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|Title:||Les Tons Beaux de Ravel: On Pastoral and Other Myths of Modern Music in France|
|Authors:||Shiflett, Campbell Peyton|
|Advisors:||Morrison, Simon A|
|Publisher:||Princeton, NJ : Princeton University|
|Abstract:||This dissertation examines how the Forlane from Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin involves the pastoral in a commentary on the nature of artifice, approaching a critique of music and music criticism. It hinges on the movement’s unresolved appoggiaturas, pitches whose dissonance implies a melodic resolution, but whose ultimate irresolution suggests their harmonic consonance. This ambivalence renders indeterminate not only the work’s structure, but also its recreation of a more prior pastoral music through these notes.Part One takes up Rousseau's Essay on the Origin of Languages and writings by Derrida and de Man to consider how Ravel’s appoggiaturas describe a supplementary relationship between the Arcadian music their melodies evoke and their reproduction of this music through a harmonic artifice. This supplementarity demonstrates the impossibility of this pastoral origin’s mythic plenitude outside of its fallen representation, yet it also lays bare how artifice necessarily refers to where this origin is supposed to have been. Accordingly, these appoggiaturas suggest how critics’ preoccupation with Ravel’s artificiality risks neglecting how these artifices are inconceivable outside of their deferral to the very origin they would deny. Part Two considers two historical contexts for Le Tombeau’s appoggiaturas: the rise of néoclassicisme and the development of Ravel’s reputation as an artificer in writings by Roland-Manuel. It frames their ambivalent representation of a more prior music as a deconstruction of neoclassicists’ prioritizing melody in pursuit of objectivity, opposed to the evocative verticalisme of prewar composers. Likewise, it considers the appoggiaturas a cue to reconsider how Roland-Manuel's essays contrast Ravel not just with late-Romantic effusions, but also with neoclassicist refusals of musical signification, suggesting a further need to revisit a history of criticism which foregrounds the composer’s artificiality. The work concludes with a discussion of the significance of pastoral, whose idealized origin has been integral to the conceptualization of modernity for centuries in the West—and yet which, betraying a dependence on this false origin for meaning, demonstrates modernity’s impossibility. It is for this reason that pastoral can serve not only as a critique of the myths of Ravel’s modernist era, but also of the mythologies of Ravel criticism.|
|Alternate format:||The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog: catalog.princeton.edu|
|Type of Material:||Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)|
|Appears in Collections:||Music|
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