Friendly Remainders: Essays in Music Criticism after Adorno

Friendly Remainders: Essays in Music Criticism after Adorno

Language: English

Pages: 264

ISBN: 0773539190

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Friendly Remainders draws on Adorno's concept of the negative dialectic, examining its importance in Adorno's thought and its critical application to musical forms. Moving beyond a positivist view where musical object and appreciation operate as a synthesis, the negative dialectic method focuses on divergence and dissonance in musical forms and in society. Contradictions and divergent details and concepts become "remainders," friendly because of the fresh perspective they offer on musical forms. Dineen examines these contradictory remainders in subjects such as the fascist element in Wagner's character, the torpor of Schoenberg's twelve-tone method, the self-contradiction implicit in Beethoven's Late Style, Frank Zappa's attempt to define himself as a "serious" composer, the reactionary stasis in Marilyn Manson's DVD "Guns, God and Government World Tour," and the death motive in John Coltrane. Friendly Remainders takes seriously the project of making Adorno accessible, asking the same questions of classical and popular music - taking the measure of Mahler as much as Manson - for the value of the critical insights they provoke.

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garden, and the task of the musicologist to tend the garden in order to keep it nice: “The artist builds his temple in the grove, in the grove where fragrance is newly revived, time and again, from freely growing flowers. The theoretician of art tills the earth: he educates the disciples to his life’s task and accompanies the inspired creator as a lifelong companion. Should the scholar of art observe that matters are not turning out in the best interests of art, then he directs it onto the proper

explanation falls well short of meeting Adorno’s historical materialist needs. For Adorno, the suitability of a given harmony, a form, or a technique can be determined only in a dialectic relationship with unsuitability (since any pure and exclusive notion of suitability is logically invalid). Musical suitability is determined according to the histories of the composer, performer, and audience. Being historical, they are impure; they point outside themselves to other times, places, and people –

second Freudian citation in the Versuch, while it is likewise concerned with dramatic characters, is directed more at Wagner himself. Adorno states that Wagner transforms Schopenhauer’s “metaphysical concept of the will into the more manageable theory of the collective unconscious.”18 Adorno takes up the opposition of Freud and Carl Jung made in a preceding passage (hinting at the fascist implications of collective will implicit in Jung’s collective unconsciousness): “Ultimately this turns into

arsenals in the average American neighbourhood, if not ingredients in the medicine chests of most American households, sufficient to bring about mayhem on the scale of Columbine, so who’s to blame? What segment of society is responsible for this, if all segments – all social classes, all forms of consciousness – have at their ready disposal the same vehicles for pain. From the perspective of his defenders, the danger in Manson’s work expresses itself only on the margins of society, through

car chase of Princess Di. Disgusting vultures looking for corpses, exploiting, fucking, filming and serving it up for our hungry appetites in a gluttonous display of endless human stupidity.”7 Whose appetites? Ours (including his)? On the one hand, he aligns himself passionately with the spectacle: “Tonight seeing six thousand people raise their fist to ‘Beautiful People’ is so Nero, so powerful, bombastic, fascistic, rock and roll. It’s disgusting and I love it.”8 On the other, he disowns it,

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