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Behind Metamorphoses in Music

30 August 2018


Slightly different from nature, musical metamorphosis is either the same as variation, or an extension/ transformation of a theme or subject. It often appears in modern music during developmental phases of extended movements. Although the latter is easy to understand, by that definition, almost 70% of the world’s music would have to do with metamorphosis. What do composers mostly do? They start with something, which then will be varied, transformed etc., and certainly also contrasted or interpolated. The latter would not fall under our category here. However, even in a juxtaposed collage of known elements or styles, things may change its individual character and therefore the notion of a metamorphosis into something new cannot not be extinguished completely. 

My lecture gives a short historical overview on various forms of musical metamorphosis in the West, then focusing in detail on two very unique examples of the 20th century and finally turns again to the region with some examples from Balinese music.

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