Modal Subjectivities (Hardcover)
Self-Fashioning in the Italian Madrigal
University of California Press, 9780520234932, 386pp.
Publication Date: December 13, 2004
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Modal Subjectivities covers the span of the sixteenth-century polyphonic madrigal, from its early manifestations in Philippe Verdelot's settings of Machiavelli in the 1520s through the tortured chromatic experiments of Carlo Gesualdo. Although McClary takes the lyrics into account in shaping her readings, she focuses particularly on the details of the music itself—the principal site of the genre's self-fashionings. In order to work effectively with musical meanings in this pretonal repertory, she also develops an analytical method that allows her to unravel the sophisticated allegorical structures characteristic of the madrigal. This pathbreaking book demonstrates how we might glean insights into a culture on the basis of its nonverbal artistic enterprises.