Arvo Pärt: Transcendence in the Heart of Secularity (thesis)
To make the most accurate statements about the sacrality within Pärt’s music, we must focus both on the intrinsic and on the extrinsic values of the music and the context surrounding its inception and reception. As Jeremy Begbie points out, "it is hard to give any satisfactory account of musical meaning which rigorously excludes one or the other." The extrinsic, or the extra-musical factors that influence interpretation, relate both to Pärt’s background while composing music and to the time and history of the listener receiving his music. The intrinsic, the relationships between the notes within and through time, refers only to the music itself. Focusing only on the extrinsic properties cuts out the vehicle that actually communicates those feelings, which leads to a shallow understanding, while attempting to analyze music in a vacuum separate from its socio-historical context seems naïve and simply incorrect. Applying a full analysis including both intrinsic and extrinsic qualities to Pärt’s music will provide that full and accurate answer we seek. [From Conclusion]
Thesis; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]Roger T. Day, Jr. (Thomas) is a member of the Class of 2015 of Washington and Lee University.