Analyzing Beethoven’s “Kreutzer”
Sonata using the lenses of virtual agency and musical narrativity reveals a failure
of the tragic-to-transcendent expressive genre. Adopting a psychodynamic perspective yields an agentially-enriched
narrative reading, highlighting a tragic flaw that serves as an expressive premise for the musical discourse. The musical subjectivity cannot complete a positive or transcendent thought, but slips inexorably into the tragic. From a psychopathological perspective, this characteristic suggests chronic depression
, a connection solidified by musical suggestions of rumination
. The burgeoning practice of musical semiotics offers fresh insight into the “aboutness” problem from the philosophy of aesthetics. Specifically, interpretation combined with Julian Dodd’s concept of music’s displaying
properties to attain referentiality
enables music to be profound, pace
Even the Kreutzer Sonata,
a tragic narrative displaying characteristics of chronic depression, offers crucial insight into aspects of life and may thus more than adequately warrant the description of profound.
. Julian Dodd, “The Possibility of Profound Music,” British Journal of Aesthetics 54, No. 3 (July 2014): 304, 309.
. Peter Kivy, Music Alone: Philosophical Reflections on the Purely Musical Experience (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990): 8, 204, 217.
Narrativity; Expressive Genre; Psychodynamics; Chronic Depression; Musical Topics; Aboutness Problem; Aesthetics; Semiotic Analysis