Aspects of Schenkerian Theory

Aspects of Schenkerian Theory

Edited by David Beach
Copyright Date: 1983
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 222
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  • Book Info
    Aspects of Schenkerian Theory
    Book Description:

    This book is a collection of ten essays-traditional and innovative, explanatory and analytical-each of which contributes to the growing field of Schenkerian research. Eight are published for the first time; the other two, by the late Ernst Oster, were originally published in the lat 1940s.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16266-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
    David Beach
  4. Schenker’s Theories: A Pedagogical View
    (pp. 1-38)

    In the preface to his recently published translation ofDer freie Satz, Ernst Oster makes the following statement regarding the recent increase of interest in Schenker’s theories:

    Interest in Schenker has been growing at an ever-increasing pace in the United States. More and more colleges and universities are offering courses devoted to Schenker’s theories, his name appears almost regularly in the programs of musical conventions, and, especially during the past decade, the number of “Schenker-oriented” or more or less “Schenker-influenced” books has increased to a remarkable degree.¹

    This growth of activity indicates the degree to which Schenker’s ideas about music...

  5. Thematic Content: A Schenkerian View
    (pp. 39-60)

    If a “Schenkerian view” of thematic content is taken to mean a view set forth by Schenker himself, or one that can be directly inferred from his theory of tonal organization, then the title of this article imposes narrow limits on the kinds of generalizations it can make. For Schenker’s theory neither proposes nor implies a theory of thematic construction or relations for music. This does not, however, mean that it can contribute nothing to their elucidation. In the paragraphs that follow I should like first to sketch briefly Schenker’s basic conception of the thematic dimension with the aid of...

  6. Motive and Text in Four Schubert Songs
    (pp. 61-76)

    Music set to words can reflect them in many different ways. Perhaps the most fascinating and greatest settings are those where the tonal and rhythmic structure, the form, and the motivic design embody equivalents for salient features of the text: grammar and syntax, rhyme schemes and other patterns of sound, imagery, and so forth. Structural connections between words and music occur frequently in the art-song repertory—above all, in the songs of Schubert. Yet they seem to have attracted less attention, at least in the published literature, than prosody, tone painting, and affect.¹ In this paper I shall concentrate on...

  7. Aspects of Motivic Elaboration in the Opening Movement of Haydn’s Piano Sonata in C# Minor
    (pp. 77-94)

    It is now widely accepted that Schenkerian analytic procedures can lead to a more profound understanding of motivic relationships in tonal music. Analyses by Schenker and his disciples often reveal hidden motivic connections between themes or sections that are quite different in character.¹ Such motivic parallelisms appear both on the same and on different structural levels. As Carl Schachter has observed, a foreground motive will sometimes be “expanded to cover a considerable stretch of the middleground.”²

    The present study will deal with aspects of motivic elaboration in the opening movement of Haydn’s Piano Sonata in C# minor (Hob. XVI:36). It...

  8. Schenker’s Theory of Levels and Musical Performance
    (pp. 95-112)

    A Schenkerian analysis of a musical work primarily reveals how that work is “composed” — that is, how its components may be viewed in terms of hierarchically ordered structural levels (Schichten).¹ I will consider here the elusive question of what bearing the multi-leveled view, once established, has on the way one performs the work and, in so doing, will attempt to put into perspective Schenker’s many references to the subject.

    While Schenker’s life and work as a whole involved performance in many ways, from about 1920 on he came to see it more and more (though far from exclusively!) in...

  9. The Analysis of Pre-Baroque Music
    (pp. 113-134)

    In limiting himself to the music from Bach to Brahms, Heinrich Schenker defined his view of the nature and scope of the art of music. He regarded the music of this period as the highest level of diatonic art. All other music was of lesser quality. Schenker therefore chose to ignore socalled “early” music. It is by-passed in his writings, though he makes reference to its shortcomings and outlines its historical role as preparatory to the masterworks of his domain. Since Schenker’s death, consideration has been given to the analysis of Medieval and Renaissance music, and within recent years a...

  10. Heinrich Schenker and Historical Research: Monteverdi’s Madrigal Oimè, se tanto amate
    (pp. 135-152)

    As is well known, Schenker’s entire work is concentrated on the music of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The masterworks of this period were close to his heart and mind and completely absorbed his interest. In our obsession with specialization he is still considered by many as a specialist in this period only, with the implication that his conceptions of tonal construction, coherence, and continuity apply solely to this particular period in the history of music. One also encounters the view that meaningful analysis depends on temporal proximity between composer and analyst or on the absolute correspondence between a composer’s...

  11. Schenkerian Analysis and Post-Tonal Music
    (pp. 153-186)

    It is no secret that Heinrich Schenker valued most highly those compositions whose structures conform to the principles of tonal organization set forth in hisDer freie Satzand other writings. Schenker believed that this “tonal” music — comprised almost exclusively of masterpieces of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries — manifests an organic structural coherence which surpasses in strength and effect the organization of any other music of any era. He found this type of coherence particularly lacking in contemporary music, which for him (as is well known) meant anything after Brahms. Despite Schenker’s own conservatism, more recent theorists have...

  12. Appendix: The Fantaisie-Impromptu: A Tribute to Beethoven
    (pp. 189-208)
  13. Appendix: The Dramatic Character of the Egmont Overture
    (pp. 209-222)