FHSU professor presents paper at national music theory conference

Fort Hays State University's Dr. Judith Ofcarcik, assistant professor of music and theatre, presented at the Society for Music Theory's recent National Conference in Milwaukee, Wis.

"The Aesthetics of Rupture: Adorno and the Adagio of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony" analyzed the slow, lyrical third movement of the symphony and used Theodor Adorno's writings on aesthetics to explain the expressive effects Beethoven used.

"The variation-form slow movement of the Ninth Symphony is very soft and pretty," said Ofcarcik, "but right at the end two fanfares break through the movement and shock the listeners. Adorno referred to this type of break through as 'Durchbruch,' and I use the term to discuss the expressive effect of Beethoven's fanfares."

The third movement is in double-variation form, meaning the piece alternates between two melodic themes; however, Ofcarcik said the fanfares "interrupt the double-variation form and redirect the musical narrative of the movement."

The booming fanfares prepare listeners for the grandiose fourth movement, which marks the first symphony in history that calls for a choir.

In addition to presenting her paper, Ofcarcik attended other research presentations and discussed them with peers.

"I love going to this conference because I am surrounded by other music theorists," she said. "Overall, it just makes me feel more connected to my field and the things that drove me to become a music theorist in the first place."

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