Transformation of the Keyboard Fantasia in the Classical Period (1780-1800)

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dc.contributor.advisor Keiler, Allan Cha, Daesik 2016-05-17T15:54:29Z 2016-05-17T15:54:29Z 2016
dc.description.abstract The fantasia between the 1780s and 1800s was a unique genre that was susceptible to the change of the prevalent musical aesthetics in the German culture of the time. This idiosyncratic art is often approached as a collection of improvisatory keyboard works jumbled together under the broad term ‘fantasia.’ The unconventionality and subjectivity of these works, which boldly defied musical norms of the time, make it difficult for scholars to treat it as a genre in the classical sense. But this dissertation demonstrates that the fantasia in the late 18th century is not “anti-genre” but a genre with its own expressive properties. The sui generis nature of this art dictates that, unlike other Classical genres, it be not defined by a fixed set of genre-defining features but by the shared aesthetic principles which served as the foundation for the doctrine of ‘individual originality’ which the fantasia pursued as its ultimate aim. In other words, fantasia composers realized their free and subjective imaginations in conformity with the contemporary aesthetic expectations of the genre. However, during the Classical period, the aesthetic principles that undergirded the fantasia themselves underwent a transformation. Contemporaneous German theorists sought to reconcile British naturalism with French neoclassicism, and their new thoughts were articulated in the form of criticism of the fantasia as fine art. But then, the fantasia’s naturalistic principles that had given composers to impetus for unbridled deliberation of original, imaginative ideas became modified by the infiltration of neoclassical elements intended to strengthen the genre’s formal coherence and expressive intelligibility. As a result, the fantasia evolved into two types, the prelude and the episodic, which coexisted in this period. The composers who belonged to the keyboard school of C. P. E. Bach continued the Baroque improvisatory tradition based on voice-leading techniques of figured bass, cultivating the prelude-type fantasia which musically embodied naturalistic ideals of original genius, namely, originality, abundant feelings, and bold imagination. In the meanwhile, younger Classical composers, led by W. A. Mozart, developed the new, episodic-type fantasia in attempts to make naturalistic elements of the genre more congruent with the neoclassical doctrines, which were increasingly predominant in the German musical culture of the time.
dc.description.sponsorship Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Brandeis University
dc.relation.ispartofseries Brandeis University Theses and Dissertations
dc.rights Copyright by Daesik Cha 2016
dc.subject Keyboard Fantasia
dc.subject Classical music
dc.title Transformation of the Keyboard Fantasia in the Classical Period (1780-1800)
dc.type Thesis
dc.contributor.department Graduate Program in Musicology PhD Doctoral Musicology Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

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