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The Evolution of a 'Memeplex' in Late Mozart: Replicated Structures in Pamina's 'Ach ich fuhl's'

Jan, Steven (2003) The Evolution of a 'Memeplex' in Late Mozart: Replicated Structures in Pamina's 'Ach ich fuhl's'. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 128 (1). pp. 30-70. ISSN 02690403

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Abstract

‘Memetics’, a concept most elegantly expounded by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene, asserts that human culture consists of a multitude of units transmitted between individuals by imitation and subject to evolutionary pressures. Such particles, ‘memes’, are broadly analogous to the genes of biological transmission. Four late pieces of Mozart's, including Pamina's aria ‘Ach ich fühl's’ from Die Zauberflöte, are examined in terms of the meme concept and a conglomeration, or ‘memeplex’, consisting of seven memes is identified within them. The nature of the musical memeplex, in this specific case and also more generally, is considered, particularly from the perspective of its location at different levels of the structural hierarchy. The evolutionary history of some of Mozart's memes is examined with reference to selected passages from works of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Finally, relationships between the musical memes under investigation and memes in the verbal-conceptual realm are explored.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: UoA 67 (Music)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
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Depositing User: Graham Stone
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2008 09:53
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2015 08:47
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/1675

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