Expression Theories and Three Case Studies on Chopin's Mazurka No. 17 Op. 4 in A Minor

Faculty Sponsor

Katharina Uhde


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-23-2016


Some theories posit that expression is found in the creative process of composing a piece. Others claim that expression and meaning are detected entirely through the ears of the listener. Theorist Robin George Collingwood adheres to the first view. He argues that expression is developed in the creative process of composing music. Peter Kivy, on the other hand, supports the second view, claiming that expression is founded on the listener’s experience. The aim of this research project is to compare these two views and to relate them to a specific piece of music, thereby explicating and exemplifying the differing expression theories. The piece of music serving as basis for two case studies – one for each theory – is Chopin’s Mazurka No. 17 Op. 4 in A Minor. I end by briefly presenting my own theoretical framework for expression theory in music, again using the example of Chopin’s Mazurka.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Anthony Berkseth is a senior music major who initially got involved in this topic through research in musicology. His pursuit is to better understand expression theorist and how they reveal deeper truths in music.

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