Journal of the RMA article on music, objects, and dialectics (forthcoming)

Here’s the abstract for my forthcoming article in the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, ‘Strategies of Conquest and Defence: Encounters with the Object in Twentieth-Century Music’:

Reacting to recent materialist developments in music studies and beyond, I argue for the value of dialectics in accounting for compositional orientations vis-à-vis its objects – be these objects sound-producing, nonhuman entities, such as musical instruments, or the object that is ‘sound itself’. Engaging the compositional thought and practice of Busoni, Russolo, Varése, Cage and Tudor by way of example, I highlight two intersecting tendencies: the first constitutes a presumed mastery over the object in question, the second is suggestive of an exploration of the object on its own terms. Interweaving aspects of post-Marxist and psychoanalytic theory, I argue that, ultimately, our orientation toward the object manifests a negotiation of the self in a changing material world.

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