FRIDAY, April 8 (Go to Saturday)
SHORT PAPER SESSION 1
What Can Music Identification from Harmonic Reductions Tell Us about Chord Progressions?
Results from an empirical study on the ability of listeners to identify well-known classical pieces and pop/rock songs from harmonic reductions will be discussed. Two ways of modifying pitch information in the harmonic reductions were explored in this experiment: (1) The harmonic reductions were played with piano tones and shepard tones, the latter diminishing the effect of melodic cues. (2) The reductions were played on six transpositional levels. Both the timbre with which the harmonic reductions were played and the expertise of the participants were statistically significant factors for tune identification; professional musicians being best. We found that stimuli using shepard tones were more difficult to identify than those using piano tones and that the major part of the difference was explained by the downgrading of melodic cues. The differences between transpositions were not statistically significant. Despite the importance of melodic and rhythmic resemblance in our experimental task, one of the most revealing findings in our study is that tune identification from harmonic reductions in an open-set task is possible, even when melodic and rhythmic cues are largely missing. Although our study suggests that conscious episodic memories are not easily activated from harmonic cues, our results are robust enough to suggest that harmonic information may semi-activate episodic memories at the unconscious level, opening the possibility that connections between chord progressions and specific pieces of music can have widely-spread effect in the way listeners make sense of harmony and music in general.
“Canto Gregoriano”: Paul Creston’s Adaptation of Plainchant as Topic
This study explores the hermeneutic efficacy of topic theory in the context of 20th-century American music by theorizing Paul Creston’s adaptation of contemporary plainchant practice as a recurring topic in his compositions. The paper considers the definitions of “topic” offered by Leonard Ratner, Robert Hatten, Kofi Agawu, Raymond Monelle, Michael Klein, and Danuta Mirka. In doing so, it frames Creston’s indexing of chant first as a generative style—furnishing the textural and thematic content of small-structured works—and second as a topic that injects this style into distinct formal spaces of Creston’s larger compositions. Creston’s chant topic generalizes what Hatten calls a new “type,” opening hermeneutic windows and topical fields that construct interpretive frameworks for narrative.
As a Catholic organist in New York, Creston was familiar with the plainchant practice revived by the Benedictines of Solesmes. Accordingly, this paper traces sympathetic criticism through Creston’s two books about rhythm and a treatise on chant phraseology by the Benedictine André Mocquereau. Among the numerous musical examples it discusses, this study cites one of Leopold Stokowski’s rare, annotated scores, which labels an instance of Creston’s chant topic, “Canto Gregoriano.” In a culminating analysis of “Introduction and Song,” Symphony No. 2, the primary theme exhibits the subversion of meter, vacillation of pulse subdivisions, and orchestrational texture prototypical of the chant topic. Interpreting these features as expressing a persona—who traverses a sequence of events that signify stasis, loss, and reconciliation—proffers an apology for the fecundity of topic theory in relation to 20th-century music.
“For Signs and for Seasons and for Days and Years”: Hierarchies of Musical and Textual Rhythm in Steve Reich’s Tehillim
Steve Reich’s Tehillim does not lend itself to conventional methods of rhythmic analysis—his music drives forward even in the absence of periodicity, daring analysts to describe his rhythmic procedures. Exploring the psalm text of Tehillim’s first movement (Psalm 18, traditionally linked with Genesis’ account of the creation of sun, moon, and stars) reveals versification processes operating on several different levels: alliteration (local), phrase parallelisms (middleground), and narrative progression from verse to verse (large-scale form). Reich has stated that the rhythms all derive from the Hebrew text, but he mentions this only as a source of asymmetrical meters. However, this locally destabilized rhythmic activity is mirrored on a larger scale in the shapes of musical phrases (middleground activity) and an overall structural level (the movement’s ABA' form). The hierarchical structures of the text and the music interact more closely, on more levels, than Reich admits.
In this paper, I uncover parallel hierarchies of text and music through a close analysis of the text, down to the level of individual Hebrew letters. I explore how phonemes and lexemes generate melodic shapes in the music. On a larger scale, I demonstrate how Reich’s use of canons and harmonic stasis manipulates listeners’ perception of time by asserting patterns and dissolving them within the overall ABA' form. I show how Reich’s music responds to the biblical verses that describe cycles of time, and the celestial objects that mark them. I add to Reich scholarship by privileging textual analysis as highly as musical analysis.
Schenker’s Elucidations on Unfolding Compound Voices from Der Tonwille 6 (1923) to Der freie Satz (1935)
Some of Schenker’s most enlightening descriptions of compound voices do not involve words we might translate as “compound voice;” some involve “Ausfaltung” (unfolding). From Der Tonwille 6 on, nearly 50 descriptions and sketches of compound voices involve an “unfolding” word that indicates a four-pitch symbol, and in five instances, a two-pitch symbol within a larger four-pitch symbol. The two-pitch symbol, known for its diagonal beam, is called the “unfolding,” Ausfaltung, and saw-tooth symbol. Much to their credit, Cadwallader and Gagné are the first textbook authors to acknowledge the four-pitch symbol as an “unfolding;” however, they do so only in light of Der freie Satz, they avoid linking “unfolding” with any German word, and they use the symbol in only one unidentified, musical graph. The lingering pedagogical issues of disconnected history, incomplete discussion, and insufficient use are addressed through the elucidation of these compound voice descriptions and sketches from Der Tonwille 6 to Der freie Satz, including another pivotal one from the Oster Collection. Several descriptions of four-pitch unfoldings in musical graphs refer to one of two theoretical graphs. Consistencies between interrelated musical and theoretical graphs show us how the four-pitch unfolding conveys compound voices and how to employ the unfolding in graphs. Additionally, how two- and four-pitch unfoldings relate to each other is gleaned through the study of the instances where they are paired and function collaboratively.
Trans-cultural-stylstic solutions of Toshi Ichiyanagi’s Transfiguration of the Moon (1988), for shô and violin
Japanese composer Toshi Ichiyanagi (1933-) is intriguing for his connection to and involvement with a number of important 20th compositional-artistic movements and practices including American neo-classicism, chance/aleatoric music, Neo-dadaism (Fluxus), pulse minimalism, and 12-tone serialism. He has composed for traditional Japanese gagaku ensembles and instruments as well and has played a prominent role in cross-cultural infusion between Japanese and Western art musics.
Ichiyanagi’s composition Transfiguration of the Moon (1988) provides a fascination example of sophisticated logistics-savvy fusion between ancient Eastern and modern Western musical traditions. It is scored for violin and shô, which is vertical bamboo mouth organ (like harmonica) that plays dissonant cluster chord accompaniment in traditional Japanese court music (gagaku). Analysis of Transfiguration reveals a wealth of phenomena one encounters in Second Viennese School repertoire, including 12-pc aggregate completion, pc set abstract complementation, and contextual transposition operators. The pitch-class material is also chosen and configured to reference the cycle-of-5th (pentatonic) basis of not only Western string instruments but also the pillar tones of the six pitch modes (rokuchoshi) of gagaku.
Most intriguing of all, however, is Ichiyanagi’s handling of texture. The violin and shô often move in similar but non-identical rhythms and closely in pitch, which references the heterophony of gagaku. Furthermore, within this texture Ichiyanagi creates composite lines by employing close but unequal tuplets (7:6, 6:5, 5:4) in each instrument, which also creates an oscillating timbre. Yet the average interval size in the composite line (vs. within each line) fluctuates, thus conjuring a hauntingly subtle transfiguration.
LONG PAPER SESSION 1
Between Sign and Convention: On the Phenomenology of Modernist Musical Topics
Given Mirka’s (2014) definition of topics as “musical styles and genres taken out of their proper context and used in another one” and Monelle’s (2000) requirement that the indexicality of the musical sign’s content must be conventionalized, studies of twentieth-century topics have focused on the use of older topics, those borrowed from popular genres, or music associated with ethnic others rather than topics arising out of modernist aesthetics. There are two reasons for this: 1) the lack of a common language suggests this repertoire cannot have conventional signs; 2) the absence of a common syntax makes it difficult to see how any set of structural features can give rise to a stable signifier that is correlated with an expressive content (signified).
In this paper I reexamine the roles of conventionalization and correlation in semiotic approaches to topic theory by taking a phenomenological approach to modernist musical topics organized around a case study of a newly proposed topic, Estrangement, which I develop as an intertextual code (Klein 2005). Two consequences are drawn from this case study. First, I reorder the priority of icon and index found in Mirka 2014, and suggest the indexicality of the content is experienced before the iconic resemblance and helps motivate the particular intertextual network brought to bear in ongoing experience. Second, I suggest the use of intertextual codes eliminates the distinction between individual cognition and social meaning and can serve as a useful aid to interpreting musical structure in the more elusive works of modernism.
The Twentieth-Century Origins of the Feature Motive
This paper investigates the recent evolution of motive, a concept that entered the twentieth century as a salient, surface entity and exited it an abstract one. One of the clearest indicators of this transformation occurred in the very nature of motive. Traditionally required to exhibit characteristic rhythm or syntactic function, motives increasingly appeared as entities defined purely in terms of intervallic content. The new form was, in truth, more akin to what Schoenberg would have called “feature”, a sub-attribute of motive.
The prevailing historical view attributes this paradigm shift to misreadings of Arnold Schoenberg’s published analyses. This paper advances an alternative explanation interpreted in light of a single watershed event, the publication of Forte 1983. Forte’s article is remarkable in several respects, but mostly for its bold presentation of four “guidelines” that essentially accord motive the properties of a pitch or pitch-class set. Broad consideration of the forces leading to this surprising circumstance will be given, among them mid-century developments in set theory as well as Schenkerian analytic practices. In addition to these, the talk will offer evidence of a third influence, hitherto unrecognized: a nascent interest in development of new highly flexible, associational techniques that would eventually culminate in Lewin’s transformational networks.
Dallapiccola and Musical Time: Nonlinear Narrative and Mixed Temporalities in Canti di Liberazione
This paper offers a temporal reading of Luigi Dallapiccola’s Canti di Liberazione (1955) through analysis of the third movement. The final piece of Dallapiccola’s “protest triptych” responding to fascism, Liberazione shows Dallapiccola’s abiding interest in the work of James Joyce, through its literary-inspired “simultaneity” and compositional strategies that suggest mixed temporalities, or diverse temporal modes.
Incorporating the work of philosophers such as Bergson and Adorno, I situate nonlinearity within the context of twentieth-century art and life. Following Kern, I discuss the juxtaposition of distinct temporalities (simultaneity) in work such as Joyce’s Ulysses, which Dallapiccola adored. After discussing simultaneity in twentieth-century music, I draw from Kramer and Reiner in examining the manifestations of linearity and nonlinearity in music. I explain how intertextuality has nonlinear implications and invites hermeneutic interpretation through transvaluation. I also chart various types of symbolism and quotation in Liberazione. Additionally, I show how Dallapiccola’s intertextuality and compositional devices (such as retrograde, cross-partitioning, motivic recurrence, and rhythmic figuration) parallel Joyce’s techniques in Ulysses.
Finally, I analyze the third movement of Liberazione along the lines of its linear and nonlinear characteristics, noting how linearity and nonlinearity operate at different structural levels. I explain that the movement’s underlying temporal structure resembles Kramer’s model of multiply-directed linear time, and show how structural pitch connections and goal-directed teleology intersect with the narrative trajectory of the work.
SATURDAY, April 9
LONG PAPER SESSION 2
Harmonic Function in Rock: A Scale-Degree Approach
Theorists have tended to view harmonic function in rock as so radically different from that of the common practice that it necessitates a theory founded on completely different terms, as in Quinn and White 2015, Nobile 2014, and Doll 2007. This paper counters that this difference has been overstated and that a scale-degree approach to function adapted from Harrison 1994 illustrates how the traditional functions of Tonic, Subdominant, and Dominant may be understood to operate even in rock progressions that are atypical of the common practice. Since many of these progressions involve the submediant and mediant chords, this paper will focus on them, identifying four means by which they express function: agent discharge, the rule of fifths, activation, and association.
This scale-degree approach demonstrates that, no matter how different rock’s syntax may seem from that of the common practice, understanding harmonic function in rock necessitates only a recalibration of an established set of tools rather than an altogether novel one.
Invariant Properties of Harmonic Substitutions in Jazz
At last year’s meeting of the SMT’s Jazz Theory and Analysis interest group, professor Daniel Harrison spoke as respondent to a presentation of the Berklee system of jazz harmony, calling for a “legitimate theory of harmonic substitution in jazz.” This presentation answers Harrison’s call by revealing a systematic way of thinking about substitutions that considers functional equivalency among viable substitute chords in terms of invariance. In doing so, it sheds new light on literature about substitution and jazz harmony while offering new ways of approaching substitution in jazz improvisation and composition.
After defining substitution as a special kind of reharmonization in which there is a one-for-one switching of chords based on general functional equivalence, this presentation considers substitution in terms of pitch-class invariance, interval-class invariance, and voice-leading invariance. After introducing these invariance types, the presentation discusses how all three work together in contributing to the viability of harmonic substitutions.
"Can You Hear Me Now?": Audio Branding and the Sonic Logo
In her semiotic theory of brands, Celia Lury posits that a brand is an interface (connecting product and consumer, company and employee, etc.) and a logo is the “face” of that brand, concentrating its various parts and values into a visible, tangible sign. While branding through visual logos is ubiquitous in advertising, it is also commonplace for logos to incorporate an audible component in the form of the sonic logo. In this paper, I consider a few of these sonic logos as they appear in commercial advertisements and how they use musical properties to forge relationships with visual logos, and, ultimately, their brand. First, sonic logos often complement their visual logos. They may do so simply through synchronization, for example the Taco Bell gong that accompanies its visual logo of a ringing bell, or more intricately through cross-domain mapping as is the case with T-Mobile’s musical retrograde of its visual logo. Furthermore, sonic logos must be both distinctive, so as to be recognizable by consumers, but also flexible, so that advertisers may rework them for various advertising campaigns and brand image makeovers. Therefore, sonic logos can function like leitmotivs—assigning a particular melodic fragment to invoke a company’s brand, and yet amendable to various stylistic and audio contexts. In doing so, companies can disseminate their recognizable brand by affiliating it with various musical styles, genres, and even the brands of iconic musicians (e.g. McDonalds and Justin Timberlake) where it may accrue added cultural value.
SHORT PAPER SESSION 2
On the Implied Narrative in Schumann's Op. 35 Liederreihe
Schumann’s Op. 35 Liederreihe has a narrative typical of the nineteenth-century Wanderlied cycle: unrequited in love, a young man forsakes his hometown and becomes a wayfarer seeking consolation in nature. But while almost all of the twelve songs reference the beloved or nature explicitly, song no. 6 “Auf das Trinkglas” remains an outlier. Consequently, scholars have been unable to accommodate it convincingly into an agreed upon global narrative (Turchin, 1987; Kreuels, 2003; Finson, 2007). This paper seeks to draw song no. 6 directly into contact with the larger story. By positing a third dramatis persona, I investigate the possibility of an implied love triangle between the protagonist, his best friend, and the beloved.
I concentrate my discussion around three songs in which the love triangle is foregrounded. I argue that Schumann’s ABAʹ setting of song no. 1 (“Lust der Sturmnacht”) casts the embrace between the protagonist and the beloved as an illusion that is subsequently dispelled. In song no. 2 (“Stirb Lieb’ und Freud’”), I contend that the beloved’s decision to join a convent--the catalyst for the protagonist’s departure--is motivated by the death of the best friend. In song no. 6, the protagonist celebrates his deceased friend while simultaneously blaming him for present misfortunes: this point of maximum self-division in the protagonist is uniquely captured in Schumann’s daring use of “uncanny” harmonies. Finally, my interpretation is the first to account for the seemingly incongruous allusion to the love duet “So wahr’ die Sonne scheinet” in the postlude.
Canons in Hypermetrical Transitions in Mozart
In his 2008 article, David Temperley introduced the concept of hypermetrical transitions (HTs)—gradual shifts from odd-strong to even-strong hypermeter (or vice versa), shifts characterized by conflicting metrical cues. The present paper seeks to explore a specific kind of examples that Temperley does not consider—HTs in canons, where two conflicting hypermetrical strands are represented by distinct textural parts. In my examples, all of them from Mozart’s chamber music, one of the canonic voices functions as subordinate at first, providing an imitative shadow hypermeter, but ultimately “wins”—becomes the new leading metrical strand.
My central claim is that individual parts of a two-voice canon not only produce a metrical conflict, but also allow for different—and conflicting—interpretations of harmony at the middleground level. Relying on William Rothstein’s (1995) “rule of harmonic rhythm,” where each hyperdownbeat is coordinated with a change of harmony, I map each hypermetrical pattern onto its own distinct prolongational reading of the passage. The smoothness of the HT is then measured by the degree to which the two prolongational interpretations are equally well-formed: if each graph is “good” and internally logical, the transition is smooth. I therefore present HTs as a kind of “prolongational transition.” I finish by addressing both imitative texture and hypermetrical transitions as a method of formal loosening and destabilization in William Caplin’s sense.
Topic Theory and Popular Music: Nostalgia and Sentimentality
This paper investigates popular music’s ability to signify nostalgia and sentimentality through topics. Recent psychological research (Barrett, “Music-Evoked Nostalgia”) links nostalgia with mixed emotions, memories, and an overall positive connotation. Kaja Silverman (The Acoustic Mirror) argues that nostalgia is a desire to return to the “sonorous envelope” of the mother’s voice, signifying unity and plenitude. Philip Tagg suggests (“Kojack”) that popular music signifies affect through the use of familiar structures, “musemes,” that convey meaning in a variety of culturally coded mechanisms. Reminiscent of topic theory (Agawu, Monelle, Hatten), musemes allow for a detailed semiotic approach to meaning in popular music. One such topic that I identify––the “Nostalgia” cadence––associates Barrett and Silverman’s conceptions of nostalgia to modally-mixed plagal cadences; its use of major and minor triads in succession suggests mixed emotion, while the arrival on the major tonic indicates unity, and an overall positive arch.
I analyze three songs from different time periods to illustrate how the affect of the “Nostalgia” cadence remains consistent, while simultaneously reflecting contemporaneous cultural contexts. I present a prototypical example in the Beatles’ “In My Life” (Rubber Soul, 1965), in which the cadence coincides with lyrical references to memory; then, Phish’s 1996 “Waste” (Billy Breathes) uses the museme to suggest the presence of memories as comfort for anxiety; finally, “I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie (Plans, 2006) clarifies tonal duality in a contemporary expression. The paper also examines how other gestures––stylistic quotation, tonicization, etc.––strengthen nostalgic narratives.
Humorous Incongruities in Haydn’s Symphony No. 60 “Il distratto”- Excess and Opposition
Haydn’s instrumental works contain many humorous passages and events. I define and discuss two strategies Haydn used to create musical humor in Symphony No. 60 “Il distratto”: excess and opposition. This symphony is a telling microcosm of Haydn’s compositional play as it absent-mindedly stagnates on the subdominant, flippantly leaps between radically different topics, and even stops to tune mid-phrase! I focus on how Haydn’s bizarre deployment of syntactic and semantic forces (formal functions and topics) defies Classical stylistic conventions.
Excess projects a sense of redundancy and vacuousness through the successive repetition of musical material that appears to have “gone on for too long” (Huron 2004) and is perpetrated most prominently by small-scale repetition and harmonic stasis. Oppositions, conversely, create the impression of a sudden pull in an unexpected direction due to contrast between successive musical ideas. Oppositions usually foreground a local semantic clash between topics with opposed emotional valence and/or social status associations, engaging local-level intraopus expectations.
Interplay between topics and formal functions is crucial for creating humor. I apply theories of form (Caplin 1998; Hepokoski and Darcy 2006) and topics (Agawu 1991; Monelle 2006; Mirka 2014) to forge a productive synthesis between these two areas of music-theoretic inquiry. Throughout my discussion, I address trends in linguistic theories of verbal humor, analogically applying selected methodologies to illustrate how Haydn’s unconventional compositional choices create “script oppositions” (Attardo 1994) that elicit humor in a manner similar to verbal joke telling.
The “Sweet Thing” Scheme in American Vernacular Music
American vernacular musicians frequently rely on shared musical resources for the creation of songs. Among the most productive of these are ground basses like the twelve-bar blues scheme and the passamezzo moderno. Another such resource is the “Sweet Thing” scheme, which has generated a large group of songs related through a peculiar stanzaic form. But unlike the twelve-bar blues and the passamezzo moderno—which are clearly characterized by their rhythmic structure and harmonic progression—the profusion of variation in text, rhythm, harmony, and melody in realizations of the “Sweet Thing” scheme has made it difficult for scholars to define its musical parameters. This paper demonstrates that the scheme’s defining attributes are its poetic forms and rhythmic profiles, and shows how harmonizations and melodic designs, while highly variable, are nonetheless closely intertwined with the text and rhythm.
The scheme is centuries old, and this study gives a brief historical summary of its origins in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Britain and its journey to North America in the eighteenth-century. But the main focus is on realizations of the scheme on early blues, country, and gospel records, the genres through which it entered later post-war popular genres.
This study presents many audio recordings that conform to the scheme’s defining characteristics yet also illustrate its flexibility. The paper makes a valuable contribution to popular-music studies by helping to define the musical parameters of one of the oldest and most productive schemes in American vernacular repertoire.
LONG PAPER SESSION 3
FRAMING THE ARGUMENT: THE ARCHITECTURE OF BRITTEN’S SERENADE FOR TENOR, HORN, AND STRINGS
Throughout his career Britten employed techniques of musical framing to achieve structural, theatrical, and allegorical ends. The processional-recessional of A Ceremony of Carols offers a well-known and straightforward example. The Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, though, uses a procedure that he had explored as early as the Phantasy Quartet and Our Hunting Fathers, and fulfilled in the highly stylized Church Parables—that of nested framing. The Serenade evinces a triple frame: the solo horn’s identical Prologue and Epilogue bookend the song cycle, six settings whose characters and designs draw together the first and sixth, second and fifth, and third and fourth. As in the earlier Fathers and later Church Parables, its scaffolded architecture carries the listener into the work’s medial drama, played out in the Elegy and Dirge—a central vocal pairing set within a frame inside a frame inside a frame.
This presentation first examines how Britten uses poetic and musical formal structures and tonal-referential links to fashion the cycle’s outer and inner vocal frames. It then turns to the privileged P5th and semitone in the Prologue/Epilogue and considers how these intervals are dramatized in the Elegy and Dirge. Finally, it engages the considerable hermeneutic commentary on the work, interpreting the central drama of this first composition conceived and completed following his return in the spring of 1942 to England from America as Britten’s allegorical pronouncement on moral conduct as a response to indictments of his pacifism, homosexuality, and religious attitudes.
Timbre, Harmony, Orchestration, and Analysis, and Rautavaara's Symphony no. 8 "The Journey"
It is principally through the perceptual attribute of timbre that a listener identifies and engages with the sound source. In a musical context, timbral hearing is a subjective, participatory mode of listening that connects the listeners to the actions of the performers. However, staff notation is designed to convey primarily pitch and rhythmic information to the performers; timbre is reflected only indirectly as a byproduct of the performer's actions: the performance of the specified notes with the specified instruments using the implied (or sometimes specified) performance techniques. Similarly, it is primarily through techniques of orchestration that composers use timbre as a compositional parameter; however, timbre is a subjective phenomenon, and the distinction between notes that contribute to the harmonic structure and notes whose purpose is essentially a timbral feature without harmonic significance, is not always clear. In this paper, I discuss passages from Einojuhani Rautavaara's Symphony no. 8 from a perspective of auditory scene analysis, in particular, examining passages where multiple notated pitches of different pitch classes perceptually fuse into a single auditory stream musically expressing a single pitch. An ocularcentric analysis of the music's notation that overlooks its aural perception misses the essence of these passages, and of the music. I argue that the line between the perception of timbre and the perception of harmony is contextual, subjective, and fluid; and I demonstrate how Rautavaara plays upon the fragility of these perceptions in his symphony.
LONG PAPER SESSION 4
The Four-Key Exposition? Schubert's Sonata Forms, the Fantasia, and Questions of Formal Coherence
Among the scholarship on Schubert's approach to sonata form are brief references to movements that appear to contain a four-key exposition: Symphony in Bb major, D125, i (1814), Piano Sonata in B major, D575, i (1817), and Piano Quintet in A major, D667, ii (“Trout”) (1819). That the very notion of a four-key exposition has not been pursued beyond the modest attention afforded to footnotes and short paragraphs perhaps conveys the extent to which the idea is understood to be peripheral to Schubert's sonata forms, if not questionable under the rubric of certain Formenlehre theories.
This paper revisits one of these formal outliers⎯D575, i⎯as a means to consider what can be gained by bringing the fantasia, another contextual frame of listening, into dialogue with that of sonata form. I suggest that both the sonata and fantasia are imperative to considering how the exposition straddles the divide between freedom and restraint. The tension between them points towards the ways in which the fantasia functions as a loosening device, lending a sense of unpredictability with respect to the exposition’s tonal trajectory and thematic unfolding. Here I propose that the fantasia (1) invites development in the form of thematic variations, stretching the tight-knit design characteristic of sonata-form expositions in relation to their development sections; (2) enables the exposition’s key relations to obtain double meanings, decentering the notion of a global tonic. My paper concludes by considering how these ideas can enrich our understanding and hearing of select three-key expositions.
The Volta: A Galant Gesture of Culmination
In this paper, I explore a pre-cadential schema in the Galant Style that I call “the Volta.” The prototypical Volta features four events grouped as two pairs of dyads: the first stage charges up the dominant while the second stage releases into the tonic that initiates the cadential progression. Melodic activity reaches up through #4 to 5 in stage one, then releases through natural 4 to 3 in stage two. After introducing the Voltaand highlighting some common variants, I explore the Volta’s role as a signifier of impending closure. I argue that the Voltaserved a teleological impulse fundamental to the Galant Style, pulling listeners out of the ongoing flow of the musical phrase to signal the approaching cadential progression.
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