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Transcontextual mechanisms in contemporary art music

Ranyard, M. R. (1997). Transcontextual mechanisms in contemporary art music. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Transcontextuality occurs in (contemporary art) music when musical material in one style is inserted into a work in a different style. The inserted material is termed a transcontextua/ artefact and has (at least) two contexts: a previous context, to which it traditionally belongs, and a present or new context, in which it is now heard. The term 'transcontextuality' encapsulates the idea of transference from one context to another. It also emphasises the importance of context. The phenomenon is context-dependent.

In transferring musical material from a previous context to a new work (the composer's own) a composer intentionally refers to the codes associated with the artefact and
its source. The code which may be transmitted by an artefact can usually be described as belonging to one or more of several artefact-types, referring to: a style; a work; a composer's opus; or a genre. An artefact in contemporary Western music may also be 'transcultural', in that it refers to a non-Westem culture.

A listener is expected to play the role of a decoder, potentially recognising transcontextual material, deciphering a code and consequently interpreting the meaning of an
artefact in its (new) context. Code-transmission is partially dependent on the degree of decoder competence, and mismatches are possible between an encoder's envisaged code and a decoder's deciphered version.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Ranyard thesis 1997 PDF-A.pdf]
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