Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Theses

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    Music and criticism: a study of some trends during the twentieth century
    Samson, Patricia Woraine ( 1964)
    To spend time and energy in criticizing music the critic must value music highly. To criticize criticism implies also that one considers criticism of the arts worthwhile. The concert-goer who expects only that he shall enjoy a relaxing evening will probably not bother even to read the notes in his programme, and even if he does so. He will look for no more than a few technical sign posts to lessen his confusion if a work new to him is included in the programme. Such an attitude implies that its possessor dismisses music as an inessential luxury, and that he relegates the composer to the role of entertainer. Plainly, such a concert-goer does not value his music enough to discuss it. Fortunately he is not the only kind of person who listens to music, although he may be monomer than is often realized. His is certainly the easiest attitude to adopt, for to take music and criticism seriously involves much hard thought. The idea that art is a form of human communication is a widely accepted one. Most of the disputes which arise about this notion are concerned with the questions of what and how art communicates rather than whether it does so. Another way of looking at art is as a form of discipline: one cannot create in any artistic form, nor can one fully respond to a work or art, without the exercise of self-discipline, and the study of particular branches of the arts has long been recognized as a way to the achievement of a disciplined mind. The value of art lies in both of these aspects: in what it communicates and in the kind of activity it demands from those who take part in it. These two are inseparable – one cannot discuss the “content” of a work of art without discussing the means by which it is communicated, although, as we shall notice later, one can become involved in an arid discussion of the means alone. A musical work does not concern itself with conceptual thought, as many learned critics have noted. They hold that in this respect it differs from poetry, which can express concepts. They do not seem to have noticed that great poetry does not discuss ideas as philosophy does, but demands an emotional involvement, as painting and music do. All three arts also demand an intellectual involvement, but it is not of the strictly logical or syllogistic kind, even in reputedly “intellectual” poetry. Poetry and painting represent situations known to human beings by experience, in such a way that the expression of experience renders it comprehensible. (From Introduction)
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    Jean Calvin and the Genevan Psalter: a study of the Calvinist aesthetic and its application in the music of the Psalter
    Bishop, Dianne (Shirley Dianne) ( 1969)
    “Moreover, since the glory of God ought to shine in the several parts of our bodies, it is especially fitting that the tongue has been assigned and destined for this task, through singing and speaking.” Those words of Jean Calvin express his belief in the importance of music in the life of the Christian. It was a conviction which prompted him, as the leader of a new Protestant Church in Geneva, to define precisely the role which music should play in the Church, and it further motivated him to establish a musical repertoire that was in accordance with his beliefs. It is the aim of this thesis to examine his musical ideas, searching for features which are distinctive or unusual, in the context of sixteenth-century musical thought. It is then proposed to examine the application of the ideas in the Genevan Psalter, which, although it is largely forgotten, may still be viewed as a fitting monument of the reformer’s musical insight. Research in this field has not yet advanced to great lengths, but there is a growing awareness among scholars of the historical and musical importance of the psalter. In addition to a small amount of writing on Calvin's musical aesthetic, there are the studies of the psalter, begun in 1878 by Oretin Douen. As yet, these have been largely confined to bibliographical works and to publications of source material. (From Introduction)