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Book Review

Volume 14 • Number 1

Spring 2007


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.

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