It might indeed be well to distinguish two versions of the problem that begins
to come into view here: one is that of a musical semantics, that is, of a relationship between musical signifiers and historical, social, psychological signifieds; the other is that of aesthetic value proper. Of the first of these Theodor Adorno has said: "If we listen to Beethoven and do not hear anything of the revolutionary bourgoisie-not the echo of its slogans, but rather the need to realize them, the cry for that totality in which reason and freedom are to have their warrant we understand Beethoven no better than does one who cannot follow the purely musical content of his pieces."4 This seems straightforward enough until Adorno added what was always the "guiding thread" of Frankfurt School aesthetics:

"Music is not ideology pure and simple; it is ideological only insofar
as it is false consciousness."5 The seeming contradiction between these two
positions can perhaps be adjusted by a Habermasian appreciation of the universal
(that is, non ideological) content of bourgeois revolutionary ideology as such;
Adorno will himself complicate the situation more interestingly by factoring in
the arrival of an age of aesthetic autonomy: "If [Beethoven] is the musical prototype
of the revolutionary bourgeoisie, he is at the same time the prototype of
a music that has escaped from its social tutelage and is aesthetically fully autonomous, a servant no longer."6