Deconstruction in Music. Deconstruction in Music. By Marcel Cobussen. Signed by me, Marcel Cobussen. Signed to be my property. Such an inscription is supposed to guarantee what is very vaguely called the originality of the text; it is supposed to guarantee a clear origin, a unified authority, a well-defined producer who takes and who gets responsibility. This is not the place to delve into the problems that such an appropriation entails. (The problem of citation and the use of quotation marks for example. Both refer to the responsibility of an other, someone who is absent in another way than 'I' am absent in this text. These quotations are not 'my' property; they are an outside within the inside. Parerga perhaps. Or the problem of translation. A translation - and this website has been translated - is a (re)reading of the 'original' text. And as we know, every (re)reading, every translation means a simultaneous transformation. What about my responsibility for something I did not in fact write? What about my property? Why my signature? Finally, the problem of authority and originality: Roland Barthes' insight that a text does not release a theological meaning - the message of an Author-God - but a multidimensional space in which a variety of texts, none of them original, blend and clash.)
First, I thank my supervisors, Professor Ton Bevers, Dr. Antoon van den Braembussche (both are from Erasmus University Rotterdam), and Professor Rokus de Groot (University of Amsterdam). Professor Bevers and Dr. van den Braembussche created an institutional environment that often looked like a nice playground to me: they gave me the opportunity and the support to explore the world of music and deconstruction. Professor de Groot kept me from making too many musicological mistakes and encouraged me in the choice of my subjects.
Writing a dissertation seems to be a very solitary activity. And so it was perhaps in the first two years of my Ph.D. appointment. However, writing and talking about a subject that fascinates me, that retained possession of me, opened a space for me to meet people who I probably would not have otherwise met. So this initially solitary activity revealed a new social life. In 1998, I met Professor Mirjana Veselinovic-Hofman (University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia) at a conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia. She became an important kindred spirit; her approach to deconstruction and music often inspired me while writing this dissertation. I thank her for her attention and responsiveness, especially at a time when the political situation in Yugoslavia asked for other priorities. I regard my journey to conferences held in New York and Toronto in the Autumn of 2000 as a modest breakthrough. For the first time, I had the opportunity to talk with the 'founding fathers and mothers' of American post-structuralist or post-modern musicology about my work. I thank Professor Susan McClary (UCLA), Professor Richard Leppert (University of Minnesota), Professor Lawrence Kramer (Fordham University), Professor Rose Subotnik (Brown University), and Professor Lydia Goehr (Columbia University) for their professional and inspiring comments on my texts and also for their warm social reception and sensitivity.
Up until now, I passed over three people. Rutger and Thérèse Cornets de Groot took care of the translation and/or correction of this work in order to make it idiomatic English. However, does this flag cover the cargo? 'The quality of a good' translation can never be captured by the original' is the slogan they use. A positive version of the idea that every translation is a transformation. What about my 'property', my 'authority', my signature? Often we had long e-mail discussions both on linguistic items and subjects concerning content. (How clear is the border between these two? As you know, the alteration of a word or sentence immediately also transforms the meaning and the content.) The texts often changed on the basis of their (re)marks. I thank Rutger and Thérèse for their accurate and creative work.
This work is dedicated to the one who experienced firsthand its realization (though often was very sleepy).
Readers are invited to write to me with regard to any amendments and/or additions that will be taken into consideration in future revisions.