FRIDAY, MARCH 30
||Rachel Hall, Saint Joseph’s University,
Toward an understanding of voice leading in the third movement of Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms
Mark Richardson, East Carolina University
Joseph Straus has provided in depth analysis of Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms with regard to competing tonal centers within each movement's tonal axis and the recognizable intervallic voice-leading patterns that permit listeners to hear the arrival of the next pitch class to complete an established pattern (pattern completion). The voice-leading pattern identified by Straus in the 1st movement is set class (0134), the same tetrachord Stravinsky described as one of the building blocks of the entire work. Though aurally and visually clear in the 1st movement, instances of this same pattern are less apparent in the 2nd movement and seemingly nonexistent in the third. The focus of the paper will demonstrate a new voice leading pattern emerging in the 3rd movement based upon an expanded version of this (0134) pattern--stretched to include more whole steps than half steps and appear as either set class (0135) or even completely whole tone set (0246) to actually accommodate music that has expanded from minor/major triad axes (E-G-B-D and C-Eb-G-Bb in movements 1 and 2 respectively) to competing axes built from interlocked major triads that share a chromatic mediant relationship (C-E-G/G#-B and A-C#/C-E-G in movement 3). These examples of motion between poles of the tonal axes may suggest that the voice-leading pattern from the 1st movement has been expanded to accommodate the frequent ascending and descending wedge gestures in the music of the 3rd movement.
Two Manons, a Moor, and a Madam: Tonal Brokenness in Four Operas by Puccini, Verdi and Massenet
Edward Latham, Temple University
In five articles published over the past two decades, American musicologist Allan Atlas has steadily built a case for large-scale tonal, formal and dramatic structure in Puccini’s operas. In one of his most recent essays, on the Act I Love Duet from La bohème, he claims “Puccini had an unerring sense of musical-dramatic pacing” and notes that there are many possible explanations for how the composer achieves this pacing in his operas. This paper will offer one such explanation, using the theory of dramatic objectives created by Constantin Stanislavski and the post-Schenkerian concepts of the multi-movement Ursatz (a background structure spanning multiple scenes) and the permanent interruption (a broken structure that does not reach tonic at its conclusion) to compare Massenet’s Manon (1884) and Verdi’s Otello (1887) with Puccini’s Manon Lescaut (1893) and Madama Butterfly (1904).
By revealing a common strategic approach to tonality in all four operas—the use of a multi-movement interruption—the paper will show how Puccini’s predecessor (Verdi) and French counterpart (Massenet) established a model of musical and dramatic brokenness that Puccini expanded through the use of “blighted” tonal returns (per Philip Rupprecht) and deceptive codas. In its conclusions, the paper will consider the potential impact of large-scale interruptions on operatic performance and reception.
What a Pile of Bricks Can Tell Us About Steve Reich
Peter Shelley, University of Washington
Inquiry into the aesthetic relation between music and the plastic arts arises from time to time, often motivated, as is the case in this paper, by a notable coincidence in terminology. When that coincidence extends beyond terminology—when we find, for example, minimalists painting, sculpting, and composing in the same city in the same years—close scrutiny is surely warranted. This paper will continue the exploration of minimalism in the plastic arts and in music begun by H. Wiley Hitchcock, Jonathan Bernard, and others, by examining the aesthetic relationships between the early mature works of Steve Reich and the sculptor Carl Andre. I am especially interested in exploring the degree to which James Meyer’s materialist reading of Andre can illuminate Reich’s early minimalism. Of course musical materials and sculptural materials belong to different categories; one cannot expect an understanding of Andre’s sculpture to apply isomorphically to Reich’s work. Instead, these two bodies of work will play off one another; the contradictions will tell us as much as the confirmations.
Does the change of a melody’s meter affect tonal pattern perception?
Stefanie Acevedo (presenter), University at Buffalo, SUNY; David Temperley, Eastman School of Music; and Peter Pfordresher, University at Buffalo, SUNY
The interaction between motivic structure (repeated melodic patterns) and metrical structure is a critical component of music perception (cf. Lerdahl & Jackendoff, 1983). It has been suggested that the recognition of repeated melodic patterns is facilitated when these are aligned with the meter (Povel & Essens, 1985; Sloboda, 1983), but this has never been systematically demonstrated. This experiment explored whether matched metrical and motivic structure facilitates the recognition of alterations to pitch patterns that have been stored in short-term memory. Eight tonal melodies were composed with binary (four-note) or ternary (three-note) repeated patterns (Temperley & Bartlette, 2002). A harmonic progression that suggested either a simple meter (aligned with the binary patterns) or a compound meter (aligned with the ternary patterns) preceded each melody and a regular metronome clicked throughout each trial to imply the meter. Melodies, thus, consisted of motivic structures and metrical structures that were crossed factorially and matched or mismatched. On each trial, participants heard a single combination of meter and melody twice; in half the trials, one pitch in the second presentation was displaced. Trained subject data showed an interaction between motive and meter: within the context of the same motivic pattern structure, matching metrical structure resulted in increased accuracy compared to mismatching metrical structure. Untrained subjects showed floor effects; data collection is underway with a modified paradigm. The current results show possible influences of higher-order structure on the perception of local properties of events (in this case, pitch class).
Theorizing Sound in the Cloud
Christian Carey, Rider University
Two primary modes for incorporating technology into the music theory classroom involve creating a smart classroom or a laboratory environment. Towards these ends, there are many hardware and software suites available at considerable cost to institutions, ranging from composition and notation software to programs for aural acquisition and other skills-based training. Subscription model streaming online libraries of recorded music are also becoming ever more prevalent on college campuses in the United States and abroad. These tools are invaluable to both educators and students: it is well worth advocating for their adoption and creative classroom use whenever possible.
But there is another avenue of technology that merits consideration for incorporation into the music theory classroom: music websites that include a social media component. Used thoughtfully, freeware programs such as Spotify, Tumblr, Rdio, and the like can augment the aforementioned costly resources by providing off campus and postgraduate access to materials for students’ further study. They encourage participation and collaboration in a way that is familiar to current student populations. And they are a potentially meaningful tool for developing critical thinking skills in relation to music theory topics. The present paper discusses one social media platform – Soundcloud (www.soundcloud.com) – and possible ways in which it can be incorporated into music theory, aural skills, and composition classroom instruction. Sample lessons and websites for each topic area, accessible during and after the conference, will be provided.
||New Theoretical Approaches
||Jonathan Kochavi, Swarthmore College, Chair
Deriving Chords and Functions From Musical Surfaces Using Statistical Methods
Christopher White, Yale University
Empirical music theorists have long been concerned with exactly how we abstract a relatively simple vocabulary of chords and functions from the complex stimuli of musical surfaces. In this paper, I investigate this issue. By relying on recent impulses in computational linguistics to search for “equivalence classes” within noisy data, I investigate chord types, “Roman numerals,” and tonal functions. Using a corpus of thousands of MIDI files stretching throughout the common practice and comprising over 10 million chords, I subject my data to a series of filters, slowly cleaning the noisy musical surface while bringing traditional harmony into focus.
In order to transform noisy surface data into more “middleground” chord progressions, I create equivalence classes using the corpus’ most frequent chord structures. I run the corpus’ chord progressions through a “minimum edit distance” formula that edits less frequent chords into closely-related more frequent chords. I do this in two steps, using both scale-degree and normal form templates. The resulting data consists primarily of traditional tonic, dominant, and predominant chords.
My results have two implications. The first concerns the music itself: with these tools we can compare the harmonic practices of different composers and eras. Secondly, these results have cognitive implications. If my model can derive principles of harmonic syntax purely by statistical modeling of musical surfaces, I can potentially model an important aspect of musical learning by exposure.
Voice Leading as Set
Andrew Wilson, CUNY Graduate Center
Traditional approaches to voice leading have tended to emphasize the pitch content of source and destination pitch collections, conceiving of voice leading largely as a means to connect preordained pitch content. Recently, theorists have begun to consider voice leading more independently; however, these approaches often still emphasize the harmonic content of source and destination. Voice leading can be productively considered without giving first and foremost emphasis to pitch content, though. I propose a shift of focus from what I call the external pitch contents of the source and destination to the internal contents of the voice leading itself, the directed intervals that connect the notes of each voice. I regard these internal contents as a set and explore theoretical relationships among voice-leading sets. In particular, the effects arising from application of the OPTIC equivalences (equivalences based upon Octave, Permutation, Transposition, Inversion, and Cardinality) to the voice-leading set are examined in detail, both individually and in combination, resulting in the flexible conception of a voice-leading set class, which may employ any combination of the OPTIC equivalences. Analyses from Arnold Schoenberg’s Das Buch der hängenden Gärten demonstrate the unifying power of these voice-leading set classes in the face of heterogeneous harmonic content.
Music Analysis as Play
William O'Hara, Harvard University
Music and play share deep affinities, from the terminological (the notion of "playing" music) to the hedonistic (the pleasure taken in music). However, playful aspects of music do not stop simply at its sounding, but are manifold in its reception, analysis, and criticism as well. This essay argues that notions of play and playfulness are often significant structural devices in music-analytical discourse, drawing on influential theories of play by Johan Huizinga, who analyzed the ubiquity of play in culture and society, and Roger Caillois, who extended Huizinga’s work by separating acts of play into the categories of agon (competition), alea (chance), mimesis (performance/imitation), and ilynx (vertigo).
Gottfried Weber’s famous analysis of Mozart’s “Dissonance Quartet” acts as an initial case study, demonstrating multiple aspects of play. First, Weber performs an act of listening, inviting the reader to step into his shoes and hear the music from his perspective. His notion of Mehrdeutigkeit (multiple meaning) demonstrates ilynx by taking pleasure in ambiguous, perpetually-reconsidered harmonic relationships, and his continual oppositions of music against listener, and hearing ear against perceiving subject, infuse his listening with a series of antagonisms. This thorough study of Weber’s analysis is supported by reference to articles by David Lewin, Fred Maus, Kevin Korsyn, and others. Reconceiving analysis as a kind of play reveals it to be a unique form of musical experience, characterized the uneven distribution of attention and the breaking open of the “work concept” into something more malleable and non-linear.
SATURDAY, MARCH 31
||Rock, Pop, and World Music
||Keith Salley, Shenandoah Conservatory, Chair
Tapping to Taqasim: A Study of Temporal Prediction in Listening to ‘Free Rhythm’
Mitchell Ohriner, Shenandoah Conservatory
In his book Sweet Anticipation, David Huron construes musical meter as an epiphenomenon of temporal prediction. Because some positions in a metric cycle (e.g., the downbeat) more often carry sounding events, listeners more strongly anticipate onsets at those positions. Mental representations of meter are not the sole determinants of temporal predictions, but the ubiquity of meter makes it difficult to examine the impact of other musical parameters outside of controlled studies.
Musical traditions without equivalent and hierarchically ordered durations—what Martin Clayton calls “free rhythm”—provide an understudied view into predictive processes apart from metric behavior. Thus this presentation examines a listener’s temporal predictions of one freely-metric genre, the non-metered Iraqi taqa¸s–im. To determine the varying difficulty in predicting events, I repeatedly attempted to tap along to Rahim Alhaj’s taq¸s–im maq–am ¸saba (2006). Through subsequent measurement I document varying temporal prediction, defined as the frequency and accuracy with which taps predict event onsets.
In both metric and non-metric scenarios, listeners predict the content and placement of upcoming events. But the temporal component of these predictions is too easily obscured in scholarship conditioned by habits of thought designed to address metric music. While I am sensitive to the unique cultural context of the taqa¸s–im, I close the presentation by suggesting that insights derived from tracing rhythmic experience in this repertoire may also inform our construal of the “rhythmic freedom” we find in so many metric genres as well.
Does Rock Play By Its Own Rules? An Empirical Investigation of Harmonic Expectation in Rock Music
Bryn Hughes, Ithaca College
Many chord successions in rock music truly sound like progressions, yet, through the lens of common-practice tonality, these successions are viewed as non-functional. This conundrum raises the question that will remain central throughout this study: does harmony convey different musical functions in rock and common-practice contexts, or does harmony behave in a universally consistent way?
This experiment investigated whether listeners expect chord successions presented in a rock context to adhere to common-practice syntax. Two groups of subjects listened to pairs of triads primed by a brief key-confirming passage of either rock or classical music. Overall, the results of the experiment showed that in both contexts, listeners preferred successions that featured typical common-practice chord-root motion. However, subtle differences between rock and common-practice harmonic expectations were also revealed. Notably, the results showed that stylistic context affected listeners’ expectations of chromatic chords, and of the subdominant triad.
The results support the claim that harmonic expectations in rock music are similar to those held for common-practice music; further solidified by statistically significant correlations with several empirical studies (Krumhansl 1990; Bigand et al 1996) and theoretical metrics for judging chord relatedness (Lerdahl 2001). Nevertheless, the subtle differences found between stylistic contexts align with the speculative claims made by theorists advocating for unique harmonic function in rock (Moore 1992, 1995; Stephenson 2002), and are supported by recent corpus analyses of rock repertoire (Temperley 2011; Temperley and De Clercq 2011).
Reconsidering the Notion of “Cadence” Based on Evidence from Pop-Rock Music
Drew F. Nobile, CUNY Graduate Center
Pop-rock music throws a wrench into our standard definition of cadence. There are numerous passages in pop-rock music that we would like to call cadences, but many of these do not follow the V–I model that we have for common-practice music. Specifically, the chord that precedes the arrival on tonic is often not V, but IV, II, ♭VII, or some other chord. In this paper, I submit that the harmonic profile of a cadence is of secondary importance, and that cadences are defined primarily by their formal characteristics. Formal definitions of classical cadence can be traced back to Antón Reicha’s 1814 Treatise on Melody, and appear in the recent work of William Caplin, who argues that cadence is best understood as a syntactical (versus rhetorical) component of music. Nevertheless, both Reicha and Caplin admit that there are very strict constraints on the harmonic and melodic profiles of classical cadences, such that their rhetorical and syntactical functions are intertwined. I argue that in pop-rock cadences, these harmonic and melodic constraints are relaxed such that their rhetorical function is diminished, and the syntactical element becomes the primary feature. Through numerous examples of pop-rock cadences, I present evidence that the melodic/harmonic features of these cadences are variable, and therefore a formal/syntactical definition of cadence is preferable. Such a definition is furthermore not restricted to pop-rock cadences, and may in fact lead us to reconsider our definition of cadence in all tonal music.
||Cynthia Folio, Temple University, Chair
A Taxing of the Taxonomy in the Beatles’ “Taxman”: Beyond the AAB Phrase Model of the 12-bar Blues
Trevor de Clercq, Eastman School of Music
The form of the Beatles’ “Taxman” (1966) has received conflicting analyses in recent literature. In this paper, I show that the problem of assigning section labels in “Taxman” derives from limitations with current models of blues forms. To date, theorists have discussed blues forms primarily in terms of the AAB 12-bar blues model, in which two parallel phrases are followed by a contrasting third. Although not typically framed in such explicit terms, this AAB model is shown to consistently manifest as a particular melodic phrase organization. The melodic phrase organization of other 12-bar blues songs, however, renders the AAB model wholly inappropriate. One common configuration is classified here as a hybrid blues, since songs in this pattern typically split – for a variety of reasons – into apparent segments of verse- and chorus-like material. This bifurcation is especially pronounced in 16-bar blues hybrids. Ultimately, I argue that the form of “Taxman” is best understood as a deconstructed version of a hybrid 16-bar blues pattern. In doing so, the factors that drive the application of section labels are brought to light. The talk finishes with a short epilogue about the use of hybrid blues models in the analysis of songs from other eras of rock history.
Repetition and Developing Variation in terms of Derrida’s Concept of the Trace
Hyekyung Park, University at Buffalo
This paper explores the functions of the motive in terms of identity and intention, which, in fact, are also the functions of a personal signature; they both share the characteristics of repetition or iterability. First, this study introduces the common feature found in Jacques Derrida’s idea of “the structure of the remnant or of iteration” and Arnold Schoenberg’s concept of Grundgestalt: repetition. Schoenberg’s process of “developing variation” presents two aspects of motivic elements: the repetitive and new material. After reviewing Derrida, Schoenberg, and Rahn’s concepts of repetition, my theory explains the relationship between exact and modified repetition and the two functions of the motive –identity and intention. Detailed analysis of excerpts from Schoenberg’s Piano Piece op. 23, no.1, which exhibits his idea of Grundgestalt, uses this theory to explore motivic identity and three types of intention, INTOCT (modification by octave displacement), INTONE (modification of one pitch interval), INTQUA (modification of interval quality), and their possible combinations. The repetitive elements provide a fragment of the motive, and, thus, offer its identity. They allow for the recognition of the trace of the motive. Meanwhile, the new material of the motive presents the process of developing variation, which is related to the function of intention.
Quantifying Metric Dissonance: Modeling Offset Downbeats through Applied Discrete Calculus
Steven Reale, Youngstown State University
The term “metrical dissonance” is borrowed from the realm of tonal pitch space, where dissonance and consonance refer to properties of sonorities, such that dissonance creates a tension that seeks resolution to consonance. Metric dissonance can encompass a variety of compositional strategies including polymeter, canon, “shadow meters,” hemiola, and metric modulation. Cohn 1992 and Ng 2005 provide formalizations of dissonance in hemiolas, but because metrical structures can always be decomposed into collections of integers, whether at the level of the beat or its subdivision, discrete calculus can provide a model for quantifying generalized metric dissonance. Acknowledging London's (2002) observation that attending strategies make true polymeters impossible (because listeners will always perceive one governing meter from which others deviate), we can measure at any given moment (t) the degree to which a secondary meter is offset from a governing meter. Furthermore, we can derive a general expression (ft) to describe that offset and, by evaluating the forward difference of ft, describe the change in offset over time (Δt).
Because meters are integer-based, there are, practically speaking, a limited number of ways of creating metric dissonance; there are concomitantly few varieties of sequences describing them. This paper establishes a taxonomy of metric dissonance categorized by Δt, and, by suggesting a direct relationship between downbeat offsets and tension in an attending listener, that Δt can describe a listener's experience of metrically dissonant music.
Capturing and Creating Disability in Some Pieces by György Kurtág
R. David Salvage, Hampden-Sydney College
The engagement of György Kurtág’s music with disability is rich and multifaceted. Some of his most famous works portray disabled persons receiving assistance; other works cause able performers to experience disability themselves. In Samuel Beckett: What is the Word, Op. 30, and “In memoriam Joannis Pilinszky” from Kafka-Fragmente, Op. 24, Kurtág presents disabled persons assisted by instrumental doppelgangers. In the former piece, a pianino serves as a “crutch” for the alto soloist; in the latter, a violin helps the soprano, who has difficulty speaking. Even when receiving clear assistance, the disabled person, Kurtág seems to be asserting, is worthy of aesthetic attention. Kurtág’s piano four-hand arrangement of the opening sonatina from Bach’s cantata “Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit” requires the primo part to play cross-handed until the final two measures, even though the same notes could more easily be played with the hands oriented normally. The resulting physical “handicap” must be part of the experience Kurtág intends. That the arrangement ends with the “correct” orientation suggests he has in mind a kind of “somatic dissonance” wherein the physical abnormality is resolved at the music’s end. The composer himself being a pianist who often speaks with difficulty, these works show just how personal the articulation of disability is for him.
Schubert and Beethoven: Recasting their relationship through analysis of repetition
Caitlin Martinkus, McGill University
The constructed myth of Beethoven, as discussed in great detail by Scott Burnham in Beethoven Hero, has had a lasting effect on music scholarship. As a result, attempts to establish a relationship between Beethoven and Schubert repeatedly confirm a hierarchical relationship between the two. In reconsidering the Beethoven-Schubert opposition, I will focus on their unique treatment of repetition in sonata forms. Repetition plays a multifaceted role in music. Sonata form is a pertinent example of repetition’s effect on the creation of music-theoretical formal archetypes. Once heuristic formal models are established, they in turn justify aesthetic judgments. Judgments of this ilk, formulated in privileged analytical systems with inherent biases, preserve the Beethoven-Schubert opposition. In accepting a pluralized conception of sonata form we can appreciate the unique qualities of Beethoven and Schubert’s individual styles. The composers' use of repetition, grounded in distinct aesthetics, can thus be used to re-evaluate their relationship
To contextualize the hierarchy, established in the nineteenth century, I will trace the influence of aesthetics on the development of sonata form. A subsequent analysis of repetition in sonatas by Beethoven and Schubert will introduce parallels in written language. For example, Schubert’s use of literal repetition creates stasis while Beethoven’s developmental techniques animate. The a-temporal music of Schubert reflects paratactic verse, the narrative structures of Beethoven hypotactic prose. This interdisciplinary approach, engaging literary theories to interpret analyses, will enable us to critically evaluate biases and thus position Schubert as an individual rather than the negative half of a binary.
Peripheral (re)vision: expressive structural articulation in Dvořák’s String Quartet in C Major, op. 61
Daniel Partridge, CUNY Graduate Center
Charles Rosen claims that once sonata form was defined by nineteenth-century theorists, it was fixed and unalterable, neither generating nor being altered by nineteenth-century musical styles. Antonín Dvořák seems to provide a strong counterexample. He was constantly experimenting with various strategies for formal construction in his sonatas. Despite this, his work is underrepresented (peripheral) in theoretical writings, especially compared to his older contemporary, Johannes Brahms. A detailed examination of the first movement of Dvořák’s String Quartet in C Major, op. 61 (1881) reveals one instance in which Dvořák pushed received sonata tradition beyond its Classical boundaries while remaining in dialog with nineteenth-century contemporaries such as Brahms. Written correspondence between Dvořák and Brahms suggests that the impetus to formal experimentation in this particular work may correlate with the beginning of their friendship.
Schenker’s concept of the obligatory register (obligate Lage) is a key element in understanding the descent of the initial branch of the interrupted Urlinie, which takes place entirely within the development of the op. 61 quartet. The following recapitulation is nonresolving; the Urlinie descends from scale-degree 5 to scale-degree 3 for the recapitulatory second group while the final descent from scale-degree 2 to scale-degree 1 occurs only in the coda. By elevating the importance of the development and coda in the String Quartet in C Major, formal areas that historically had been structurally peripheral, Dvořák twists sonata-form norms, expressively responding both to his Classical forebears and also to his nineteenth-century contemporaries, especially Brahms.
Theorizing Music, Theorizing Disability
Joseph N. Straus, Distinguished Professor, CUNY Graduate Center
||Vincent Benitez, The Pennsylvania State University, Chair
Passepieds and Pendants: Interpreting Characterization through Aria Pairs in the Late Baroque
Gregory Decker, Bowling Green State University
Because opera seria works in the late Baroque do not present continuous dramatic development, forming interpretations of characterization based on musical and dramatic interaction is often seen as a problematic task. I posit, however, that characters can be seen as dynamic if these works are investigated bearing in mind the aesthetic principals that influenced their composition. Like pendant portraits in Baroque visual art, which were meant to be viewed and understood as pairs, arias may be interpreted with respect to one another. In this paper, I illustrate the usefulness of regarding arias as pendants by examining those sung by the character Grimoaldo in G. F. Handel’s opera Rodelinda (1725). Just as pendants typically demonstrate opposing aspects of one theme or idea (Retford 2006, 20), I propose that Grimoaldo’s aria pairs polarize his perceptions of love and power, the two motivating forces for his dramatic transformation from presumed villain to victim of his conflicting desires. Structural and semiotic investigations comprise my musical analyses with a focus on musical topics and gestures. The interpretive methodologies of Robert Hatten (1994 and 2004) and Matthew Shaftel (2009) provide a consistent set of strategies with which to negotiate the disparate domains of musical structure and dramatic content. For instance, in Grimoaldo’s arias “Prigioniera” and “Tra sospetti,” musical gestures are indicative of his psychological state within the context of a common musical topos, the passepied, which becomes a metaphor for Grimoaldo’s emotional world. Seeing the two arias as pendants aids in developing specific interpretations and has broader ramifications for understanding Grimoaldo’s characterization throughout the work.
Liberation from Constraints: Bach’s Fugue in G minor from Book 2 of the “48”
Eric Wen, Mannes College of Music
J. S. Bach’s Fugue in G minor from Book 2 of The Well-Tempered Clavier is one of the most powerful in the entire “48.” It is also acknowledged to be perhaps the most remarkable display of invertible counterpoint ever written, exploiting the three principal configurations of double counterpoint at the octave, tenth, and twelfth. This paper will examine the various tonal functions of the double counterpoint within the large-scale structure of the work, especially the climactic moment in the fugue (bars 59ff) where all four voices appear combine simultaneously in the three principal permutations of invertible counterpoint. Cast in the positive key of E-flat major, this is also the most affirmative moment in the entire fugue. The emotional and structural significance of this passage serves not merely to highlight the triumphant mastery of counterpoint, but to proclaim a feeling of liberation. This paper will consider the expressive implications of this striking combination of invertible counterpoint, and its significance to the work's Affektenlehre.
||Rachel Bergman, George Mason University, Chair
Serial Anomalies and Extra-Systematic Criteria in the Music of Milton Babbitt
Zachary Bernstein, CUNY Graduate Center
Despite his reputation for rigid compositional procedures, almost all of Milton Babbitt’s music contains a number of violations of serial structure. In Words About Music (1987), Babbitt chides “young composers” who think these anomalies are mistakes. Since then, analysts have been less likely to assume that Babbiitt's serial anomalies are mistaken, but few, with the notable exception of Joseph Dubiel, have speculated as to the possible meaning or function of these anomalies. If we are to make sense of these anomalies – if we are to interpret them not simply as anomalous but as persuasive artistic choices – we will need to invoke criteria that are at best indirectly related to the twelve-tone system. Dubiel has proposed that Babbitt's anomalies can effect the creation of segmental associations and facilitate or heighten registral narratives. In this paper, I propose that in addition to Dubiel's criteria, these anomalies can also contribute to motivic connections of various kinds, affect the relationship between performers, and indicate closure. The presence and extraordinary effects of these criteria will provide insight into the purpose, nature, and limitations of the systematic aspects of Babbitt’s music. I conclude that Babbitt’s version of the twelve-tone system is best understood as a normative interpretive context in which anomalies can be understood as both anomalous and, by virtue of specified extra-systematic criteria, productive.
Rotational Structure in Bartók’s Piano Sonata, First Movement
Robert Keller, Louisiana State University
The formal complexities surrounding Bartók’s Piano Sonata (1926) first movement are reflected by the divergent readings offered by various scholars. Joeseph Straus and Paul Wilson both hear the movement as a sonata form comprised of a two-theme exposition with major tonal and thematic conflicts occurring throughout the recapitulation. Laszlo Somfai agrees that the movement is a sonata, but rejects the idea of a two-theme exposition in favor of a five-theme exposition where all themes are tightly related to two archetype motives. While each reading uniquely enhances our understanding of the movement’s formal structure, in the paper that follows, I apply rotational form to produce what I feel to be a more intuitive and accurate interpretation of the formal structure. Such an approach focuses on the dense relationships between thematic/motivic ideas that is at the core of this repertoire in place of the generic/rhetorical expectations that often accompany the familiar Formenlehre categories such as sonata. My goal is not to suggest whether this movement is, is not, or could be a sonata, but rather to demonstrate what we can garner from a perspective divorced from traditional sonata rhetoric.
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