Cover

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Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

As always, I am indebted foremost to Robert Hatten, who has supported my research since I started giving lectures on musical meaning. He has guided me through a previous book and a collection of essays, and his guidance was invaluable in completing this book, as well. After I discussed the ideas in this book...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

A letter always arrives at its destination . . . There is no speech without a response . . . Thou art that . . . The unconscious is the chapter of my history that is marked by a blank or occupied by a lie . . . The unconscious is the Other’s discourse . . . A symptom is language from which speech must be delivered . . . I identify myself in language...

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1. Music and the Symptom

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pp. 7-39

Early in The Sublime Object of Ideology, Slavoj Žižek writes that according to Lacan it was Karl Marx who invented the symptom (1989: 3). Žižek’s claim is a willful one, given that Lacan never professed an allegiance to Marxist thought, and that references to Marx appear only sporadically in Lacan’s writings (see Valente...

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2. The Acoustic Mirror as Formative of Auditory Pleasure and Fantasy: Chopin’s Berceuse, Brahms’s Romanze, and Saariaho’s “Parfum de l’instant”

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pp. 40-66

The title of this chapter alludes to Lacan’s lecture “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function.” As discussed in chapter 1, for Lacan it is at the mirror stage that the young child first recognizes herself in the mirror or the gaze of the mother. And Lacan doubtless would have enjoyed the double entendre in

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3. Debussy and the Three Machines of the Proustian Narrative

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pp. 67-95

Once we are socialized in the Symbolic, there is no exit. But if we cannot go back to an earlier stage of our subjectivity, can an earlier stage come to us? In seeking an answer, our first impulse may be a turn to Freud, for whom the interpretation of a dream is the way to the undiscovered kingdom of our...

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4. Chopin Dreams: The Mazurka in C♯ Minor as Sinthome

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pp. 96-121

The mazurka is a curious multiplicity. We soon learn that it is not one dance but three: the mazur, which takes its name from the Polish region of Mazovia but may have its origin in Kujawy; the oberek, which possibly takes its name from the Polish word obracać (to spin) but comes from the Mazowsze region...

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Intermezzo: On Agency

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pp. 122-126

Agency is a problem, and not only for music. If agency is the capacity of a person or other entity to act in the world, then implicit is the notion of a separate body performing the action. The agent is individual. In human terms, the agent is an individual. But already in the nineteenth century, Hegel and Marx began to...

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5. Postmodern Quotation, the Signifying Chain, and the Erasure of History

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pp. 127-153

We can understand the increasing and open use of borrowing in contemporary music, starting in the 1960s and continuing to the present, as a symptom of postmodern culture. Here, I take the term symptom in its form prior to Lacan’s working out of the sinthome: some failure in the Symbolic; some truth...

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6. Lutosławski, Molar and Molecular

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pp. 154-172

Lacan’s model of the subject is not a pleasant one. The subject is alienated and fractured: the site of a symptomatic structure delivered by the Symbolic. Any fantasy of wholeness is nostalgia for a moment that never was. Any vision of a future wholeness is mere wishful thinking. From the nineteenth century through...

Works Cited

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pp. 173-182

Index

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pp. 183-192

About the Author

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p. 193