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The Musical Topic discusses three tropes prominently featured in Western European music: the hunt, the military, and the pastoral. Raymond Monelle provides an in-depth cultural and historical study of musical topics-short melodic figures, harmonic or rhythmic formulae carrying literal or lexical meaning-through consideration of their origin, thematization, manifestation, and meaning. The Musical Topic shows the connections of musical meaning to literature, social history, and the fine arts.
Raymond Monelle was formerly Reader in Music at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where he is now an Honorary Fellow. His work on music theory and semiotics is internationally known. His books include Linguistics and Semiotics in Music and The Sense of Music. He has been a composer, pianist, and conductor, and writes music criticism for The Independent, Opera magazine, and other publications.