Musicological question re repeat structures

It isn’t. That’s only one aspect of musicology.

If current notational practice is part of musicology, then everything musical is part of musicology. I don’t think that most music theorists would consider themselves musicologists u unless they had academic degrees in both disciplines.

Personally I prefer the old version because I can’t stand extremely long endings.

But I also think there is some confusion caused by arriving at “Fine” twice. That feels like a Möbius strip.

I also am put off by the indentation of the trio. That serves no purpose and causes my eye to lock in on that as in "Why is that indented? Is it trying to tell me something? It is significant?

If anything, I would indent D, not E in the old version, as that is where we are jumping after the first time at Fine.

I surrender, sigh. I will put it in the same box as uncomfortable heavy uniforms, braid, spats, plumes and other things to be endured…. :slight_smile:

Musicology is the academic study of music. I could refer you to various definitions but they’d only be an expansion of this statement.

I can’t imagine that any theorist wouldn’t consider himself a musicologist.

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Musicology is an attempt by normal people to define rules and methods that describe what the geniuses did instinctively.

It isn’t though. One would have to have an exceedingly narrow definition of musicology for that to make any sense.


As it’s generally used in an academic sense, musicology is the study of Western classical music. (Lower case classical for generic usage, not upper case Classical for 1750-1830.) Ethnomusicology is the study of the music of all the other cultures in the world. :roll_eyes:

This is the second time this discussion has gone way off topic.
Wishing you all a good evening.


Perhaps America has narrower definitions than would be found elsewhere but classical music does remain the focus in European countries. There are quite a lot of other things though that would be understood to be part of musicology in Britain or Germany (see Musicology - Wikipedia and Musikwissenschaft – Wikipedia).

“A musicologist can read music but can’t hear it”.
–Sir Thomas Beecham


Many a genius has contended that the fruits of their labour are the result of 1% inspiration (instinct) and 99% perspiration (learning the rules and methods).


I found the Wikipedia article interesting - and I usually flee.

It seems to me the real geniuses worked it out on their own and the rules came later when people tried to figure out why it worked so well. Of course many/most of the greats were trained in conservatories, but that is always a backward-looking thing. There might have been some counterpoint before JS Bach, but he made it a real thing, and then the musicologists analyzed it. Likewise for Ellington’s use of color – you can find bits of that in Grieg, Debussy, Tchaikovsky and others, but Duke made a whole new thing out of it, and the modern musicologists have feasted on that.

There is nothing wrong with academic analysis of the great composers and compositions – indeed, it is foolish not to try to learn how the greats did it. But let’s not put the cart before the horse. The art usually comes before the analysis.

I read an interview with JJ Johnson once about how he labored to get just the right voicings in his TV scores and other works. It sounded like it was very painstaking for him, whereas others may find this to just flow naturally. I’d say Johnson’s genius in that case was knowing what he wanted it to sound like, and continuing to work until that was realized. But if there were simple rules to follow to make it “sound right.” I’m sure he would have done that. Others have said they knew him to work for hours on a single note or phrase.

Respectfully, that is an unsustainable argument. See Exhibit A.

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Bach was 57 by the time that society was formed. It does seem that he began writing The Art of the Fugue soon after the society was formed, so perhaps the society gave him some inspiration to try to document what he had discovered throughout his life.

(about Festive Overture-Shostakovich)

Written in just three days at the behest of a conductor of the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra, who due to mysterious political maneuverings and bureaucratic snafus needed a new work to celebrate the October Revolution, and the concert was in three days. Shostakovich’s friend, Lev Lebedinsky, sat down next to him while he began to compose. Lebedinsky relates:

“The speed with which he wrote was truly astounding. Moreover, when he wrote light music he was able to talk, make jokes and compose simultaneously, like the legendary Mozart. He laughed and chuckled, and in the meanwhile work was under way and the music was being written down.”


Counterpoint had been a formal subject of study since the 15th century, at least. Composers learnt the rules and then wrote their music on that basis. Of course, the creative genius comes in discovering what you can do within the rules, and knowing when to break them.

The analysis of what has gone before has been a part of the composing process since time immemorial. Bach studied like everyone else. He wrote out the music of other composer’s, which he used as inspiration for his own works.


Craftsmen (artists) who want to work fluently make observations about what works best and develop procedures (rules) to help them work efficiently. They may teach these procedures to others or write about them (theorists). Sometimes these procedures turn out to be capable of enormous development and this influences later generations. Thus the procedures of counterpoint that Fux distilled in 1725 from several centuries of development were applied in more complex ways by later composers. Now historians (musicologists) write about this musical development and the composers and music they wrote.

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Not to dampen the noble spirit here, but I just listened to the piece and read up about it, and I would like to propose an alternative scenario: Dmitri happens to have some suitable unpublished music at hand (most probably for piano, something apparently at least in part corroborated by the historic account), and he is able to orchestrate it just in time.

Still an astonishing feat, but much more realistic. Just saying.

[Which is not to say that I doubt that it is possible to write something like the Festive Overture in three days; I just find the orchestration narrative much more likely, given what I read about the circumstances.]

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