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Beyond the ScoreMusic as Performance$
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Nicholas Cook

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199357406

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199357406.001.0001

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Close and Distant Listening

Close and Distant Listening

(p.135) 5 Close and Distant Listening
Beyond the Score

Nicholas Cook

Oxford University Press

Post-war music theory has focused almost exclusively on individual musical works. But if individual works signify, so do styles. This chapter rehabilitates a comparative approach to performance style based on recordings, exploring issues of discographical source criticism and the use of computational methods of analysis. The chapter distinguishes between the different perspectives of what (following Franco Moretti) the chapter calls close and distant listening, in part organizing my argument around the celebrated Hatto hoax. The second half of the chapter offers an extended case study in the performance of Chopin’s mazurkas, focussing on the playing of Ignaz Friedman and showing how details of rhythmic and dynamic characterization acquire cultural, historical, and political meaning with the context of Polish nationalism. The aim is to show how empirical performance analysis can provide a basis for deeply cultural interpretation.

Keywords:   style, empirical, computational, mazurka, nationalism, Poland, Chopin, Friedman, Hatto

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