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Style and Idea: Selected Writings

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  105 ratings  ·  7 reviews
One of the most influential collections of music ever published, Style and Idea includes Schoenberg’s writings about himself and his music as well as studies of many other composers and reflections on art and society.

Paperback, 560 pages
Published November 9th 1984 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 1950)
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Augusto  Lopetegui
This collection of unpublished letters and articles by Arnold Schönberg deserves a special place in every musician -and music lover's- desk, preferrably within grasp. Okay, I've read it more than three times and come back to it almost on a daily basis. Five stars all the way, this book could be of importance to those who think that you can't actually talk about music and art in general. There's a lot to think and discuss about art, taste, form, "fashions", style, and of course: content; the Idea ...more
Aug 10, 2011 Carol rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: music
This collection of essays by Arnold Schoenberg is not exactly a fun or completely pleasurable read, but it is very illuminating and very worthwhile for anyone interested in modern music. Schoenberg was very intelligent and had a truly impressive understanding of music and ability to convey his analysis of various works. His prose style is not always beautiful, but it is always clear and expresses his ideas well. And at times, especially when responding to critics, Schoenberg can produce a wither ...more
His music may make you think he was an exacting, impossibly harsh megalomaniac, but in this wide-ranging collection of writings, he comes off as an inspired (and quite hilarious) philosopher of sound.
Essential for serious study of 20th century "classical" music.
Luiz Fukushiro
In specific topics, like music of Mahler and Brahms, music critics and his own works, Schoenberg exposes his views about function, form and idea in music, specially in the work of composing. Schoenberg's thoughts are easy to understand, but shows a very deep knowledge of music history and passionate but solid basis for his thoughts. The use of technical language can make some parts a little more difficult, but nothing that can make one misses the point.
Josh Eustis
Sep 19, 2007 Josh Eustis rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Composers
I've read it twice. It's tough. Helps to have a music background. But this is a great way into the mind of one of the top five most important music composers in the history of humankind. Hilarious, insightful, didactic, inspiring. Hone your theory chops and it will help you get through it. Essential to anyone who writes (or tries to write...) music.
I think I would enjoy this more now that I'm not using it for a course. Schoenberg's ideas and philosophy were quite interesting, if I remember correctly.
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He was an Austrian composer, associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School. He used the spelling Schönberg until after his move to the United States in 1934 (Steinberg 1995, 463), whereupon he altered it to Schoenberg "in deference to American practice" (Foss 1951, 401), though one writer claims he made the change a year earlier (Ross ...more
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“If it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not art.” 14 likes
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