Looking for the "Harp" Quartet

Looking for the "Harp" Quartet

An Investigation into Musical Beauty

Markand Thakar


Currently out of stock

Personal eBook

University of Rochester Press



This book is a philosophical tour through the experience of beauty: what it is, and how the composer, performer, and listener all contribute. It explores -- with insight, patience, and humor -- profound issues at the essence of our experience. A student performance of Beethoven's String Quartet No. 10 in E-Flat Major, known as the "Harp," serves as a point of departure and a recurring theme. For the layperson the core of the book is five dialogues between Icarus, an inquiring student intensely concerned with fulfilling his highest potential as a musician, and Daedalus, a curmudgeonly, iconoclastic teacher who guides Icarus's search. Three technical articles, geared to the music professional and academic, treat the issues in greater depth.
Supplementary online audio files and musical examples.

Markand Thakar is Music Director of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, and a member of the graduate conducting faculty at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University.


1 colour, 6 black and white, 15 line illustrations
227 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
Personal eBook, 9781782045731, January 2011
Hardback, 9781580463461, January 2011
Paperback, 9781580465472, September 2015
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BIC AVA, 1D, 2AB, 3J
BISAC MUS020000, MUS041000, MUS006000
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Table of Contents

Note about Online Supporting Material
Looking for the "Harp" Quartet
Renoir and the Survival of Classical Music: On the Listener's Contribution
Let's Be Mookie: On the Composer's Contribution
Gurus: On the Performer's Contribution
First, Last, and Always
Remembrance of Things Future: On the Listener's Contribution
Patterns of Energy: On the Composer's Contribution
Dynamic Analysis: On the Performer's Contribution
Appendix: Forms


Thakar's ideas are valuable, his exposition of them is clear, and the book is supported by materials on his website, including sound files. . . . Would be useful as the main text in an upper-level or graduate seminar, or as a component of a survey of analytical techniques or aesthetics. The consideration of what constitutes musical objects and the transcendent experience of beauty would be of great value to students. The dialogue format provides a model for a healthy mentor/protégé relationship, and, at a time when the outlook frequently seems very dark, Thakar paints a hopeful picture for the future of art music. MUSIC THEORY ONLINE Full review at: http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.15.21.4/mto.15.21.4.turner.html

A journey to discover where beauty lives in music. . . . It is rare for schooling to be this blissful. --Composer and radio host Kile Smith. See his full posting at http://www.kilesmith.com/2011/04/20/looking-for-the-harp-quartet

A thoughtful inquiry into the nature of beauty and the aesthetic experience. . . . Will serve not only those interested in exploring the "transcendent" aesthetic experience, but also those who labor to embody their art through performance. CHOICE

A 225-page tour de force. . . . An exercise in academic excellence and a seminal contribution for personal, professional, and academic Classical Music Studies reference collections and supplemental readings lists. MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

Markand Thakar's playful Socratic-like dialogue acts out a kind of performer's odyssey toward the ideal performance, toward making one particular strand of Western classical music all that it can be. SCOTT BURNHAM, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY

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