'The Heavens are Telling': A Memetic-Calvinian Reading of a Haydn Chord Progression

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Abstract

The climax of the chorus 'The Heavens are Telling' from Haydn's oratorio Die Schöpfung (The Creation) employs a harmonic progression that Beethoven later adapted to conclude the first movement of his Symphony no. 2. An earlier (pre-Haydn) version of the progression might be found in a keyboard rondo by C. P. E. Bach. This harmonic unit is regarded as consisting of a sequence of musemes (musical memes): each is a replicated pattern serving as the cultural analogue to the gene. The neural encoding of such patterns is considered in terms of William Calvin's hexagonal cloning theory, in order to adduce 'memotypic' (meme-encoding) evidence to support the 'phemotypic' (meme-product) evidence gleaned from musical score-analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-130
Number of pages18
JournalInterdisciplinary Science Reviews
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

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