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The Musical Matrix Reloaded

Contemporary Perspectives and Alternative Worlds in the Music of Beethoven and Schubert

Barbara Barry

The Musical Matrix Reloaded proposes a striking new scenario for the music of Beethoven and Schubert in the contemporary world. It draws on the theory of Multiple Worlds in physics, and on sci-fi and movies, as powerful contemporary models of alternative realities to explain radical features of interpolation, dislocation, and ultimately of return.

Confronting familiar assumptions about Beethoven’s and Schubert’s music as long-range consonance, the book proposes instead that musical action is predicated on an underlying disruptive energy, Nietzsche’s Dionysian disruptive background re-interpreted in the contemporary world. When it breaks through the musical surface, it dislocates continuity and re-routes tonal narrative into new, unforeseen directions. These unforeseen paths enable us to glimpse in Beethoven’s and Schubert’s music the beautiful, and often haunting, reality of another world.

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Table of Contents



1. ‘Many Worlds’ and Black Swans: Contemporary Models in Music, the Arts and Ideas

Contemporary Cosmologies

2. Out of This World: Modeling Beethoven’s ‘Grosse Fuge’ in the “Bubble Wrap” Universe

3. Is Anybody There? Texting in Schubert’s Musical Stratosphere


4. Invisible Cities and Imaginary Landscapes: Timely Meditations on Beethoven’s Quartet in C Sharp Minor, ‘Quasi una Fantasia’

5. ‘The Matrix’ Revisited: A Reconsideration of Schubert’s Sonata Form Movements


6. Utopia and Dystopia Revisited: Contrasted Domains in Beethoven’s Middle-Period F Major and F Minor Works

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