Musical semiotics in action: applying and debating Hatten’s semiotics in a musico-dramatic context

Curry, B. (2010) Musical semiotics in action: applying and debating Hatten’s semiotics in a musico-dramatic context. Studies in Musical Theatre, 4 (1). pp. 53-65. ISSN 1750-3159.

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Robert Hatten’s work on musical meaning and the classical style has become widely respected amongst music scholars. Hatten has applied theories of markedness and correlation almost exclusively to instrumental music and one of the primary aims of this article is to investigate the usefulness of his analytical approach in the context of opera by way of an analysis of the opening section of the first duet in Act III of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. Further to this aim, this article looks to explore the relationship of Hatten’s work to the tradition of music analysis, thereby engaging with Scott Burnham’s assertion that Hatten’s work can be related to a wider shift in musicology away from the ‘Formenlehre tradition, which increasingly tended to treat…[sonata] form ahistorically’ toward ‘treatments of form that highlight a play of conventions’ (Burnham 2002: 903). This engagement will be carried out, in part, by reflecting upon the analytical findings below with particular reference to the relationship they open up between libretto and music. This will, in turn, offer insight into wider musicological questions concerning the usefulness and limitations of formalist analysis in general. The article begins with a brief introduction to Hatten’s application of markedness theory.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Musical meaning; opera; semiotics; Mozart; Le nozze di Figaro; formalism
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature on music > ML0159 History and criticism > ML3780 Music on particular topics
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Users 163 not found.
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2012 15:19
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2014 14:09

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00