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Fort, Joseph. "Thinking on Our Feet: A Somatic Enquiry into a Haydn Minuet."

Fort, Joseph. "Thinking on Our Feet: A Somatic Enquiry into a Haydn Minuet." In Musicology and Dance: Historical and Critical Perspectives, edited by Davinia Caddy and Maribeth Clark, 71-90. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Joseph Fort ponders a specific case of late eighteenth-century musical embodiment, one that has its origins in social and popular dance: a minuet by Joseph Haydn (Minuet in D major, Hob. IX/11, no. 1), emblematic not of contemporary concert-hall music, but of the music performed in front of a living – and physically mobile – audience at the charity ball held at the Hofburg Redoutensäle in Vienna, 25 November 1792. Reconstructing both the music and the dancing, Fort offers a revealing account of the Vienna dance scene, as well as the minuet’s position within it. More than this, though, he presents a close reading of the interrelations between music and dance from a specifically somatic perspective – one that is deeply intuitive, subjective and sensorial. Realizing his innovative approach alongside similar scholarly attempts at ‘live’ musical embodiment (particularly the work of Elisabeth Le Guin), Fort offers an analysis of the movement that reveals insights into not only the musical score, but also the intrinsically musical and gestural experience of dancing to it.

Year of publication: 2020

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