Aspects of time in the music of the 20th century: On the problem of time and its theoretical presuppositions in new music with special emphasis on the music of the avant-garde of the 1950s and 1960s

Ilias Giannopoulos (ilias.giannopoulos@gmail.com), Aspects of time in the music of the 20th century: On the problem of time and its theoretical presuppositions in new music with special emphasis on the music of the avant-garde of the 1950s and 1960s. PhD, University of Athens, 2011.

In this dissertation, the historical emphasis on the music of the avant-garde is based on the fact that at that particular period the problem of time became an important issue for musical thinking. A far as methodology concerns, an interdisciplinary approach is taken on the one hand in order to avoid a possible simplification of the investigated models and their limitation to small units (e.g. melodies) and on the other hand in order to explore the theoretical presuppositions of mostly dualistic models, which are often used for the understanding of the temporality of musical works. The examination of various pairs of concepts mainly represented in music-aesthetics by Doflein, Zuckerkandl, Ingarden, Schütz, Lissa, and Dahlhaus and in philosophy by Kant, Hegel, Bergson, Husserl, and Adorno leads to the choice of another dualistic model which converges with these, and which became particularly relevant in the musical avant-garde of the 1950s and 1960s: the conceptual pair dynamic/static. This concept is then examined in the context of Adorno’s dialectical understanding of musical time and its critique on the spatialization of time, a phenomenon he scrutinizes first in his Philosophy of Modern Music as appearing in the music of Stravinsky and then, sometimes undifferentiated, he applies to the music of the avant-garde in his Musical Writings. Further discussion seeks to demonstrate the temporality of musical works of this period using the above-mentioned pair of concepts (dynamic-static) with reference to theories and works of the 1950s and early 1960s especially of Messiaen, Stockhausen and Boulez.