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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: April 2021

Chapter 8 - Music

from Part II - Culture and Society


Ibsen has not often been regarded as a writer who was especially sympathetic to music or concerned with the acoustic dimensions of his work. But close attention to the practical conditions in which he first worked as a theatre director in Bergen, and to the textual details of his plays, suggests instead a fine feeling for sound and musical affect. This chapter summarizes his early writing on opera, his interest in the relationship between music and theatre, and examines the symbolic role of sound and music in some key passages from his work, including Peer’s wild ‘halling’, Nora’s tarantella, and Hedda’s famous gunshot.

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