"Did you hear love's fond farewell?" Some examples of thematic irony in Wagner's Ring

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Abstract

Scholars have long enjoyed uncovering moments of irony in Western art music. Unsurprisingly, Wagner's operas have proven exceptionally rich in this regard, although Wagner's ironic usage of associative themes (Leitmotive), has remained largely unmentioned. Wagner's associative themes are central to the composer's vision of the music drama. As mutable entities, they can be placed in new musical contexts without destroying their sense of identity: Irony is, of course, one such form of musical-dramatic recontextualization. A study of examples of thematic irony in Wagner's Ring can help to indentify their musical and semantic underpinnings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-157
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Musicological Research
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

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