A condensed summary of the main points included in Chapters 8 and 9(romantic values), (129-189) applied to a romantic work, of Robert ''Fantasy in C''

A condensed summary of the main points included in Chapters 8 and 9(romantic values), (129-189) applied to a romantic" work, of Robert "Fantasy in C" trying to find romantic elements in it as defined in the work, Thinking about Music, by Rowell (117-119), to acquire some experience in another major area of music history, the Romantic Period.


                The aim of this essay is the application of theoretical fundaments about music, pointed out by Rowell in accordance with the basic source mentioned above, but especially to Robert Schumann’s piece, "Fantasy in C". In this attempt, some basic steps will be followed like; an introduction to fundamental concepts of Perceptions (Ch.08) and Values (Ch.09) applied to music. A short autobiography of Schumann, the context of the period the piece was produced, the elements that characterize Shumann’s work, and personal considerations are also included, considering the romantic aspects (117-119).

The best of  music is the pleasure to share it, as  well as  the attitudes one can have from listening to  it. Rowell points out how can philosophy of music best concern itself with the listening experience, presenting the intertwined strands of our problem as a good start. The presented strands are not limited to – (1) the facts of the music... (2) the facts of the listener’s ability to hear these frequencies...(3) the modes of musical listening: (4) the activities involved in listening; (5) the values we attach to certain properties or qualities perceived in the  music: (6)

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the judgments we make (7) the context of the music: (8) the listener’s obstacles: (9) how the listener’s behavior is affected by listening to music (Rowell 130).

In terms of Modes of perception, Rowell presents some basic points one should have whenever exploring a listening experience like: Involvement of facts or learned things; the importance of events; musical dimensions; performance; influences in the listening habits, modes of perception  (the synoptic and the mode of immediate apprehension) (131-135).

            Rowell presents terms like Distance (it is close to our perception (140)), disinterest, (... a willingness to stand back somewhat from the art object, ...some emotional distance between oneself and the objects of perception...(136)) and detachment (aims music is produced,  ... catharsis, seduction, education salvation...(139)), frequently observed in the literature of aesthetics (135). His last topic considering Perceptions, (Ch.08  - 144-149) is Meaning. As he explains: “Meaning, then, is not either the stimulus, or what it points to, or the observer”(145).

Rowell suggests a meaningful diagram to give interpretation to musical meaning, by using verbs (to mean, express, represent, evoke, imitate, signify, symbolize, resemble, point to, refer to), connected with objects (a feeling, emotion, a mood, an image, a thing, nothing, a process, human qualities, another musical event, a type of motion) (146).

Rowell’s final consideration about Perception is the significance of epistemology of music: the listened attempt to obtain valid knowledge through the experience of music, prolonging his comments about aesthetics, the realm of values, preferences, judgments, and standards (149-189). The sense of value is very close to what we consider beautiful, pleasant, good, or true. (150) Sometimes someone does not have any knowledge of a certain subject, but the person had the feeling to recognize and interpret the values of music. This perception depends on values such as: tonal (Silence, Tone, Chord, Timbre, Harmonic Color ((152-158)),

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textural (Simple/Complex, Thin/dense, Economy/saturation, Orientation, Focus/interplay, Tangle, Figuration, (159-162)), dynamic (Climax, Expressive semes, Tension/release, Growth/decay, Athleticism Ambiguity (162-167)), temporal (Motor rhythm, Hierarchy, Logogenic  /melogenic, Free/strict, Motion/stasis, Conflict and deviation (168-172)), structural (Causal principle)(173-179)), and value clusters (179-182), pervading values(183), and Valuation(185), related  with sensuous, qualitative, subjective, a continuum observed  in the  formal, quantitative and objective perspectives (151). After all this presentation of elements, Rowell offers guidelines for excellence in music as a proposal but he adverts that “...the most convincing proof that these guidelines (187) are a valid reflection on our tradition is that avant-garde composers, in recent years, have systematically violated each and every one”(189).

Our next step should be an overview of Shumann’s piece Op. XX, in this perspective, by starting with an approach with his career and production.

“Robert Schumann (born Zwickau, 8 June 1810; died Endenich, 29 July 1856), early showed ability as a pianist and an interest in composing as well as literary leanings. Ostensibly studying law but actually music, he persuaded his family that he should give up law in favor of a pianist's career, and in 1830 he went to live with Wieck at Leipzig. But he soon had trouble with his hands (allegedly due to a machine to strengthen his fingers, but more likely through remedies for a syphilitic sore). Composition, however, continued; several piano works date from this period. In 1834 Schumann founded a music journal, he wrote under pseudonyms, Eusebius (representing his lyrical, contemplative side) and Florestan (his fiery, impetuous one); he used these in his music, too. His compositions at this time were mainly for piano: they include variations on the name of one of his lady friends), Phantasiestücke (a collection of poetic pieces


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depicting moods), Kreisleriana (fantasy pieces around the character of a mad Kapellmeister) and Kinderszenen ( Scenes from Childhood ). Affairs of the heart played a large part in his life. By 1835 he was in love with Wieck's young daughter Clara, but Wieck did his best to separate them. They pledged themselves in 1837 but were much apart, and Schumann went through deep depressions. In 1839 they took legal steps to make Wieck's consent unnecessary, and after many further trials they were able to marry in 1840.”01

 “Schumann persuaded his mother, that he should give up law in favor of a pianist's career.

As he said: "In music, coherence and completeness are indispensable in every individual composition, however small.” 02 There’s a moment to find coherence even in ones life, no matter he was complete, only with his loved Clara. That was an important moment in his career, to recognize music was part of his talents. His music is consequential and great!

 In 1829, he wrote to his mother: “I have arrived at the conviction that with work, patience, and a good teacher, I would be able, within six years, to surpass any pianist. Besides... I have an imagination and perhaps a skill for the individual work of creation.”03

But this decision was questioned when he gets involved with Clara, the woman of his life.

[Gallois 48] Schumann lives the greatest moments of his private romantic life, with Clara, the woman for whom he devoted all his love, and could not stay together, because of some resistance of her family. And as a coincidence or not, he produces his most beautiful pieces, including “El Carnaval de Viena,” op. 26.(Faschingsschwank aus Wien). “And what can we say about it?  One has to have in his/her mind, the spirit of op.09(Carnaval), included in op. 2. (Papillons) Schumann’s said to have no logic in his architectonic music. His loneness hearth becomes the inspired energy for poets like Balzac. He is said to have tried suicide. He was accused to be a drunk and crazy person, and many obstacles were put on his way. 

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Liszt played Shumann’s Novelettes, Fantasy, and Carnaval (1840), in Dresden. His new life starts with his wedding with Clara in September 12th, 1840”(61-63).  

The next step to be followed is the characterization of romantic elements in Shumann’s piece, Carnaval, in accordance with Rowell. Shumann defines his music with own words:

 “Mi música no es una necessidad de maniobra: el oficio no participa en ella, pues há costado a mi corazón más de lo que pueda imaginarse”(Gallois  113).

As a composer Schumann's gifts are clearly heard in his piano music and in his songs. 04 By listening Carnaval (op.09), one can observe that this piece provides a sense of deep immersion, and the first note, seems to invite the listener to a dynamic melody which becomes slower, and calmer. But this is still a personal perception, after several auditions of Carnaval. The last note seems so far, comparing with the vibrating first seconds of the audition. But this is still an empirical impression. Surprisingly, we could observe a comment of Schiff’s opinion, who considers Schumann as a re-thinker, pointing out for the exception of No.09, where there is a touch of mischief  (subsequently removed) at the end of No.09, considering that textual differences are slight (Classical 849).

One can better understand Shumann’s music by taking the mentioned important values of Romanticism and their impact upon nineteenth-century music and musical thought, like the disordered, the intense, the dynamic, the inner, emotion, the continuous, color, the exotic, the ambiguous or ambivalent, the unique, the primitive, and the organic as Rowell suggests (117-119). In this sense, although it is personal judgement, the only feeling that can describe the perception of Schumann’s music, is his great love for his work, and the transparence of his love

for Clara.

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There has been too much progress in the art of learning about Music. By checking “Classical” Good CD Guide, (1997), a wonderful and well done edition that presents Musicians, pieces, short comments, and additional recommendations, one can have the perfect source for an initial approach to Music Analysis. This is the nicest of Music. All the necessary care, and facilities to transform the necessary information avaluable, which is considered sophisticated and used only by a restrict group of people throughout the world to a more popular instrument  of acquisition, but respectful. Once music is universal, sources about it should also be accessible, so that impressions about overcoming periods in the history of Music can be understood in different contexts, and better interpreted. Sometimes it is so difficult to recognize differences between personal and professional life. They are connected. In Shumann’s case, we can see a romantic musician and a lover. It makes the whole difference, no matter how public his life became. Romantic period in Music has left the trends of music illuminated.  And music for lovers! Schumann’s music is an invitation to a sublime approach to the concept of love. It’s like candles that don’t burn, a distant lover, like music that is not listened.                                                                                                                                                                                                                
















 01 MSN 29 September, 2002.Robert Schumann.  http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/cmp/schumann_r.html


02 MSN 29 September 2002. Robert Schumann. http://www.hearts-ease.org/cgi-bin/conservatory_index.cgi?ID=47


03 MSN 29 September, 2002. Robert Schumann. http://classicalmus.hispeed.com/schumann/


04 MSN 29 September 2002. Robert Schumann












































Sites Visited


 MSN 29 September 2002. Robert Schumann. .http://members.aol.com/schumannga/englisch/indexe.htm


MSN 29 September, 2002. Robert Schumann http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/schumann.html


MSN 29 September, 2002. Robert Schumann    http://web02.hnh.com/scripts/newreleases/naxos_cat.asp?item_code=8.110604&memberID=59907




















































Works Cited



Beazley Mitchell, Gramophone Classical, Good CD Guide, B&W, UK, 1997.


Gallois, Jean. Schumann, Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, Spain, 1979.


Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, New York:

       Modern Language Association, USA, 1988.

Rowell, Lewis. Thinking about Music, The University of Massachusetts Press, USA, 1983.







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