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Formal Functions and Retrospective Reinterpretation in the First Movement of Schubert's String Quintet

Formal Functions and Retrospective Reinterpretation in the First Movement of Schubert's String... The first movement of Schubert's String Quintet, D. 956, is among the early nineteenth‐century repertoire's clearest examples of what Janet Schmalfeldt has called ‘form as the process of becoming’. In this article we show how the governing formal principle of the movement's exposition is the conflation of distinct and typically consecutive formal functions. The result is an extraordinary chain of form‐functional overlaps, requiring the analyst to engage in a process of constant retrospective reinterpretation that ends only with the unambiguous closing group. Our aim is not only to revisit some familiar analytical questions about Schubert's Quintet from a form‐functional perspective, but also to provide a test case showing the applicability of form‐functional thinking to early nineteenth‐century music. We begin by presenting a form‐functional overview and cadential plan of the exposition and then home in on three passages that pose particular analytical challenges: the introduction/main‐theme/transition complex (bars 1–59), the transition/subordinate‐theme complex (bars 60–100) and the closing‐group/subordinate theme complex (bars 100–138). The article concludes by proposing certain ways in which Schmalfeldt's idea of retrospective reinterpretation may be further refined. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

Formal Functions and Retrospective Reinterpretation in the First Movement of Schubert's String Quintet

Music Analysis , Volume 33 (2) – Jan 1, 2014

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Music Analysis © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/musa.12025
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The first movement of Schubert's String Quintet, D. 956, is among the early nineteenth‐century repertoire's clearest examples of what Janet Schmalfeldt has called ‘form as the process of becoming’. In this article we show how the governing formal principle of the movement's exposition is the conflation of distinct and typically consecutive formal functions. The result is an extraordinary chain of form‐functional overlaps, requiring the analyst to engage in a process of constant retrospective reinterpretation that ends only with the unambiguous closing group. Our aim is not only to revisit some familiar analytical questions about Schubert's Quintet from a form‐functional perspective, but also to provide a test case showing the applicability of form‐functional thinking to early nineteenth‐century music. We begin by presenting a form‐functional overview and cadential plan of the exposition and then home in on three passages that pose particular analytical challenges: the introduction/main‐theme/transition complex (bars 1–59), the transition/subordinate‐theme complex (bars 60–100) and the closing‐group/subordinate theme complex (bars 100–138). The article concludes by proposing certain ways in which Schmalfeldt's idea of retrospective reinterpretation may be further refined.

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2014

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