Contemporary Perspectives and Alternative Worlds in the Music of Beethoven and Schubert
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.
12. Multiple ‘Personas’ in Parallel Worlds: Shakespeare’s Ghosts and the Return of Schubert’s ‘Doppelgänger’
Hamlet: “There’s ne’er a villain dwelling in all Denmark,
: But he’s an arrant knave.”
Horatio: “There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave,
: To tell us this.”
Hamlet: “Why right, you are i’ the right.” Hamlet.1
Against his expectations the age of reason was proving something of a disappointment. Anita Brookner2
Contemporary society, projected through blogs and subcultures, tweets and Facebook, has evolved into a simultaneity of parallel worlds. Parallel worlds are not so much about looking for other life forms ‘out there’ in the galaxy – although there is plenty of interest in these, real or robotic – so much as how physical existence has been infiltrated by multiple layers of alternative realities, such as action movies, sci-fi and internet gaming, and shaped by the compulsive insecurities of social media.
Familiar as it is today, the theory of parallel worlds has a comparatively recent history. It was first introduced, as described in Chapter 1, by the physicist Hugh Everett in a paper given in 1957, although for a long time Everett’s work was effectively ignored, as he was considered to be eccentric and his ideas out of sync with the then-current preoccupation with string theory.3 Everett started his exploration of parallel worlds from a well-documented phenomenon in quantum mechanics. A measurement in the seemingly random movement of sub-atomic ←315 | 316→quarks and positrons has the unexpected result of causing the particles to line up on...
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