The Problem of Instrumental and Musical Theatre


  • Vinko Globokar



In the period approximately between 1950 and 1960 as a result of exagerated dogmatization of Webern's principles and of too abstract views, contemporary European music found itself enveloped in a crisis. Some composers endeavoured to escape from this by combining the performance of their compositions with movement, visual action and so on. In this way the so-called instrumental and musical theatre came into being. In the case of the former the instrumentalist performs certain physical movements whereas in the case of the latter the music is accompanied by scenic action, mime, speech etc. The author of the article elucidates the nature and the problem of instrumental theatre by commenting on the characteristic features of some works of composers such as: J. Cage, D. Schnebel, M. Kagel, L. Berio, H. Pousseur, and S. Bussoti. Finally he comes to the conclusion that the employment of »action« may be fruitful and useful in those cases where it helps to a better understanding and to a better and broader communication with the audience. However, this can be attained only if we are aware of the constructive and destructive elements which are inherent in the »action«.


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1. 12. 1968




How to Cite

The Problem of Instrumental and Musical Theatre. (1968). Musicological Annual, 4(1), 132-137.