The tone of the debates among Caplin, Hepokoski, and Webster (in the form of comments on each author's essay and then responses to the comments), though tactful, is obliquely blunt and tendentious; like the best of tennis pros, each author strives to serve an ace and defends the net against a passing shot (with Caplin, the ace is for formal function; with Hepokoski for Sonata Theory and dialogic form; with Webster for multivalent analysis). But we can trust that this provocative exchange will thoroughly invigorate discussions about classical form and encourage diverse approaches to its analysis. - Janet Schmalfeldt, In the Process of Becoming. Analytical and Philosophical Perspectives on Form in Early Nineteenth-Century Music (Oxford Studies in Music Theory), 2011, p. 15 In Musical Form, Forms & Formenlehre: Three Methodological Reflections, three eminent music theorists consider the fundamentals of musical form. They discuss how to analyze form in music and question the relevance of analytical theories and methods in general. They illustrate their basic concepts and concerns by offering some concrete analyses of works by Mozart (Idomeneo Overture, Jupiter Symphony) and Beethoven (First Symphony, Pastoral Symphony, Egmont Overture, and Die Ruinen von Athen Overture). The volume is divided into three parts, focusing on Caplin’s “theory of formal functions,” Hepokoski’s concept of “dialogic form,” and Webster’s method of “multivalent analysis” respectively. Each part begins with an essay by one of the three authors. Subsequently, the two opposing authors comment on issues and analyses they consider to be problematic or underdeveloped, in a style that ranges from the gently critical to the overtly polemical. Finally, the author of the initial essay is given the opportunity to respond to the comments and to refine further his own fundamental ideas on musical form.
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