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B rahms ' s M otivic H armonies and C ontemporary T onal T heory : T hree C ase S tudies from the C hamber M usic

B rahms ' s M otivic H armonies and C ontemporary T onal T heory : T hree C ase S tudies from the... ABSTRACT In his classic essay ‘Issues in Composition’, Carl Dahlhaus posits a dialectical relationship in Brahms between the function of harmony as a source for motivic ‘individualisation’ and as a basis for large‐scale formal organisation. This dialectic may be profitably engaged in light of the current debate between Schenkerian and neo‐Riemannian views of harmony, with Brahms's Sextet in G major, String Quartet in C minor and String Quintet in G major serving as analytical case studies. These case studies demonstrate the insights that both Schenkerian and neo‐Riemannian perspectives might afford while drawing attention to the need to engage the two approaches critically to achieve a deeper analytical understanding. The analyses also underscore the importance of formal context and temporal perspective in evaluating harmonic relationships. The presence of tonally centred prolongational structures in no way denies the potential for neo‐Riemannian perspectives to shed light on aspects of the development of Brahms's motivic harmonies. Parsimonious transformations in the motivic dimension likewise do not invalidate Schenkerian insights into each movement's rock‐solid articulation of its tonality. Brahms's range of compositional strategies requires a flexible analytical response, sufficiently consistent to be by implication theoretically coherent, yet subtly differentiated in the specific Schenkerian and neo‐Riemannian explorations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

B rahms ' s M otivic H armonies and C ontemporary T onal T heory : T hree C ase S tudies from the C hamber M usic

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.1468-2249.2010.00287.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ABSTRACT In his classic essay ‘Issues in Composition’, Carl Dahlhaus posits a dialectical relationship in Brahms between the function of harmony as a source for motivic ‘individualisation’ and as a basis for large‐scale formal organisation. This dialectic may be profitably engaged in light of the current debate between Schenkerian and neo‐Riemannian views of harmony, with Brahms's Sextet in G major, String Quartet in C minor and String Quintet in G major serving as analytical case studies. These case studies demonstrate the insights that both Schenkerian and neo‐Riemannian perspectives might afford while drawing attention to the need to engage the two approaches critically to achieve a deeper analytical understanding. The analyses also underscore the importance of formal context and temporal perspective in evaluating harmonic relationships. The presence of tonally centred prolongational structures in no way denies the potential for neo‐Riemannian perspectives to shed light on aspects of the development of Brahms's motivic harmonies. Parsimonious transformations in the motivic dimension likewise do not invalidate Schenkerian insights into each movement's rock‐solid articulation of its tonality. Brahms's range of compositional strategies requires a flexible analytical response, sufficiently consistent to be by implication theoretically coherent, yet subtly differentiated in the specific Schenkerian and neo‐Riemannian explorations.

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Mar 1, 2009

References