How Beethoven’s Works Influenced the Growth of Musical Terminology

By Stephen Husarik.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Beethoven’s musical compositions stimulated strong critical interest at their premieres in Vienna (cf. Allgemeine Musikalisches Zeitung 1802-26) and contemporary critics seemed eager to find terms that would identify the structures in the music and explain their effect upon audiences. Musical historians and theoreticians joined the conversation and several major trends developed in the analytical history of Beethoven’s music. One group attempted to explain his music with technical terms such as those found in Wilhelm von Lenz’s Beethoven et Ses Trois Styles (1855), or Charles Rosen’s The Classical Style (1972). Others sought to translate the emotional responses of listeners into literary prose as in Romain Rolland’s Beethoven The Creator (1929). Still others sought to understand Beethoven’s compositions through the application of archaeological techniques as in Gustav Nottebohm’s Ein Skizzenbuch von Beethoven aus dem Jahre 1803 (1880) or Douglas Johnson’s “Reconstructing Beethoven’s Manuscripts” AMS (1972). Critical and analytical reactions from the past two hundred years show that musical terms and analyses are the product of their time and that Beethoven’s music generated unanticipated analytical terminology that is now widely applied to other musical compositions.

Keywords: Musical Criticism, Musical Analysis, Beethoven

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 7, pp.133-150. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.423MB).

Dr. Stephen Husarik

Professor of Humanities/Music History and Head Carillonneur, Humanities/Music, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Arkansas - Fort Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA

Stephen Husarik is a full professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith. He is co-editor of Interdisciplinary Humanities and has edited several books (including American Keyboard Artists, Who’s Who in the Humanities, etc.) and published/read numerous articles in the areas of Music, Humanities and Online Education at national and international conferences. Dr. Husarik is the recipient of several N.E.H. college teacher and individual grants and has received awards both for his publications and his teaching. He is Head Carillonneur at the forty-three bell Reynolds Tower at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith (Arkansas, USA).

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