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Musical Rhetoric and Performance Practice in Dietrich Buxtehude’s Organ Works.

Thorley, Anthony John (2015) Musical Rhetoric and Performance Practice in Dietrich Buxtehude’s Organ Works. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Rhetoric may be defined as the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion. This is not a function of any other art. Applying Aristotle’s definition of rhetoric as the art of persuasion, this study investigates how different ‘means of persuasion’ are employed within Dieterich Buxtehude’s organ works. Elements of oratory considered within this inquiry include the dispositio, elocutio and pronunciatio. Style and setting (ethos), intellectual content (logos), and emotional effect (pathos) are also observed as fundamental constituents of both rhetoric and Buxtehude’s organ works. It will be shown that the schematic within Buxtehude’s praeludia, are not superficially juxtaposed ideas, but speeches in sound, or Klangrede carefully aligned to the Classical dispositio, reflecting both affective and logical concepts. Each rhetorical section within the praeludia encapsulates a breadth of persuasive and intellectual processes. Buxtehude’s chorale preludes, since they are motivated by text, are shown to employ figurative embellishments which depict, heighten and amplify imagery and allegory. Finally, rhetorical performance practice is considered, where methods of communication, expression and delivery are explored. According to Alexander Silbiger, ‘much has been written on the application of rhetorical principles to German music of the Baroque; many theorists have concerned themselves with these issues in an age when music was so often conceived as an art of persuasion’. Few Baroque composers, Marshall argues, would have ‘challenged the proposition that music expresses “something,” that it is a language in its own right, a “language of sentiments” conveying certain feelings and concepts.’ This study therefore, is undertaken with the view that greater insight into Musica Poetica offers performers aspirational tools with which to enthral, persuade and move listeners. Musical rhetoric is not and should not be constrictive, neither should it be a compendium of technical or compositional regulations, but should facilitate a philosophy which allows performers to bring a rhetorical dimension to their music.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Academic Units: The University of York > Music (York)
Depositing User: Mr Anthony John Thorley
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2015 10:44
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2015 10:44
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9661

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