Fifteenth Annual Meeting
Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

Friday and Saturday, March 24 –25, 2017

Download as .pdf file.

ABSTRACTS

FRIDAY, March 24 (Go to Saturday)

12:15–1:30 Short Paper Session 1

Chord-Scale Slippage: Towards a Contextual Definition of Dissonance in Jazz

Joon Park, University of Arkansas

Abstract: In Jazz improvisation, what kind of dissonance does the “outside” playing generate? In this talk, I investigate cases where an otherwise consonant note in a conventional classical context might be considered unstable in a jazz context. Building on the earlier discussion of dissonance in jazz, such as James McGowan’s work on a new jazz-specific definition of dissonance and Henry Martin’s notion of “modal” intervals, this talk presents a model in which a concept of dissonance grows out of dynamic interactions between two layers of chord-scale hierarchy. As an example, I present an analysis of Barry Harris’s masterclass on improvising over the Giant-Steps changes. Harris instructs the students to improvise based on the D-dominant-seventh chord over the opening B-major harmony. As a result, the E-flat/D-sharp occurring at this moment of misalignment poses a problem because it is a chord-tone of the underlying harmony (B major) but a part of a different chord-scale collection (D dominant). I argue that in a jazz context, considering a chord-scale as a delimiting entity, rather than the boundaries set by a chord (i.e., chord tone versus non-chord tone), provides a method to analyze phenomenal dissonances in a jazz performance practice

 

The Arrival 6/4 in Wagner’s Die Walküre
Ji Yeon Lee, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Abstract: The “arrival 6/4” – a term coined by Robert Hatten – is a cadential 6/4 that resolves tonal or thematic instabilities without necessarily proceeding to V(7)-I. Despite its structural subordination and incomplete motion in the cadential process, the arrival 6/4 sounds rhetorically stable and complete at the moment of resolution; due to its instant aural-psychological effect, it is frequently associated with a sense of elevation, salvation, and transcendence.

Generally, the arrival 6/4 has been discussed in reference to instrumental music. I expand on its application as a useful analytical device in the study of Wagner; specifically, I will show how the arrival 6/4 chord emphasizes harmonic and rhetorical expression as the leitmotivs play out in Wagner’s Die Walküre, thereby becoming an aurally “marked” moment of climax in the midst of Wagnerian “musical prose.” Furthermore, I will explore the synergistic climax effect that the arrival 6/4 chord achieves, when the chord brings not only thematic and harmonic clarity at a local level but also brings forth the structural dominant.

Given the chromatic quality of Wagner’s music, passages even implying V(7)-I hold enormous power for signaling harmonic and aural arrival. This paper demonstrates that, despite the arrival 6/4’s syntactic subordination, it can bring harmonic, rhetorical, and even structural focus to the leitmotivic proceedings. As such, Wagner’s cadential treatment should be approached not only in terms of the PACs’ rareness in general, but also as a shrewd spotlighting technique producing a musical epiphany.

 

Sententially-Organized Subordinate Themes in Schubert’s Sonata Forms
Caitlin Martinkus, University of Toronto

Abstract: Scholars of form-functional theory have long been interested in the organization of subordinate theme groups in classical and romantic sonata forms (Caplin 1987, 1991, 1998; Schmalfeldt 1992, 2011; Vande Moortele 2016). In this paper, I examine expansion of the subordinate theme in sonata forms of Franz Schubert, for close readings of the specific techniques employed in processes of expansion in the composer’s oeuvre are rare. I analyze four subordinate themes from Schubert’s first-movement sonata forms that exemplify processes of structural expansion: the D Major String Quartet (D. 810), the C Major Symphony (D. 944), the C Major String Quintet (D. 956), and the C Minor Piano Sonata (D. 958). In Schubert’s late sonata forms, many subordinate themes employ a large-scale, overarching sentential design as a means of organizing repetitions of thematic material; within this framework, thematic repetition can be understood as a process of structural expansion.

Given the prototype of a sentence, as an eight-bar theme type (Caplin, 1998), I abstract an underlying template of phrase construction: tight-knit + tight-knit + loose. This model describes relationships between phrases at a higher level remarkably well in structurally expanded subordinate themes. In large-scale sentential designs, thematic repetitions that may appear superfluous—a common critique of Schubert’s instrumental music—can be understood as part of a process of expansion.

 

Asymmetrical Dissonances in Ligeti’s Hungarian Rock (Chaconne)
Jay Smith, University of North Texas


Abstract: György Ligeti composed Hungarian Rock (Chaconne) for harpsichord in 1978 as a flippant response to his students’ growing interest in American and British pop music. Regardless of his intentions, Ligeti masterfully organized rhythmic and metric dissonances in Hungarian Rock, which are manifest in contrasts between larger metrical patterns and smaller groups of 2s and 3s. Previous authors have explored musical passages in which rhythmic groups of 2 and 3 participate in grouping dissonances. Harald Krebs, Richard Cohn, Maury Yeston, and others propose effective methodologies for approaching persistently recurring grouping dissonances (i.e., those that occur over multiple tacti, measures, or formal segments). Zachary Cairns discusses grouping dissonances in the context of asymmetrical meters of a shared cardinality (i.e., 5/4 grouped as 2+3 vs. 3+2). John Roeder ventures beyond grouping dissonances, exploring non-hierarchical pulse streams in the context of asymmetry and differing metrical cardinalities. These methodologies overlook significant rhythmic states of consonance and dissonance that arise from the coincidence and non-coincidence of beat attack points in music with meters and groupings of varying cardinalities. This paper presents a methodology that shows these states of consonance and dissonance in the context of asymmetry and differing metric cardinalities in Hungarian Rock. I illustrate these features by using what I call Composite Beat Attack Point (CBAP) visuals, which show both concurrent and conflicting attack points in a single musical line and reveal states of consonance and dissonance that emerge and are used motivically in varying surface contexts.

 

Harmonic Polysemy in Nineteenth-Century Chromatic Tonality
Kyle Hutchinson, University of Toronto

Abstract: While traditionally-valued markers for identifying harmonies–root and quality–are valuable in approaching what McCreless (1982) terms “classical tonality,” fixating exclusively on these two dimensions impedes the analysis of late nineteenth-century chromatic tonality. Root and quality are often prioritized at the expense of other markers, such as context and contrapuntal considerations, which play pivotal roles in determining harmonic function in chromatic tonality. This paper argues that an as-yet unrecognized harmonic polysemy pervades chromatic tonality, resulting from one or more harmonic markers contradicting the projections of the others under the precedents of classical tonality.

The linguistic term polysemy describes words with multiple possible meanings. In the sentence “I put my money in the bank,” the word bank most likely signals a financial institution, but could ostensibly, however improbably, refer to a river bank. I adopt the term harmonic polysemy to describe the property whereby chords have the potential to function in multiple ways within the same context, defined here as a key (V7/bII and the Gr6 exhibit polysemy, for example). I contend that understanding chromatic tonality as an extension of classical precedents necessitates acknowledging the polysemic potential of conventional chords.

My examples, drawn from late nineteenth and early twentieth-century repertoire, elucidate instances of chords framed in classical conventions yet shown to exhibit polysemic potential. Having shown polysemy as a property of chromatic tonality, I conclude that in this idiom harmonic function is no longer an inherent property of isolated vertical structures, but relies extensively on a symbiosis of multiple harmonic dimensions.

 

1:45–3:15 Long Paper Session 1

Chromatic Evolution: V-of-iii as a Dominant Substitute in Felix Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words
Faez Abdalla, University of Arizona

Abstract: In biological evolution, a living population evolves when it is exposed to the selection
pressures of a new biological medium. Analogously, in my chromatic evolution a chord
“evolves” when it is exposed to a new chromatic medium, forcing it to adapt and harmonically
modify its pitch content. This is a process by which a diatonic chord is progressively transformed
into a chromatic substitute, over a span of several similar works, without losing or modifying the
chord’s resolution tendencies, harmonic function, or formal location.

Felix Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words are ideal candidates for an “evolutionary”
analysis. Since the vast majority of these pieces share the same ternary form, it is possible to
consider a specific harmonic choice that consistently occurs in a precise location within the form:
the pre-recapitulatory harmony (i.e., the chord that precedes and prepares the return of the main
theme in the recapitulation). A close assessment of this repertoire reveals that all of the early
pieces (1829 to 1832) possess a root-position pre-recapitulatory dominant. However, in the late
pieces (1845), this option is replaced by a highly chromatic alternative: the dominant of the
mediant.

From a Schenkerian perspective, I will demonstrate how this intriguing harmonic
tendency can be explained as a process of chromatic evolution, by which the late prominence of
pre-recapitulatory V-of-iii results from the harmonic transformation of the early root-position
dominant, mediated by a long middle period of harmonic exploration.

 

Meter without Levels
Peter Selinsky, Yale University

Abstract: Hierarchical theories of non-isochronous meter have consistently required that metric levels be categorically distinct (i.e. that a given operant metric span appears at precisely one level). Although justified on both structural and psychological grounds, this requirement creates a variety of analytical challenges, which artificially eliminate many otherwise-valid metric interpretations. As metric cycles increase in size, such challenges compound and routinely force non-intuitive analyses. Recent authors have begun to address local confusions of non-isochronous levels, but their theoretical remedies offer only case-specific exceptions rather than generalizable solutions. In this paper, I build on their work by problematizing the requirement for categorical levels in a broad range of non-isochronous musical settings, and then I critique a common procedure for generating non-isochronous hierarchies.

To overcome the analytical insensitivities of previous formalizations, I propose a graph theoretically delimited “span-adjacency” method for generating non-isochronous hierarchical structure, which removes the requirement for metric levels. To do so, I build a set of span-to-span edge relations and show that levels can be formally defined as special cycles of these edge relations. Contextualized in this way, levels are a common result of, rather than requirement for, hierarchical structure. In support, I offer analyses of the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s “Birds of Fire” and Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo à la Turk.”

 

Generic (Mod-7) Voice-Leading Spaces
Leah Frederick, Indiana University

Abstract: In the burgeoning field of geometric music theory, scholars have explored ways of spatially representing voice leadings between chords. The OPTIC spaces provide a way to examine all “classes” of n-note chords formed under various types of equivalence: octave, permutational, transpositional, inversional, and cardinality. Although it is possible to map diatonic progressions in these spaces, they often appear irregular since the spaces are constructed with the fundamental unit of a mod-12 semitone, rather than a mod-7 diatonic step. Outside of geometric music theory, the properties of diatonic structure have been studied more broadly: Clough has established framework for describing diatonic structure analogous to that of Forte’s set theory; Hook provides a more generalized, “generic,” version of this work to describe any seven-note scale. This paper employs these theories in order to explore the fundamental difference between mod-12 and mod-7 spaces: that is, whether the spaces are fundamentally discrete or continuous.

After reviewing the construction of these voice-leading spaces, this paper will present the mod-7 OPTIC-, OPTI-,OPT-, and OP-spaces of 2- and 3-note chords. Although these spaces are fundamentally discrete, they can be imagined as lattice points within a continuous space. This construction reveals that the chromatic (mod-12) and generic (mod-7) voice-leading lattices both derive from the same topological space. In fact, although the discrete versions of these lattices appear to be quite different, the topological space underlying each of these graphs depends solely on the number of notes in the chord and the particular OPTIC relations applied.

3:30–5:30 Professional Development Workshop

Processual Approaches to Form in Early Nineteenth-Century Music: The Case of Mendelssohn and the First Movement of his Violin Concerto, Op. 64
Janet Schmalfeldt, Tufts University

Friendship and a remarkable instance of composer-performer collaboration account for the inception and completion of Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, Op. 64: he wrote the work for his brilliant violinist friend Ferdinand David, whom he consulted on technical matters, and whose première performance in 1845 propelled the work into the realm of immortality. This beloved staple of the repertoire has been repeatedly celebrated for three of its large-scale features: (1) the reversal of tutti and solo passages in the opening of the first movement; (2) the novel role of the soloist’s first-movement cadenza as part of the development’s retransition; (3) and the continuity of the complete work, achieved through the composer’s signature trait of creating transitions into the second and third movements.

Beyond these observations, surprisingly little analytic work on the concerto has been published. This leaves our workshop open for the fresh consideration of a host of processual, formal, phrase-structural, motivic, and especially cadential details in Mendelssohn’s first movement. Topics will surely include: the formal function of the soloist’s early entry; the potential for retrospective formal reinterpretation; the unusual design of the first subordinate theme; motivations for the composer’s characteristic compression of materials within the recapitulation; and, finally, his virtuosic employment of diverse cadential strategies. Such considerations might shed new light on how this post-classical movement epitomizes the nineteenth-century tendency towards formal expansion and reinterpretation, while taking its honored place within the context of the disputed borders between “classical” and “romantic.”

 

SATURDAY, March 25

9:30–11:00 Long Paper Session 2

Haydn's Op. 50 Quartets and the Search for A Really New Minuet
Samantha Inman, University of North Texas

Abstract: In dismissing Albrechtsberger’s prohibition of fourths in certain contexts, Haydn remarked, “I would rather someone tried to compose a really new minuet.” On one hand, this quote mocks the theoretical proposition by juxtaposing it with the simplest of the classical forms. On the other hand, Haydn’s comment hints of the compositional potential latent even in the conventional minuet and trio. This paper uses Schenkerian analysis to trace the staging and resolution of compositional problems in the minuet movements from Haydn’s op. 50 string quartets, particularly as they pertain to modifications in the reprise of each nested binary form.

While each minuet and each trio in this set constitutes a rounded binary form, few follow the expected path toward completion. Expansions, omissions, and rewrites frequently enliven most of the nested binary forms, moving beyond the basic modifications required for continuous forms and habitually avoiding literal recapitulation even in most sectional forms. Far from arbitrary, radical revisions to a reprise often arise from an understated irregularity earlier in the movement. Schenkerian sketches significantly aid in specifying the role and significance of a given alteration. This study of the six minuet movements from op. 50 illustrates the breadth of approaches Haydn employed in his own quest for “a really new minuet.”

 

 

Robert Schumann’s Learned Self and Vier Fugen Op. 72
Laurence Willis, McGill University

Abstract: In the nineteenth century, there was a tension between self-expression and contrapuntal sophistication. In the case of fugues, supposedly abstract technique pieces, how might a composer find such self-expression? This paper uncovers the relationship between Robert Schumann’s consciously learned Vier Fugen Op. 72 and nineteenth century expressivity. Vier Fugen are some of the compositional fruits of Schumann’s Fugenpassion of 1845, and have received mixed reactions from commentators. Recently, a positive view of these fugues has prevailed (Lee 1994, Daverio 1997, Lee 2011), but a detailed account of Schumann’s fugal language is still missing from the literature. In this paper, I make three main arguments. First, that, in the Vier Fugen, sophisticated contrapuntal techniques coordinate with expressive climaxes. Second, that these climaxes align with the evolution of the progressively mutated subject, in resonance with recent research on Bach’s fugues (Harrison 1990, 2008, Anson-Cartwright 2014). Finally, that Schumann makes specific references to fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier, which show his learnedness. Through a close analysis of these fugues, I explore how Schumann maintained an expressive language even in the most abstract of forms: fugue. My approach illuminates Schumann’s dedication to the genre, and the ways that he made music so self-consciously contrapuntal, while still dramatic and engaging.

 

Dialogic Form in Mahler’s Tenth Symphony, Movement I
Eric Hogrefe, University of Louisville

Abstract: This paper offers a model for viewing form in Mahler’s Tenth Symphony that combines Hepokoski and Darcy’s dialogic perspective with the four master tropes: metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony. Steven Vande Moortele, Julian Horton, and others have considered the ways that dialogic form might operate after the eighteenth-century. To this I add the theory of tropes as a way of clarifying what kinds of dialogue are possible. Specifically, I combine the four tropes with three types of dialogue for Romantic form (after Vande Moortele): a given piece can dialogue with (1) codified eighteenth-century formal categories, (2) a nineteenth-century seconda pratica, or (3) a precedent from the composer’s own practice. Combining tropes with these dialogic possibilities creates twelve possible kinds of formal dialogue. I show how Mahler’s movement is better seen as acting out a conflict between irony and metaphor, than as an amalgam of various dialogic precedents.

 

11:15–12:30 Short Paper Session 2

Pitch, Form, and Time in Two Works by Henri Dutilleux
Robert A. Baker, Catholic University of America

Abstract: Henri Dutilleux described his croissance progressive (progressive growth) technique as a process in which “thematic elements” undergo gradual development such that by the end of the work, they “reach their definitive form” (Potter, 1997, 60/64). But this directional quality is thrown into question by some works whose main element from the beginning also appears at the end, suggesting, as Dutilleux stated, “a notion of time as circular” (Nichols, 1994, 89). In this paper, I consider the string quartet, Ainsi la nuit (1976), and Mystère de l’instant for cimbalom, percussion and strings (1989), to show a broader conceptualization of the progressive growth technique in two ways. First, tendencies toward pitch and harmonic development are shown within and between these two compositions, reflecting Dutilleux’s interest in writings by Proust and Jankélévitch. Second, temporally proportional analyses of selected movements suggest a striking connection to the Boulezian conceptions of smooth and striated musical time, in a highly idiosyncratic way: goal-oriented formal locations are consistently signified by a disruption or negation of metered subdivision and coordination between parts. To more fully realize the implications of this Boulezian connection, I suggest a new way of conceptualizing Dutilleux’s forms in relation to Deleuzian theories on Chronos versus Aion, the undivided extended present versus a durationless instant separating past and future. In conclusion, I argue that the progressive growth technique can be understood to operate beyond conventional pitch and rhythm relationships, carrying deeper connections on levels of musical time and form

 

Linearity and Compensatory Coherence in the Varied Tonalities of Prokofiev’s War Symphonies
Joel Mott, The University of Texas at Austin

Abstract: Most Prokofiev scholars situate their analyses along a spectrum between common-practice tonality and atonality. Deborah Rifkin’s work on Prokofiev’s motivic parallelisms accounts for various degrees of tonal harmonic function. I build on Rifkin’s work by examining the role of audible, stepwise melodic lines in Prokofiev’s Fifth and Sixth Symphonies. In identifying categories of such lines based on their harmonic contexts, I reexamine the numerous degrees of tonality in Prokofiev’s music and show how his works can easily move between them.

My work with linearity borrows from Daniel Harrison’s “Hindemith-lines” (or H-lines), which are surface-level phenomena. Such lines may begin and end on the same triad or they may move between keys. They may allow for some embellishment between members, but they must ultimately move in only one direction.

I propose five categories of H-lines based on the relative harmonic stability of their beginning and endpoints. Two categories involve lines with an accompanying harmonic syntax that closely resembles the common-practice era, one shows little tonal coherence at all, and the remaining two transition between areas of tonal stability and instability.

I provide five examples that show how all H-lines provide a melodic coherence whose significance varies based on their overall stability as quasi-tonal phenomena. In moving from the most to least stable line-types, I also identify emerging patterns that point to Prokofiev’s lines becoming more obvious as audible, salient phenomena. These tendencies suggest that H-lines may function as a compensatory device for coherence as the role of tonality wanes.

 

#genre: Reconsidering Popular Music Categorization
Thomas Johnson, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Abstract: “The more you hear, the less genres matter” (Hyden 2013). This refrain resounds throughout recent popular music critic-fan discourses as prediction algorithms, professional playlist curators, and ubiquitous access all throw wrenches into traditional machines of categorization and musical order. Recent sociological work (Rossman and Peterson 2015, Lizardo and Skiles 2016) on the “omnivorousness” and tolerance expressed by 2010s listeners appears to support this perspective, flattening conventional boundaries between kinds of music and classes of people while problematizing Bourdieu’s (1984) infamous homology.

In this talk, I argue that omnivorousness, rather than obviating popular music genres, is instead symptomatic of a shift in genre ordering. Building on recent work on the complexity of music assemblages in general (e.g., Born 2014), I explicitly theorize the work genre does in the “smooth” and “striated” spaces (Deleuze and Guattari 1980) of 21st-century popular music with a new concept I call “#genre.” My methodology approaches this topological change by implementing original Python programs to excavate the kinds of linear genre-fabric that Spotify weaves through its distinct platform—namely relational algorithms and proprietary metadata. Comparing these industry-based means of categorization to diverse cultural-critical and journalistic writings, I theorize the adjectival qualities and in-between-ness of #genre made possible by the novel 21st-century popular music machine. The results comport with recent work (James 2017) on the unequal mobility of generic congeries that are necessarily mediated by race and gender, revealing a complex realm of categorization.

 

Beethoven’s Middle Earth: Analyzing Film Music Topics in Music of the Long Eighteenth Century
Janet Bourne, Bates College

Abstract: While some scholars assume modern listeners recognize eighteenth-century topics, others remain skeptical. Film music provides a context where modern listeners hear topics similar to those in 18th-century/early-19th-century Western music—like the pastoral topic in Lord of the Rings resembles Beethoven’s Pastoral. I argue that certain 21st-century listeners unconsciously use associations learned from film music topics to create narratives when listening to Western common-practice repertoire (despite anachronistic “inappropriateness”). I demonstrate that listeners, as active agents, perceive these associations by making analogies from film-versions to common-practice-versions of the same topic. This paper presents a cognitively-informed framework of analogy that I use, along with topics and form, to create different narrative analyses of Beethoven’s op. 26/iii, which depend on listener experience. Building on research in topic theory (Monelle 2006) and meaning in multimedia (Tagg and Clarida 2003), I analyze a topic in both film and Western common-practice music: the march. Based on 22 examples from films between 1970-2013, I analyze how this topic functions in film as well as common associations based on imagery, character emotions, and narrative contexts. Then, I analyze how features of film music this topic compare to past 18th-century version (e.g. how “film” marches compares to “common-practice” marches). Using associations determined by the corpus and drawing on analogy research (Gentner 1983), I describe narrative implications for listeners analogizing to film music. This interdisciplinary project recognizes listeners as active agents and how past musical experience alters perception; when concert halls cannot escape movie theaters.

 

“I Will Survive” and the Homophobic Cover
Taylor Myers, Rutgers University

Abstract: Gloria Gaynor's 1978 hit “I Will Survive” has been the subject of much academic discourse. For example, Nadine Hubbs successfully analyzed this piece as an anthem for the LGBTQ community in light of the AIDS epidemic. However, the appropriation of the song by the mass media often made light of these concerns and the sense of community that the song engendered, revealing a sharp homophobia. Very little work has focused energy on covers of popular songs as having agency to change the way the original is viewed or to comment on the original piece’s impact.

In this paper, I focus on one exemplary work, the 1996 cover of “I Will Survive” by the band Cake. Cake takes each musical element that creates a sense of community, as defined by Hubbs, and negates that element. I argue that Cake used these sonic cues to deliver the punchline of the ironic cover. An analysis of online forums and comments reveal that the reception by the band's largely young, male audience was, and remains, homophobic. This cover is one example of contemporary homophobic covers, indicating a trend that reflected the “moral panic” regarding homosexuality in 1990s United States, and it speaks to broader ways music can interact with socio-cultural currents.

1:45–2:45 Keynote Address

Janet Schmalfeldt

Domenico Scarlatti, Escape Artist: Sightings of His ‘Mixed Style’ Towards the End of the Eighteenth Century
Janet Schmalfeldt, Tufts University

A permanent move at the age of 34—from Italy into the private services of Princess Maria Bárbara, in Portugal and then in Spain—allowed Domenico Scarlatti to escape fame, the influence of his European contemporaries, and stylistic classification. In the absence of a convincing category for Scarlatti’s music—post-Baroque? pre-Classical? galant? transitional?—Scarlatti scholar W. Dean Sutcliffe resorts to the apt expression “mixed style.” But Sutcliffe acknowledges that “much about the Scarlatti sonatas demands to be considered in the light of the Classical style,” and so do I. In particular, the specific type of two-part form that the composer employs in most of his extant 550 keyboard sonatas was hardly unique on the continent during his lifetime, and that form continued to appear long after it had yielded to what we today call “the Classical sonata.” The composer’s musical “escape mechanisms”—surprising delays of expected outcomes by way of evaded cadences and “one-more-time” repetitions—can be “sighted” in much repertoire towards the end of the eighteenth century, especially in the music of Mozart. On the other hand, no amount of comparison of Scarlatti’s music with that of later composers can diminish his “Spanish” flamboyance, his penchant for the juxtaposition of wildly different ideas within a single movement—in short, his unparalleled, signature contributions to keyboard music. He remains forever one of the most unique and elusive composers it has been our privilege to love and perform.

3:00–4:00 Long Paper Session 3

Hearing Voices in Their Hands: Performing and Perceiving Polyphony
John Lawrence, University of Chicago

Abstract: Theorists agree that classical music is often composed of multiple simultaneous horizontal components, but not on what these components should be called, and how they should be defined or divided. This paper integrates three standard answers to this question—traditional music theory’s concept of the contrapuntal “voice,” music cognition’s concept of the auditory “stream,” and metaphor theory’s concept of the fictional “agent”—into a single perceptual model that accounts for their interdependence.

My model treats all of these concepts (and the concept of “texture” itself) not as material properties of a written score, but rather as modes of listener attention in response to features of a sounding performance. To demonstrate this, I examine recordings by pianists acclaimed for bringing out potential melodies in “inner voices” (Alfred Cortot, Josef Hofmann, Shura Cherkassky, etc.). I show that different performances of the same passage can project different numbers of voices, streams, and agents, and re-distribute pitches differently among these components. I analyze how these pianists achieve these different segmentations through inflections of dynamics and articulation. And I examine the aesthetic discourse that surrounded this art of re-segmentation during the so-called “golden age” of Romantic piano.

This redefinition of textural labels as perceptual responses to performances affirms the need for analysts to attend to the performance practices that their analyses implicitly assume. Dynamics and articulation are not just means of expressing conceptually prior pitch structures; rather, they are integral parts of how such structures are constituted in the first place.

 

Phrase Expansion Through the Metaphor of Musical Motion: A Case Study of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
John Peterson, James Madison University
Brian Jarvis, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract: William Rothstein’s (1989) seminal work on phrase rhythm has been foundational for scholars who study phrase expansion using Schenkerian principles, such as David Beach (1995), Charles Burkhart (1997), Joseph Kraus (2009), and Samuel Ng (2012). Other scholars consider phrase expansion from the perspective of William Caplin’s (1998) form-functional theory, such as Janet Schmalfeldt (1992, 2011) and Steven Vande Moortele (2016). Both groups tend to emphasize more structural concerns. Recent theories of musical meaning, however, challenge analysts to consider phrase expansions through a more expressive lens. This presentation engages with that challenge using the metaphor of musical motion, a concept that is informally present in myriad analytical writings, but which was formalized in work on conceptual metaphors by Steve Larson and Mark Johnson (2003). In particular, we introduce a category of expansion techniques called “alternative paths” in which a phrase deviates from its expected course toward a goal via the addition of new material. By defining the way in which the new material is initiated and concluded, alternate paths provide a more nuanced view of passages that might otherwise be captured under the more generic terms “interpolation” or “purple patch.” We will demonstrate how our approach highlights the differences between phrase expansion techniques by revisiting the two instances of expansion that William Rothstein identifies in his analysis of Mendelssohn’s Song Without Words Op. 19, No. 1. Following this discussion, we will show how our approach accommodates even extreme expansions like the 47-measure period that begins Mendelssohn’s E-minor Violin Concerto.

 

4:00–5:00 Long Paper Session 4

Schenker, Mazel, and Chopin: Elements of Linear Analysis in the Work of Leo Mazel
Ellen Bakulina, University of North Texas

Abstract: This paper uncovers hitherto unrecognized conceptual connections between Russian and North American music theory through an examination of the 1937 monograph (untranslated into English) on Chopin’s Fantasy, op. 49 by the Soviet musicologist Leo Mazel. My two principal objectives are (1) to draw parallels between Mazel’s and Schenker’s work, and (2) to build an original Schenkerian reading of Chopin’s Fantasy based on both Mazel’s and Carl Schachter’s analyses of the piece. I thus show that elements of linear-analytical thinking can be implicit in analysis ostensibly unrelated to Schenker’s work or to graphic techniques.

Several elements in Mazel’s book have direct relevance to Schenkerian theory. First, Mazel explains mm. 1–2 as projecting a perfect fourth on two levels, one as a filled-in version of the other—an expression somewhat resembling the idea of a linear progression. Second, Mazel’s harmonic reductions essentially represent a middleground-level imaginary continuo (William Rothstein’s term). Finally, the most remarkable section is Mazel’s discussion of the Lento passage, which he calls the “central episode”, mm. 199–235. He explains this passage as a sort of extension (or prolongation) of the G-flat major harmony, which then becomes an augmented-6th chord and moves to an F-major chord. Mazel’s analysis essentially amounts to a prolongational idea due to a reference to a structurally retained tone G flat (not his expression) and a large-scale bass motion G-flat–F. I finish by offering a strictly Schenkerian reading of the Fantasy that incorporates Mazel’s semitonal-motion idea at multiple structural levels.

 

Modulatory Second Section: a Reevaluation of Schenker’s Definition of Three-Part Form
Hiu-Wah Au, Appalachian State University

Abstract: In Der freie Satz, Schenker defines four paradigms for three-part forms: arpeggiation, neighbor, mixture, and division. His examples show the second section prolonging a single Stufe, on which the decision of the paradigm depends. For example, a second section in VI would invariably generate a three-part neighbor form; a second section in the parallel mode would generate a three-part mixture form; the prolongation of V within the second section might engender either a three-part arpeggiation form or a three-part division form. While it is generally the case that a single key dominates the second section in most Classical and Romantic repertoire, there are instances in which the second section is modulatory, consisting of two or more keys. This paper examines the analytical challenges of two such instances from Chopin’s Nocturnes Op. 32/2 in Ab major and Op. 62/2 in E major. Written in three-part form, both of these nocturnes contain a second section that features two parallel passages composed a half-step apart. The use of modulation and Chopin’s choice of keys generate mutually exclusive and structurally comparable voice leading connections to the outer sections, which make the reading of the second section as a composing-out of a single harmony challenging

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