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Critical models in Theodor W. Adorno's philosophy of music: the category of musical material

Grant number: 16/23759-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2017
Effective date (End): February 28, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal researcher:Marcos Severino Nobre
Grantee:Ricardo Ribeiro Lira da Silva
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:14/11611-3 - Public sphere and reconstruction: on the constitution of a reconstructive paradigm within Critical Theory, AP.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):18/01423-6 - Adorno's engagement in postwar music debates and the emergence of informal music, BE.EP.DR

Abstract

This study intends to investigate the category of musical material in Theodor W. Adornos work. Starting from the presupposition of mediation between music and society through the category of musical material, the research proposes the hypothesis that it is possible to observe a significant change in Adorno's late writings in relation to this category, which would reflect the changes in the situation of musical composition of the postwar period, which points to a differentiation between two critical models. The first model, whose main work is the Philosophy of New Music (1949), would comprise the period of musical writings from the 1920s until the mid-1950s. In this, the category of musical material - as dialectic between the subjective expression of the composer and the objective historical requirements of material, given by the advanced state of compositional technique - provides the criterion according to which musical works are criticized in the sense of progress (attributed to Arnold Schoenberg and the Second Viennese School), or the reaction (attributed to Igor Stravinsky and musical neoclassicism). The limits of the first critical model is located, according to our hypothesis, in the blocking of the dialectic of the material by the "fetishism of the row", already identified in Schoenberg's generation, but sedimented in the practice of "integral serialism" of the early 1950s. The changes in the state of musical composition in the mid-1950s, marked by the progressive decline of integral serialism and the emergence of new techniques and compositional experiments, such as the incorporation of "chance", provide the basis for the reformulation of the category of musical material and for the emergence of a new critical model in Adorno's late writings. In this second model, the requirements of musical material given merely by the advanced state of compositional technique lose evidence, as well as the categories of progress and reaction. (AU)