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Varieties of Musical Irony
From Mozart to Mahler


  • Date Published: April 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107141292

£ 67.99

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About the Authors
  • Irony, one of the most basic, pervasive, and variegated of rhetorical tropes, is as fundamental to musical thought as it is to poetry, prose, and spoken language. In this wide-ranging study of musical irony, Michael Cherlin draws upon the rich history of irony as developed by rhetoricians, philosophers, literary scholars, poets, and novelists. With occasional reflections on film music and other contemporary works, the principal focus of the book is classical music, both instrumental and vocal, ranging from Mozart to Mahler. The result is a surprising array of approaches toward the making and interpretation of irony in music. Including nearly ninety musical examples, the book is clearly structured and engagingly written. This interdisciplinary volume will appeal to those interested in the relationship between music and literature as well as to scholars of musical composition, technique, and style.

    • The first exploration of musical irony across a range of periods and styles, looking at the work of multiple composers
    • Traces the history and meaning of irony in creative literature and philosophy, and develops thinking about musical irony in light of this, making the book of interest to a wide readership across the humanities
    • Analyzes the work of composers including Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms, providing generous musical examples while avoiding highly technical music theory
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'What I prize most of all in scholarly writing on music is the author's ability to make me hear and understand compositions and concepts I thought I already knew in new ways. Irony is a slippery, many-sided subject, but Michael Cherlin deftly disentangles and then categorizes its numerous manifestations both in language and in music: irony at the hinge of change, irony in contrapuntal juxtaposition, ironies of irruption or interruption, and much more.' Susan Youens, University of Notre Dame, Indiana

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107141292
    • length: 282 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 178 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.74kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Irony as a 'master trope'
    2. Varieties of musical irony
    3. Mozart's Figaro
    4. Heine and irony in the Lied tradition
    5. The Jewish face of Mahlerian irony.

  • Author

    Michael Cherlin, University of Minnesota
    Michael Cherlin is Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Minnesota. He has published widely on Schoenberg in particular and is the author of Schoenberg's Musical Imagination (Cambridge, 2007). He also edited Music Theory Spectrum from 2013 to 2015.

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