Chord symbols, musical abstraction and modernism

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Abstract

This article traces the emergence of the chord symbol in twentieth century musical notation, and discusses its significance both for musical aesthetics and for the development of new musical practices. Using Adorno as a reference point, Abel argues that despite being a product of a reified and conservative conception of musical language, the abstraction involved in the chord symbol has provided the basis for radically new forms of music-making which indicate ways in which the individualistic and hierarchical priorities of the Western art-music tradition might be overcome.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRadical Philosophy
Volume195
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

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