The relevance of context in musicological interpretation. Hermeneutical applications on certain Romanian writings and works


  • Prof. univ. dr. Laura-Otilia Vasiliu "George Enescu" National University of Arts Iași



musicology, musicologist, interpretation, hermeneutics, poetry, musical performance, Noi istorii ale muzicilor românești, Pascal Bentoiu, Amorul Doctor


We have been perceiving ever more acutely for the past two decades a major change in the vision and musicological style in the Romanian language: language analysis and historiographic research have slid onto a secondary plane, while the commentary of the work, of its interpretation and the characterisation of the style, determined by the social, political, biographical, artistic factors, by the means of expression of the time focus researchers’ interest increasingly. The history of contemporary musicology recognises the moment of change of the thinking paradigm in the 1980s writings belonging to Joseph Kerman: the article How we got into Analysis, and How to Get Out and the volume Contemplating Music. The author criticises the formalism and positivism which define musicology, identified with musical analysis, reveals its ideological nature, as the relation between analysis and organicity is the leading ideology. The American musicologist pleads for a more cultural form of musical criticism, supported by the exposure of the context and of the sources of the work objectified. According to Kerman, musicology had become more discoursively-critical and less positivist (so-called scientific), being more preoccupated with interpretation than with information on the writing details and historical data; it had reconquered its interdisciplinary valences and envelopped all musical genres. Analysing the effects of this direction on the Romanian musicological discourse, we do two case studies: 1. the recent collective work Noi istorii ale muzicii românești [New histories of Romanian types of music], coordinated by Valentina Sandu-Dediu and Nicolae Gheorghiță in the direction of emphasising and/or cancelling the effects of (nationalistic, socialist-realist) ideology on the value judgement of the anthologised musical and creative phenomena; 2.the musical comedy Amorul doctor [Dr. Love] by Pascal Bentoiu, regarded from theperspective of the relation between the artistic value and the cultural trajectory broken by the obscurity of Romanian society in the first half of the 1960 decade.