Friday, March 23
Session 1: Time, Text, and Narrative (1:00? 3:00)
Multiply-Directed Moments in Brahms's Schönwar, das ich dir weihte…
Melissa Hoag (Indiana University)
Brahms's song "Schön war,das ich dir weihte…," (Op. 95, no. 7) offers a melancholy setting of abrief text by Georg Friederich Daumer. Two melodic disjunctions figureprominently in Brahms's setting of the poem; in treating these disjunctions,Brahms thwarts normative voice-leading expectations in ways that nevermeet satisfactory resolution. Around these violations crystallize the centralexpressive issues of each song, involving not just melody, but harmony,phrase structure, and form. Other issues in Brahms's setting include thediscursive phrase structure in the B section, as well as Brahms's musicaltreatment of the subjunctive mood.
Schenkerian analysis will beused to explicate the unique melodic processes at work in Brahms's settingand the relationship of these melodic processes to Daumer's text. The tangledphrase structure of the middle section will also be examined using a phenomenologicalmodel, which will yield yet another layer of implication for Daumer's poem.Nearly every parameter and time point in the song can be identified asmultiply-directed, a spectrum of possible continuations or meanings presentedat every turn; Brahms seems to make a marked effort to avoid some of themost likely continuations. Brahms's setting thus focuses our attentionon the multiply-directed moments in the song by meeting expectations withvarious levels of denial or surprise. This analysis also highlights momentsof melodic anomaly not usually highlighted in voice-leading analysis, butwhich are essential to the expressive value of a song.
Found in Translation? Discovering the Middlegroundof Music and Speech
Bret Aarden (UMass Amherst)
One of the most evocative ideasabout music, and melody in particular, is that it is deeply connected withlanguage. Plato's prescriptions for the proper composition of music certainlysuggests this, and in Leonard Bernstein's opinion, music is "HeightenedSpeech". Using phonological theories about pitch accents in language, alternateconstructions of meaning are explored in the foreground of Schubert's "Aufdem Flusse." The concept of "mutual belief space" from discourse analysisof pitch accents provides an explanation for some of the oddities in themiddleground and background structures of the Andante of Schubert's StringQuartet no. 15.
Narrative and Inter-Self: Form and Expressive Meaningin Takemitsu's Rain Tree
Tomoko Deguchi (Winthrop University)
The title of Toru Takemitsu'sRainTree, a work for three percussionists, is inspired by the image ofthe tree that appears in Oe Kenzaburo's short novel Atama no Ii Ameno Ki (The Ingenious Rain Tree). In this paper, I explore how musicalform emerges as the music unfolds in time, and how it interacts with broaderquestions of expressive meaning in Rain Tree. I base my discussionon the studies of scholars who explore the idea that music has a narrative,and that expressive meaning can be articulated according to a literaryanalogy. My interpretation of meaning in Rain Tree refers to theissue of the "inter-self" in Japanese literature. As in other artisticgenres, there are unique narrative characteristics in Japanese literaturethat are essentially distinct from those of Western literature. The conceptof the "self," "inter-self," and "non-self" as discussed in David Pollack'sReadingAgainst Culture, offers insight into the analysis of the narrativein Takemitsu's Rain Tree. Pollack's concept of the inter-self isinfluential in my recognition of the protagonist of Rain Tree, whoacts or behaves in the way suggested by the attributes of music, as wellas the functions of certain sections of the music. When the identity ofa single motive changes from a state of, for instance, "self" to one of"non-self," the music exhibits an ambiguity that requires a constant updatingof the interpretation of the formal function of motives and sections.
Range, Tessitura, and Text-Setting in Byrd's VocalPolyphony
Jason Gersh (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
William Byrd's polyphonic songspresent an enigma to music theorists interested in examining the rangeand tessitura of individual voice-parts. While frequently exceeding theboundaries of a modal octave in their overall ranges (sometimes by a fourthor more), the voice-parts of Byrd's songs arguably demonstrate a preponderanceof pitches within a thinner band. The conventional approach to this problemis a type of qualitative analysis in which the analyst searches for extremesin a voice-part's range and attempts to determine reasons (textual or otherwise)for departures from the established tessitura—a method that has both benefitsand costs. In this paper, however, I take a more quantitative approachwith my case-study on Byrd's six-voice motet Miserere mihi Domine(from the 1575 Cantiones sacrae), expanding upon Richard Rastall'sconcept of pitch centers of gravity (PCG) in order to determine the prevailingtessitura of various sections of the piece. As I argue, an examinationof changes in PCG within a polyphonic work provides us with a rigoroustool for identifying particularly striking departures from the norm aswell as a data set with which to compare various measures of contrapuntalactivity. Furthermore, it opens up a number of broader and exciting possibilities:the ability to compare voice-parts with identical ranges and clefs; theability to compare voice types within a large body of works; and even thepossibility of identifying specific ensemble types.
Session 2: 20th-Century Music (3:30 ? 5:00)
Hierarchy, Prolongation, and Harmonic Structure in"Majesty of Christ Praying That His Father Should Glorify Him" from Messiaen'sL'Ascension
Martin Lee (University at Buffalo)
In his description of "Majestyof Christ Praying That His Father Should Glorify Him" from L'Ascension,Messiaen noted that "the solo trumpet sings and rises up on a mode of limitedtransposition, supported by spacious dominant chords." Messiaen informallydisclosed his use of "modes of limited transposition" earlier than hisfirst preface to La Nativité du Seigneur and his theoreticaltreatise ? Technique de mon langage musical. However, by the publicationof Technique, he did not elaborate on how the modes and the dominantchords work.
In order to understand the mechanismof these materials in this symphonic meditation, one first needs to knowMessiaen's use of modes. Robert Sherlaw Johnson has noted Messiaen's mixeduse of mode 2, mode 3 and the key of E major in this movement, but he didnot demonstrate how these collections interact with each other. Thisfactual description tells us what collections Messiaen used, however itdoes not tell us how they work and transform from one point to another.
This paper, based on "Majestyof Christ Praying," illustrates not only Messiaen's compositional techniqueswith respect to his use of harmonies, but also offers different readingswith respect to traditional functional harmonies. Although the modes oflimited transposition play an important role in Messiaen's harmony, westill can easily find hints of functional harmony and his unique form ofchromaticism in this music. Through an understanding of the harmonic structures,different prolongations are revealed. Hence, the hierarchical structuresof the piece are also shown.
Ligeti's Pièce électronique no. 3and its Relation to Stockhausen's Serial Practice
Benjamin Levy (University of Maryland)
In 1957 György Ligeti had recently immigrated to Cologne and was learning about the developments of the avant-garde while working in the electronic music studio of the WDR. Among his works from this time is an unfinished work, Pièce électronique No. 3, a fascinating, yet virtually unknown composition. Originally conceived under the title, Atmosphères, it was then renamed after this title was taken by his landmark orchestral composition of 1961. Pièce électronique No. 3 looks forward to the innovative texture-driven orchestral compositions for which Ligeti became famous, but also reflects the influence of serialism as practiced by many of the Darmstadt composers. For instance, the piece uses a consistent series of odd numbers to generate durations and pitch material for both small and large scale structures, and the piece's use of sine tones as the predominant type of material is clearly indebted to Stockhausen's ideology. Moreover, the arrangement of these sine tones also reflects Stockhausen's use of a serialized system of schematic entrances.Shortly after this composition, Ligeti criticizes aspects of serial practice, including the use of duration rows and serialized dynamics, and in his later works Ligeti clearly breaks from Stockhausen's influence. This paper uses Ligeti's comments on his Piece electronique no. 3, and his approach, particularly to the use of dynamics in this piece, to illustrate a clear difference in aesthetics and different artistic ends which these composers sought through serial means, thus showing the significance of this piece as a turning point in Ligeti's career.
Repetition, Memory, and "Stuplimity" in For SamuelBeckett by Morton Feldman
Philip Duker (University of Michigan)
Although the sheer amount ofrepetition in Morton Feldman's late works can make his scores appear deceptivelysimple, our experiences of and reactions to this music, ranging from detachedcontemplation to overwhelming fascination, suggests an intricate complexitybehind the repetitions. While a number of writers have explored this aspectof listening, producing diverse theoretical approaches that aid in understandingthis phenomenon, I will contribute to this discourse by examining MortonFeldman's For Samuel Beckett, specifically focusing on the roleof memory from a phenomenological perspective and the concept of "stuplimity"from an aesthetic one.
This piece, like many of Feldman'sworks, creates musical obstacles for a listener's memory to traverse. Bycombining Husserl's tri-partite structure of temporal experience with recentwork by other theorists on Feldman's music, I will propose a model thattraces how this piece shapes, manipulates, and often frustrates our memories.This phenomenological perspective will be particularly useful in mappingout the repetitive and recursive aspects of our listening experience.
The aesthetic effect of this experience can beproductively explored with Sianne Ngai's notion of the stuplime, a paradoxicalevocation of excitement and boredom. Analyzing Feldman's composition usinga phenomenological construction of memory and applying the concept of stuplimityto frame the aesthetic affect of this music will offer a novel window intounderstanding the complexity of our listening experience.
Saturday, March 24
Session 3: Tonality in Theory and Analysis (9:00? 10:30)
Jill Brasky (American University)
Function is an inescapable apparatusin recent American music theories. Many theorists write about the kindsof function that deal with harmonic progression, yet there remains littleconsensus as to what function actually is. Eleven years ago, David Koppconcluded that, in spite of its intuitively obvious meaning, the precisesense of ‘function' is difficult to specify, in part because the term isused in so many different ways. Since Kopp's proclamation, the waters havebecome even more murky. This paper begins by examining the function theoriesof Hugo Riemann, and three modern Riemannian approaches to function: thoseby Eytan Agmon, Daniel Harrison, and David Kopp. Part II weighs the benefitsof and the problems caused by these definitions of function, and brieflyexamines our contemporary analytical and theoretical reliance on the concept.The third section of this presentation proposes a redefinition of function,in order to allow for analytical uses in a wider array of music.
Understanding Hybridity: Comparing Geometric Modelsof Tonal Hierarchy
Richard R. Randall (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
The impact and influence of music-perceptionand cognition research on contemporary music theory is undeniable. Descriptive(how we actually hear and understand music) and prescriptive (howwe might or could hear and understand music) theories havemerged into hybrid systems. Hybrid systems are a delicate balance betweennarrowly focused empirical experimental data and highly generalized models.One such hybrid model, Fred Lerdahl's tonal pitch space (TPS) model, approximatescognitive perceptual relations between chords by providing a combinatorialprocedure for computing the distance value between two chords. Becauseof the influence of experimental data on the TPS model, we would expecta high correlation between experimental data and analyses of chord progressionsgenerated by the TPS model. The value of such a comparison is clear. Ifthe TPS model posits a hypothesized model of perception, then we wouldlike to know if and by how much it differs from the experimental data itclaims to approximate. This paper focuses on the intra-regional relationdescriptions of TPS and achieves two important goals. First, a similaritymeasure is developed that allows the accurate comparison of the TPS modelwith a model of perceived chord relations created by Bharucha, et al.Second, this paper applies the similarity measure to normalized canonicalrepresentations of each model, thereby avoiding comparisons affected byarbitrary design choices.
On Step Beyond: Beethoven's Whole-Tone Transpositions
Eric Wen (The Curtis Institute of Music)
In a sonata movement, the necessityof readjusting the transitional passage of the recapitulation to remainin the tonic allows for novel compositional possibilities. Beethoven oftenrecomposes the transitional section between the first subject and secondgroup in the recapitulation in elaborate and unexpected ways. In particular,he will often restate a theme in the recapitulation a whole step away fromits original appearance in the exposition. This paper will look at theopening movements of three Beethoven sonatas in which this whole-step transpositionoccurs: the Piano Sonata No. 5 in C minor, the Violin Sonata No. 4 in F("Spring"), and the Symphony No. 7 in A. Although Beethoven's penchantfor whole-step transpositions of his transitional themes is a characteristiccompositional procedure, each of these examples has a different expressivemeaning within the articulation of an individual work's tonal structure.Nevertheless, it will be shown that each case plays an integral part inoutlining the design of sonata form. Finally, this paper will considerthese passages in light of two recent additions to the vernacular of sonataform: Charles Rosen's concept of the "secondary development" and the notionof the medial caesura as coined by James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy.
Session 4: Modernism (11:00 ? 12:00)
Bach's Tetrachords and Stravinsky's Blocks:
The Sketches for the "Grand Chorale"
Don Traut (University of Arizona)
This paper presents analysesof the score and sketches for Stravinsky's "Grand Chorale" from A Soldier'sTale (1918). It contextualizes these analyses in two main ways. First, it illustrates the role of Bach's "Ein' feste Burg," which clearlyhad specific musical properties that interested Stravinsky. The paper showshow Stravinsky manipulated the two transpositionally equivalent tetrachordsthat conclude the first and second phrases of Bach's settings. Indeed,these tetrachords appear throughout Stravinsky's chorale at various transpositionlevels. Second, it shows how the sketches containing Stravinsky's earliestdrafts of this piece corroborate other sketch studies, particularly regardingStravinsky's penchant for composing beginnings and endings and then connectingthem and for composing in blocks of material. As the sketches reveal, mostof the piece was composed in two-phrase units, which were later transposedand concatenated to form the final version.
All in the Family: Contour, Musical Domains, and Motive‘Families' as Continuity in Webern's Unfinished Cello Sonata (1914)
Carolyn Mullin (Florida State University)
At the urging of his teacherand mentor Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern undertook the task of composinga piece in a larger form in earnest in 1914. However, Webern stopped workon his Cello Sonata to write Three Short Pieces, Op. 11,and he never returned to the Cello Sonata to compose the secondmovement he intended. The extant score was not published until Carl Fischerbrought it out in 1970, and apart from a brief mention in Demske (1986)there are no published analyses of Webern's Cello Sonata. This mightbe because analyzing an incomplete piece raises some interesting questionsabout continuity and coherence. For example, can a structural and formalplan be determined? Can a single movement truly be complete in the contextof a multi-movement plan? To answer these questions, my paper investigateswhat role both rhythmic and melodic contours play in the motivic structureof this work and how transformations of these contours create unity throughvaried repetition.
Despite this piece being unfinished,there is a complete and identifiable developmental process involving motivicvariation of tetrachords. Using Christopher Hasty's idea of musical domainsand his concept of structure as a starting point, I isolate the motivesthat form boundaries of continuity and discontinuity, which result fromtheir relationship to the basic motive. These motives are then organizedinto ‘families' according to how strongly they are associated with thebasic motive. Ultimately, four-note motives at the beginning of the pieceare clear and salient segmentations, and then as the piece progresses,the motives become liquidated and less easily identified due to the differenttypes of distortions applied to the motives.
Motivic variation and deformationprocesses indeed confer a unifying role for determining the formal structureand creating continuity across the movement. By examining rhythmic contours(both durational patterns and in duration space) and melodic contours,which develop a similar variation process across the piece, a coherent,complete, and overarching progression unfolds, despite Webern's CelloSonata being an incomplete work.
Session 5: Rhythm (2:00 ? 4:00)
A Circular Plot for Rhythm Visualization and Analysis
Fernando Benadon (American University)
This paper describes a graphingmethod designed to aid the study of rhythm and expressive timing in beat-basedmusic. Expressive timing lies at the core of rhythm production. The evidence—reviewedby Clarke (1999)—confirms that musicians often place attack points alonga continuum of beat subdivision values rather than on the predeterminedslots afforded by metrical grid spacing, thus imbuing the performance withexpressive depth. Visualizing how these rhythms are organized can helpus understand how we hear them, since their divergence from a clear-cuttemporal lattice is inadequately, if at all, represented by standard musicnotation. Desain & Honing (2003) devised a triangular chronotopic mapthat plots the temporal nuances and categorical boundaries of three-noterhythms. For longer rhythms, note-for-note expressive timing data are oftenvisualized with an XY graph that has proved helpful in different musicalcontexts such as jazz (e.g., Benadon, 2006) and Western classical music(e.g., Repp, 2002). Since musical rhythm usually operates within a recursivetemporal framework such as a beat or measure, it seems logical to visualizerhythm as a cyclical concept, using a polar coordinate plot in which thebeat is represented by a circle. A note's duration and onset position arerepresented by the radial and angular coordinates, respectively. The circularplot can be used to re-interpret complex rhythms, partition tempo curves,and summarize rhythmic profiles by making beat subdivision details apparentto the naked eye. These features are illustrated with examples drawn fromdifferent musical traditions.
Bimetricality and Linear Funk Drumming
Joti Rockwell (University of Chicago)
This study focuses on non-periodic,"bimetrical" rhythms and their use in funk drumming. It begins by definingsuch rhythms as patterns which split their allegiance between a prevailingmeter and a displaced version thereof. To fit this definition within thecontext of existing theories of rhythm and meter, I use beat-class setterminology to demonstrate how such rhythms can be generated by transposition(time-shifting), by inversion, or through the combination of metricallydissonant and consonant pulse layers. I then show how bimetrical rhythmsarise in funk music, a genre that has received very little analytic attentionin music scholarship. The analytic focus is on brief passages of "linearfunk," an essentially monophonic style of drumming pioneered by playerssuch as Mike Clark (Herbie Hancock), David Garibaldi (Tower of Power),and Steve Gadd (Paul Simon, Chick Corea). I conclude that with respectto funk music, inversional symmetry is an important component of bimetricality,since it characterizes rudiments from which linear funk drumming is built.
Nonlinear Time in Funk as Exemplified in James Brown'sSayit Live and Loud
Gabriel Miller (Ohio State University)
In The Time of Music,Jonathan Kramer provides a categorical vocabulary with which to describevarious kinds of time. He finds linear time to be normative forcommon-practice tonality, whereas nonlinear time is created by sometwentieth-century compositions in which goal-directed harmonic motion doesnot control the temporal continuum. Kramer's discussion focuses on linearand nonlinear time in traditional Western music; I wish to expand thisdiscussion to include vernacular musics, and in particular, funk. It ismy assertion that essential to an understanding of funk music is an awarenessthat the primary temporal continuum it generates is nonlinear. This isdemonstrated through an analysis of time in the album, Say it Live andLoud, recorded in 1968 by funk pioneer, James Brown.
Four categories of nonlineartime posited by Kramer are germane to this paper. Continuous nonlineartime, in which neither goal-directed harmonic motion (linearity) nor interruptionsof the temporal continuum (discontinuities) affect the time, is calledverticaltime. Discontinuous nonlinear time, or moment time, features temporalinterruptions that create distinct sections within a piece. Specific typesof moment time include mobile time, in which the order of sectionsis arbitrary, and composite time, which features levels of linearityin the foreground. Each of these kinds of time is exemplified by one (ormore) composition(s) from Brown's album. Drawn from analysis of time inthese works are implications for funk music in general—most notably, thatit necessarily creates one or more of the four categories of nonlineartime.
Hypermetric Irregularity, Incongruence, and Innovationin the Songs of Roy Orbison
Mark Richardson (East Carolina University)
Known by the nickname "the voice"by rock critics, Roy Orbison brought a new dimension to early rock musicwith his broad vocal range and operatic approach to the ballad. Thoughmostly known for his distinctive three-octave range (from low baritoneto a high register falsetto) and his lyrics that turned away from malebravura and instead spoke of vulnerability, loneliness, and dreams, Orbisonwas an accomplished songwriter who wrote most of his own material—songsthat did not follow an established formula. In fact, Orbison's songs wereoften more complex formally than the alternating verse and chorus structureso frequently heard in the songs of the day. Perhaps more striking, however,are the metrical shifts in established hypermeter within songs that disruptthe listener's expectations and contribute to increasing the tension oranticipation of a musical climax. Hypermetric units, once established,can be perceived as irregular by internal repetitions of strong and weakhypermeasures or by contraction or expansion. Harald Krebs discusses theseconditions of hypermetric irregularity as they apply to the songs of JosephineLang, and these conditions could just as well apply to selected songs ofRoy Orbison. Examples of hypermetric irregularities (such as expansionsand contractions) will be explored in Orbison's "It's Over" (1964), "Crying"(1961), "Oh, Pretty Woman" (1964) as well as a more detailed explorationof the interaction among three discrete layers of hypermeter (vocal solo,chorus, and bass) within Orbison's "Only the Lonely" (1960).
Return to top of page
© 2007 MTSMA; All Rights Reserved
Returnto 2007 Meeting page
Returnto main MTSMA page