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      Music and Narrative in the Eighteenth Century: Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide as Dramatic Tableau

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          Abstract

          This article puts forward a new theory for discussing eighteenth-century music as narrative by combining literary theories of narrative with an analytical and historical exploration of the eighteenth-century opera overture. Through a consideration of how the overture to Iphigénie en Aulide prepares spectators for the ensuing drama and through a reconsideration of the role of (often ignored) devices such as musical repetition, this article shows how theories of theatre, drama, and narrative can inform our understanding of how music can be thought of in narrative terms and how eighteenth-century music was able to express a dramatic argument akin to that of a literary narrative. A hermeneutic approach is taken throughout that combines a (structuralist) analysis of the overture with a (poststructuralist) investigation into the overture’s reception history and of eighteenth-century literary and dramatic theory. By proposing that music has a narrative potential, rather than an explicit structural narrative, the article seeks to provide a theoretical bedrock for future studies that place the ‘reader’ or listener as participant.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Schumann and Late Eighteenth-Century Narrative Strategies

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            The French Operatic Overture from Grétry to Berlioz

             B Deane (1972)
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              ‘Drama and Dramatic Theory: Peter Szondi and the Modern Theatre.’

               M. HAYS,  M Hays (1983)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                16 July 2019
                2019
                : 5
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Coventry University, UK
                Article
                10.16995/olh.131
                Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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