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Musical time in Theodor W. Adorno

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Eduardo Socha
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Vladimir Pinheiro Safatle; Rodrigo Antonio de Paiva Duarte; Ricardo Nascimento Fabbrini; Lucianno Ferreira Gatti; Florivaldo Menezes Filho
Advisor: Vladimir Pinheiro Safatle

This dissertation concerns the concept of musical time in Adornos philosophy and emphasizes his critique of post-Webern serialism, noticeable in his frequent interventions in the context of the Kranichstein-Darmstadt Summer Courses and the radio debates during the 1950s and 60s. These include controversial essays like Das Altern der neuen Musik, Die Funktion des Kontrapunkts in der neuen Musik, Kriterien der neuen Musik as well as his later related programmatic notion of informal music presented in the Darmstadt lecture Vers une musique informelle (1961). In these interventions, Adorno insists whether explicitly or not on the conservancy of a specific way of structuring inner temporal relationships between musical events. This type of formalization and perception of time became eluded with the advance of avant-garde compositional procedures. The dissertation has two parts and a dual purpose. First, it examines the references to the specific notion of time that Adorno develops in his musical thought, contemplating the reciprocity between philosophical and musical categories held by his historical-materialist approach. This philosophical framework ascribes a progressive rationalization or detemporalization of time in Western culture through the advance of Enlightenment, which would also be recognizable in the history of musical forms. Hence, for Adorno, detemporalization of time (title of an important sub-chapter of Negative Dialektik) in philosophy resulted from a symmetrical thrust that imposed a progressive spatialization of musical time (a central claim from Philosophie der neuen Musik). The late published Beethoven-Fragmente offers a great deal of elucidation about his concept of musical time; whereas his Stravinsky critique and the essays on the relationship between music and painting clearly shape the critical singularity of the concept. Secondly, this dissertation describes, as a counterpoint to Adornos concept, the theoretical approaches proposed by Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen on musical time. It is shown why the notion of informal music can be considered the epitome of Adornos musical reflection after Philosophie der neuen Musik (1949), considering his ambivalent criticism of these post-war avant-garde orientations. In short, one observes that Adornos regular attendance of the Darmstadt Summer Courses, from 1950 until 1966, is closely linked to his publications and thoughts on music aesthetics of the same period. We argue that these reflections on the directions of the avant-garde provided him the opportunity to better present and confront the elements of his concept of musical time. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/10237-2 - The concept of musical time in T. W. Adorno
Grantee:Eduardo Socha
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate