Writing in the discipline of music: Rhetorical parameters in writings about music criticism
Elizabeth Anne Hoger
- School: Purdue University (0183)
- Degree: Ph.D.
- Date: 1992; pp: 279
- Advisor: Sullivan, Patricia
- Source: DAI-A 54/01, p. 159, Jul 1993
- Subjects: Language, General (0679); Education, Music (0522)
- ProQuest Document Number:
- UMI Number: AAT 9313995
- Researchers into the writings of a discipline usually seek connections between its disciplinary and discursive practices. This line of rhetorical research has been common in scientific and professional disciplines, but rare in the arts and humanities. Of all the arts, writing in music is perhaps most unlike writing in the sciences because music is an abstract phenomenon, aurally perceived. To examine musicians’ discursive practices, this study concentrates on musicians’ metacritical statements about writing about music instead of analyzing texts produced in the field. Based on the metacritical analysis, unique discursive practices in music are identified and correlated to the axiomatics of the study of music.
- The field of music features many written genres, but music criticism has an especially long history of field-specific debates and influences. Musicians apply the label ‘criticism’ to journalistic accounts of concerts and recordings, theoretical analyses of compositions, and hermeneutic discussions of compositions or issues within the field. This study focuses on approximately seventy-five metacritical statements about what music criticism is and should be. These statements, written by English and American musicians over two centuries, offer numerous insights into musicians’ perceptions of what it is to write music criticism in many musical communities.
- To introduce non-musicians to music criticism and musical communities, one chapter provides a brief history of the genre, introduces the metacritical texts, and summarizes important issues found there. The chapter about audiences and communities analyzes perceptions of audience as ‘self,’ ‘artist’ (composer or performer), ‘editor,’ ‘reader,’ and ‘public,’ followed by a discussion of the intricate formulations of ‘community’ in the field of music and the role of methodology in shaping them. The chapter on objects and language considers ways in which the ‘objects’ (subject matter) of music are not understood as autonomous, and how such understandings affect musicians’ approaches to the language of music criticism. The final chapter pursues ideas of pedagogy for music criticism in the metacritical emphases on of ‘talent,’ ‘practice,’ and ‘models’ as they are understood by musicians. This chapter ends with a larger discussion of field-specific writing pedagogy.