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B rahms and the P rinciple of D estabilised B eginnings

B rahms and the P rinciple of D estabilised B eginnings ABSTRACT Despite the considerable research on moment‐to‐moment motivic development in Brahms's instrumental music, surprisingly few studies emphasise global thematic processes which involve transformations of initially destabilised thematic material. After placing Brahms's destabilised beginnings in the context of earlier nineteenth‐century works, the article explores several pieces with destabilised beginnings in order to demonstrate Brahms's range of techniques for tonal and rhythmic‐metric destabilisation, strategies used to maintain destabilisation at preliminary thematic returns and the relationships between destabilised beginnings and their eventual stabilised form. Tonal destabilisation subsumes several related and somewhat overlapping techniques, and the article pursues six which have particular relevance in Brahms's music: (1) stylistically marked chromaticism, (2) unusual dissonance treatment, (3) denial of harmonic or melodic cadence, (4) minimally stable diatonic harmonisation, (5) disjuncture between harmonic function and sonority type and (6) ambiguous establishment of key. The briefer consideration of rhythmic‐metric destabilisation studies dissonance (1) at the level of metre and (2) at some level of hypermetre. The concluding section addresses stylistic and genre‐specific constraints on destabilised beginnings as well as the implications of destabilised beginnings for the analysis of musical form, especially the distinction between rondo and modified sonata designs. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

B rahms and the P rinciple of D estabilised B eginnings

Music Analysis , Volume 28 (1) – Mar 1, 2009

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2010 The Author. Journal compilation © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/j.1468-2249.2010.00286.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ABSTRACT Despite the considerable research on moment‐to‐moment motivic development in Brahms's instrumental music, surprisingly few studies emphasise global thematic processes which involve transformations of initially destabilised thematic material. After placing Brahms's destabilised beginnings in the context of earlier nineteenth‐century works, the article explores several pieces with destabilised beginnings in order to demonstrate Brahms's range of techniques for tonal and rhythmic‐metric destabilisation, strategies used to maintain destabilisation at preliminary thematic returns and the relationships between destabilised beginnings and their eventual stabilised form. Tonal destabilisation subsumes several related and somewhat overlapping techniques, and the article pursues six which have particular relevance in Brahms's music: (1) stylistically marked chromaticism, (2) unusual dissonance treatment, (3) denial of harmonic or melodic cadence, (4) minimally stable diatonic harmonisation, (5) disjuncture between harmonic function and sonority type and (6) ambiguous establishment of key. The briefer consideration of rhythmic‐metric destabilisation studies dissonance (1) at the level of metre and (2) at some level of hypermetre. The concluding section addresses stylistic and genre‐specific constraints on destabilised beginnings as well as the implications of destabilised beginnings for the analysis of musical form, especially the distinction between rondo and modified sonata designs.

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Mar 1, 2009

References