Musica assoluta e rumore emancipato

Piero Carreras

Abstract


Musical Aura : variations on themes by Walter Benjamin

The essay starts with a reconstruction of the idea of an absolute music bound with the idea of a “pure language” in Benjamin’s first writings, comparing it with the similar ideas of Mallarmé. The analysis will then proceed to the idea of aura in music and technical reproduction, discussing the critiques by Adorno, who has explicitly elaborated the problem of music in the epoque of technical reproducibility as a form of alienation. A focus will be given to the different place jazz music has in the two authors. A brief exposition of changes of paradigm will supply what is somewhat implicit in Adorno’s writings on the subject. A reconstruction of the problems posed by the development of the various form of recording, from piano rolls to vinyl up to modern recording technology, together with the problem of radio and the “regression of hearing” will be followed by an analysis of the possibilities opened by the modern musical theatre with its large-scale use of montage as a composing technique. The last paragraph will propose the idea of Cage’s 4’33’’ as opening a new perspective on the “original hearing”.

Keywords: Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Aura, Contemporary music, Montage

 


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