New musicology

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(Redirected from "new" musicologist)

The New Musicology is a term applied to a wide body of work produced by many musicologists who consider themselves and their musicology neither new or New. Often based on the work of Theodor Adorno (and Walter Benjamin) and feminist, gender studies, gay and lesbian studies, queer theory, or postcolonial hypotheses, the New Musicology is the cultural study, analysis, and criticism of music. As Susan McClary says:

  • "Musicology fastidiously declares issues of musical signification off-limits to those engaged in legitimate scholarship."

In constrast, McClary's 'new musicology' treats music:

  • "as a medium that participates in social formation by influencing the ways we perceive our feelings, our bodies, our desires, our very subjectivities - even if it does so surreptitiously, without most of us knowning how. It is too important a cultural force to be shrouded by mystified notions of Romantic transcendence."

This may be interpreted as saying there is no absolute music, that all music has sexual, political, personal and emotional programs.

Thus, new musicology has much in common with ethnomusicology. In the words of Rose Rosengard Subotnick:

  • "For me...the notion of an intimate relationship between music and society functions not as a distant goal but as a starting point of great immediacy, and not as an hypothesis but as an assumption. It functions as an idea about a relationship which in turn allows the examination of that relationship from many points of view and its exploration in many directions. It is an idea that generates studies the goal of which (or at least one important goal of which) is to articulate something essential about why any particular music is the way it is in particular, that is, to achieve insight into the character of its identity."

She counts as her influences Arnold Schoenberg, Theodor Adorno, Immanuel Kant, Leonard Meyer, and others. "Like Schoenberg, though in a very different way, Meyer refused to undervalue the significance of music and, more generally, of aesthetic models for making sense of human knowledge and experience. Like Schoenberg's enterprise, though in very different ways, Meyer's criticism is responsible in a profoundly moral as well as intellectual way." (p.297n18)

New musicologists include:

Critic include

See also:


  • Subotnick, Rose Rosengard (1991). Developing Variations: Style and Ideology in Western Music. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0816618739.

External links



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