Op. 132 and the Search for a Deep Structure
by Stephen Rumph
V. Kofi Agawu. Playing
with Signs: A Semiotic Interpretation of Classic Music. Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1991. x, 154pp. ISBN: 0691091382.
Robert S. Hatten. Interpreting Musical Gestures, Topics, and Tropes:
Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana
University Press, 2004. ix, 358pp. ISBN: 025334459X.
Michael Spitzer. Metaphor and Musical Thought. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 2004. x, 380pp. ISBN: 0226769720.
Musical semiotics has finally won a place in Beethoven scholarship. Over
the past few decades, the trickle of semiotic studies devoted to Beethoven
has swollen to a respectable stream. David Lidov, Eero Tarasti, and Raymond
Monelle have offered distinguished analyses of individual works, while
Kofi Agawu has embraced Beethoven in his theory of Classic topics. Robert
Hatten's new book on musical signification and Michael Spitzer's study
of metaphoric thought have planted semiotics firmly within Beethoven studies.
The meaning of Beethoven's music, these studies promise, lies at last
within the grasp of science.