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Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons
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Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  389 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
Paperback, 148 pages
Published March 15th 2007 by Hamlin Press (first published 1942)
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James
In his preface to this collection of lectures Darius Milhaud says, "Poetics of music is like a searchlight turned by Stravinsky on his own work on one hand, and on music in general on the other." This comment provides an excellent introduction to this short book. Given as part of the Charles Eliot Norton lectures, these compact essays provide an insight into the mind of one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century.
Half the book is concerned with music in general,focusing on the phenome
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Barnaby Thieme
There are composers like Arnold Schoenberg and Pierre Boulez who are also gifted communicators and insightful students of music history and theory. Then there are composers like Igor Stravinsky, whose genius of expression lies purely in non-discursive domains.

This series of lecture transcripts gives the impression of an animated but disorganized speaker extemporaneously speaking on vague topic areas without preparation. His basic unit of thought seems to be about the size of a sentence, and Str
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Emma Nolan
When I first got into architecture school they gave us a list of recommended readings for the summer before our first year. Of those, this was my favorite, and the only one that wasn't exactly about architecture. It's been a while since I've ready cover to cover, but I often scan if for some of the quotes I underlined (one of the few books I own I've actually done that to!)
Steve
Jun 06, 2008 Steve marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classical-music
Stravinsky represents another high point of creativity for me. After listening to his "Rite of Spring", you can be sure he was channeling something from a different plane. Pure genius. You should also give his violin concerto and ballet "Agon" a listen. One of those rare, protean spirits that comes along only once or twice a century.
Scott
Brilliant - found his ideas on composition most enlightening. Just re-read again, this was a book dug out of the "shool days" chest.

-s
Sean Tom
Just finished this and I'm conflicted - the three stars I give it don't capture how thought provoking I find this lecture series.

I'm puzzled by how much this man hates Wagner and the leitmotif, as creating a mode of musical interpretation that deviates from the intentions of musical expression. This same man is the patron saint of "Fantasia". (Stravinsky was still alive and kicking when Disney turned his Rite of Spring into a prequel to the Land Before Time.) His body of work and his polemic ide
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Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in May 1998.

This book consists of a series of six lectures delivered in Paris, translated from the original French.

Considering how much I like Stravinsky's music, and how much the music he made influenced the development of twentieth century classical music, his views about music turned out to be somewhat disappointing. He subscribed to the idea that there was little of any intellectual content in romantic music, for example, and is extremely dismissive of it
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Keith Kenniff
Excellent (albeit short) lecture from an always articulate Stravinsky at Harvard. Stravinsky's compositional approach changed a lot over the years, and it's intriguing to hear about his approach to composition, and his thoughts on the motivation behind his constant exploration and exploration of music, as well as where music had been and where it was going. He was one of the few composers (especially of his time) that simultaneously having a reverence for music of the past, was firmly committed ...more
Adam Cherson
I rate this book a 3.5 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being best.

As someone once said writing about music is like dancing about architecture, but if anyone can do it Stravinsky is the one.

"The function of tonality is completely subordinated to the force of attraction of the pole of sonority. All music is nothing more than a succession of impulses that converge towards a definite point of repose."

"Well in art as in everything else, one can build only upon a resisting foundation: whatever constantly
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Craig
Igor Strakvinsky distills several centuries of musical development into this small, but insight packed, set of Harvard lectures. Originally delivered in his preferred French, I read the English translation. I most appreciated his boiling down concepts such as economy of means, into wonderfully cristallized examples, using the works of composers of various periods. Must read for any musician, amateur or professional, looking for a brief but rich summary of how music (from medieval times up to 194 ...more
Stas
"by some chance, which it pleases me to regard as a happy one, my person and my work have in spite of myself been stamped with a distinctive mark from the outset of my career and have played the part of a "reagent". The contact of this reagent with the musical reality around me, with human environments and the world of ideas, has provoked various reactions whose violence has been equaled only by arbitrariness. It seems that everyone had the wrong address".
Christopher
Transcribed Harvard lectures. The first starts slow, and the fifth is probably more detail about the Russian symphonic scene that most people will want. The second, third and fourth are well worth the price of admission, giving the reader a lot to think about as well as a remarkable perspective into Stravinsky's attitudes and presuppositions.

The sixth lecture I found to be brilliant. Many ideas to ponder.
Luiz Fukushiro
In six lessons, Stravinsky explains his point of view in various topics, such as the work os composition, performance of works, Russian music and modernism. Although clearly these lessons are more about his only practice and not a deep treatise on his chosen topics, it's very interesting to read his thoughts on other composers' works, his position about modernism and how he sees the public and the critic.
Matt
A fascinating document. I know next to nothing about Igor Stravinsky but found this to be an interesting book. Now I want to know more about him. He approaches music from a place I have never been but I am happy to have learned about it.
Jennifer Rose


This book is a difficult read due to a challenging use of vocabulary and the probability that some of its meaning is lost through translation. I am still glad to have read it, and would recommend it as an important read.
Brad
I didn't learn anything new about music, I just learned about all the things that Stravinsky doesn't like: Wagner, snobs, "grimacers", Soviet music... The six lessons were more like six irritating diatribes.
Megan
the man has strong opinions, and does speak poetically about music, and in a way that could apply to more than just the subject at hand. an interesting meditation on the process of art-making in general.
James
Helped in the construction of my views on; where musical theory ends and Romanticism begins.
Shaun
He goes on and on and on and on... but he does eventually explain some difficult concepts in music.
Iso Cambia
Aug 23, 2009 Iso Cambia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: musicians
Shelves: music, non-fiction
A classic not to missed for students and fans of 20th century music.
Jose Luna
Jose Luna marked it as to-read
Dec 18, 2014
Jacob Marshall
Jacob Marshall marked it as to-read
Dec 14, 2014
Deniz Dena Kaplan
Deniz Dena Kaplan marked it as to-read
Dec 14, 2014
Patrick Anseth
Patrick Anseth marked it as to-read
Dec 13, 2014
Raul
Raul marked it as to-read
Dec 11, 2014
Jill Jantzen
Jill Jantzen marked it as to-read
Dec 07, 2014
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Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely acknowledged as one of the most important and influential composers of 20th century music.

He was a quintessentially cosmopolitan Russian who was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the century. He became a naturalized US citizen in 1946. In addition to the recognition he receive
...more
More about Igor Stravinsky...
An Autobiography The Rite of Spring in Full Score The Firebird in Full Score (Original 1910 Version) Conversations with Igor Stravinsky Memories and Commentaries: New One-Volume Edition

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