Satira v glasbi

  • Leon Stefanija Univerza v Ljubljani, Filozofska fakulteta
Ključne besede: satira, glasba, pomenoslovje glasbe


The article surveys the scope of satire and suggests its range. It is divided into six sections. The introductory comment (The semantics of music) briefly outlines the fact that music has always been a part of communicative endeavors. The historical background of the semantic issues in music is described (Historical surmises), which is necessary to define satire in music as a specific genre combining features from different musical forms. The third section discusses six areas as the most common contexts of musical satire: 1) satirical music theater works, such as the opera Il Girello by Jacopo Melani, the famous Coff ee Cantata (Schweigt Still, plaudert nicht, BWV 211) by Johann Sebastian Bach, Der Schulmeister by Georg Philipp Telemann, The Beggar’s Opera by John Gay, and so on; 2) musical genres associated with satire, either a) within vocal-instrumental music; for instance, opera buffa, Singspiel, operetta, cabaret, vaudeville, and so on, or b) in instrumental pieces, such as capriccios, grotesques, scherzos, burlesques, and so on; 3) individual features or compositional parts related to satire; for example, in a) vocal music, the Satiro in Orfeo by Luigi Rossi, the range of the Orlando character in eighteenth-century opera, who “may be satire, a fool or hero, but never all together” (Harris, 1986, 106), the satirical antihero Matěj Brouček in Leoš Janáček’s work, and also Lady Macbeth, and in b) instrumental music, such as the sermon of St. Anthony in Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony, his marches, and “low-brow tunes,” a number of episodes in Dmitri Shostakovich’s works, and so on; 4) works variously related to criticism, such as the work of Eric Satie, Kurt Weill, Luigi Nono, Maurizio Kagel, and Vinko Globokar, as well as Fran Milčinski (a.k.a. Ježek), Laibach, or Bob Dylan; 5) music journalism, from Johann Beer and Louis-Abel Beffroy de Reigny and his popular pieces de circonstance, to nineteenth-century music journalism, George Bernard Shaw, contemporary musical feuilletons, and so on; and 6) folk-music legacy, to which it seems reasonable to add some of contemporary musical-poetic genres of popular culture, especially rap. After delineating the fields in which music has been connected to satire, the relations between them are analyzed in some detail with discussion of the march section in Mahler’s Third Symphony (Gustav Mahler and universal satire), Shostakovich’s Eighth String Quartet (Dmitri Shostakovich and social satire), and Lebič’s ingenious Fauvel ’86 (Lojze Lebič and gestural satire). The last section of the article offers a typology of the satirical potential in music. Five types of relations between music and language’s meanings are considered, as well as five groups of satire-connected levers in instrumental music: 1. Music has certain aesthetic features that evoke a “strange” effect: a) music takes a “neutral,” “parallel-world” stance toward the text, without direct involvement in the meaning of the text; b) music “highlights” the sense of the text; c) music “comments” on the text in exposing different “telling details”; d) music tries to negate the text. 2. Musical incorporates certain “coded chips” such as a) motifs from one’s own oeuvre; b) motifs from compositions by other authors; c) “encrypted statements,” such as the “sign” in Shostakovich: the DSCH motif, the BACH motif, and so on; d) semanticized “cultural gestures,” such as Wagner’s funeral march in Shostakovich’s Eighth String Quartet. 3. Musical flow is characterized by a “breach of genres”: a) various musical forms; for instance, the symphony and the Lied in Mahler, or b) “low-brow” and “high” styles in Mahler and other composers. 4. Musical flow violates the established cultural norms, not only musical ones, with items such as a) certain cultural position, such as John Cage’s 4’33’’; b) specific, not only musical, ideology, the Poeme Symphonique by György Ligeti; c) certain cultural norms, as in Marko Mihevc’s Hallelujah). 5. The musical stream is hardly connected with concrete musical or broader cultural norms, but its semantic potential emerges out of some “physical cognitive universals,” as indicated by programmatic genres and performance indications, such as scherzo, scherzoso, scherzando, grotesque, and burlesque.

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Leon Stefanija , Univerza v Ljubljani, Filozofska fakulteta
Leon Stefanija je izredni profesor na Oddelku za muzikologijo Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani in je vodja katedre za sistematično muzikologijo. Svoje raziskovalno delo je usmeril na področje analize glasbenega stavka, novejše slovenske glasbe in sociologije glasbe, kar tudi posreduje na predavanjih in seminarjih. Bil je gostujoči profesor na več univerzah, posveča se tudi spoznavoslovju raziskovanja glasbe. Sodeluje v različnih uredništvih muzikoloških revij in deluje v več strokovno vplivnih organih. Med publikacijami je treba omeniti: »O glasbeno novem: ob slovenski instrumentalni glasbi zadnje četrtine 20. stoletja« (Ljubljana 2001), »Metode analize glasbe: zgodovinsko teoretski oris« (Ljubljana 2004) in »Sociologija glasbe – zgodovina, teorija in metodologija« (Ljubljana 2010).
Kako citirati
Stefanija , L. (2011). Satira v glasbi . Ars & Humanitas, 5(2), 11-47.