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Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons

Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons

Igor Stravinsky

Translated by Arthur Knodel and Ingolf Dahl

ISBN 9780674678569

Publication date: 02/26/1970

One of the greatest of contemporary composers has here set down in delightfully personal fashion his general ideas about music and some accounts of his own experience as a composer. Every concert-goer and lover of music will take keen pleasure in his notes about the essential features of music, the process of musical composition, inspiration, musical types, and musical execution. Throughout the volume are to he found trenchant comments on such subjects as Wagnerism, the operas of Verdi, musical taste, musical snobbery, the influence of political ideas on Russian music under the Soviets, musical improvisation as opposed to musical construction, the nature of melody, and the function of the critic of music. Musical people of every sort will welcome this first presentation in English of an unusually interesting book.


  • [These lessons] provide penetrating glimpses into the thought processes of Stravinsky's mind. While dealing with his chosen topics--the phenomenon of music, the composition of music, musical typology, the avatars of Russian music, and the performance of music--he reveals his reverence for tradition, order and discipline. He believes "the more art is controlled, limited, worked over, the more it is free." His opinions about Wagner, Verdi, Berlioz, Hindemith, Weber, Beethoven, Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Moussorgsky and Bach are refreshing. He also analyzes the function of the critic, the requirements of the interpreter, the state of Russian music, and musical taste and snobbery.

    —The American Recorder

Book Details

  • 160 pages
  • 0-3/8 x 5 x 7-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press
  • Preface by George A. Seferis