Musical Meaning

Kramer Lawrence


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University of California Press
6 July 2021
ISBN: 9780520382978
352 pages

From the publisher

Ranging widely over classical music, jazz, popular music, and film and television music, Musical Meaning uncovers the historical importance of asking about meaning in the lived experience of musical works, styles, and performances. Lawrence Kramer has been a pivotal figure in the development of new resources for understanding music. In this accessible and eloquently written book, he argues boldly that humanistic, not just technical, meaning is a basic force in music history and an indispensable factor in how, where, and when music is heard. He demonstrates that thinking about music can become a vital means of thinking about general questions of meaning, subjectivity, and value.

First published in 2001, Musical Meaning anticipates many of the musicological topics of today, including race, performance, embodiment, and media. In addition, Kramer explores music itself as a source of understanding via his composition Revenants for piano, revised for this edition and available on the UC Press website.