<lobiect oflittuctura11istenUt.gas ~functiQn Q. (orasa "sUpplement" tot in DerdQa's semel thOlle'ofnonsmt,~listening. an.dto ex.posesome of the concealed ideolQgicalassumpnons thatthe concept o{sttUCtura11istening rdeets.5


The vanant,of $~l.istening on whtch lwish to.focus my primatyattentionis the. Olle dtweloped by&hoenberg and Adomo ovuthe course oftheit writing5. Iknow of no vanant.that: offei'$Qnthe Olleband a $U'Ongef Ql' .~ broadlv d~ of $ttUetural listeningan.Q on the' othe),"~ a moreexplidt basi$for itsownanalysis asa culnual construet. To besute. the concepts workedout by ~andbvAdorno are notidentical. Schoenbergsconc:ept is mote~wly focused onthepqctical coneetnS QftheeQm~ poller,; Adomo's, .Oll the~tical coneerns ci the critie. Sehoen~$pbi~ losophyisfann~ nai:Vetat\d he byno m~ shated allofAdorno'&,_~ or opilu'ons, any rtl&re than Adorno wimessed withQut resenrationallof SchOenbetg'$compositional,decisions. Nevettheless, the t\vo men.~; in very close .~~tas todle specmcsof $tl'UCtund listming; .mQteO~ A<lomo'.~pt all ofhislllusie. ~._~ ONYdeveloped in aMI andinformed sympathy withSchoenberg$"t~


Toward a Deconstruction of Structural Listening

burcaa in fact be read as a defense of Schoenberg. Thus the limited philosophical jU$tification that Schoenberg provided for struetural listening ts eonsistendy and persuasively grounded by AdorhO's more ample account, and for presentpurposes the two concepts will be considered as one here, Schenlcerian conceptions of structure and perception. such as Felfx Salzer's "strucnrral hearing," will not be considered here, hence the "Toward" of my tide. This concept of strucrural Hstentng, as Schoenberg and Adorho presented it, wasintended to describe a proce~ wherein the_ltstener follows and cotnJ:Jte. hendsthe unfolding realization, with all of its d~ed inner relationsh~, .of a genetating musical concepti0Th or what Schoenbetg caUslUl "idea."6 Based on an:;$umption that valid structurallogic is aeeesstblete any reasoning person. such structurallistening discOUtap~ds of LU:lderstand~ mat ~uire cy!turally spedficknowledse of thipmexternalto tI;le comeitional structure, s't1chas ~ventionai associations ortheoretical mtems. This indudes the twelve ..tone system and the conmtutionofany particular "raw," though it doesnot, and indeed canaot, exclude culnttal famUiarity with the dynamic of tonality. 71n Adomo's formulation, mowing eventhe natneof the composer or thecom.l*itionin question could muddy the purity of the desiredprocess)! Structurallisteningis: an activemode matt whensu.cceaaful, gives the listener the sense. of cotnpo$ing the ptece as It actuaHzes itself in time. The conceptof stnlcturallistening hascomplex. tootS in Oerm.antnusical, cultural, and philosophical traditions.with. which. both Schoenberg and Adomo fele a strang sense ofhistoncal continuity.The originsof the concept can usefully be traced to the final phase of theEnliihtentnent. _ ~t himself remamed faitbful to a tepresentational notion of art and never drew the full range cf aestbetic conclusions to mich his own work. poin.ted.Neverthel~ his CritiqW!of}udgment, with its conception cf disinterested aesthetic pleasure and especially itsptesentation of ae$thetic judgment as a conceptless process involvingthe tnetaPhorof a sttuctu1iU congtUence between facultie~, lllarksa ctU<:ialstep to'Ward the idealizadon, in Oettnmy during ihe next century, of both s!Nctura! autonomy in art and of mUSicasthe highest art. A cotnpatable shift was initiated in thelllusical dOlllain by the instrumental work.sof Haydn and Mozart, whi~hservedas a powetful. catalystfor the richand paradoxical developtnent of formalistic attitudes toward music in nineteenth-century Germany. I .sa)' "rieh and paraQm(ical" beeause this. formalisticmovementwas from the starttnark.ed .by a dialectical opposition and intertwining of values that can be a.ssociated with tnu:sical autOholliy on the onehandand with critical, often even verbal, ways of thinking on theother. Beethoven's mU$ic itself can be

Toward a Deconstruction pf StrocturalLi$tening


eensmsed as a self-eonsciouscritique of earlier Classical musical conceptions. Arguing musically for autonomcus stNcturalvalues, sometimesthrough a physically thick ru;tdtonally extrin$ie rhetorical emphasis, sometimes through a revisionist.treatment of inherited struct\1ral conventions, Beethoven succeeded in underm.iningthe abstract security of the very con.dition ofautonomy he sought to establish, and suggestedmusical structure 88. st bottoma consttuct, subject teeoncreteculnaal limitations on itscbaracter and signi6cance. Likewise,the nations ofabsolute ftWsicasdeveloped by such earlyRomantictigures 3$. Wilhebn Heinrich W~andLud.Wig Tteck, and 3$ tmlted in the mUSlC criti~m of E. T..A Hdffmann, earl Mafia von Webet, and SchlJlllat\n, are of a rieh and.conerere sott. Attending (in the caseof the threemusicetitics) with 'coosiderable detail to sttuctural relationshipswithin mosie, andat thesame time affirmingthe irueparability of amusical structure from. thepoetic and spiritualassociationsand imagery that thisstruetute evokedintE.eimagillation,'lb)'!'uanticwriting encourageda kind of listening that was atonce sttuc~f,at.~.,~fQllof cootent. The critic Edward Romstein hassuggested.~;~,,.<~ ~ pflisterdllg, "'Il\etIlpb.ori. cal~;LeoTreitler hasca&d\~~4.1~;tti~,~tion I{narra. tivity."9 The word I wouW.""~~,~.] m~~ion ci nUl$ical~. is "rep_l' "., .. :,.'\\;'H,~i'\\:'~~<l",';I.,'"i;)i;\"("\J,\:~w,.'t; . Thistwofoldmnception~~,~,.~~!~~ . in Eduard~Uck'slandmatk:w-'The~,,*~I~,'.1854. Oftencoll$truedas.a biliicinga:nddQte.w.W~'s ~e .dmtorieal "excesses."H,.lick'$ ~iQP;, of_ .. prQbl~of tn~t.j~to ~~I;=~~:::!=::=a1=edr;:;: Oermanvand,bv wavof what Adomoealls Sttavinsky's "pheno~" light up tothe present,10Fora work thatisdeepl, conse.rvatlvein spirit--imd not .just.becauseiu concept of a-est:h.entzvalue pointsd~dv bQCkte l(ant'& thirdcritique.-Tltt,l3eadful.mMllSit provedremarkablypt-.ient. Yetitm.ouldnotc besuppOsed tbar Hanslickrenounced altogetherthe. full~ bodiedorreplerechaneter ofthe ideal ofautonotny that bad been developed betw~n Kant~$titneand" 'own..~hg t:ha.t"the dQftlainof aesthet~ .. '. begin$only where elementarylmathetnaticall relations C:ea8e to be o! iRlpPrtimet," Hanslidcarguesthat 'Wbattaises. a series of tnusical soundsinto the regionofmusicpJ:Opel',and'abovethe rangeof phvs:icalexperitnent is some$ing 'f.t!eiPltt extemale~t.a,!pilitttalized .andthereforein!calculable ~;"~1 TMs:is $lOt$OtarreQlovedfromSchumann's assertion that "li we


Toward a Deconsnuction of Structural Listening

are>tI\)heara~Vinem.gfortn, ~ustact asfreely .as poem ~o~~c!paciti~-.....or, fot thatrnattet. from his praise of Berliozas similar to '*}_&ul, whom someone called a bad.logicianand' agteat philosopher."12 If fWls.kpro~ redueillg themusicalobject of ctitieism to its phenomeno, logical essentials, heattivesat thispoitlt through rotleepts of the aesrhencand of SttUctUre !:hat idealite htunJnl cultutal and spiritual capacities, If Hansliek encourages areinterpretation of the musically formal as eennotmg-somethiag essentially negative-say, "mere," or empty. form, form as predsely that in musicwhich does notexptess----the metaphysicalspititof the German traditionsthat fonned his eultural ccntextcan andshould still be dtscemed in his argument as what eouldbe called, in Demdean important absent presenee or "traee."u This h'ltertWiningof German intellectual tradition With pllrelystructural va!ues continues to eharactetize the formalism ofSchoenberg and Adomo.14 It marb an itnPOrtant difference' between their aesthetic theories and Stravinsky's .as set forth in the latter's Poetics of Music, theodes that otherwise converge. on a nu.r of more or less charaeteristie twentieth~eenturV Western musicalpositions,including a. comtnOninsistence on the need rot some SOrtof sttUetural listetling. Both .Schoenberg and Stravinsky, fot example, definemusic asa field for the tnasterv of nature by eulture, the latter of which is va!ued for its scientificand speculative capacities. n Both Wi8h to subject music to a governing . $bjeetive,and essentially universal ptinciple of rational necessity, wruch would counteract the ca.pnciousness of personalself-gratincatiotl,prejudice, and tafte.16 Both would (theoretically)su.pportan open-ended variety ofmusical worb, which, solQngas they wel'e fonnallycohetent, would haveno needto'justify their "kind" or existe1lce;! 7 the intemal neeessity of the work, so to. ~)'would sufficiently guatantee for both men the outward necessity far it. ,Both Schoenbergand Stravinsky celebrate the aetivity of musieal eonsttUction and \Vould tnusiealmeaningwithinthe boundaries of the individual com.position.. exc1usive of contextuall'elationships and (at least in theory)of intent. 18 Both considet recepti01l snd effectexttitlsic to the concept of craftsman Stravinskv no less rhan the endlesslyexplaining Schoenbe;rg;W Adorno'sposition on these matters is sim~ ilar.though alwaysmore eemplicated.: Although he sees no actual way of extricating musiCal stnIctute from itsemboditnent of soda! values, and recoils from the hypostatUing of objects as a symptomof ideological dishonesty; he nevertheless maintains theachievement of a totally autonomous musical stru.ctureas a lltopian ideal.w AU three men end by locating musical

153 V4luc whllv wi'rhin srne fortnalS4)" otpatameter. te \\'hieb it i$the listener's business toattend. There is adifferen.ce. however,inthe,kmdt'Offtmrtal ~chosen, wlli<:h Olle of 'my studentshaa ~~~Dath l:f' as Hurentrast between Platanic and.Aristotelian enter'plltii!$,~'lt.l$~~ncetbat weak, et'l$j to thepmtf~inmg;t;8~;~.~:~listen'in;g. Allowing for a Civilizin:g llpeeulative ca~i.ibt:lt~,. ,.n~tift)t:l. L_~ __ ~' _'-.1 -1.l~h __.I ~.t!h..';"':t;.:,;;., .:.. "' ... .;..",,,",,,.,,.4ihi1.. ~~~ ~en'mU$JCWlU' pul~ y.-~~.~'f_"~':~!UIIiY-m, A~oftom anytaiht of $~maticth~'~~~,CJWt to a $pitit'0f~itical ~erythat suho~'~'t#'~~'~4~ n~ touse~.llindeed, evetything'~;~\"~.I;~1 including hi$tetationship to 'allt musicathistol'V,the~~I$';~ andtheinneJ' orderlng of his worb,points to the$al!be pattern of throwing overbOatd whateveJ' does not serve"an. i_edi_:pat~ p0$e~i$ At nooe of these leveJsdo \Ve.'iSellseany iuterest in deritol1$t:l'atil1l_ steadycontinuity throughwhiCh tationalptOcesses, ~ia1J.y thSe pettajn", ingto logicalnecessiry (asop~ mtJm.which is dogmatieot arbitm,ilyittl~ posed),might ".~ their ~ . in con.crete world.24 Not dnes Smlvirtsky'$ Poeacs,ooteide,Ofa $ingl~e\"ocative~ph, offer any cou.. c::tete,pasitive guidelinesror rhe aebievem~ofanunnus~ablVJleI'ceptible rad.onality in 'nttt&ic,25The formal parameter ofmusk fur 5traV'illsky issl~ly soundas QPposed to expteSSion,that is, $Ound'stripped of mean.i:ng;~ an.d ft:;r. mal value.asc~edmthe&eacs. amounts to Mthq1nQRft!um a petsulsh'e i~imtthat'~~tWnnati()U ()f~d6~." Brrtsting the GaM'mt'\.~~i_:otm m,m.~cb .. ~ siven~t Strav~'&~~.~~~t~~~\tJ.e.~


tiwBie to

.... . . ..,. "\:~.;''."~' '\<.~.". '.,'i"""'1,: :.;:.'';''~ .. ' .... .. ~i~~~ ',.. '.:.'. ' " . , ... ....
'. '. : .'':

L .. Ilmvrh" .... aea S eeomp necessa:ry basisMitI

Stravinsky orthe Poetks

tative orstylistic.a~ '. . ' :'<' ." ,lrptjy rotStraVinskyin a.good dealof:h:15~i~~I+:~iJjg milppearamie Ofel~c_mrd; .. _r~~i\f~':~N&:cOft,. aiuon! though initselfnotbeyt"ld.the ~,~'ii~~.appeal$ not tothe rational meUlties {at,1eallt as.Krmt,~i~~bm:$ to what in elitist circles of the modetn\Vest~theP~iS unabashedin its elitism .. iseonlli~ed .,goOOtaste.~$Thepatricbm. British deseription of an embarrassing soeial. etrot '.as not being"~' fQfin." ~the spirit. of's formalism precise11; The casual ease with Wich SttIlvinskycan
>. " ...


TQward a Decnstruttin of Sttuc;tural Listening

eite the "teae" ofhiSown workiS in.strlking conttast to Sclloenbetg's attitudei towatd suchmattets.29 In effect, Stravinsky redefines musicalfonn. to m~ style. oreven "high style," in OUt eurrentlyfashionable "yuppie" sense. In doing so he transforms musiefrom !l potentiallv universal symbol.of integrity . inte a eultutaUyspedalized pleasure, leavingits fate te exaetly thosearbi~ stand~ of taste that his formaliStieprinciples of appreciation were designed' to esc!lpe.30 Sehoenbergand Adorno try to effect this same escape by distinguishingthe formal paratneter of musie frorri mere sound or style}l Iastead, Schoenbetg and Adorno de6nethe fortnal patametet ofmusic as aninterconnectedness of ( sttucture that is bothtempotally establiShed, and thus eoncrete, and also objectively determinable. Consequently, they define structurallisteningnot as a sensibility to ehicbut a&attentiveness to coneretell' unfolding logic that can vouch for the valueof the music. Ptacticed in tb.e wal' ptescribed by Schoenberg and Adorno, sttuttutallistening plunges us into the middle of what cou1dbe ealled the musicalargument, aUowing us to understand. ftom the IQition ofan insider,not juStthe litles butthe totaHtyof theliltgurrierIta& it unfOlds. Canftonting atevery moment the rationaleof mecotnpOSition frotn its.own point of view, so to speak,the liStener iSideally eo be precluded fromexetcising negativeprejudiees er forming adversejudgments on,the basis ofstvlistic uncongeniality or, in asense,even (within moral limits) of philo; sophic1l1difference. Adorp.0. to Oe sure, -who is in mosr respects farmote preoccupied than Schoenberg with thephilosophiealand ideologieal. implieations of musieal structure, iS.notonly prepared but dete:rtninedto rejecr.rnusic he finds morally offensive, including thatofStravinskyrs~tenoire, Wagner,.and of course, that of Stravinsky himself. SignmmntlYt bowever1 Adomo never sees himsetf as having eo choosebetweenstruetutal and meral vslue, because for Adorno the tWo areessentially synonymous; "no music has the slightest esthetic worth," he asserts. "if it is not sodativ true.',)~ From Adorno's standpeint, the virtues ohhe rationalitythatstructuralautonomv represents, and thatrender autonomy the highest condition of art,arenotjust logicaHyabstract hut his_ toticallv concrete a& weIl. Themorea.musicalsttuctureapptoximatestheself. contained itltelligibilityeharacteristic of logic,.the moreit canand does ftee ttself from whatAdomo sees asthe dec:eptionsor falsehoods invariab1vfos~ tered through socialideology'inorder to maintain the power of existing insti~ tutions.33 Conversely, the greater the distance of music.frotn the logieal paradigm thegreater. its entraprnent in me special interests served bythe conventions ofsocial ideology, and thesrnaller its claim to the essentially

Towarda Deconstruetion f Sttuctural Listening


moral condidon of aesthetic value. In other words, Adorno's characterization of a philosophical attitude in music as morally offensive is neverseparable from his perception of grave sttuCtural weaknesses indmt rausie. The concept of structural value offered py Schoenberg and Adorno, like their concept of the struetural listening thatcan dl.see~ such value, is at once exacting and genereue. Demanding an unagging~ell~t concentration on the part of the listener, these men require ofthe ~'. and mQl'e generally of themselves, a no less stringent .. $tQnd.d .. ofdilt.ipline. The seIfconscious consistency, the sense of int~ty. ~Q..i~ tp .. lqpe with which Schoenberg tried ro regulate every .~s ~~itional domain-the inner COfl3. 'hiJ own srylistic progress, and the ~ .~t>tion as a kind of seered trtl$t: ~ .... : .... : .. "'< .. 1:...: Western composer. Ai. in ~~'UC read as an enlargetnent ci'hi, ..... l#lt~_ is far more "replete,' Anti correspondinllf,~,..~~~.~~lineresultsina.con: cept of musical stru~~:~~-lBt~tdng, that isfar more positive and conereee ill c~t~~formalism. Just as it is usually possible for any educatetJan.<l:~1:v'sympathetic listener tO perceive the retention of a capaCityfr individual expressiveness as a value in Schoenberg's musie; so too, SchoenbeJ'grefusesin Ws writings to dehumanize either the individuals participating in musicallife or mustc itself by separating structural rigor from an expressive capaCity. For Schoenberg these last two are virtually synonymous: the deepest emotionalsatisfaction in music anses precisely through the achievement of anintensely expressive structural integrity (which ts "independent of style and flourish" and communicable at least to those whose "artistic and ethicalculture is on a high level").J4 Nor does either Schoenberg or Adomo shrink from specifying the concrete mustcal components of a strtlcture mat fuHy allovvs-structurallistening. Although Adorno veices serious ob;ections to the twelve-tonemethod, which Schoenberg explainedso painStakingly and generouslyto his readers, both men are thoroughly dedieated tothe goal of reducing rnusic to a oondltion of what could be called pure srrucrural substance, in which evety elemeat ;ustifies its existence through its relation to a governing structural principle. Hence bothadvocate the principle of "nonredundancy" in: music, a principle with many compositionalramiflcations, including a rationalefor chromaticismand dissenanee, which they explore in detail; and bothadvocatethe renunciation ofpreexistifig,externally determined conventions,


Towatda Deconsttuetion of Snucturai Listening

auch .. ~ $'fllUIletricalphrasing andrefrains (which in ~toften entail red.un.. dmcy), as loreigp to the generating idea 01 a composition.l5 Such renunda, tion, it shouldhestressed, is not to be cenfused with ehe simultaneOU$8C' ceptmce .and liquidation.-...or, tO use Hege!'s terntinology, Au/hebung-of artisticallytransmittedtradition, whieh both. men demanded intheir cam, mtttnentto historiealeontinuity and rcsp()1Uihility. F\ a way of distillingmuctutal suhstance.both men plaee. partiularilnportance on the self,developlngcapacity Ql a lllPt;lvjc..thematic kernel, .or onwhat they eall "developing;v.lJ;natiOtlt"a process ther often though not exclusivelv ~i9,te with. Brahm:&.lli The notion of development Rpresents,ofCO\1t$e, ac:ontinuationohtrw:, tutal ~and values ~t otigina~ in.\Tiennese Classicism.(Ac_llv. &.b.oenberg, wtth soroe~pportfrom Adamo, lOCates its orig\$ in&ch,Y7 notion was likewise pmed by Han$lick,whois cited asa pattieularlv ~eptphlCtitioner ofstructutallistening in rOlle.ofthe mo$t:detailed _eri,.tions that Schoenberggjves oE this m~od.$$ AlthoughAdorno is dearlv .moresensitivetbanSch.oen~ t:othe self.ntgatingporentialitiesof devel~p~ in PQSt. tonalmusic, he is'even. more emphatic than Schoenhergin iieali,zingBeethoven. fot his dev~lopm.ental~; and~thmen admite Btahms's tendeneyto ttamformcetn~itionintowhat Adarno calls "total developm.ent."J9 At. tts ~tj Sc~hetll'S and Adorno's concept ofstructutallistening ~. a st$'Ag case,;and.certainly a mcee, CAlnSis.tent QSe than Stravimky's Ysiondoes, for the valuesit wishes to~in..Evoki:ng asits idealthe'possi. bilityof teasonedm,us.ic~l discQU~and thus. by ex.~onthepo$$ibilitV of 1'e~ disc~itselt>. a~ differentlysttuated individJ.lllls.their eom:ept does1l.ot hold~.formaecountQbleonly fotthecontlection of its own elements 1;0 atationally govemingptinC:iple. In addition, theit concept uldmatel.vdemandub:atmQSic;;alf~.thtoughits urtcompromising integrityand renunciation oEsensuOU$ dlstractif)1ls. OOnlribute mditectly but concretely,as. wellasmetaphoricaIly,to the hettftrnteut cf soCiety,lneffect. Scb:~hetg artd nothing less!Ul1hitjous thanamethodJor defining and~ the moral soun.dness <>fevery ,tel.ationship that.bears on tm:I6ie. lt isasa scm'icetoj\tttsomesuch .ideal, 1believe, We in tnusicology todav would at lxmotn justifv out:,band c:ominuingCl1.Uilinnent to various .form&of mucOJrallist;ening. And ve~. fot all Adorno's self..consciousacuity, tb# concept is not wi~what Paul de Man might.,call its areas of critic:al blindness to itsowa epis(emologic:al w.messes.'IO
r :

Toward a Deconstruction

of Structural Listening


The Gase Against Stru.ctural Listening

Cultural Inappropriateness The concept of structurallistening Imagines bothcomposition and 'listening to be govemed by a quasi-Kantian structure of reason that, by virtue ofits universal validity, makes possible, at least ideally, the (presumed)ideological neutralitv and, hence, something like the epistemological ttansparency of music. This assumption of a eongruence between the underlying principles of composition and those of listeningis what lends force to themetaphor of listening to the musical structure "from within," In actuality, however, in ways that Ihope will become elear, the metaphoricallistening positien that structurallistening encourages is less that of Schoenberg's and Adomo's structural insider than that of the extemally situated, scientific observer. Indeed, it is very elose to that of the empirically oriented (anti)hero of Stravinsky's Poetics. This shift in metaphoricalposition might at first glance seem too slight to jeopardize the go. of ~~listening;~>$cientific observation, .after all,.is from subjective distottion, such~~~~k~~ . '''.~rto {rn;:us intensely on a mliSical Object_"k'Y ..~.~~.~~ a.~turallistening modeled on scientmcobsetv~nai.t ~l'll to .~\.lS9\lrbest: shot at a relativistic, ideologically neutralcondition of toletaneeln.musie,encouraging society Cohonor the music of a11timesand cuitures equallYI on terms set by.the music itself. But just aS Western science Qas increasingly been criticized as a culturally lilUitedand limiting construct, ~t toe, there 1S a$trOng argument to be made that the terms on which structurallistening operates originate fat less in universal conditions of rausie than in our own specmcculturalpredilections. Even at first glance it seems clear that this method does not lend itself with equal.ease to all musical repertories, even in the West. Just as .tonaltheo.ry has been more fully developed than any oth~ Western systemof theo.ry, so, 1:00, structurallistening seems to work most smoothly whenappliedto. the"common practice" repertories of Oermanyand ltaly, say, between CoreUi and Mahler, which form the basis of the Western cano.n. This is hardIysurprising,sincestructurallisteningis generallv conceded to have "arisen" from the tonal canon.But why should -this allegedly ebjeetive method ofperceptian, which is supposed to eoaeera itself with thestructure of individual composittons, be usedso regulatly to ennrm the aesthetic supen-

our cultural Patlildigm oi Q\~,~~tlFalol:>jectivtty~B~Byconceptsand values that areassl.lmc:d,.~ . ~.~~ .: ~#:t~.~ablJ~~t


Toward a Deconstruction ofStnlctural Li$tening

orityaf whole styl~, particularlv Viet\neSe Classicism. to other styles? (And how. for that matter, does the supposed object:ivity of SttavinskV's formal perception, unless his very conception of structure is informed by stylistic preiudiees, account for his denigration of W~er's "symphonicism"?)"l WhV, if alt musie is equal in the ears of the sttueturallistener, do some styles nun out. to be1llOre equal. than others? And why (except perhaps teserve out own inter . ests as masters ci the specialized ttainingan<! d~o!.lfsethat: snucturallistening inptactice nearlyalwavs requires) shouldweaeadenlies suppose such listening applicable to musie tha.t falls outside the canon?+2 In fact, the concept of SttUeturallistening is eonsiderably less widely applicable ~d objective a mode cfperception than it seems, The ehiceof this tnethod. aswett as t:he identity of.t:he music it pt'e;fers,reflects.our own culturalty conditioned styl~tieorientation as its users. Like Stravinsky's "good fOtln." what structurallistening in all its variant;s offers us 1S less the conceptual attributeS ofobjectivitythan the srylistk impression of objectivity. Wheteas it.putpttStb examine mustein terms of an iiltnnsie and potentially UniV'etsal musical condition....--struct\lnll alltc:m()mv-:-the nation itself of this condition 1sf(j{eign tomuch, if not tnOst,music.Otre can Ofcourse decide to impose mwconditiori as anideal onanymusic oneeh~ But before ene clabns the basis fot this ideal as universaland i.ntrin$ic. one needs someevidence thatthe musie in question ispresenting its own structute as fundamenrally autonomous. oras "fuced" in various ~s. A fucedstructure isdi$creteand whole; It has dearlydelineated boundaries. which wo~ld be violatedby anyconception ofthis struet;Ure asa fragment. A fixed stlUCture isalso. uncb.angeable; its internal components and relationships are p~med te haveattained something likeastltUSofnecessitv that disallows alternative versiOns. Neithel' of these conditionscan persuasivelv be c.alled charaeteristic, evellas a projected .ideal, Western attrnusic up until the eighteenth eentuty. Ir could even be .argued that thev did not obtainfully untilthat point in ~ nineteenth century when improvisation was decisively exduded ftom theeoncept of artcomposition and: acompositional ideal of ptecisi<>n at()Se. I mean here pteeisibn not just ofpitch (which.$01'il.eWhat paradoxically, thetelativistic tonal notion of "ker" h.:.d alr.y estahlished to the detriment of mode) but also of notation and instntmentation. To be persuasively autonomous, m,oreover, a structute musr show same evi~ deute ofttyin.gto denne itself whoUy throughsome implicit .1mdinteUigible principle oEunity, In music this requit'e$ rhat a compositiQJ\ have same techrlique for protecting iudf Q$ selfdetermining over time. Whetheror .not such a ted.miqueis suggested by Schen1cet's concept of linear organization, withthe


Toward a Deconstruction

of Structural Listening


debatable audibility of that concept, its relative inability teaccount for the particularities of a musical sutface, and lts .. feliance on arehetypal musreal structures as weil as on nontemporal, visualscl\ernatiC$, is not a matter that can be analyzed here. Development, on the other hand,. is widelY ~eredby Westernmusicologists ro be capable of project~th~ i~~~i~ Qf~h ~I"c.letennihation. Schoenberg and Adomo quite open1,.-d~~ll~~ a$.developmental listening. But as virtuallv 'a11~\Yould~, !\I'~.litt1emusic, even Western art music,r.nakes!Ja ofthe .teChniqueClf.. dev.elbpment ~Schoenberg's perceptien of Bach's m,usic as in same respeCts developmental. [see .note 37, this chapter] is not widelv shared. Indeed, Bach's achievem:entis ~bably better characterized as the synthesis of a great diversity oE generic concepts-concerto, trio senata, dance, fugue, and so forth=-than as structural selfdetermination. ) In its pure state, mereover, the condition of self-deeermination, or even the ptojection of such a condition, would require the renunciation of premises, organizational principles, purposes, values, and meanings derived from outsideof a musical structure, Almost no Western music outside of certain Classical and contemporary endeavors. has come close to aceepting such a condition of renunciancn, Up until the end of the eighteenth century, for example, most music was shaped to serve an extemal social function; and in keeping with deep-roeted mlmetic 01' rhetorical Ideals, the dominating paradigm of music throughout this period was mustc with a text, Furthermore, Western music has been assumed in most periods to owe at least some of its signiticance to a larger cultutru. netWork of extra-musical ideas or stylistically related consrructs, Structurallistening looks onthe ability of a unifying prindple ro establish the internal "necessity" ob strucure as tantamount to a guarantee of musical value. At the very least thiS assumption challenges the spirit of Odel's theorem. In practice, .however; ~e prindple on whith structural listening relies more than .any oeher to authenticate value is not one of self-evident rationality but father one of its own choosing: individuality. 80th Schoenbergand Adotno emphasize the respohSibility eftheconscious individual, whether composing or liStening, to darify actively the tnternal inteUigibility of a structure,a process that, ideally, frees the meaning of thatstrucrure from soeial distortion and manipulation. Even in those instances when Sehoeahergand Adorno eeneedeehe possibility of aninstantaneous intuition of musiCal value, theyatttibute sUch intuition atbottom to a strucrural integrity in the music; and this integrity can be achiesed only through an individualis ..


Toward aDet:onstructionof

Structural Listening

tie. "CODlpOsitional for<:lt" (Adomo's words), or through what Schoenberg tertnsan "originality {dutt} is inseparahlefrom ... profound personality; ''+3 In such mpec.ts, bot:h.menaredeeply committed ro the governing status of orig~ inating intention.+4 This is not thesame aS saying that advocates ofeven a "replete" sttttetural listenirtg ordinarilyreserve their highest praise fert:h.e musie that is most eoramtmlycharaeterized as individual inthe sense of personally expreSsive--that is, Romantic music. Even the .most .ardent Oertnan. advocaees of a Kreplete" formalism are seldom prepared te idealtze rnusiC that values personalexpres~ sivenessover developmental autotromy. Certainly Adomo does not; hisgteat~ e$treverence i$ for that metaphorically pOwerrul"moment" of individuality-Bceethover'l.'Smiddle~petiod style-in W'hich the tlluSlcal subjecr, determining its own action through uncomprotllising objective standards of develptller'l.tal unity, turns itself into a lecus of theuniversal, MoSt of usin the Western tlluSicalworld, at least unttlrecently, have taken ror gtanted same reIa:tedir'l.Separability of musical greatness and individuality, whichin tum we equate withmusical valoe. Yet even exc1uding non~Western traditions, it would be difficult to characteme wit:h.confidence most artmusic beforethe cornmon~practice period through reterenceto ideals of individual . ity or even to a dialeettc of individual and society. Even chromaticism. wruch weo.ften interpret 38. sig.nifyingtesistance to prevailing socbllnon;ns, does not seem chara\=teristically to be wied bVearlier rausie to place the power of indi\!iduality ar it$ own ideological centeJ:'.We recognize as much. whenwe relegate Gesualdo, who might wellhave been a cultuJ:'alhero in MahleJ:"tjVietma. toa pocket of.hlstorical ~entricity. The. appafenta~. of anilldividual~k. ideal of strt.lCturala,l,Ito:Q.omv hefOte ehe tirm.establishment of. tonaltty as a cultural norm, tQgether ",ith out owncommitnlent tosuch an ideal. in my judgment helps:ilccountfor a certait't l~kQHocus.that can somcetimes be sensedin out studyaru.:t of early ~~, ..~ .for a.c~it't ..uneasiness thatste1ll$ frOU,lthe ditliclilty of distin. guishmc fon'Q..n..otll styleinearlYlusic (see below. the text leadmg t note 73). Onehe Olle han4, givenour reluctal\ccto attribute. the preservation.of ~ ~ieValatl.d, !ten.als$ance music to either the overt power or the ~te vircue of.Christian.ity,m.uch less tosheer happetlStance, we want to ~methepr:imarilvmucturalvalue(and theteby the "grcatneSS") oftheearly musie weteach.But onthe Othet.hand.lacking any nonconteXttialatternative to ideals ofstruetutal autonOmy;wesometitnesallowthe teaching of medieval and Renaissance music::.;which doesnotsttongly support OUt ownstructural

Toward a Deconstruction of Structural Listening


biases, to disintegrate into the uncrttical presentationof shifting stylistic hallmarks that eanbe named and dated on an exam. The absence of a clear ideal ofautonomy in early music may underliethe otten noted aHure of modem scholars to produce a persuasive theorv of pretonal music (as, indeed, ofany pritnarilytened music);' coneeivablyehe very notion of such a theory, at least in any structural sense, is self<ontradictory. This absence may also account for a eertain hoUowness at the core of various encyclopedie surveys of Renaissance musie, which seem to offer inclusiveness as compensation forthe laclc: of anaesthetic basis fot selecting and evaluating worb of this peried, Such problems. indicate stronglv thatstructurallistening does not'encourage the open-endedsensitivity todiverse sorts ofmusic that itpromises. liven as this concept ut:ges UStoJudge a werk in terms of theworlc~ownchosen premises, it distam:;esusJrom mllSic that exb.ibiuno interest in eneom.pass:ing all of iu own prem_I$~. there.areways inwhieh ~turalliste.tlqcan

00 construedas.a~'vi.tiim\,Vi~l111ese.~
mat not o.n1V~~_'~:0lt,~\~J~'~.\~V butalsoappearsto_~'I!~'~'~Mm!~-Mtluntil Beethoven"~~illJ_~.~~ junctutes,ineft'ect~\\;\' ..\ ships as a nctiOn,,&..'_' ';"", active struetural. ,t~iti1~,'clt.l by Kant. ofsee.mingly ,~.


. ..


... ..

Evefl more impertallt.~is~~ that-such.bstening accords to the musicalpatametef ofsoum:L 'l'heideal of structura1~has made DUr perceptions and analytical COtlCeIt'lIJ as rnusieologists aknost <wmpletely dependenton'scores,as if the latter were boob. One is tempte<! to argue thatstruetural Hsteningmakes more U8eof the eres thanof the.ears. Cer, tainly,to an importantextent,structura.llisteningcantake place inthem.ind through. intelligent score.reading, without the physicalpresence of.anextetnal sound..source.But whereas theabsenceofconetete sound constitUteS a debatable 10lJSin the C'a$e' of literature, it represents nothing lesstban., acalastrophic sacrHiee for musie. 'fh}s' is asacritice that Adotnc.1 and evefi Schoenbergj incel'ta~ t'eSpeCts, re actuaUy preparedto make. Although thetr version 'Ofsttlletural.listmin.g ~toac.eountforevery detail of acencrete,.itdepreciates the value ofsound Adoeno identt6es sound as.that layer of moste which:, thtough. its use ofsuch historicallv condittonedre. sources as technology :a.nd convefltions, bears the imprint of social ideology


Toward a Deconstruction

of Structural Listening

and allows rhe social neutralization" of structural individuality. Thus the status Adomo accords this "manifest" [as opposed to "latent") lal'er is not privileged, to sal' the least. This explains his imparience with rhe archeological restoration of earll' musical sound to its original "purity."47 It also helps explain his low estimation of Romanric music, which calls explicit attention to the epaqueness of its own sound and style. To Adomo this concreteness signines not an honest admission hl' Romaneie music of its own social and ideological conereeeness huta capitulation to the powerand modes ofsoeiety-an abandonment of the effort. however quixotic, to define universal individuality in music, By Adorno's account., in fact, "mature musie," which eoncems irself with that "subcuran.eous" sttucture where individual integrity can hope to resist or even transcend. social ideology, "becomessuspicious of real sound as such." Turning color into a function ()f total stfUctutalinterrelatedness, such music makeseolor in itself essentially su~uous. Adorno praiaes Schoenberg's ascetk. "negation of all tacades/' which he likens rc that. of late Beethoven, and projects a time when "the silent. imaginative readingof music could render act.ual playingas superiluous as speak:ing is made hy tbe .reading of written maceriaL"48 Adomo's clwacterization of.Schoenberg i8 echoed byPiette Boulez's reference to Schoenberg and Webern as eomposers"for whom the ide.aof timbre is almostab$tract, an<! who neverc.aredat all about the physical eonditions of sound emission."4? In his wtings, Schoenberg himself consistently subordinates thevalues of sound eothose of sttucture, asserting in what mal' be the key passage of Style and Id.ea.mat the responsiblecomposer "will never start from a preconceived image of a style; he will be ceaselessll' occupied with <!oinl justice te the tdea, He issure that, everything done which the idea deman<is, the external appearance wl be adequate."5Q This devaluing of medium has a direct musical counterpart in the naive certainty of Schoenberg~ later worlcs that the tonalconceptionof "developingvariation" cansustain itsintelligibility in a radically altered context of sound. This contradietion Ui oft~n noted,but. its implications with respect to .the notion of "medium" hve not so tat been fullv recognized. The subordination of medium, towatd which seructural listening leads rnore.strongly than most of us happily admit, represents one logical resolution of the d.ialectieal oppositionbet\1Veen srrucrereand sound thac has for seme time been discernible in Western mustc, and which has antecedeats in a tension berween essenee andappearance that ean be traeed back in Western thoughtat least as tat as Plate, In effect, Schoenberg and Adorno, that quin-

Towarda Deconstruction of Structural Listening


tessential foe of ahistoricalabstraction,tak.ethesame positton as Derrida does when he interprets Aristotle'$ categories as evidence rot thepriority of abstract thought over eoncrere langu,age.51 $travinskv, at botrom, dtaws the opposite conclusion, thQugh in identifving essentially stylistic parameters oE rausie as formal. he obs.cures the implicatiOll$ of bis argrunent and restricts its thisteJ)$'tClttij1~Yba:\>ei ~orne. in Western Inusic, it has seldom beenresh,ed thtoUI~'~~~\~~d. Chlti)e.etm" tr<ttr, as the anticorporeal biasof~1~~~;ltft~lttdl West~
characteristic ern composers, incltldingtheVi.~_~I.~'lIl_ia QnthesensuousactualitVh:heff: __ ~ ~j~ "'!II:alue . 'Um~ U$efulness. Butbwevet

tbat"fixed'" thepi_l.~,\.~:,~~;~ . 1tOf~fi, RomanticlnusicWf'~~~~t.,eitude~ iNttumen# tal color. 0fi the ~h"'J~'~'intotheirnQtttm ofstructure, the Rornantics Sim~'~}Mb:~tbadegree where itwas bound to call attentionto itsd"_i;~~' habit of associative listening, to things utside ofmilJ$!p ~the~ end' theforest in Weber~s Freischatt, fot example). But thisdouble-';'si~hardl:y$upPQrts .tbecase fol'strilcturaUis .. tening:Qn ehe conttaty. 1:0 theexent'mat strl1Cturllisteningencourages concentration on the perceptin of fonnalrelationships llt the expenseo{ maintaining an aetive( though less easUy furtnalized)Sl .sensitivity to sound itself,sttuctumllistening eonstitutesa cttltural violation oE this and Inany other stYles. This holds even in our own eenruryif we.make cleatdistinction berween the hensof ~nberg onehe onehandandthose of DebussvandSttavinsky on the Otber. In fact. theooly bad)' ofnwsic rot whichwecan befairly ctItlfi.. dettt that st1'tlCtUl'allisten'ing, in its' ll'R1>,does not pose a violation of()r~atingnotn1S isSchenberg'sOWll.(Onemight., to be1lllfe, eXterui this OOservat:ionto Schoenberg's dftcendants, includingWebern,especially in the Sense that. t:he lattet"outiSchoenbergs" Schoenberg or, to be l1lOtepredse, that Schenbetg's ideals constitUte $ essential ~ in Webern's Inusic, Which means. of cOUrse, that inWebern's tIlUSic the "se1f... ~t:ing potentialt .. ties of <kwloPment" m=ioi!ted aboveare fuilv tea1iJed.) But desplte itsappro# priateness toSchoenberg's: composiUonal ideals,mucturai listening, in its dev!lluation.fsound and style. invQlvesaa.ot:her$OrtofepisteInologicallimita# tion, W'hichis nownere more eVident than in theapplication ofthis methodEo Schoenberg'sownmusic. This I shall now discUss.


Twarda Deconstruction ci Sttuctutal Listening The Needfor Nonstructural Knowledge

We attach roo much ~d too little importance to sensations. We do not see that frequen.dy they affect us not merely as sensattons, but as signs or images, an.dthanheir motaleffettS also bave moral causes. -JeM~JtU:qUe$ Rousseau53 Given Adomo's idealtzadon of structurallistening, the actual eharacter of bis lll.usical writings might seem surprising, His entire outpur as a music critic can be viewed as .illuminating the irredudbility of the concrete medium oi music, Actuallv, it was onlV through such criticism that Adorno could fulfill what he sawas the cride's ptincipal obligation: to expose the destrucnve values of society as thev manifest themselves in the publie and convennonal aspeets of lI).usic.candto disentapgle music from the earrupting power and effects oEinstitUtionalideology. Thisobligatin required him to engege ineontinuous crideismof the musical medium (therebyperforming much the same service that he pralsedin Schoenberg's and Webem's recasting of 6ach's instrumentation).'" Adomo seomed the very netien of an actaal nOllideological muste. Insistence on the aonexistence of ideology in tllUSicwas tadically different for him ttom a cantinuing sensitivity Coideology as aforee to be resisted, a sensidvity that he dlscemed in the. uncompromisingstructuralintegrity of the late Beethoven quartets and Schoenberg's music. Certainly he was no less adamant than Barthes has beea in condemning as a He anyattempt by a musical "sign,"so to speak, to hid.eits:own cuttural artifidality, and to present itselfas either a socially and historically isolated abject.or an ideologieally innocent, neutral, er quasi.natUral construct, for "merely" formal analysis.55 Such self.deceptively nonideologicalanalysis was farmore consistent with the spirit of Stravinsky's Paettcs, wbicb can be shQWl'lto project a wtde range of ideologieally loaded,evenantihumanistic subt~ts.~ And, indeedtAdorno's oWl'lcriticism of Stravinslcy's music shows bimevery bit as sensitiveas more reeenr, ul'lIl).istak:ablyantiformalist critics such as Terry Eagleton to the ehasm thatseparatesnarrowly formal intentions from a purely formal character, effect. or signincanee,whether in art or incriticis.m itself.s7 Adomo's constant preoccupation withsocial ideology,then, led him to a continuous engagement with that Iayer ofmusic which he least valued, $Odto the establ~nt of an ongoing,relatively explicit oonnection between his own valuesand those of the various .cultUres represented in the composition, performance,orre<teptionaf the mUSic hediscussed. Asperhaps ~premier practitioner .in our century of eoncrete social and histGtical cridcism. who deplored systems and abstractions, Adomo set an unexcelledexample for

'Iowarda Deconsttuctionof SttuctutalListening


rhcse 6guresin eurrent litetary debau:,such as Edward Said, Fredric [amesen, Marsludl Blonsky, and Eagleton. who likewise stress the conerete social and historical responsihilitiesof criticism.58 Furthennor.e, because Adomo viewed music as a part of a historicallyopenended .context of concrete .soda! telationships, his principal focusas a crltic was not the isolatedWOtkhutthe hroader category of style, This, teo, eneoaraged him to developcriticism asa mode ofstylistic' rathet than structural analysi$,even when dealing with elements of strIlcture. In fact, what Adomo aetually didin hismusicalwritings was Stylisticcriticismof the highest caliher. Bythidmean critieism ofa kindthatbad nothingto do with the .rnerelisting ofchanacteristie musical devices buttathet demo~d thecapaclty ofarig. .t.vle\~velY.~D!lIability to findrid\ly.evocativeyetsuccinct &1id,.p~'~~'~eqt#iva. lents fot $truetural'at)d:nQ~tutat.e_.$_~),char!lndi.and;~,~ft~mdiWdual ..'~~~ ...... ,\(",." . ltis~metask_.~~~~~~,~.i~ua\dv he is~ t,() _.foti~"'\~j"J.~~.treq1iireofthe. H$t~turalanal_k~~!~'~IYused.chatt!l'and diagrams aswelt S$ tM.~o~"I~~academic$tl'UCtutal analysis; and Adotnohinlse1f_dtid~~:e1lty:W'~ thefonnalcomponents"as asign of competence in:SI:lU.<ltu.ta:llUteaiq.:Yethis ctiticism rarelvof{erss1:/.ch $igns.Ptobably this was hecauae,.fothim, stroh~ SIIlaeked100 much of ~ariti-intel1ectual~'proceedingsin wnich general.demonstrabilityof results.roatters U>re th:an theiruse tu get'totheheartof the mattet .. "sg ButdtdA@1'OOgtt tothe heartof the matter? I wouldargue thate~jfwe reject vehemendy the condusions that petvade Adomo's meraphotiaalobser . vations (a postibility aUowedbythe unusuatly honest and.explidt ptesenta(ioD. ofbis own vaJ.ues),Aclomo'ethorough t'anUliaritywiththelnU$l~he char acterize5l1S wellasthe aptne$S.andimportance of hismetaphors$virtufdly alwaysC01l6rtnedhya tecOnsideratioEl.of themuaiC in que$tion.'%e ~uine experienceof music,"Aclomowrotet "like thatofallart,is as o:newith criticism.'l6O Fqr Adomo, in fact,.ne less thartfor theOerman Romantlcsa century earliel',metaphorical critidsm ofthe characted$tics, choices,' andrelationships that emhed musiein ose.r anothersociobistotical context is not a "supplemenr," in Derrida'ssense,to the po.sses.sion of detailedstructural knowledge bot ratherthe :verymeans of getting totheheart of sudt knowledge. Now in a wayall oE this amounts to saying that thekind of structural knowledge that interests Adomoand.the Oertnan Rornanticsalike is culturallv een'\".,'.


Towatd a Decon$tr\1ction of Structural Ltstening

cretel encoUlpassing,or "replete."But here itmust be explicitly acknowledged thatthe concept of repletestrllCtunlllisllening is itself a conctete, metaphotical account ofpereeption, not a logicalprinciple. Not only does the conceptof t"eptetestructure itself pOint to a condition that is characteristiconly of music in eertain styles, and thus first toa stylistic ratller than toa structural condition'. In addition, this concept depends, no less than Sttavtnsky's chic formalistndoes, on acultunllly dettned. stylistie sensibility in the listener for itsintelligibility,persuasiveness, and usefulness. This stylistic particularity of replete structurallistening as a principlehelps explairr how this coneept can readily be misinterpreted bythose of us frem outside Adomo's culture andnot ptivy to its stylistic nuance as justifying far narrower practices of structural listening. But the fundamental sense in which Adorno's concept ef structueal Hstening as well as Schoenberg's compositional choices were both govemed by needs morestylistic thansttuCrural in character was something Adorno did not and ptobably could not recognize---any more than he could assessthe degree CO which hisown aesthetic convictionsrepresented cultural preferences,61 Nor,th~,was Adorno Willing, any more than Schoenberg was, to t1ndets~Jkewtdespread unresponsivene~ to Schoenberg's musie relativistically, .~ection ofsomething otherthan an immature unwillingness or inteUecMd:Bflipuity onthe part of the public to master the technical t:lettu.ndsof~allistening (see nete 64). Grounding structural1istening ona$Up~_AlIrSalmtiOMl.arpacityl Adomo was uttetly unable to ctiticUe as~ideal~ _ elite sodal sranding and the long yeats of education that were ordinarilYRtquJred forthe exetcise of this capacity. He could not bring himselfto ch~zeeither Sthoenbergsunpopularity Ol'nonstrueturallllodes of listeningastUnc.tions oElegitilllate differences, among listeaers, in cultutal or stylistic orlentation. Thisis.not to say that Adomo was oblivious to 3.Ctualcharacteristics and effects of his orSchoenberg's st:yle.~On theconttary, Adomo explicitly considered irreducible stylistic"difficulty1'necessaty tothe structuring and value of hoth meti's WOtk.Ftom Adorno'sstandpoint, a ~jaggedphysiQgnorny"did not onlysignify rhe resisraneeof individual wage 1:0 the conventions of ideclogy. ltwas also needed to preserve the integrity of"subcutaneous" argument from $OCial "neutralization." Such tntegrity requtred a refusal by structure to cornpromise ttself by IOsmoothing over:'as Adomo aecused Brahmsofdoing, ot by obscllting a dehumanizing COfltradictionbetween the rational Ideals of seructure and the ongoing antirational force of society, as represented in the m\l$icalllledium.63 Where Adomo's self-cemea]capacity was borh in bis atttibution

TowatdaDeconstruction f Structural Li.stening


efa Utliversalnecessity eo sodal analysis and theconviction that explained suchstyli&ticchoices, and in his inahility to imagine alternative, equally honest, styli&ticdehnitions of or solutions to the soeial problems surrounding musie, What drew Adomo to Schoenberg's rtwsic was not jUStits structural idealism but also the ugliness, by conventional standards, of its sound. But while it i8true that Adomo valued thi&ugliness for .its"negative" capacity to scorn the ideological blandi&hmentsof "affinnative<culture,"it is by no meana clear that he wouldhave been similarly~ t()iihej~ qu~ities of grunge or punkrockor Laurie Anderson'$1nl,lS~~hl. thtt.tanvthir\g could have convinced him to view ~1er.nstJ)_llf~ ofthe populat toute as Adomo.iW. ~mm~t:I~~liness beatuse he unde.rstood its eultural~ce. And._em~dthis~ifi.cance beeause he operated within .tb.e .sameset of ~rete tuttural assumptions, expectatiens, conventions, lind values that Schoenberg did. He could listen to Schoenberg's music with the advmtage ofan insider.'sknowledge,not of a universal structure, but ofa particular style. Schoenberg, teo, was inclined to distnissobjections to his style as signs ofa "childish"preoccupation with pleasure of the senses tather thaa of differences in cultutal orientation; tust as fotm sound sttipped of mean ing,so srvlefor Schoenberg is sound devoid ol "idea."64In emphaticallyreplac ing the aesthetic notionof beauWwithepistemological notionssuchas truth and knowledge as the central philosophical problem of music, Schaenberg revealed in his writit\gs the hope of weaning listeners awav ttom. sensuous preoccupatiotr..S And vet instinctively herecognized the needto.draw the listener inside his own stylistic world.Again and aglilininhis writit\gsbe explatns the nurnerous "lost" histotical origins lQdb\gthe tonal system andearlier Germm cotnpO$itiOMl~i'.hidt i~ literallyabsentfrom his worb arenevettb:ele$S~ el.~ in me conceptiQnand signlhcance of the latter,6l> Orte wouklbe:'bam:;~to6nd a COmposer whose work is more fullyand. }_lv~ .byeleu.tentsof Derrida's "trace"-or fot that matter actitiewa.. iAtelligihitity depends morethm. Adomo's does ona knowledge of .ab&ent:. subtexts. In both Case8, these traces anti sobtexts consist precisely in ideas and values dettned ina surrounding culturalcontext. Thev are functions notof a literallypresent struetute but ofa mere open-ended style. Both Schoenberg's workand thal' of Adorno provide massive evidence of the degtee to which the.communication ofideas depends on conerete cultural knowledge, and on the power of signs to convey a dchty of meaning through a vadet)' of cultural relationships.67Their work

mais. " .,


sup~ tbe.thesisthatstyleisn<>t extrirtsicto stt'UCtUteootratherdefinenhe conditions roractual .sttuctural possibilities,Btld that structuteis perceived as a function ostyle more than as itsfoundation. Even inacrude sense Iwould argue that if we.QTe foreed in musicalanalysisto grab hold of one end or ehe otherof the dialectic between a style and a structuferhatare alwaysaffecting each other, it. makes most sense to de6.nethe :eotnposers Stllrting point. a& his or her enttance into.apreexisting musital >style. Certainly suchanation ha$ large currency inourown cultute, a cliah~("themedium.,is themessage")no doubt accounts inlarge measure ror our perception of Stravinslc:yasmore modem (ioe.,lessdated) thanSchoenberg.6a And.cettainly fOfthose\\'ho begin interpretingeither Schoenberg's or Adorno's work irom thevantage, p.'>mcofa ttylooc outSider, any relatively abstract:.'stroeturally rational argumen.tls likel, to c:onstitute not the mostoot the leasucCleSSible parameterofmeming. Thisis precisely thesitu.ation thatconttOt'lts us withany culturall, dist:an.t music..Dtd medieval music, for insta:nc.e,onc:e detine structurallythe va1ue and power of'individuality?Perhapsitwouldbe .11U!I6t accurate tollaythattoo muehdistance front thewealth ofassociationsthat eaee informedmedieval ~ prevents us from BtlSweringthis question. condusively. Tothe elCten.t tht our perception of.medieval cultureand its S'ignsremains., what anthropol~ ogists eall ~etk"-!tbati$,external andmerely physic:al)ratherthan "emic" <that .is.internaland literate),weare not in a position to view indi~ities of$trUCtUre. es signifvmg much mOfethan. a stylisticaberration..6? (Why arewe somuch,more in.din.edto apply the namef'Mannerism" toearty than. torecent artisticstylest) .Certainlythe kindsoftnedieval musical "structur~" that GUr cultureaUowsus toperceive arenothing like the systemofrelationships that Adorno's stfUcruralllstenlng wauld have us graspfrom withi1\. Eversi~ ehe crystallization ofthe notion of "Art"in the earlv" century, itha&becotneatruismiofWesrern culture that the.proper evaluation of anystfUctu.reas\'Art" requires ~perspec:tive oftime. And tn acult~ that expUcitlyallowsindividualst $Ich as alter the conventional cUltutl tneanin.g&of signiners,sometimelapSftundoobtedly is requited ft afuUonder . standmg of thealmed medium. Sv this titne,howevet, it hat!probably already (or mere lik:ely,as Derrtda ltkestosay, "alwaysalready")70becotneimpossible to understand the fuIl import efthose changesatthe timethey weremade, ot henee, te claitn artinsider's accessto arguments structured within thatnte~ drum. Sy thiSpointi as Hildesheimer suggestsin his biography ofMowtt ettV aal aspects ofanorlginal signincanee have become unrecoverableP The lW tener isalready heating overtonesof intervening knowledge and e*pet'ience,

Toward a Deconstruction ofStructural Listening


which drown out; or "erase" various responses that could have originally been intended or anticipated, while adding others. This condition of difference and delay, which Derrida has termed "differance," calls increasing artennon over time or distance to the irreducibility of style, both in its concrete physicality -'and in the ever-changing face it presents to new contexts of interpretation, as a source of signification.F In. other words, the more culturally distant the music is,_the more inescapably aware we become of its style-of its style as a barrier to understanding, and also as a condition of any structural perceptions we may form." The overtones of which I speak are in actuality so inseparable from a11communication, even within a single culture, as to suggest themselves as essential to the very possibility of comrmmication; without the possibility of misreading, as some poststructuralists have argued, reading itself becomes an inconceivable act. And such a situation seems nowhere more explicitlv to obtain _ than when we are faced with interpreting an object that to most of us seems as directly dependent on the concreteness of a medium as music does, or as powerful in its ability to express, project, or evoke a good deal besides a commitment to its own logic. Invoking our own cultural disposition to label certain music "Art" after a time lapse is no proof of an acquired ability to hear musical structure in its original sense. If anything, the use of this label probably signifies the degree to which we remain excluded as interpreters from the original inner dynamic of most music, What limits the application of structurallistening to Schoenberg's music is not the technical difficulty of this method but its misdirectedness. For most listeners, the barriers of Schoenberg's style, which in many ways seem to simulate a condition of great cultural distance, are simply too formidable to be penetrated and discounted as secondary by a focus on structure. Most listeners stand a chance of becoming engaged by Schoenberg's music only in the sense . that by gaining sufficient access to the usages and characteristics of his style they might come to recognize its affinities with their own twentieth-eenturv cultural experience (much as they recognize such affinities when contemporary music accompanies a film). According to the Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhrin, theories of literature thar take into account only those aspects of style conditioned by fundamentally formal demands for comprehensibility and clarity, while ignoring the culturally interactive aspects of style, "take the listener for a person who passively understands but not for one who actively answers and reacts."74 Applied to music generally, such an argument would suggest that structural listening reinforces not active engagement but passivity on the part of the


TowaJrll\ ~trUCtion

of Sttuctural Listening

li6tener, suppressing aninclination to participatein some sott of active dia,. logue with nw.sic.And apped speeincally to twentieth~centuty tn\1Sicsuch as Schoenberg's,. this argument suggests mat nly sornething akin to "stylistic listenmg~ would pertnit eontetnprary listeners to exercise any prerogatives mev might have as eultural insiders. Such argument acerds with myown observation mats\lc.h prerogativescan be exercised in relation .ee twentiem .. centuryartmQSic. and wim consi.derable insight. As I have noted elsewhere insorne detail. lhave found thatcollege st\ldents almost invatiabLy write more perceptively a.ndattic\lLately abo\lt the "diffic\llt" cotttemprary musie they hearatconcerts.than aboutanv other style of Westetn attm\1Sio-once meV have allowed theuuelves te fecus on .aspects otherman .such a cOOlposi" tion,!s struetural cohesiveness.15 Butthis .isprecisely the poiat. Of allmethods. stnIctutallistening, even in its "replete'l version., seems the least useful for entering mesemiOtic domain sound. andstvle..Carriedto its logical conellJSion . this tnethod in all its ver- an exdU$ive Ol' even es the primaty paradigin for listening. cannot de4nemuch ofa pbSitiVeoole ror society, style,otultimately even sound in tat! reception ofmusic. Discounting tne~horical and aftective responsesbased on. culturl\lassoc.iation, personal experlence, andUnaginative pla:yas at best ~ndIttv . 1\Otcm1yin m\1Sicalpereeption but also in thetbeoretiqal accounts we R'Udre of such pereeption, this methtldallows virtuallyno. reoognitionco nonstr\l(:tural varieties of meaning or emotion in the actof listening. Since these are,. of .~ .precisdy the varieties favored by the overwhelmmg lQjorityofpeQpltl.ittI.J<:tum listening byitselft:t.:lJ:1lSoot te be sociallrdivt.sive.notonlVinwl-tat it demands,OOt also in what it exdudes brsuppresses. Such. divisiveheSS hy n' means necessatiiyserves ehe best interestsofmusk. Indeed, eo theextent that &trUCturaLlistening bmckets offthe heNiOll$of tllusicthat evenspecialiSt:s have, itUl\llecessarilv limits the beaents of musical~u~tion.,a palnttQ which I shallreturn: in my eoncl\1Sion. Stylistie. knowledgeis tO .sotne extent intuitive, OOt t:his is by ne tneans a fat:a1epistemologicalliability. Tosay.this is only to admittheinatguable--that the vel'Y .act of getting co lmow m\1SicbegiN with an extrQ.orational apprehen .. sWn.of'$OUUd~dalso: ee .1ll'gUe. t:hat alt ofthemU&icallcnowledge weacquire is (QI',~tobe) aprocess of confuming,modifying,or tejecting mat appre .. hefi$ion.tbtough rational. modes of thought. Inomer words, ehe rational sub<$.tnmlmof l\1Stcallmowledge mts finally on sorne .act, ehoice, orpfinciple mat is notitseif rationally detnonstrable. It bas been,'argued mat t:hisis thecondition ofalI knowledge.76 I find mis argument persuasivej buteven ifonedoesnot, there can be little question.that


Toward a Deconstruction

of Strootural Listening


in music, where we hegin with asound that can to some extent be analyzed into a style and a structure, intuition is epistemologically valuahle and in many respects indispensahle. Certainly without such lntuirion (honed always bVfact) there woutd be no hope of distinguishing responsihly hetween music that resisrsideologicaldeception and music \:hat 5elbshlyrefusesto partieipate In. the disoourse of society. No antount of fotmal analysis bVitself ceuldever artiveat a rational basisfor making such a distinetion. And vet the distinction is worm making, or at least attempting. Bur this is notaU. To place emphasis in listening and analysison sound and style as prior to musical strueture dees not abselve the setious critie from a need for rigorous, self-critical discipline in the developmentofcritical methods or of a criticallanguage. Such an emphasis does not remove the historica1 responsibility of trying tosort out the meaning and valuesthat may have been initially imprinted orsuh5equendy impo$ed on a composition, even if,as I believe, this ean bedone onlY through some sort of dtalecncal interacncn with the preset1t, history heing !lt10W" as well as "then," Likewise, such an emphasis doeilnot tenlOve theneed foran exacting examinationof one's response tn the~ot,mdw:nas<a function of one's own tastesand prejudices-eventh~iti$~~,_ethat theinescapable hli.ndness of which Faul deMllttWj."JS:mtethan anythtngelseabli:t\dniessto OUt own stylisticl~~tliQl\,ourlm~'Nevmbe_ althbugh such an .. ~ ~~~~~:~,~~.~ analysisofone~own~~lI~~ __ one's own bisses, or a~ ~~_~'~~~Jiar stylistic domain. '. .' .. .... "c,';"'){?';',,'-i,;,;, {'.,." Nor, on the other hand,d~~~"I8IJ-{~ki"~~~1Z from what lseeas an ongoing,~~~~,,~~,~ys.of investigating andassessing the"'1'_~"';JJ.f __ ~4is" cemed in music. The desirahilityofculuat~,oot'tlt~ us, evet1at the level of theory, to a pO&itivt$tk;~.t_lftmanmusi" cal styles should not exclude'U$_~_d~ the moral issuespose<! hy Wagner' or fromlli~.~ ,;theovertones of prejudice in the Bach Fassiot1S oreven The~~,.M~et~ $Uchan emphasisshould aceblind tiS to ehe widM'anging~oosofdi~c:ompositionalchoices; whether these c:hoicesinVQlveaum.teritical acceptance of extantconventions andconditionsora total, even'nareissisttic disregard for either the needs of an audience er a public interest inmusic. It shotdd not render os unwilling to analyze the implications, hoth literal and symbolic:,ofthe metaphorical characteritations to which diseipltnederinctsm leads us. And


although such an emphasis doesquestionan uncritical reverencefor sttuctural autonomv. or even cotnplexity, 0. self,justifying virtues, it does not deny the importance of trying tp understand as fully as possible the ongoing dialectical interaction between styli$tic m~ anti possibilities on the one handand structural choices on the other. Such an emphasis does require a constant effort to recognize and .intetpret relationships between the elements of a musical configuration and the history, conventions, technology, social conditiollS; charac.teristic patterns, responses, and values of the various cultures involved in thatmusic. Andsuch an eft'ott altnost invariablyrequites a \Vlingness to recogMe at least.the possibiliry of 'SOmepositive value in the kinds of itntnediate.though oftendif:fuseand frag,,setUethatsound.and style havefor nearly all m\,JSicallisteners. Thts is a recogn.itionthat.Adorno and even &hoe.nberg. despite his wistful desIre to be likedand eve.n despite various eft'orts to defend his own intuitions,cannot pennit}7 In part they cannot permir it because judgment on groundsofstyle, without attempts to understand assoetated particularities of argument;canbe ~. to ;usti'fv an. unlimited trrationalism in human interactioni Though 1 dispqtethe ptiotity of structure in communication, I00 not d~y the notionof muctute t the Vlllueofefforts to gJve8 rational account of the .dialectic betWeettmediqm andsti:ucture-if. thatis, those efforts are morally aswellas intellectually tigorousin tbe sense of beinggenqinelyself~ritical. FOI;' ether .. wise .the ~jbility of.anotherabuse ari$es:stylistic biases that are dented tatherthanc<mfronted .. Qln smuggle their way'into osten.8iblyrational objec. ~to$ttUctutalJogic. This,.too, is a form of itrationalism. But.thereis .asecondreason. for the refusal ofSchoenbergand AdornQ to "~veviJh.le .tQ. d'l.ent;usical medium. A medium, as the word implies. t~to ~lU<4ethtt~on;conttol. and tosom.e exte.nt even the coascioes a~(lfan, SiAgleindividual who tnakes use of it.Thus, valuingthe medmm. pf musicteo.d&toremove the individual from thecenter of music. Sucha tende.ncy in turn tnakesclea.tthe vulnel$bilityof music. and music ~ttcism~ to a conditio.n cf COtnlllUN<;ativeconti.ngeficy and, even WQr&e for these mea, ofwhat Itnigh~callmoral indetennirtacv. The mability to count~ .nance. suchmoralindererm,ina<:y rnay bethegreatest inteUectual weakness of their p()$ition. A wiUingness to entertain moral indeterminacYinmusic criticisnt itwolves not jU5t arecognition of the incompletenessof any sing)eintetpretatiQO-; whichAdomo. in his exquisite sensiti'rity todle dynamic charaeter ofhi$tory, surel,. has. It also involves acknowledging the possibility oflimits owo. IllQl"tllcertainties,78 Il'l music C1'iticism thismeans acknowledgingthe PQten'

Toward a Deconstruction

of Structural Listening


tiallv positive as weH as negative aspects of human experience that enable every listener, culture, and generanon to interpret, and even to perceive and identify, differently the particular elements through which metaphorical distinctions are formulated between something called "structure" and something called "style." This means acknowledging the ability of any listener to regard as highlighred "foreground" elements of music that others have dismissed or ignored as inconsequential "background," And it therefore means acknowledging the posslbilitv of legitimate differences in the ultimately moral values that can be ascribed to the same music. It is precisely this sott of eternal indeterminacy that constitutes the poststructuralist concept of "text," (There may even be some cultural significance to the choice of opposing metaphors, in this connection, by Adorno-and Schenker-on the one hand, and the poststructuralists on the other: whereas for the former the principal bearer of meaning is the subcutaneous layer, not the surface, of a construct, for the lauer, inter, pretation focuses on the foreground rather than looking through it.) But in any event, it is precisely such indeterminacy that Schoenberg tries to forestall by marking certain musical voices "Hauptstimme" (principal voice) or "Nebenstimme" (principal subsidiary voice). Such a tactic is tellingly futile, for even such explicir stage directions cannot guarantee that the listener will be able, even with strenuous effort, to share the composer's own perception of a structure. The struggle of humans to live together is thoroughIy pervaded by honest as weH as dishonest dlfferences in the perceptions on which interpretations are built, The reluctance to acknowledge such indeterminacy characterizes and Um, its not only Schoenberg's and Adorno's concept of structurallistening but also the many versions of this concept that focus more narrowly on suWO$edly "fixed" musical structures. This limits the capacity of current formalistic educational methods to develop a new paradigm for the relationship between musical responsibilitv and society. As one counterbalance to such limitations, the poststrucnrralist perspective is surely useful, and it is interesting to note that Roland Barthes has given explicit attention to the reintroduction oE affect into both musical listening and performance.P And it may weH be a recognition of such limitations that has led an increasing number ofWestem composers in recent years to reject ideals of structural autonomy, and to concentrate instead on a redeflnition of the musical medium as replete with connections to many elements in the cultures of the twentieth century.8O In concluding, I would like to note a few of the ways in which my own education in structurallistening has convinced me of its limitations. My first secend


Toward a Deconstruction

of Structural Listening

language was Roman numerals, In my college harmony course, use of the plano was forbidden. Whereas scoreless listening was unheard of in mv university education, soundless keyboards were fairly common, As a rausie major I was required to take a course on Beethoven and pressueed to take a seminar on Bach; onlynonmajors were advised to study Italian opera, Performance was-never a matter forseriousintellectual analysis in mv education(except as it pertained to the authenticity of early performance praettee). In numerous seminars on early music I ttahSCribed reams 'of manuSCtipts, ofwhich I never hearda note er discussedthe musical value. As a music major, and later asa teacher, listening to serarehed and otherwise dreedful monophonie recordings, I developed a strategy of listening that I have never entirelv shaken, wherebyl mentally "eorrect" for inadequacies of sound or performance that distraet from my structural ccncentratton. These experiences, if not universaUy shared bV musicologists of mv generation, are not, I believe, altogether exceptionaI. Yet I am not at all sure that any of thisstructural diseipHne has made me a more competent listener than my btother, who travelseight hotltS a weekte the opera hauses ofNew York to hum the tunes and listen to certain sopranos. I'm not even sure matthe composers whose works I teaeh would necessartly prefer me asa listener. ' I have heard it argued that Structural listening is beneficial because ir requitesrepeated liStenings to thesame worle, But even ifrepeated listening is con.s.idered an unqualified good~in fact, it may exaet some cast in terms of a !ivingmusical cultute'--<ioesstructurallistening reallv produce the illusion of an ongoingactiveprocess of composition? Or does Ir rather confi.rm the pasSivity implicitin Btltthes'sense that "'being modem.' [is] but thefull realitation that oae cannot begin to wtite the same works once again"?-) To this sadfi.aal. ity that Barthes assoctates with the analysis of d<>sed "works." he opposes the "pleasure" of enjoyingthe open"ended"text."~ Is it the "plot" ol' the sensuous momen:t that draws us bade again aad again to the same music? (Are wemore likely torevisit an Agatha Chtistie mystery novel or an Alfred Hitchcock movie [not tomentionan Astail'e ..Rogersmusical]1) Are mete notambiguities and dynamics .m music of whieh we strueturalliSteners, as well as ordituU'y Hsteners,are in some fundamental sense aware, but to whieh we alone do not allow least in oUt professional mode,a full response 783 Is It not sig nificant that I, today, with sll my specialit:edtraining, find myself virtuallv tlliterate with respect to the principal musieal media of my own culture, those of electronic audio and video? If the Western dialectic ofstruetute and medium isstill with us, should we


not be trying in the classroem to develop intellectually rigorous.waysofanaly:tmgsound and style as weUas sttucture] Is it not po$$iblethat encouraging lessdependence en the score whenwe listen. and on waysof perceiving that thessere itself suggests.tnight help us to developnew andrieher waYIi of speaking about mosic? And might nOt such aneXpanded lan.guage enhance eVenour eonception ofhowStfUcture opetates. andwhat itsignifies, in music! 11:1.the end, the cone.ept of structtttallistening,de$pite the rigarous CONis.tency with which Schoenberg and Adomo sought to define it, is deeply flawed by inconsistencies between what it promises and what it delivers. Designed to proteer musie as a preserve of individualintegtity wimin society, and mereby ultimately to contribute to the betterment of the individual's postnon within society, this concept in Schoenherg's and Adomo's version hegs off its secial responsibilities no less than the stylistic snobbishtl.essof Stravinsky's formalism does. Becausethey make no effort to Overtome the cultursl narrownessof their own convietions. me distinetions Schoenberg and Momo draw between "rq:>letestntcture" 'andmedium can be used to justifythe Sa~ results that Stravmsky's doctr~ . tm~. the .adherence to. a positivistic and socia!lynarrow concept offcmtt~,,~practices of sttucturallistening thatfallbetween the extreme~~,~~ bythesemasters. Onlvsomemusics.ttivesfar~;~'~~i~'~_.'~ a .style. Onlv same peaple listen $tructuratl~,;~~~~~l~~u<>nal mosie. These chatact~:~ ,..' . ~~ . or immutablebut as diverse, unstable, andope.~ '~' oi con. texts in whichmusicdennes itself. And yetrme"" .' ...~~emd uP to us by acknowledging ehe bases ofthisindeterndP.~Yil$thf:~tion for our conceptf musie is far more encoll\pass.ingthanthe dotnaththatthe supposedly universal prlndple of struetural listening can hope tO contro} without violating er exceeding Itself. For whereas a restnetten of knowledge to detertninatestructures provides no access to erueial aspects of music as It takes part in histoty and as itis actuallv elCperienced,an admission of those aspeccs as the starting point of tn.usicalknowledge precludes neither a eoneomitant analysiSf structureno.r an extension of rational thinldng t an ever-greaterarea oE thac domain oEexperience wnere the signincanceand value of musicare ultilnatelv, andcontinuously, denned. All of us who studytn.usiCare caugh.tin the Westetndialectic. To an exeene, alt olus in the West 'who studyanything aee caught in that dialectic. Against thevalueswe can protect. by insulating abstractmodes ofthinking fromthe contingenciesof concreteexperienee. wehaveto measurethe risle.wellsymbolized bySchoenbetg's paradoxical easeer, ofcoatsening through over-


Toward a Deconstruction

of Sttuctural Listening

reu.nement oursensitivity to other responsibilities of knowledge, But music ffers a specialopporrunity to learners, for it confronts us always with the actualtty of a medium that remains stubbomly resistant to strategies of abstract reduction. Inthis respect, it provides an ideal laboratory fot testing the fot .. malistic elaims of any knowledge against the limits of history and experience, Td ignore such an opportunity is to handicap musical stUdy needlessly, andto cnsignmusic itself to a status of seclal irrelevancythat it does not deserve.

Notes to Chapter 3


here remains congenial to what Eric Hoffsten, one of my brightest Brown students, once called my own "ragjng humanism," I cannot denv that many of my colleagues have moved into a postmodemist perspective that no langer values this vision. 169. Quoted by Trilling, Sincerity, p. 133. Since Trilljng himself feels obligedar this point to defend Kunz's own last wotds from the charge that they are "a characterization of imperialism, " I shoukl stress thatit is Trllljng, not Kunz, who moves me here. Still, we should not desist from exploring the degree to which Western liberal ideals of the subject are inextricable from Western imperialist ideologies. (And may have been so from their inception: on "the interconnectedness of imperialism and democracyin landend Athens," see Garry Wills, Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America [New York, 1992], p. 296, note 2, and also p. 212.) See also my note on Edward Said and Joseph Conrad, chapter 1, note 96.

3. Toward a DeconstmetWn of Structural Ustening: A Critique of Schoenberg, Adomo, antI StTavinsky

1. Quoted in Oliver Strunk, ed., Source Readings in Music Hlstory (New York, 1950), p. 743. The passsge.conrinues, "In this sense jean Paul, with a poetic companion-plece, can pethapa COJ:ltribute more to the understanding of a symphony or fantasy by Beethoven without evmspeaking of the music, than a dozen of those lirtle critics of the arts who lean their ladders against the Colossus and take ib exact measuremmb." A slighdy differeJ:lt version of the present chapter appeared earlier inEugene NaQIlOUt andRuth A. Solie, eds., Explorations in Music, the Ans, and ldeas: Essa-ys in Honor of LecmardB. Me:yer (Stuyvesant, N.Y., 1988), pp. 87-122. 2. Oliver Sacks, The Man WIw Mistook His Wife for a Hat anti Other Clinical Tales (New York, 1985), pp. 120, 140-41. 3. On Nieesche see Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's preface to her translanon of jacques Derrida, OfGt-ammatology (Baltimote, 1976),pp. xxix-xxxiii, 4. See "The Challenge of Contemporary Music" in my earlier collection of essays, Developing Variations: Style anti llk%gy in Western Music (MmneIlPOHs. 1991), pp. 265.95. 5. On "supplemenr" see Demda, Of ~, pp. 141-64. and Jonathan Culler, On Deconstruction: Theory andCriticismafter SlniCtUfalism(lthaca,J982), pp. 102,,(;. 6. See especially Amold Schoenberg, Style and ldea, ed. Leonard Stein (Berkeley, 1984), pp. 120-21 and 377-82, and Theodor W. Adorno, Imroduction ro the Soci%gJ of Music, trans. E. B. Ashtan(New Yod, 1976), pp. 4-5. Schoenberg's reference to "idea" is on pp. 122-23 of his book. (All subsequent references to Schoenberg as an author are to Stylt and ldea; for reasons of spare, tides of individual articles in that collection will not be cited.) 7. On the row see, for example, the letter from Schoenberg quoted in Amold Whittall, Schoenberg ChambeT Music (London, 1972), p. 46; Theodor W. Adorno, "Amold Schoenherg 1874-1951," Prisms, trans. Samuel and Shierry Weber (London, 1967), p. 167; and Charles Rosen, Amold SchoenbeTg (New York, 1975), p. 78. 8. See especially T. W. Adomo, "The Radio SytlIphony," Radio Research. 1941, ed, Paul E Lasarsfeld and FtankN. Starnon (New York, 1941),pp. 128-33. 9. Leo Treuler, "Mozart and the Idea of Absolute Music," Music anti the Historicallmagination (Cambridge, Mass., 1989), p. 185. 10. On phenomenology see T. W. Adorno, Philosoph-y ofModem Music, trans. Anne G. Mitchell and Wesley V. Blomster (New York, 1973), pp. 136,139-42. 11. Eduard Hanslick, TM Beautiful in Music, ed, Morris Weit%,trans, Gustav Cohen (.Indian:.wolis. 1957), p. 66. See also pp. 50, 122, etc., for the notion of"replete" form. Fot a more recent translation of HaI:lslick's work, see Geo{{rey Pa~ trans. and ed., On riteMusicall, Beautiful: A Contribwtion rowards the ReWion of rlteAe$thetic ofMusic (Indianapolis, 1986). A mare scholarly enrerprise man


Notes to Chapter 3

the Weitz-Cohen edition, Payzant's version provides a great deal of useful explanation and supplementarv historical material. I have read both editions carefuIly and compared them to the ninth revised edition of Hanslick's original German version (Vom Musikalische-Schnen: Ein Beitrag zur RwisWn deT Aeslhetik deT Tonkunst [Leipzig, 1896]). Because I find Cohen's rranslation itself (though it is less literal) clearer and more helpful in understanding Hansliek, I shaU eite page references to that edition tirst, with the eitations to Payzant'S edition in parentheses. (To the pages cited at the starr of this note, the corresponding pages in Payzant's edition are 42 ("Something spontaneous, spiritual, and therefore incalculable"], 30 ["fiIled" instead of"replete"], and 122 ["fulfilled" instead of"replete"]. The German word translated by "replete" is erfa/lte, pp. 79 and 213 in the German edition.) 12. Robert Schumann, "A Symphony by Berlioz," in Hector Berlioz, Fantasr:ic S:pnphony, ed. Edward Cone (New York, 1971), pp. 232 (quoting Ernst Wagner), 233. 13. On "trace" see Spivak, rranslator's preface toOfGrammaro!ogy, pp. xv-xviii, and Culler, On Deconstruction, pp. 94-96 and 99. On Hanslick see Carl Dahlhaus, Eslher:ics of Music, trans. William W. Austin (Cambridge, 1982), pp. 52-57; and also Carl Dahlhaus, Between Romanticism and Modemism: Fovr Stvdies in Ihe Music of Ihe Later Nineteemh Century, trans. Mary Whitrall (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1980), p. 38: "Hanslick was opposed to metaphvsics Independent ofHegel as he claimed to be)." (though not as

14. Schoenberg's writings, to be sure, invoke the inteIlectual tradition far less explicitly than Adomo's do, and his notion of the potential relationships between rausie and politics is considetably less sophtsncated than Adomo's (see especiallv Schoenberg, pp. 249-50). On the other hand, his exclusion of cultural associations (ibid., pp. 377-78) as weIl as semantic content (pp. 126-27) from musical autonomy does not differ from Adomo's ideal of autonomy, and he considers sttucture implicitly expressive (see ibid., pp. 257 and 415-16). See also this chapter, notes 34 and 47. 15. See Schoenberg, pp. 253 and 220; and Igor Stravinskv, Poelics of Music in Ihe Form of Six Lessons, rrans. Arthus Knodel and lngolf Dahl (Cambridge, Mass., 1970), chaprer 2, pp. 23-24 and27; chapter 3, p. 49, and chapter6, p. 17. (All references to Srravinskywill beto this work.) In my earlier published version of this essay, I referred to an earlier edition of Srravinsky's Poetics (New York, 1960)by the same translators, The two translarions are identical, but the pagination unfortunately differs. In the present version, I mall provide chapter numbers for each reference, with the pages for the older edition in parentheses. Where the passage in question may not be instantly identitiable, I shall also provide some key words from Srravinsky's text, (The corresponding references in the older edition tO the pages cited above are 2: 23-24 and 28; 3: 50; and6: 124.) 16. On taste or caprice see Schoenberg, p. 247, and Stravinsky, 3: 54 and 63 (55 and66) and 4: 73 (75). See also this chapter, notes 28-31. On necessity and objectivity, see Schoenberg, pp. 53, 133, 220,244, 256,407,432, and 439; and Srravinsky, 2: 32 (33: "true solidarity") and 35 (37); 3: 47 (47),61-62 (64), and 64-65 (67-68); and 6: 127 (133: "freedom in extreme rigor"). See also this chapter, notes 30 and 78. For Stravinsky on sttucrural processes of listening see Stravinsky, 2: 24 (24) and 6: 133-34 (140). 17. For example, Schoenberg, pp. 257 and 285, and Srravinsky, 3: 48-49 (48-50) and 4: '86-87 (90). On necessity, see rliis volume, chapter 2, note 9. 18. See Schoenberg, pp. 127 and 254 (see also below, note 44); and Stravinsky, 3: 47-48 (48: ''utilitarianism," "rightness") and 4: 86 (90: ''face value"). 19. See Schoenberg, pp. 50, 104, and 135, despite, for example, 215 on comprehensibility: and Stravinsky, 5: 102-3 (106-7: "end in itself") and 6: 131-32 (137-38: "mere opinion," "public taste"), despite 4: 75-76 (78) on usefulness. 20. See my essay "Adomo's Diagnosis ofBeethoven's Late Style: Early Symptom of a FaralCondition," in Develcpin.g Variations, pp. 37ff.; also Martin Jay, The Dialectical Imagination: A Histery of

Notes to Chapter 3


the Frankfurt Schooland the Institute o{Social Research, 1923-1950 (Boston. 1973), p. 179. See also this chapter, note 33. 21. Elliot Hurwitt, who was a candidate for the M.A. in music at Hunter when he studied withme. 22. Onempirical process see Sttavinsky, for example.I. 4 (4: "do or make"), 7 (8), and 12 (13); 3: 50-56 (51-57), including 53 (54-55: "invent," "lucky find," "stumble upon") and 55 (57: "grub about"); and Epilogue: 140 (145: on the "search for sensation" and its Iimits). On crafr see 3: 51 (53: "homo fabd'); 4: 75-76 (78);and 6: 132 (138: "converse of improv~tion"). See also this chapter, note 29. 23. See especially Sttavinsky, 4: 84-85 (87-88), on the use of various.sources anti materials as needed. 24. This is so despite Sttavinsky's shared preference with Schoenberg fot "evoludon" over "revolution" (see Schoenberg, pp, 91. 270.409, and passim, and Sttavinsky, 1: 10-11 [11-13. The "beautiful continuity" of histoty as Stravinsky describes it (4: 71-72 [73-74]) is actually characterized by considerable discontinuity (and not just because, unlike Schoenberg's concept ofhistory, it rejects ehe notion of progress). Compare also Sttavinsky on posttonal chotds that "throw off constrainr to become new entines free of all ties" (3: 38 [4Oll aruB4-35 (36-37, a passage that accepts dissonance "because it's there," so to speak) to Schoenberg on his own relanon to tonaliry (pp. 256 and 283-84). See also this chapeer, text leading to note 66. On Sttavinsky'sopendogmatism see Sttavinsky, 1: 5-6, 8 and 16 (5-7, 9,andJ8), and 2: 25 (25: "lnstinct is infallible"), though see also this chapter, note 78, on Schoenberg's dogmatic certainty. 25. The single paragraph appeats in Stravinsky,2: 37 (39-40), despite a constanc emphasis on rightness and on rulesthat are never specified (fQr example, 2: 24 [25J and 3: 48 (48I, both on "rightness"; and 3: 65 [68-69: "arbittariness of the constraint," "rules"]). 26. Fot example, Snavinsky, 2: 42-43 (46),4: 77 (79), and 6: 125 (130). 27. Ir is interesting to note that Stravinsky's famous description of ehe "realm of necessity" that delivers rum from ehe "ahvss of fteedom" gives a prioriry over rules [0 "solid and concrete elements" ofsoundand rhythm (3:63-65 [66-69]). See chapter 4, onAllan Bloom, notes 67 and157. The convergence of Sttavinsky's empiricism (see this chapter, note 22) and Milton Babbitt's vision of music~ifically, his erstwhile call on universities to s\lbsIdize new rausie as a form of quasi-sctentific research-reinforces the sense that these two men share a n,le of objectivity. no matter how different their rnethods of composinon, For .Babbitt's proposal.see "Who Cares if You Listen?" (1958), reprinted in The American Composer Speoks: A HistoricalAmlwloeJ, 1770-1965, ed, Gilben Chase (Baton Rouge, 1966), pp. 242-43. AllUhstantial portion of this essay, which Babbitt considered entitling "The Composer as Specialist," is repriated QY Piero Weiss and Richard Tatuskin in their collecnon Music in the WesfmI Worid: A History in Documen.ts (New Yolk, 1984), pp. 529-34. 28. For his elitism see, fot instance, Sttavinsky, 3: 56 (57-58: "acq\lired culture, " "innate taste"), and 6: 133 (139-40). Intetestingly, whereas metaphorsof taste are usually.employed in a derogatorv sense by Schoenberg ("spicy" as opposed to functional dissonances, p. 247) and Adomo ("culinary listening," "Schoenberg," Prisms, p. 154, and "c\llinary menrs," ~, p. 126), Sttavinsky revels in such imagery ("appetite," "60w of saliva," "kneading ehe dough," 3: 51 [51-52J; see also 2: 24 [24: "appetite"]; and see this chapter, notes 30 and 78). Thisdifference is consistent withAdorno's characteristic denignltion of musie as a "consumer" good. See also Pierre Boulez, Notes of an Apprenticeship, trans, Herben Weinstock (New Yon, 19(8), pp. 249-50, on Sttavinsky's "hedonism, " and this chapter, notes 31 and 68. 29. See Stravinsky, 1: 10 (l2). See also note 30. On Schoenbergsee this chapter, notes 50 and 64. 30. Especially relevant here is Stravinsky's invocation, 1: 6 (7), "I shall call upon your fa:ling and your taste for order and disciphne," See also this chapter, notes 16 and 78; Adomo, PItOOwph" p, 140 andpassim on Stravinsky and "specialization"; and Schoenberg,pp. 387-88.




to Chapter

31. "The tradirion of German music-as it includes Schoenberg-has been characrenzed since Beethoven, both in the positive and the negative sense, by the absence of taste" (Adomo, Philosoph." pp. 153-54). Adomo contrasts this absence of taste favorably with "the primacy of taste" in Stravinsky's music (ibid., p. 154), though he does concede that Stravinsky's taste, as opposed to that ofhis followers, involves a "power of renunciation"and a "perverse joy in self-denial" (Ibid., p. 153). At this moment indeed, though citing Hegel's suppen for the view that taste is super6.cia~ metely private, and rberefore ltmited in value, Adomo nevertheless admits that "toa very large degree, taste coincides with the ability to refrain from tempting artistic means" (ibid., p. 153). This observation links Stravinsky's taste, at least, with Schoenbetg's ascetic antitaste, which Adorno praises for its maturity (see this chapter, notes 48, 63, and (4). Ir also evokes the refusal of comfott that Trilling (see this volume, chaprer 1, notes 28 and 63) associates with authenticity, a term that actually figures in this passage by Adorno (p. 153). (See also this volume, chapter 4, note 116.) At the same time Adorno's reference, however proud, to both positive and negative aspects of the German absence of taste, like his criticism of Schoenberg's lack of discrimination in his choice of texts, as in "Schoenberg," Pmms, pp. 162-63, points a bit uncharacteristically to stvlistic limitations in Adorno's own culture. See this chapter, notes 61, 63, and 68, and also 77; and pp.166-67, the text connecting references to notes 63 and 64. See also Schoenberg, p. 247, on the "dictatorship of taste." 32. Adorno, Sociology, p. 197. See also rhis volume, chapter 2, note 14. Of intetest is Bakhnn's related assertion that "insight also involves a value judgment on the novel, one not only attistic in the narrow sense bur also ideological-for there is no artistic understanding without evaluation"; see Mikhail M. Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination, 00. Michael Holquist, trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist (Austin, 1981), p. 416, note 65. 33. Though Adorno regularly uses the term "ideology" in its negative Marxist sense, he does specifv that "it is not ideology in Itself which is untrue but rather its pretension to correspond to reality" ("Cultutal Ctiticism and Society," Pnsms, p. 32). See also this chapter, text leading to note 20; this volume, chapter 2, notes 14 and 17, and chapter 4, note 146. 34. The quotations come from Style and Iclea, pp. 454 and 450 (both on Mahlet). See also ibid., pp. 75, 215, 254-57, 321, 438; and Rosen, Schoenberg, p. 100; and thts chapter, notes 43 and 77. Schoenbergs notions here can be contrasred with the formalistic nature of the underlying "appetite" evoked by StravinSky (1: 2+{24]). 35. Fot example, Schoenberg, pp. 101, 102, 104, 114-17, 246, 257, 266-67, and 414-15; and Adomo, "Schoenberg," Prisms, p. 152 (Schcenberg's music is "structutal down to the last tone"), and p. 168 (on "the task cf eliminating the apocryphal elements in rwelve-tone technique"). Nonredundancy indicares a need not only for avoiding repetition or reinforcement cf a pitch, lest tonal hierarchy be evoked, but also for economy, variation, arid musical "prose" as weil as for historical originality. The analogy with computer imagety is obvious even though the informanonal value of redundancy is not highly valuedfrom this compositional perspective, On the relation of art and information see the discussion ofYuri Lotman in Terry Eagleton, UteTary Theory: An Introduction (Minneapolis, 1983), pp.Il-Z, and Leonard B. Meyer, Music, eheAns, and Ideas: Patterns and PredictiDns in Twerttiedt-Gmtury Culture (Chicago, 1967), especially chapter 11. chapters 1-3, andp.262. 36. See Schoenberg, pp. 129, 279, 397, and passim; also Adorno, "Schoenberg," Pmms, p. 154. OnBrahms see, for example, Schoenberg, pp. 80 and 129. For a full-scale account of this concept see Walter Frisch, Brahms and the Principle of DfWeloping Variation (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1984). On Aufhebung see this volume, chapter 2, note 18. 37. See Schoenberg, espectallv p. 118; and Adomo, "Bach Defended against his Devotees," Prisms, p, 139. 38. See Hauslick, p, 125 (82), and Schoenberg, pp. 120-21. See also this chapter, note 61. 39. See Adomo, "Schoenberg," Pmms, pp. 160-61; and Rosen, Schoenbel'g, pp. 96-102.; the

Notes to Chapter 3
great respect among musicologists for Schoenberg's E1'W4TIUng stems largely from its musical recognition of these negative potentialities. This seems to be music as self-negated logic or pure "trace, " a condition that is nodoubt related to its projection of extreme anxiety. On Beethoven, see Adomo, PhiIosophy, pp. 163-64; on totaldevelopment see ibid., pp. 56-57. 40. Paul de Man, Blindness and lruight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Conremparary Criticism, 2nd rev. ed. (Minneapolis, 1983), especially pp. 105ff. Nore also Adomo himself, in "Cultural Criticism and Society," PTisms, p. 27, on the blindness ofculturai criticism. . 4i. Sttavinsky, 4: 79 (81). On judgingwholestyles, see chapter 4, p. 188. 42. Oneducation as the mastery of a privileged discourse see Roben Scholes, "Is There a Fish in This Text?" in On Signs, ed. Marshall Blonsky (Baltimore, 1985), pp. 308-20; and Eagleton, Literary Theqry, p. 201. 43. Adorno, SoQology, p. 74 (on Berg, especially the success ofWo~eck); Schoenberg, p. 133, also 454. See especially this chapter, notes 44 and 77. 44. Schoenberg in his writings and letters .gave substantial recognition to the mbconscious 00gins of composition, But he also. stressed the diseoverahle structurallogic in such. origins and the need for conscious eontrol (see, for example, Schoenberg, pp. 92, 217-18.244, and 423-24). Schoenbet"g's description ofhis "mental tortures" inret;Uning a ~. in the fust Chamber Symphony that he was not ahle to"just!fy stNcturallvfot another twenty years is rematkable (ibid., pp. 222-23). Ir is hard to imagine Sttavinskym. sochapOsi,tion(though.seeSttavinsky, Epilogue: 140 (145]: "Ie seems that the unity we areseeking is forged Wi\\houtom' knoWing it"). lt is also hard to overstate the intimidating effect C>fthis .piISS$ie 90. tbe would-lie structural listener, See also Adomo, Philosoph" pp. 138-4J, and this ~,noted8 and 45. See joseph Kerman, ~ Music: CIta/1enges to Musico!ogy (Cambridge, Mass., 1985), pp. 71-72. 46. Immanuel Kant, The CritUpIe of J~t, ttans. J. H. Betrtard (New York. 1951), section 45, pp, 149-50. 47. See Adomo, "Schoenberg," PTisms, pp. 142-46. See this volume, chapter 2, note 17. 48. For the entire quotation see Adomo, "Schoenberg," PTisms, p. 169. See als!'>ibid., p. 157 (Schoenberg's "is music for the intellectual ear"): and Adorno, Philosoph" p. 15 ("Only in a society which had achieved satisfaction [i.e., for the free individual) would the death of art be possible"). For different views of silent reading see Roland Barthes, The Respoosibilit:y of Forms: Crit:ical Essays on Music, Art, and Representation, trans, Richard Howard (New York, 1985), pp. 264-65; and Jacques Attali, Noise: The Political .&onomy of Mus:, ttans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis, 1985); p. 32. See this chapter, notes 31, 63, and 64. 49. Boulez, Notes of an Apprenticeship, p. 252. Such assertions do not deny Schoenberg's extraordinary coloristic achievemenes as a composer (often associated with, though by no means limited to, the third piece in the FWe Pieces {ur OrcheSIl'a, Op. 16, and Pierre Lunaire) but rather emphasize that color as such, as opposed to color as stnICture, had no place in Schoenberg's theory of musical value. See also Rosen, Schoenberg, p. 48. 50. Schoenberg, Style antI Idea, p. 121. See also ibid., pp. 56, 132, and 240, on sound, and compare Sttavinsky, 2: 26 (27), on "the sensation of the music irself" as "an indispensable elemenr of investigation"; and this chapter, nores 29, 64, and also 22. _ 51. JllIi:QUe5 Derrida, "The Supplement of Copu1a: Philosophy befure Linguistks," in Ttxtual Strattgies: Perspectiwsin Po~t-Stnu;tuTaiist Criticism, ed. Jos~ V. Harari (lthaca, 1979), pp. 82-120. 52. A notable brealcthrough in theformalizing of a technique characteristically associated with medium was the article by Janet M. l.evy entitled "Texture as a Sign in Classic and Romaneie Music," ]oumalofthe AmericanMusicological Sociery 35 (1982),482-531. 53. From the Essa, on the OriginofLanguages, quoted in Derrida, OfGranuntJtology, p. 206. Of interest also is the passage about music and poetry in ancient Greece that is quoted on p. 201: "In cultivating the art of convincing, that of arousing the emotions was lost."




to Chapter

54. See Adomo, "Schoenberg," Prisms, p. 146; and also this volume, chapter 2, note H. 55. On Barthes see Eagleron, UteTary Theqry, p. 136, and also pp. 170 and 187. See also this volume, chapter 1, notes 50 and especially 51 (on Wagner), and chapter 2, notes 14 and 119. 56. Ihave attempted to do prectselv this in an unpublished paper delivered at Queens College, New Yode, November 5, 1986, at the kind inviration of [oseph Straus. 57. See Eagleton, UteTary Theory, pp. 49, 207, and passim. My own response to Anthony
Barone's paper "The Critical Reception of Verdi in Paseist ltaly" at the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society inCleveland (November 8,1986) addressed the same theme. 58. See,for example, Edward Said, "The Text, the World, the Critic," in Harari, Textual StT!Iregies, pp. 161-88; Fredric Jameson, "The Realist Floor-Plan," in BIOt)Sky,On Signs, pp. 373-83; Blonskv, "Introduction: The Agony of Semiotics," ibid., pp. xiii-li, especially starting at p. xix, and "Endword: Americans on the Move," ibid., pp. 507-9; and Eagleron, Utzrary TheOry, pp. 194-217. 59. Adomo, Sociology, p. 195; on "naming the formal components," see ibid., p. 4.

Prisms, pp. 152-53, on Schoenberg's compositional methods as an outgrOwth of necessity rather than temperament; and also ibid., p. 154, on Adomo's characteristic equation of nonstructurallistening with "musical stupidity." See also this chapter, note 31. Worth noting, in terms of this argument, is Hanslick's insistence that onlv themes of a particular kind lend themselves to logical.unfolding (The Beautiful in Mu.sic, p. 125 [82]). Though he
compares such a theme to a "self-evident truth" (p, 124 [or "logical axiom," Payzant trans., p. 81the German is selbststndige Axiom, p. 216]), he notes on rhe same page that the theme can only be conveved by playing it. Hansliek concedes in his own way that themes that are open to logical unfolding in fact have the concreteness of a particular culture rather than a universal absnacmess. Indeed, he explicitly associates the higher, logical type of theme with German orchestral music (overtures by Beethoven and Mendelssohn), as opposed to the "low music hall" rhemes of opera overtures by Donizetti and Verdi (p. 125 [or "neighborhood pub" themes, Payzant trans., p. 82Kneipe in German, p. 218]). See also this chapter, note 38. 62. See notes 31 and 68. One has to disringuish, of course, between the effect of Adorno's style as culrural ethos andthe sensibility that wem into the formation of his own personal style. THbugh Adomo would no doubt argue that the extraordinary cate he took in laying out his language so as to avoid falseness amounted to a series of structural dectsions, one experiences the integrity of Adomo's writing as fundamentally a matter of style. In this respect he honored in his own work the demands he made on orhers concerning style (see this chapter, note 63); see also this volume, chapter 4, note 173. . 63. On '~agged physiognomy" see Adomo, Philosoph" p. 136; on Brahms see his "Schoenberg," Prisms, p. 156. See also the latter, pp. 144 and 153; and Adomo's Philosoplry, p. 133: "Modem music ... [has] all of its .beauty in denying itself the illusion of beauty." An important formulation of Adomo's attitude toward smoothness of style, and its relation to socierg utopia, and ideology, appears in Max Horkheimer and Theodor w. Adomo, Diakc!ic of Enlightenment, trans. john Cumming (New York, 1972), pp. 13031. See alsothis volume, chapter 2, note 14. In the present chapter see notes 31 and 64,20 and 33; see also note 62, on Adomo's own style. Of the greatest interest in this connection is Lionel Trilling's characterization of "authenticitv" in Sincerity anti Authenticity (Cambridge, Mass., 1972). See, for example, p. 11 (on the "strenuous moral expertence" of authenticitv] andp. 94 ("NoWadays out sense of what authenticity means involves a degree of rough concreteness or of extremitv,"). See also chapter 1 of this book, "Whose Magie Flute?" notes 28, 29, and 63-65; and chapter 4, notes 116, 128, and 134. 64. On this whole topic see, for instance, Schoenberg, pp. 235 (on "the chtldlsh preference of the primitive ear for colours"), 401 ("an alert and well-trained mind will demand to be told the more remote matters ... land] refuses to listen ro babv-talk"), and 408 ("Marure people think in

60. Ibid., p. 152. 61. See especially Adomo, "Schoenberg,"

Notes to Chapter 3


complexes"), on style versus idea see especially ibid., pp. 118and 120. See also ibid., p. 378, where Schoenberg dismisses culturallv associarive modes ofl.istening as directed only at "ehe perfume of a work, that narcotic emanation of music which affects ehe senses wirhout involving ehe mind." See also this chapter, p. 166, and notes 29, 31, 48, 50, and 63; and this volume, chapter 4, note 142. 65. For examples of ehe shift in paradigm see Schoenberg, pp. 38, 101. 256, 283, 380, and 435. See also Carl Dahlhaus, Realism in Nineteenth-Century Music, trans, Mary Whittall (Cambridge, 1985), p. 11. On Adomo's derivation from Hegel of ehe view that truth is ehe vocation of art, see, for example, ehe review of Adomo's Aesthetic Thwry by Raymond Geuss in]oumal of Philosophy 83 (1986),734ff. 66. For example, Schoenberg, pp. 49-51, 91, 284, and 288. Schoenberg's notion of"liquidation" (p, 288) is also suggestive in this connection, See also this volume, chapter 2, note 53, on ehe relation between trace and Aufhebung. 67. See especially Blonsky, Introduction, On Signs, pp. xvi-xvii. 68. Adomo did indeed recognize this difference in general perception, and scomed it as a mark of mtellectual (and moral) inferiority. See his "Schoenberg," PTisms, p. 152, on "Stravinsky and ... all those who, having adjusted better to contemporarv existence, fancy themselves more modern than Schoenberg." (See also Boules, Notes of an Apprenticeship, p. 252, where a similar distinction is made between Wagner and Mussorgsky, though not on Adomo's grounds.) Adorno might perhaps have linked Stravinsky more aptly to postmodern culture. See especially Tnlling, Sincerity, p. 98, note I, on ehe end of ehe alienation and resistance that characterized "modem" art: in "post-modern" culrure "ehe faculty of 'taste' has re-established itself at ehe center of ehe experience of art," (The terms "modern" and "post-modern" here are both Tnlling's.) 69. That there are grounds for developing a somewhat different definition of individuality from just such a perception, however, is Suggested by this observarion of Bnmo Nettl's conceming (preIslamic) classical Persian music from ehe latter part of ehe first millennium: "Similarly, individualism, another central cultural value, is reflected in ehe importance of ehe exceptional." (The Study of EtImomusico/ogy: Twenty-nine Issues and Conceprs [Urbana, 19831, p. 207). I am grateful to Ken Moore, who as a doctoral candidare in ethnomusicology Center, for calling this discussion to my attention. 70. For "always alreadv" see Dernda, OfGtammawlogy, was my student at ehe CUNY Graduate p, 201.

71. Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Mo:rtlrt, trans.Marion FabedNew York, 1983), pp. 4,11-12. 72. On "differCtl1Ce" see Spivak, translators preface to Of Gtammarology, pp. xxix and xliii; Culler, On Decansf.'l1lcdon, pp. 95-99;and chapter 2, "How Could Chopin's A-Major Prelude Be Deconstructed?" notes 25 and 52. The concept is defined andanalyzecl by JaCQUesDerrida in his Margins of Philosophy, trans. and ed. Alan Bass (Chicago, 1982), in ehe chapter "Differance." pp. 1-27: 73. Strong support for this assertion is provided in Bakhtin, DiaIogic Imagination, for example, pp. 283-84,289,417, and 420-21. 14. Ibid., p. 280. 75. This discussion appears in my essay "The Challenge of Contemporary Music,"as does an analysis of various difficulties connected with ehe mastery of srructurallistening. See Developmg Variations, pp. 277-83, especially 281. Ofinterest in this connection is Herbere Lindenberger's observation in Opera; The Extramgant Art (Ithaca, 1984), pp. 226-27, that "modem ballet (even when accompanied by difficult musical scores)" may enjoy a large public today in part "because ballet is sufficiently abstract that audiences do not fee! tempted to panic if they fail to understand ehe 'meaning.'" It would be interesting to compare Lindenberger's notion of abstraction here with ehe view taken throughout ehe present essay. 76. See especiallv Stanley Rosen, The Limits of Analysis (New York, 1980), pp. 216-60. I am deeplv lndebted to the late David Bain, who was my student while a doctoral candidate in music at ehe CUNY Graduate Center, for calling this book to my artennon and, beyond this, for his darifying insight into .tvery aspect of this essay, especially those issues taken up in my conduding paragraphs.


Notes to Chapter 4

77 . .Again, although Schoenberg's acknowledgment of the role played by intuition in music is not to bedenied, neither is the uneasy relationship of this acknowledgment to his essentially discursive senseof musical value. See this chapter, note 44, especially on the first Chamber Sym.. phony, and note the exernon needed to defend his response to Mahler (pp. 449-60). Schoenberg justittes this response on grounds, such as Mahler's profound originality and his high level of cultute, that for rum confirm Mahler's structural greamess, See especially bis remarks on p. 454 concerning Mahler's mode of expression, material, and construcnon, See also this chapter, note 34. 78. See especially in this connection Schoenbetg, p. 38, on the reasons for his unpopularity: "An artist ... knowing that those parts which were found ugly could not be wrong because he would not have written them if he bimself bad not liked them, and rememberingthe judgement of some very understanding friends and experts in musical knowledge who havepaid tribute to his work, ... becomes aware that he himself is not to blame." See also p. 218. on theartist's need to be "convinced of the infallibility of [his] own timtasy. A kind of counterpart to Schoenberg's moral cettainty (rhe term "infallible" connotes moral as weIl as cognitive certainty) can be found in Sttavinsky's ftat assertion that "my experience and investigations are entirely objective" (Sttavinsky, 1: 7 [8]). On its face, the ability implied here to avoid Kant's subject-object dtcboromy and the cognitive dilemmas of the post-Kantian philosophical Ioop seems nothing short of extraordmarg If, however, one supposes, as I do, that Sttavinksy construes objectivity asan eesthetic-style rathetthan as an epistemological condition, the content of bis statement becomes oddly plausible (though of course its bjecrive "style" remains quite different from Schoenberg's willing of infallibility). Certainly an aesthetic reading of this statement is congruent with Sttavinsky's own easy (see this chaprer, note 30). 79. See Batthes, Responsibilit:" pp. 252-60 (on listening) Louis Matin, "Tbe 'Aesop' Fable-Animal," in Blonsky, On prochement in therealm of neurology is a principle theme association of "taste" and "discipline" and 269ff. (on performance): and also Signs, p. 337 and passim, Such a l:3Pof Oliver Sacks's book, The Man Who

Mistook His Wife for a Hat, which concems itself extensivelv with music. See this volume, ehapter 2, note 41. SO. Compare also the following excerpr from a letter by a contemporary poer, BrooksHaxton. to the New York Times Book Review Oanuary 11, 1987), 37: "For various reasons (including the
obscure language of certain inftuential poets] intelligent, otherwise literate people seldom look toward poetry for communication of any consequence .... Ir is an impottant trend, which limits Gur access to the poetry of other ages, and thereby weakens one of our deepest connections to past humanity, weakens Gur ability to imagine others in the present and, more frighteningly, diminishes our faith in the fullness of a human future. Tbe lass of such profound resources involves (together with literary appreciation] the stewardship of all culture and ultimately of the now precarious natural world," 81. Roland Barthes, "From Work to Text," in Harari, Textual Stmtegies, p. BO. 82. Ibid., see also Eagleton on pleasure in academia, Uterary Theory, p. 212, and see this volume, chapter 2, note 24, for more on Barthes. 83. See especiallv In this connection Gregory Sandow, "Secret of the Silver Ticket," Vi!/age

Voice (Apnl l, 1986),86.

4. The Closing of the American Dream? A Musical Perspective on AUan Bloom, Spike Lee, and Doing the Right Thing
(The first reference to Bloom's Closing of the Ameriam Mind in each note will be abbreviated as "Bloem, p. x"; where the attribution is clear, Bloom's name may be omitted. Subsequent references in that note will not repeat the name "Bloom" unless required for clarity. References to end-