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Ways of ListeningAn Ecological Approach to the Perception of Musical Meaning$
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Eric F. Clarke

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195151947

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195151947.001.0001

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Subject‐Position in Music

Subject‐Position in Music

(p.91) 4 Subject‐Position in Music
Ways of Listening

Eric F. Clarke

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the idea of subject-position in music — a term first developed in film theory. The complementarity of perceiver and environment in Gibson's ecological theory is extended to argue that musical materials have the capacity to place a perceiver in a certain relationship with music — ironic, humorous, accepting, critical, alienated. The ideas are first illustrated with extended analyses of two texted pop songs (by Polly Harvey and by Frank Zappa), and subsequently with shorter analyses of instrumental music: a guitar solo by Frank Zappa, a section from Stravinsky's ballet music Apollon Musagète, and the slow movement of the Haydn String Quartet Op. 54 no. 2 — all three of which feature the use of parody.

Keywords:   subject matter, parody, irony, Gibson, pop songs, Frank Zappa

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