German 133. Topics in Music from 1800 to the Present





Portrait of Theodor Adorno


This course is not being offered during the current academic year.


Gordon and Rehding

Adorno and Music. The philosopher, composer, and sociologist Theodor W. Adorno counts as one of the most important musical thinkers of the twentieth century. While the range of musical figures he approved of was extraordinarily focused (going barely beyond Beethoven, Mahler, Wagner, and Schoenberg), he created a central role for music in his philosophy. The very abstraction and remoteness of absolute music, he argued, allowed it to offer critical insights on the state of modern society. In this seminar we will discuss key texts by Adorno and his circle, and work through a number of key musical works in his orbit. No discussion of Adorno would be complete without consideration of his controversial views on jazz and sound media. A background in music may be advantageous but is not a requirement.

This course is equivalent to History 1934 and Music 193r.