Twelfth Annual Meeting

Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia

Friday and Saturday, March 21–22, 2014

Download as .pdf file.



12:00–1:15 Short Paper Session
  Chair: Vincent Benitez, Penn State University

On Duration and Developing Variation: The Intersection of Bergson’s Time and Free Will with Schoenberg’s Sechs kleine Klavierstücke Op. 19
Keith Salley, Shenandoah University

Abstract: Many authors have addressed Schoenberg’s philosophical influences, but few have addressed the philosophy of Henri Bergson. This presentation takes a close look at Bergson’s Time and Free Will (1889), a popular treatise owned by Schoenberg that introduces the concept of Duration. I present several analytical readings from op. 19, a collection written shortly after publication of that treatise’s German translation. These analyses show how Bergson’s Duration is reflected in op. 19, and support my claim that this reflection represents a significant innovation in developing variation.

Space, to Bergson, is a homogeneous medium where objects have discrete borders and measurable distances between them. Linear conceptions of time are misguided mappings of event successions onto spatial metaphors. Time—perceived by the subject—is intrinsically different from space, where “objects” of time are perceived in Duration as interpenetrating conscious states whose borders are fuzzy at best, and the intervals between them are ultimately immeasurable.

Taking Schoenberg’s and Frisch’s writings on developing variation as points of departure, I argue that Schoenberg’s interpenetrating motives and evocations of subjective time are significant innovations in developing variation, and furthermore, that Begson’s Duration helps us understand exactly how they are innovative. In this way, Bergson’s Duration enables us to conceptualize motivic transformations as subjective phenomena. We can therefore appreciate developing variation reflectively, understanding changes in a motive or gesture as different perspectives of the same moment of time—rather than objectively, regarding those changes in a teleological sense.

Ebb and Flow: Rhythm and Temporality in Unmetered Music by George Crumb
Kristina Knowles, Northwestern University

Abstract: Twentieth-century composers experimented not only with the organization of pitch structures, but also with rhythmic and metrical structures. Yet research exploring these latter elements is limited in scope. My paper aims to expand theories of rhythm and meter to explore the relationship between these musical elements and temporality in unmetered music. I define “unmetered” music as lacking both a consistently notated meter provided by the composer and a consistently present underlying pulse that can be perceived by the listener. This repertory allows the composer to manipulate the listener’s perceived passage of time through the organization of, and the relationship between, rhythmic and metrical elements.

I identify a set of mechanisms used by composers which contribute to fluctuations in the listener’s perceived passage of time. These mechanisms are grounded in psychological studies addressing influences on the perception of time passing. Through a set of analytical vignettes focusing on the work of George Crumb, I show how the repetition of certain rhythmic motives, the presence of competing pulse streams (Roeder 1994; 2001) and the occurrence of metrical emergence and dissolution (Horlacher 1995) can be used to manipulate the perceived passage of time within the music. By developing a theoretical framework that emphasizes the interaction between rhythmic and metrical elements and our perceptual experience of time, I demonstrate how composers can and do systematically manipulate time in unmetered music.

The Hunt for Form in Wolfgang Rihm’s String Quartet no. 9 “Quartettsatz”
Robert Baker, Catholic University of America

Abstract: Wolfgang Rihm’s ninth string quartet, “Quartettsatz” (1993), is a prime example of his compositional style of the past two decades, and represents a body of work that has gone largely unanalyzed. Joachim Brügge’s overview of the string quartets, and Richard McGregor’s writing on portions of the Chiffre-Zyklus (1982-88) offer a valuable beginning to understand Rihm’s work, but more detailed analysis is required to make a stronger correlation between techniques and formal properties evident in the score and Rihm’s own statements on his compositional philosophies and approaches, two of which most relevant to this study are: a sound following a different sound in time, truly transforms its predecessor; and, the act of composing is itself a hunt for the form.

In this paper I employ a quasi-paradigmatic analysis to show details in pitch and phrase structure in the first major section of Rihm’s ninth string quartet, “Quartettsatz” (1993). The results reveal a musical form that bears two principal features: one, a quasi-cyclical process of three principal elements that recur in varied form, suggesting alternate possible outcomes based on their newly transformed states; and two, a gradual abating of this cyclical process giving way to a rising dominance of a second musical idea. This reading draws a correlation between Rihm’s comments and his compositional techniques, revealing a decidedly unique musical form; one that appears to be constantly transforming and hunting for itself.

Pathways to Compositional Autonomy: The Emancipation of the “Triad” in Howard Hanson’s Symphony no. 6
Mark Parker, Bob Jones University

Abstract: More than fifty years have passed since the publication of Howard Hanson’s Harmonic Materials of Modern Music: Resources of the Tempered Scale in 1960, and until recently this comprehensive compendium of “sonorities” has received virtually no consideration by music theorists except as a footnote crediting it as a forerunner of the pitch-class systematizing of Allen Forte (1964, 1973 f.). However, misconceptions regarding the scope and content of Hanson’s work as a theorist have since been addressed (notably by Allen Cohen in Howard Hanson in Theory and Practice, Praeger, 2004) and, as a result, certain of Hanson’s notions have been recognized to be progenitors of ideas later developed by Forte, Rahn, Lewin, and Quinn.

Hanson’s classification of pitch material, while lacking the rigor and abstraction of a mathematically-based set theory, has a breadth and elegance of its own. Intended as a tool for composers, Hanson’s book perhaps is best appreciated in this light. If understood on its own terms, it provides insights into the compositional processes of Hanson and others through its elucidating of relationships that are readily accessible precisely because they are concretely stated. Hanson’s pathways of compositional discourse include: 1) a motivic usage of involutions (mirror inversions of pitch-class sets); 2) the expansion of basic sonorities through the projection of intervals; 3) a structural role of isomeric sonorities (Forte’s Z-related pairs). The idiosyncratic though not unique implementation of these and other techniques in Symphony No. 6 proclaims the compositional voice that is universally recognized to belong to Howard Hanson.

Crossing One’s Fingers: Gestural, Textural, and Rhetorical Chiasmi in Works for Violoncello
Daniel Stevens, University of Delaware

Abstract: Studies of musical embodiment and performance analysis tend to focus on piano music and its performance. This paper seeks to expand this focus by asking how the physical gestures associated with a non-keyboard instrument—specifically, the violoncello—may be thought of as compositionally generative. As a starting point, I take the crisis found in the Prelude of Bach’s First Suite for Violoncello in G Major involving a contrapuntal dissonance that cannot resolve properly due to the lower limit of the cello’s range. In context, this crisis results from a large-scale inversion of the opening tonic triad, and it frustrates a repetition of this opening’s upper neighbor prolongation. Importantly, these structural features fit naturally with the gestures employed while performing the Prelude. From the first measure, the changing angle of the bow as it moves across the upper three strings of the cello creates a composite “X” in space. The undulating rise and fall of the bow seem to motivate the pitch transfers and harmonic inversions that unfold across the piece.

Next, I examine textural and rhetorical chiasmi in works by Shostakovich (first Cello Concerto), Carter (Sonata for Violoncello and Piano), Sessions (“Berceuse” from Six Pieces for Cello), and Babbitt (Dual) to suggest avenues for future research. In the Shostakovich, Carter, and Babbitt, large-scale exchanges of material between cello and piano/orchestra are composed out in strikingly different manners and with different contextual significances. Sessions’s “Berceuse,” by contrast, invites us to consider the mimetic associations of the cellist’s gestures.



Schema and Prototype

  Chair: TBA

The Second-Reprise Medial PAC and the Form of Bach’s Binary Dance Movements
Christopher Brody, Indiana University

Abstract: This paper argues for a complication of the two-phrase/three-phrase classification system for Bach’s binary dance movements proposed by Charles Rosen and Joel Lester. I show that an overwhelmingly pervasive feature of those movements (present in 85% of all examples) is a nontonic PAC midway through the second reprise (medial PAC). While in three-phrase binary movements this nontonic PAC divides the second reprise’s two phrases from each other, in two-phrase binary movements the medial PAC intrudes within a single rotational span, creating a generically mandatory disconnect between the movement’s cadential structure and its thematic design. Therefore, while the three phrases of a typical minuet may fairly closely track the thematic layout of the first reprise, the second reprise of a two-phrase movement unavoidably must be rewritten to accommodate a nontonic PAC about halfway through. In addition, the reprise-length and thematic-repetition criteria by which two- and three-phrase movements are distinguished from one another are at times inconclusive, as in the Menuet from Bach’s B-flat major Partita. Consequently, I argue that these classifications are less rigid categories than the endpoints of a spectrum along which pieces may be situated.

Chord Types as Metric Determinants, Syncopation as Surprise
Christopher White, University of North Carolina – Greensboro

Abstract: Meter, at least in the common practice, is often defined as a recurrence of some kind of accent.  Metric dissonance, as an extension of this idea, tends to be formulated as either a deformation (extension, diminution) of an underlying pattern, or the overlaying of a second pattern—a dissonant metric layer—against the fundamental consonant pattern In contrast, I will show that meter can be determined by observing the periodic rise and fall of musical probabilities (i.e., the likelihood of particular chords, scale-degree sets, rhythmic durations, etc. occurring in particular contexts) throughout a passage of music. Instead of focusing on predicting events occurring at all—i.e., being able to predict the periodicity of any event onset—I will argue that the corpus-derived probabilities of musical events recur with certain periodicities. I will propose a novel definition of meter: meter is not just the periodic and predictable recurrence of accented events such as louder attacks, pitch onsets, or harmonic changes, but rather is the recurrence of a series of higher and lower event probabilities at constant periodicities.

Based on this model, I will argue for a related definition of metric dissonance. Using new computational and psychological research, I will argue that metric dissonances occur when an event’s probability does not align with expectation. Unlike traditional music theories, my conception of meter considers events dissonant if they conflict with expectations of probability periodicity.  Such a theory not only brings a new subtlety to the idea of metric dissonance as it represents events as more or less dissonant using a sliding probabilistic scale, but also potentially formalizes the differences between types of dissonance (e.g., hemiola, displacement) from a corpus-based perspective.

Playing With Schemata
Janet Bourne, Northwestern University

Abstract: Agawu (1991) suggests that composers create “play” by placing topics (conventional signs; Monelle 2006) together. Regarding Beethoven’s use of horn fifths to begin Lebewohl, Caplin (2005) responds that the “play” comes from “specific musical parameters” and not the topic (122). Lebewohl also begins with a Mi-Re-Do schema (conventional voice-leading pattern; Gjerdingen 2007). Associated with ending formal function, the Mi-Re-Do as a beginning is marked (not the topic), creating “play.” Scholars analyze topics and schemata separately even though these patterns often co-occur in eighteenth-century music. Both patterns provide information; for example, schemata may provide topics with formal function and topics may provide schemata with extra-musical association. How do topics and schemata interact? When do topics include schemata and does this create different classes of topics?

I devise a continuum for: analyzing interactions between topics/schemata, sorting classes of topics, and implying when topics are troped and/or marked. On the continuum, the X axis reflects variation in musical parameters: musical passages based on primary parameters (pitch-melodic-rhythmic) on the left and passages based on secondary parameters (figuration-texture-timbre-etc.; Meyer 1989) on the right. Though topics are often defined by secondary parameter features, some topics, by definition, require voice-leading material, creating topic/schema combinations in the middle of the continuum. I use this methodology on three topics/schemata in Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven: 1) horn fifths (horn-call topic and Mi-Re-Do schema), 2) lament bassline (descending bassline schema and lament topic), and 3) Stabat Mater Prinner (Prinner schema and church style). This research looks at how topics/schemata create “play.”



9:00–10:30 Analytical Approaches for Twentieth-Century Music
  Chair: Diane Luchese, Towson State University

Compositional Spaces in Mario Davidovsky’s Quaretto (1987)
Inés Thiebaut, CUNY Graduate Center

Abstract: The music of Mario Davidovsky has been seldom analyzed past the timbral implications of his electronic pieces and gestural aspects of his phrasing, and there has been virtually no attention paid to its pitch organization, despite the composer’s longstanding interest in writing for acoustic instruments. In this paper, I demonstrate that the interval cycles, specially characteristic combinations of the 1-cycle and the 5-cycle, form a consistent resource for the organization of pitch in Davidovsky’s music. In particular, I propose a compositional space that can be inferred as the structural source of harmonic and melodic combination in his Quartetto for Flute and String Trio (1987).

Transformational Variation as Music Analysis: John Rea’s Las Meninas
Anton Vishio, New York City

Abstract: The observation that our experiences of pieces of music are often colored by our experiences of other pieces of music is hardly a new one, although careful attention to it has provided a rich analytical field, explored by Michael Klein among others. John Rea's work Las Meninas stages several such intercompositional encounters, through a series of “transformational variations” on the Kinderszenen of Robert Schumann. The “transformations” involve a kind of bending of one work towards another: a movement of the Schumann is projected against a later composition, resulting in a variation that traverses both.  To accomplish this, Rea utilizes a variety of techniques: from opening gaps in the Schumann to be filled (or not) after the manner of another work, to expanding some apparently incidental feature of one movement that, transfigured, suggests a very different compositional setting.  This paper provides a close reading of two of the variations, reworkings of Schumann's Von fremden Ländern und Menschen filtered through pieces by José Evangelista and Claude Debussy; it explores some of the striking links between compositions forged by Rea, and in particular the question of what they can tell us about Schumann— how, that is, these links are themselves analytical acts.  It concludes by assessing the applicability of the method to works of other composers, including Christopher Hobbs and Hans Zender. 

Concurrent Cycles, Shifting Pulse Options, and Metric States: Periodicities in Ann Southam’s Noisy River
Antares Boyle, University of British Columbia

Abstract: Justin London’s incorporation of perceptual thresholds into his psychological theory of meter, developed in Hearing in Time (2nd. ed. Oxford 2012), suggests that factors such as tempo and absolute duration may have significant implications for the analysis of minimalist works that undergo metric shift or suggest multiple pulse options. This idea is developed in an analysis of Noisy River, a process-based work for solo piano by Ann Southam (1937–2010). London’s well-formedness constraints and perceptual thresholds are used to determine likely pulse entrainment options for each region of the piece and to show that the work—despite its constant rapid eighth-note pulse at a fixed tempo—moves through a series of diverse “metric states,” qualitatively differentiated by factors such as alternate groupings, hierarchic depth, tempo, and isochronous/non-isochronous and duple/triple divisions. These discrete periodic states, triggered by systematic changes in the right hand’s repeated cells, contrast with the regular periodicity of the phrase-length cycle in the pianist’s left hand. Multiple perceptual paths through this left-hand cycle are shown, borrowing tools from Christopher Hasty (1997), John Roeder (1994/2003), and Gretchen Horlacher (1995) to analyze the metric ambiguities of its periodic structure. The analysis emphasizes the role of listener choice in forging a path through this nonlinear music and the benefit of a pluralist approach that combines psychological with aesthetic considerations.

10:45–12:30 Short Paper Session 2
  Chair: Anthony Kosar, Rider University

Unshackling The Period: A Hybrid Form in the Viennese Classics
Benjamin Wadsworth, Kennesaw State University

Abstract: Period form, as defined by Schoenberg (1967) and Caplin (1998), contains two parallel phrases: the first ends with a weaker cadence (e.g., HC), the second with a stronger one (e.g., PAC). In a parallel period, a basic idea (bi) and contrasting idea (ci) are juxtaposed and led to a cadence twice, suggesting stability instead of acceleration (as would instead be characteristic of sentence form). Current definitions of a period, however, overlook symmetrical phrase groups that may be perceived as stable within large-scale contexts (e.g., two PACs in tonic). In line with recent generalizations of the sentence and period (Richards 2011, Ninov 2013), I propose a model of general period. A general period has two melodically parallel phrases, at least one alternation between bi and ci, and contrasting material following it. New aspects include: 1) the cadences may be deployed in ways different from the “antecedent/consequent” model; 2) phrase groups having aspects of sentences may also be interpreted as periods; 3) repeated phrases are considered to be periods; and 4) a HC and PAC in V (to cite one example) are considered equivalent. The general period model is applied here to piano sonata movements by Mozart to aid the analysis of large-scale formal trajectories. I conclude that general periods serve to initiate and conclude trajectories within sonata movements, for instance, from P (principal theme) to the EEC (first PAC after the subordinate theme).

Mahler’s Veil: Todtenmarsch, Topoi, and the Jewish Question
Rosa Abrahams, Northwestern University

Abstract: While Gustav Mahler’s music is not always interpreted as Jewish, doing so brings out social themes and commentary particular to Vienna at the end of the nineteenth century that relate to musical exoticism. I propose that Mahler’s music expresses a double-consciousness—specifically, his experience as an insider and outsider in Austro-Germanic musical society. To read this duality, I focus on the Todtenmarsch of the first symphony, employing topic theory methodologies of Hatten (1994) and Monelle (2000).

Mahler’s interweaving of topoi in the Todtenmarsch suggests a narrative rife with irony and double-voicedness: these include topoi from Western art music such as the pastoral and oriental, and what I term a “Jewish” topic. While the Todtenmarsch has been extensively analyzed for heroic narratives in conjunction with Mahler’s detailed program, it has not been widely understood as an example of Jewish Modernism (Bohlman, 2008). I relate Mahler’s use of topoi to his experiences of racially-based anti-Semitism, thus examining the historical discourse and resistance of Jewishness in readings of the first symphony. My reading aims to deepen both our understanding of Mahler’s music and the interpretive use of topic theory.

In reading the Todtenmarsch as an expression of Jewish double-consciousness, I also engage with W.E.B. DuBois’ conceptualization of “the Veil,” demonstrating through analogy the complex, subtextual, and often painful experience of the minority. By situating Mahler within DuBois’ veil and identifying evocative topical importations, I explore Mahler’s hybridism as mediation within a context of his Jewish contemporaries, fin-de-siécle musical society, and modern listeners.

Climax Structure in Wagner’s Operas
Ji Yeon Lee, CUNY Graduate Center

Abstract: Although Wagner’s operas feature a visceral sense of drive and motion toward telos as opposed to frequent sectional division found in Italian opera, issues of climax and highpoint in his music remain under-theorized. Previous studies of climax are mostly limited to instrumental music (Kurth 1925, Meyer 1980 and 1989, Eitan 1997, Patty 2009, Johnston 2009, and so on), and Agawu’s (1984) treatment of vocal genre focuses mostly on German lieder. My study introduces a climax archetype that enables a rigorous, systematic approach to modeling the psychological experience of climax in iconic Wagnerian scenes from Die Walküre, Lohengrin and Tristan und Isolde.

As the methodological foundation, I propose a “climax archetype” consisting of initiation, intensification, highpoint, and abatement. Initiation indicates tension growth via the establishment of a steady phrase grouping. Intensification quickens the pace of musical progression through diminution of the grouping unit, often with increased dynamics. Highpoint is the arrival of goal, typically on a downbeat and at the loudest dynamic. Abatement discharges the accumulated tension through harmonic resolution, decreasing dynamics, deceleration, and so on.

The climax theory and analysis presented in this paper not only delineates the concrete musical-dramatic relationship but also demonstrates how the ebb and flow of tension is embodied as fluid, dynamic form played in temporal progression.

Meter and Motion in Pop/Rock Backbeats
Robin Attas, Elon University

Abstract: The vast majority of pop/rock songs from the 1950s forwards feature a drum pattern with strong snare drum hits on beats 2 and 4, the backbeats. Despite their usual quadruple-meter context, backbeats present challenges for popular music theorists interested in meter. Some (Butler 2006, Moore 2012) describe the backbeat as syncopated, while others (Iyer 1998, Mowitt 2002, Zbikowski 2004, Butterfield 2006, Danielsen 2006) propose various means of theorizing the backbeat’s accent pattern as normative. However, the variety of solutions reveals the difficulty in trying to explain this musical phenomenon using metric theories based in Western European art music.

This paper proposes a new theory of backbeat meter inspired by the backbeat’s origins in West African traditions and its function as the principal agent of motion on the dance floor (see Iyer 2002). First, the backbeat is considered as a variety of timeline, defined by Agawu as “a distinctly shaped and often memorable rhythmic figure of modest duration that is played as an ostinato throughout a given dance composition,” leading to a reconsideration of timeline as metric rather than simply rhythmic (2006, 1). Second, the backbeat’s dance function leads to a discussion of typical bodily motions among amateur dancers and performers that are connected to backbeat articulations generally, and to particular popular music subgenres specifically. This is combined with analysis of the groove’s metric quality to draw links between musical and bodily gesture, with the ultimate aim the prediction of typical dance moves given particular rhythmic patterns.

The Renaissance of an Old Notation: Schenker’s Ausfaltung Symbol, Past and Present
Rodney Garrison, SUNY – Fredonia

Abstract: A symbol that looks like Schenker’s Ausfaltung symbol is often found in manuscripts and publications from the sixteenth until the twentieth century. In non-Schenkerian contexts, I refer to the symbol that looks like the Ausfaltung as the saw-tooth. The saw-tooth is similar to a common beaming strategy, the inter-staff symbol. Schenker likely knew the saw-tooth through his editorial work and previous studies with Bruckner. Schenker reintroduced the saw-tooth as the Ausfaltung—an analytical symbol—in Das Meisterwerk in der Music 3 (1930). His final publications contain saw-tooth, inter-staff, and Ausfaltung symbols in foreground and middleground sketches. In some cases, it is difficult to tell one symbol from another, and Schenker offers no verbal explanation of the saw-tooth or inter-staff. The saw-tooth and inter-staff in different levels begs the question of whether they convey pitch and rhythm and/or deeper analytical meaning.

The goals of the paper are these: 1) Differentiation of the saw-tooth from the inter-staff as they exist in manuscripts and publications; 2) Explanation of Schenker’s varied usage of nearly 500 Ausfaltungen suggests how saw-tooth and inter-staff symbols are best interpreted within Schenker’s sketches; 3) Discussion of different contexts and uses of the saw-tooth and inter-staff within his sketches. This study imparts a greater understanding of the meanings of saw-tooth and inter-staff symbols within Schenker’s sketches by uncovering kinship and differences between them and the Ausfaltung, which, in turn, promotes a greater understanding of the Ausfaltung.

Dynamic Attending, Free Rhythm, and Soloistic Autonomy in the Classical Cadenza
Mitchell Ohriner, Shenandoah University

Abstract: Since the 1980s, scholars have interpreted Mozart’s piano concertos as an enactment of an individual striving for autonomy from society in the Enlightenment. To document the soloist’s autonomy, these approaches emphasize her introduction and manipulation of new themes, distant key areas, or formal signposts. Yet they rarely explore the role of the cadenza in establishing this autonomy. Because there is no solo-orchestral dialogue in cadenzas, and because cadenzas may be improvised or written by other composers, the cadenza is interpreted as uniformly autonomous, and even parenthetical to the formal or rhetorical plan of the movement.
In this paper, I argue that soloists are not uniformly autonomous in cadenzas; rather, the may achieve autonomy from audiences by disrupting their listeners’ abilities to temporally track the performance. The resulting listener-performer asynchronicity (LPA) is a marker for soloistic autonomy. To examine LPA in improvised cadenzas, seventeen undergraduate music majors attempted to tap each measure of eight unique cadenzas to Mozart’s Concerto in C minor, K. 491. I derive three measures of LPA from these data: inaccuracy, instability, and absence.
By tracking LPA in a number of different cadenzas of the same work, I demonstrate that the soloist’s quest for autonomy extends to the cadenza. While cadenza soloists are always autonomous from the silent orchestra, they achieve autonomy from the culture in the hall through performance decisions that encourage LPA. Yet without analytical methods that take into account how listeners respond to performed music, this sense of autonomy can all too easily go unnoticed.

3:00–4:00 Scales and Collections
  Chair: Jon Kochavi, Swarthmore College

Pitch Centricity Without Pitch Centers
Stanley Kleppinger, University of Nebraska

Abstract: Pitch centricity is commonly understood as the effect of perceptual focus upon one pitch class above all others in a given musical context. From this vantage point, Western music of approximately the last century is often casually classified in two ways: either it projects no pitch center, or it engenders pitch centricity via continuation of common-practice techniques or new, divergent methods. But lost in this dichotomy is a third potential class of post-common-practice repertoire: music that coaxes the listener into associating the music with pitch centricity without fostering certainty about what its pitch center might be. Often in music by Copland, Bartók, and others, the question “What is the pitch center of this passage?” seems the right question to ask, yet consensus among listeners about the identity of that center is virtually impossible to reach. This scenario contrasts with non-pitch-centric musical contexts, where the question “What is the pitch center of this passage?” may seem irrelevant rather than only perplexing.

This paper speculates that certain common-practice tonal elements catalyze the “listen-for-pitch-centers” mechanism of the auditory process, even in those cases where identifying a certain pitch center is a difficult or impossible task. This line of thought highlights the importance of distinguishing between pitch-centric listening and pitch-center identification: the former may exist without the latter, and the gap between them is an essential stylistic feature for much music of the last century. This paper advocates recognizing that gap and its analytic consequences in several relevant excerpts.

Exploring Polyscalarity in the Music of Igor Stravinsky: Discerning Surface- and Deeper-Level Scalar Collections
Aaron Grant, Eastman School of Music

Abstract: Since Arthur Berger’s 1963 article “Problems of Pitch Organization in Stravinsky,” a host of studies has emerged concerning Stravinsky’s use of scalar collections. Most established analytical traditions view Stravinsky’s work entirely in terms of octatonic and diatonic interactions, often ignoring notes in order to fit the music into these two collections. Tymoczko’s 2002 study, however, revealed the ambiguity of affiliation that exists within any collection of pitches, showing that Stravinsky’s music is better understood as exhibiting polyscalarity, rather than simply diatonic and octatonic collections.

Although Tymoczko’s study brought about a reformed view of Stravinsky’s music, the theoretical underpinnings and analytical ramifications of polyscalarity remain unexplored. If a single pitch collection can project a variety of scales, under what conditions can the interaction of multiple collections project a single scale? Furthermore, what are the criteria for segmenting pitches on the musical surface into different scalar collections?

This study explores these questions in three parts. Part 1 establishes the theoretical backdrop for the study, examining how surface- and deeper-level scalar collections interact in polyscalar music. Part 2 provides analytical support, showing that this methodology not only allows for more nuanced interpretations of Stravinsky’s music than traditional methodologies, but also aids in connecting seemingly disparate passages. Finally, part 3 demonstrates how this theory aligns with Gretchen Horlacher’s theory of ordered succession.

4:00–5:00 Time and Mode in Nineteenth-Century Music
  Chair: Eugene Montague, George Washington University

Modal Mixture as a Dynamic Process in Brahms’s Es träumte mir, Op. 57 no. 3
Loretta Terrigno, CUNY Graduate Center

Abstract: Schenkerian studies of Brahms’s and Schubert’s Lieder have often used the achievement of the Kopfton as a metaphor for dramatic events in the poetry, particularly the arrival of a climactic moment or turning point. As demonstrated by David Lewin, this moment can have an effect on the perception of a song’s mode; major and minor forms of the tonic E vie for supremacy in his analysis of Schubert’s Auf dem Flusse (D. 911), which posits a “secret E-major deep structure” that lies “unter der Rinde” of the E-minor surface structure. Lewin’s hierarchical metaphor represents the protagonist’s numbness (E minor) and the hot, passionate feeling that lies beneath it (E major). Carl Schachter, citing a similar modal contrast linked to themes of death and life in Schubert’s Ihr Bild (D. 957), discusses how the song’s Bb-minor key belies an Ursatz in Bb major at a deeper level of voice-leading structure, implied by prominent D-naturals at the foreground.

In a similar vein as these dramatically sensitive readings of Schubert by Lewin and Schachter, meaning can be ascribed to structural events linked to mode mixture in Brahms’s Es träumte mir (Op. 57 no. 3), which uses the opposition between natural and altered forms of 3^ to express a dichotomy between reality and dreaming. Yet rather than illustrating a dramatic rise to the Kopfton arrival, agential interactions between the vocal and piano personae on the Lied’s surface—constructs identified by Edward T. Cone—enact a dynamic process of achieving and sustaining the major mode.

Expressive Performance and Interpretation: Lussyian Analysis of Chopin’s Etude in E Major, Op. 10 no. 3
Timothy Saeed, Louisiana State University

Abstract: The Etude Op. 10, no. 3 is one of Chopin’s most beloved and cherished works. While it is unlike other Etudes of the set with its Lento ma non troppo tempo marking, it characterizes a pinnacle of artistic sensitivity in the genre with its astonishingly beautiful and emotionally charged melody. Written in ternary form with a highly contrasting middle section and a brief coda, this Etude is no simple spectacle for the advancement of one or more performance techniques. On the contrary, I contend that it represents a remarkable artistic triumph of the highest level. John Rink has noted that though this Etude is often considered a study of legato, he regards it as a study of syncopation. Considering that an Etude often employs more than one technical or performance issue, I interpret this Etude as a study of several musical features— namely syncopation, legato melody, and polyphony. I argue that an understanding of each of these features is a necessity for delivering an expressive performance. The aim of this paper is to consider how each of these issues influences the music—rhythmically, melodically, and harmonically—and how performers can identify and choose among options that will promote expressive delivery. Following a brief survey of several analyses of the Etude, I will present my own analysis, based upon the application of the nineteenth-century Swiss theorist, Mathis Lussy (1828-1910). The analysis will consider both surface details and deeper levels of structure, and aims to explore a range of interpretative possibilities.

Return to top of page

Return to 2014 Meeting page

Return to main MTSMA page