What is the nature of musical irony? Can it be generalized across different musical styles? In shedding light on such questions, Michael Cherlin meditates on various philosophical and literary writings on irony and undertakes the ambitious task of assembling a generic classification of irony that can be applied to common-practice repertoire from Mozart to Mahler. A number of previous studies have examined musical irony with reference to specific composers and aesthetic principles; these include Esti Sheinberg's analysis of Shostakovich's music in relation to the Russian formalists, this reviewer's analysis of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre through the lens of Bakhtin's existential irony, Michael Klein's analysis of Chopin's Nocturne in B Major op....

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