Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Catherine Nolan


The validity of music narratives has engendered much debate and research. This dissertation traces the development of narratology from its pre-structuralist phase to the post-structuralist phase where the discipline went through a narrative turn and blossomed into a broad-spectrum expansion that takes the form of interdisciplinary narratological studies such as music narratology. By adopting the viewpoints of postmodern philosophers and psychologists such as Mikhail M. Bakhtin, Ihab Hassan, Jean-François Lyotard, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Carl Jung, we develop a cognitive narratological theory for postmodern music that is veracious both epistemologically and philosophically.

We then analyze formally and contextually four concertos by Alfred Schnittke, one of the pioneers of polystylism, and discuss individual polystylistic and postmodern characteristics evinced in the musical texts. We then provide a brief narratological reading of each concerto. We believe a theory of music narrative completes the aforementioned three-part comprehensive analysis of a musical work and is requisite for the full understanding and appreciation of any musical work of art.

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