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Deep RefrainsMusic, Philosophy, and the Ineffable$
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Michael Gallope

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226483559

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226483726.001.0001

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A Paradox of the Vernacular

A Paradox of the Vernacular

(p.243) Conclusion A Paradox of the Vernacular
Deep Refrains

Michael Gallope

University of Chicago Press

The book's conclusion argues that Adorno’s commitment to form yields us a significant lesson, even if we are ultimately hampered by the narrowness of his preferences. That is, when we line up the narrowness of Adorno’s immanent critique against the others (Bloch, Jankélévitch, Deleuze, and Guattari), one finds far looser dialectics at work in the other thinkers, for the other intellectuals have less exacting conceptions of ideology and history. They are still interested in an ethical practice of musical creativity and resistance; they just don’t have the same precise formal criteria. Then I turn to the develop what I call the "paradox of the vernacular," in which normative forms can be unpredictably espoused and critiqued to the point where the criteria for decoding the music’s resistance is itself occluded. In this paradox, one accepts, as Adorno does in his discussion of Mahler, that one does not know if a form is being negatively fractured or positively assembled, while also accepting that some minimal grain of form, idiom, and history are never fully eliminated.

Keywords:   vernacular, ethics, linguistic turn

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