home pageeditorial boardcurrent issueback issuessearchguidelinescontactåëëçíéêÜ



Issue 9

(Fall 2006)






George-Julius Papadopoulos: Music as a Performing Art: Reflections on the Metaphysical and Ontological Status of the Musical Work


The majority of scholars writing on the subjects of the analysis and the critical theory of music aim at identifying the intentions of the composer and influencing the perception of the listener. However, such normative approaches sidestep entirely the nature of music as a performing art, and also neglect to take into account the nature of the musical work as the sum of the musical text and its realizations (its “performances”). This article argues that any analytical attempt should take into account the instantiations of a musical work – i.e., the performances-interpretations it can inspire.

To prove this claim, representative writings by three philosophers – Jerrold Levinson, Peter Kivy and Lydia Goehr – who have written extensively on musical aesthetics and the ontology of the musical work are examined. The article discusses several issues and also provides answers to some pertinent questions, such as: What is “creation in music? Is the composer a “creator, and in what sense? What is the “musical work and when is it considered complete? In conclusion, the need for a symbiotic relationship between analysis and performance is acknowledged, based on the assertion that the musical work is multi-semantic and therefore a “text that needs to remain continuously open to multiple interpretations.



Katy Romanou: Stochastic “Jeux


This article shows similarities between Claude Debussy’s and Iannis Xenakis’ philosophy of music and work (in particular, the former’s Jeux and the latter’s Metastasis and the succeeding stochastic works) that seems to proceed in parallel (with no contact) to what is perceived as the evolution of 20th century Western music.

Those two composers observed dominant trends as outsiders and negated some among its elements considered as constant or natural by “traditional” innovators (i.e., serialists): linearity of musical texture, form and rhythm.

Aiming at pure imitation of nature, Debussy and Xenakis conceived sound planes and masses, where time is felt without memory’s interpretation, rhythm has no periodicity, form is not directional and creative thought is not to be followed by the listener.

Their concepts were in accordance to scientific advancements of the 20th century, but little appealing to analysts and writers on music. The fact, together with Cold War cultural politics, resulted to the construction of the canon of 20th century composers’ classification, in the 1970s, according to which both Debussy and Xenakis were in the lowest rank.



Tassos Kolydas: The change of the guitars repertoire in the early twentieth century


The article looks into the process of the guitar’s recognition as a “serious” instrument, during which process the choice of repertoire constituted a fundamental issue. Programs by guitarists abroad are examined closely during the period covering the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of the most popular compositions, included in the repertoires of guitarists in Western Europe, Latin America and Greece are recorded. The tendency to adopt the pieces of music written for other instruments and rearrange them for the guitar – which was in effect up until 1930 – is commented upon as well as the new approach Andrés Segovia initiated to order compositions to be written by non-guitarist composers. In other words, the conditions under which the horizons of the instrument were broadened are clarified; conditions that lead to a rapid increase of music written solely for the guitar.



Costas Tsougras: The harmonization of Greek folk songs by M. Ravel and Y. Constantinidis – A comparative study of the works and their relation to the national music schools


The present paper comprises a comparative study of the piano-vocal harmonization of Greek traditional melodies by two composers of different nationalities: French Maurice Ravel and Greek Yannis Constantinidis. The study focuses on the techniques pertaining to the manipulation of the modal monophonic material; it is conducted by comparative analysis of selected excerpts from Ravel’s Cinq mélodies populaires grecques for soprano voice and piano, and Constantinidis’ Twenty Greek folk songs for voice and piano. The study reveals the existence of common ground, which is discernible in the concept and the purpose of the composing procedure, as well as in the technical features (use of modes, selection of harmonic elements, and elaboration on the development of piano accompaniments). Furthermore, the differences between the two composers are examined in terms of their background, their individual motivation for the composition of the above works and the association of the said works with the artistic mainstreams of the European national music schools.



Ioannis Fulias: Sonata forms and their theoretical evolution: 18th-century theorists (II)


The second part of this extensive survey of the theoretical evolution of sonata forms from 18th to 20th centuries deals with Heinrich Christoph Koch’s theory of sonata form. Koch offers a relatively detailed description of the construction of the ternary sonata form, which can be applied in every movement of a symphony or another multi-movement instrumental work. There are three “main periods” that are identified with the posterior theoretical terms of exposition, development and recapitulation: each of them has to follow definite tonal specifications, presenting and developing at the same time and in a different way a given “Anlage”, i.e. a sequence of main and subordinate themes – except for the case of an especially developmental middle part, where only selected thematic elements need to be developed. Koch also examines the binary sonata type, which formerly constituted the starting-point for the sonata theory, but only as a means of shortening the basic (ternary) form, in case of its application in a rather brief slow movement.



Alexandros Stoupakis: The prima and seconda prattica through the works by Claudio Monteverdi


This article aims to approach the music of Claudio Monteverdi through the terms prima and seconda prattica, which resulted from his controversy with the theoretician Giovanni Maria Artusi.

The first part of the article describes step by step the story behind this historic controversy. The second part is a thorough approach of the composing practice of Monteverdi, through madrigals from his 4th book. The third part treats the Missa of 1610, where by means of the appropriate examples, Monteverdi’s ability to compose using (at will) the prima prattica is described.


© 2002-2021 Polyphonia Journal