The Gould Variations: Technology, Philosophy and Criticism in Glenn Gould�s Musical Thought and Practice

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Overview

Title
The Gould Variations: Technology, Philosophy and Criticism in Glenn Gould�s Musical Thought and Practice
Contributors
Mantere, Juha M (creator)
Subotnik, Rose (Director)
Williams, James (Reader)
Perlman, Marc (Reader)
Josephson, David (Reader)
Brown University. Music: Ethnomusicology (sponsor)
Doi
10.7301/Z0XK8CS6
Copyright Date
2011
Abstract
This dissertation discusses the musical thought and practice of Canadian pianist Glenn Gould (1932�1982). I focus on three main issues: Gould�s embrace of music technology, his notions of the ontology of music and musical interpretation, and the place of his thought in Canada's intellectual history. I look at Gould�s attitude towards technology and technological thought within the lively North American discourse in the 1960s and 1970s on the potential of electronic technology in modern life. Contemporary intellectuals such as Marshall McLuhan (1911�1980) were much involved in it. Focusing not only on Gould�s writings on music technology but also on those of Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) and Jean Le Moyne (1913-1996) provides a fresh perspective on Gould�s thinking, which was embedded in and keenly alert to the intellectual world outside music. I also compare Gould�s arguments on behalf of music recording with those of three twentieth-century intellectuals who wrote widely on the technical reproduction of art: Walter Benjamin (1892�1940), Theodor W. Adorno (1903�1969), and Gianni Vattimo (1936�). Regarding the intellectual history of art music, I contrast Gould�s views on the ontology of music and musical interpretation with the nineteenth-century idea of Wertreue � an idea of a musical work as an autonomous aesthetic object whose interpretation is bound by the composer�s intentions. I analyze Gould�s ideas here against the backdrop of nineteenth-century aesthetics as exemplified by writings of Eduard Hanslick (1825�1904) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844�1900). I also touch on the reception given Gould and his music in Canadian literature and Hollywood movies. The Canadian aspect of Gould, if one can refer to it as such, is the particular target of my analysis: I am interested in Gould�s national iconicity as it has been constructed in Gould biographies; and in �The Idea of North,� about which Gould wrote at length and which has a long history in Canadian cultural history. I also try to frame Gould�s stardom as a phenomenon commonly associated with contemporary popular culture.
Keywords
Glenn Gould
Performance studies
Criticism
Notes
Thesis (Ph.D. -- Brown University (2011)
Extent
xiv, 416 p.

Citation

Mantere, Juha M., "The Gould Variations: Technology, Philosophy and Criticism in Glenn Gould�s Musical Thought and Practice" (2011). Ethnomusicology Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://doi.org/10.7301/Z0XK8CS6

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