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Music in the Galant Style 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195313710
ISBN-10: 0195313712
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"A path-breaking work in musical analysis. Professor Gjerdingen opens the doors into the compositional studios of the 18th century, showing us how characteristic idioms within the galant style that formed a lingua franca among musicians across Europe can be modeled-and easily replicated--by a small number of recurring voice-leading 'schema.' Richly illustrated with diverse musical examples and eye-catching graphics, this remarkable and original study will prove invaluable to all analysts and historians of 18th century music."-Thomas Christensen, Professor of Music, University of Chicago


"Gjerdingen's study promises to reframe nearly all the work that scholars have lavished on compositional practice in the eighteenth century by answering a question that no one seems to have asked before now - how were eighteenth-century composers (Italian-born and Italian-trained composers above all) able to produce such massive quantities of music in such a broad spectrum of genres, and to do so with both facility and taste?"--Thomas Bauman, Professor of Musicology, Northwestern University


"After reading this text, I came away believing that I had learned much that was new, that I had significantly refined my hearing of galant style, and that I had developed a greater appreciation of music that is generally unfamiliar but deserving of greater performance. One can hardly ask more from any book!"-- William E. Caplin, Professor of Music Theory, McGill University


"A path-breaking work in musical analysis. Professor Gjerdingen opens the doors into the compositional studios of the 18th century, showing us how characteristic idioms within the galant style that formed a lingua franca among musicians across Europe can be modeled-and easily replicated--by a small number of recurring voice-leading 'schema.' Richly illustrated with diverse musical examples and eye-catching graphics, this remarkable and original study will prove invaluable to all analysts and historians of 18th century music."-Thomas Christensen, Professor of Music, University of Chicago


"Gjerdingen's study promises to reframe nearly all the work that scholars have lavished on compositional practice in the eighteenth century by answering a question that no one seems to have asked before now - how were eighteenth-century composers (Italian-born and Italian-trained composers above all) able to produce such massive quantities of music in such a broad spectrum of genres, and to do so with both facility and taste?"--Thomas Bauman, Professor of Musicology, Northwestern University


"After reading this text, I came away believing that I had learned much that was new, that I had significantly refined my hearing of galant style, and that I had developed a greater appreciation of music that is generally unfamiliar but deserving of greater performance. One can hardly ask more from any book!"-- William E. Caplin, Professor of Music Theory, McGill University


"Music in the galant style must count, both in 18th-century music studies and in music theory, as one of the most significant publications of recent decades."--Early Music


About the Author


Robert Gjerdingen is Professor of Music at Northwestern University's School of Music
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195313712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195313710
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #413,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding book. It is one of the most informative, enjoyable, fascinating, and thought-provoking books on music that I have ever read. Through hundreds of musical examples, it demonstrates how extensively the music of the "galant" 18th-century era was based on the skillful treatment and combination of a limited number of basic schemata, also discussing the Italian practical pedagogical methods through which these schemata were taught to aspiring musicians. Gjerdingen's expertise of the subject seems enormous, and I feel grateful indeed for his generosity in delivering this expertise for the reading audience.

As Gjerdingen notes himself, the style of his presentation reminds of 18th-century lavishness. His perspective is by no means limited to the musical scores. He not only considers the underlying courtly social structure, but inserts excursions to a wide variety of parallel phenomena (concerning topics such as figure skating, fairy tale schemata, Beatles research). While these excursions may not be necessary for the main argument, I find them throughly enjoyable, as I find the thoughtful and colorful discourse in general.

(To offer perspective for these assessments, I should perhaps note that I am a professional musician and music theorist. Nevertheless, it seems probable that most of the book will be accessible to those with much less technical knowledge, as long as they can read musical notation.)

While anyone interested in 18th-century music will benefit enormously from the treasure of this book, a more critical attitude is needed for assessing Gjerdingen's arguments against alternative analytical approaches, such as sonata theory or Schenkerian theory.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After checking out this book from the local music library -- several times -- I decided that I'd like my own copy. There are many musical examples and explanations which are useful if one aspires to compose or improvise "like Mozart." The chapters in the book are mostly about individual schema -- those characteristic chord and melody patterns that recur often enough to be given names. In today's jazz style one might talk about, for example, a song with several II-V progressions descending chromatically. In the Galant style discussed in the book, one might talk about an aria's Romanesca or point out the Monte, Ponte, or Fonte (with their descriptive, rhyming names). The author's companion website is also a great help and provides audio examples and edited partimenti.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoy this book for many reasons. One reason is the author's deep insight into a musical process that reveals the method behind the genius of the galant era. Robert Gjerdingen has given names to classical idioms that helped composers of this style generate long and short passage work for the daily musical demands of their noble employers. His breakdown of these schemata is simple, scholarly, and backed up by hundreds of musical examples. It is like finding priceless treasures through musical archaeology. When you see the patterns employed over and over, you'll begin to understand the creative ingenuity of composers such as Haydn and Mozart and why they recognized each other as masters. This book is not some dry theoretical exercise in music...because of its unpretentious revelation, it is something special.
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