Idea and Analysis: Aspects of Unification in Musical Explanation

October 1, 1990

Idea and Analysis: Aspects of Unification in Musical Explanation1

I myself consider the totality of a piece as the idea: the idea which its creator wanted to present. (Arnold Schoenberg, "New Music, Outmoded Music, Style and Idea (1946)," Style and Idea, 122 ff.)2

We do not believe enough in the whole thing, in the great thing, but demand irrefutable details. We depend too little upon that capacity which gives us an impression of the object as a totality containing within itself all details in their corresponding relationships. (Arnold Schoenberg, "Gustav Mahler (1912, 1948)," in Style and Idea, 449.)


Introductory Remarks

The Schoenberg essays in Style and Idea contain much food for thought, and with the appearance of several recent publications, they are again emerging as a focus of interest among thinking musicians.3 Of particular interest have been those aspects in the essays which deal with Schoenberg's discussion of compositional process; and recent studies by Walter Frisch, David Epstein, and Patricia Carpenter and Severine Neff 4 have all examined or applied Schoenberg's concepts of developing variation and Grundgestalt in various ways. Yet the notion of idea remains intriguingly less explored. Its inherent breadth and potential (suggested in the above quotations) seems particularly promising in the arena of music analysiswhere one of the more interesting rhetorical challenges involves integrating various technical observations within some sort of comprehensive explanatory context.

This article surveys how certain implications of idea might be incorporated into the process of analysis and explanation. It begins by briefly summarizing how other authors have interpreted Schoenberg's concept of idea,5 and proposes how these interpretations can be seen to be captured as an intrinsic part of the analytical process. It suggests that there are two different kinds of idea (absolute and metaphorical), which can be called upon to assist in accommodating sometimes disparate and conflicting analytical details: four brief examples6 illustrate various realizations of the two idea-types. A more extensive analytical example7 examines the amalgamation of absolute and metaphorical ideas, demonstrating how the combination of familiar technical observations with the explanatory glue of a total underlying idea can yield additional holistic insights into the underlying structure of a musical work.

By their very nature, ideas can be quite elusive, and idea itself is no exception. To glean insight into how the notion of idea might facilitate analysis, it is helpful to review Schoenberg's conceptualization of its place in the compositional process. Based upon his examination and translation of the Gedanke Manuscript, Alexander Goehr has developed a model which captures Schoenberg's four stages of compositional development:8 the idea functions as the conceptual seed from which the piece grows; the gestalt, as the musical seed which drives the piece; grundgestalt, as a specific manifestation of the musical seed; and developing variation, as the process by which the grundgestalt becomes the piece. The result is a unification of crafted thought with creative inspiration. As suggested in Charlotte Cross's study, Schoenberg's use of vocabulary confirms these stages by incorporating two different German nouns for idea: Gedanke referring to the grundgestalt and plan of developing variation, (the craft) and Einfall referring to the inspirational idea and the act of taking it into the realm of the mind as gestalt (the creative genius).9 The essence of idea itself thus seems to lie outside the realm of specific musical events, being the conceptual seed of a musical creation and the more abstract nature which holds it together as a coherently functioning totality. As Patricia Carpenter has suggested, it encompasses a broad semantic range yet consistently exemplifies a single concept: "the source of coherence in a work and the subject of musical discourse."10

I would like to suggest that music analysis roughly resembles Goehr's model, involving the unification of four analogous stages: premise, process, procedure, and production. As an analyst begins to search for sources of coherence in a work, the discovery of idea-oriented issues suggests a key to expressing it. Premises may be specific or general. They may be expressed solely in musical terms or metaphorically. But whatever form they take, they can be seen to function as a sort of explanatory glue through which sometimes conflicting details may be meaningfully integrated within the construction of an analytical explanation.

For the sake of this discussion, it is helpful to categorize two different types of idea which can eventually function as this type of rhetorical binder.11 The absolute attempts to capture a work's premise through particular syntactic or motivic gestures (a type of idea which is most familiar in current analytical discourse). The metaphorical attempts to describe a work's premise in a more analogy-driven language (a type of idea which was exemplified by Elaine Barkin in the late '70s and is currently explored in the work of Marion Guck and Fred Maus).12 A third possibility is that of synthesisan amalgamation of the absolute and metaphorical, which endeavors to embrace both explanatory worlds in the production and presentation of an analysis.


Illustrations of Idea in Musical Works13
Absolute Idea
Chopin, Prelude in E Major Op. 28, No.9

How might idea be incorporated into analytical explanation? This prelude is particularly suitable for an initial discussion, because many observations concerning its harmonic, melodic, tonal, voice-leading, and formal gestures can be embraced by the idea of exploring the different ways of proceeding from "five" to "one ".

The potential significance of this particular underlying idea is first suggested in the Prelude's doubly interrupted harmonic motion, defined by the I and V chords that articulate the temporal boundaries of each phrase (mm. 1-4; 5-8; 9-12). The identical registral distribution of each phrase's opening tonic sonority (mm. 1, 5, 9) is a particularly striking aural feature which emphasizes the boundary I: the registral and textural transfer of vol30id120 (from a lower voice vol30id1203, becoming the inner voice vol30id1203, and transferring to the uppermost voice vol30id1204) revitalizes the structural importance of V at each articulative juncture.14 The harmonic space between "one" and "five" is filled variously in each phrase: first diatonically, (mm. 1-4), then chromatically (mm. 5-8), and finally, diatonically within a deeper tonal context of chromatic key relationships (E-vol30id120-vol30id120-E). The final left hand sonority reflects the five-one idea by dividing the tonic octave with the dominant pitch while leaving its remaining space unfilled but resonating.

The step progression in the upper voice can be seen to investigate different ways of filling the ascending and descending melodic space between B and E (as scale degrees vol30id120and vol30id120). The first phrase exclusively incorporates the pitches of E major's upper tetrachord (B-vol30id120-vol30id120-E), while the second begins by incorporating mixture, using pitches from E minor to fill the chromatic spaces left in the opening phrase (B-vol30id120-vol30id120-E . . .). Mixture continues to remain an important melodic component even after the line has risen past E4 to its highest point in m. 7: (vol30id120-vol30id120-vol30id1204).15 Backing off immediately from the melodic apex of vol30id1204, the descending line resumes from E4 with pitches selected from the major tetrachord, and concludes with a borrowed tone (vol30id120) from the minor ([E]-vol30id120-vol30id120-vol30id120). The final phrase continues the fusion, beginning its ascent with B-vol30id120-vol30id120 and completing its motion by adding vol30id120 (in a complementation of the one variable scale degree remaining unused in the Prelude's second phrase), bringing the line to a final cadential close. Thus, counterpointed against the double interruption of the harmony is a differing exploration of the suggested idea in the melodic line, filling in the spaces between five and one by stating three combinations of ascending and descending lines until E's entire chromatic upper tetrachord is variously exhausted.

The Prelude's tonal relationships are similar in concept but different in realization. Here, the five-one space is filled with the two prominent 3d-related keys vol30id120 (in mm. 7-8) and G (in mm. 10-11), both of which are approached by allusions to the key of F (mm. 5-6, and mm. 9-10).16 Not fully realized in the second phrase, F major is, however, strongly implied by the V7 on C (m. 6),17 foreshadowed by the Prelude's first melodic chromaticism two beats earlier (vol30id120, m. 6). Avoiding the implied V-I resolution to F in the Prelude's second phrase not only eliminates the unidiomatic augmented second relationship between the deeper tonal centers vol30id120 and vol30id120, but possibly also presages F's stronger tonal presence in the final phrase's sequences (through F and G, mm. 9-11), where that which was implied must be clearly stated before the piece is allowed to end.

The entire complement of diatonic interval-class is used in the Prelude's overall journey through its ideological texture: the 2nd in its melodic exploration, the 3rd in its tonal unfolding, and the 4th in the direct harmonic succession of interrupted phrases. Even form seems to articulate the idea. The binary structure of the Prelude (mm. 1-4; mm. 5-12), texturally marked at the surface by trills in the low register, effectively delimits the boundaries of the larger diatonic (mm. 1-4) and chromatic (mm. 5-12) territories traversed in the more direct and circuitous paths noted above.

The applicability and benefit of using an underlying idea to give a larger sense of compositional problem is exemplified in the preceding discussion. The ideaexploring the different ways of proceeding from five to oneprovides an explanatory essence which highlights not the contradictions of independent observations but rather seeks out an underlying conceptual threadproviding effective mediation for their initially perceived differences.


Beethoven: Menuetto and Trio, from Piano Sonata Op. 10, No.3 (III)

Using the notion of idea can not only help to unify disparate analytic observations, it can also help to clarify some of the puzzling anomalies which emerge during the course of an analysis. In this Menuetto and Trio, the idea of a conflict and resolution between D and E does just that. As early as the opening period (mm. 1-16), it helps to explain the consequent phrase's enigmatic return to the supertonic (instead of the more usual return to tonic) following the interrupted harmonic motion: antecedent and consequent phrases begin on D and E respectively. It extends to the somewhat unusual but exclusive occurrence of the Vvol30id120 in the codetta (mm. 43-54), where the D-E conflict is summarized by the oscillating bass as the final tonic is prolonged and embellished. The idea even helps to explain the specific choice of the French 6th chord which occurs at the Menuetto's climax (m. 38), since it would be the only common Augmented 6th chord variant which contains D and E within the vol30id120-vol30id120 chromatic intensification of the Menuetto's structural dominant.

More subtle observations are also clarified by the idea of a D-E conflict. It helps to explain the somewhat puzzling recurrence of a B-E-A-D descending fifths sequence in transitional passages from both the Menuetto (mm. 17-25) and the Trio (mm. 62-70; 78-85), despite the underlying change in tonal context from D to G, and back again:18 tonicizing G's vi (E) and V (D) in the Trio sustains the conflict, keeping it aurally prominent so as to prepare for its return closer to the surface in the Menuetto. Even more subtly, the underlying idea helps to elucidate a reason for the minor (non-dominant) quality of the B-triad which initiates the B-E-A-D sequence in the Menuetto's digression (m. 17): it is necessary here to retain D (the underlying tonic) within the B triad, in order to reflect the underlying D-E conflict at a deeper structural presence while the work leans towards tonicizing E at its surface.

Here, idea not only provides explanation for some observed anomalies, but is also used to articulate various levels of musical structurealthough within a more evocative framework than the conventional realizations of replication, embellishment, and inclusion which are integral to more familiar Schoenbergian or Schenkerian analyses. Because of its inherent suggestiveness and flexibility, it can complement (not replace) these other analytical approaches nicely.


Metaphorical Idea
Schumann, "Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen" from Dichterliebe19

An idea need not be solely formulated in musical terms, as the preceding examples might imply: it can also be stated metaphorically, without specifying a particular musical content in its expression. Although not exclusive to texted music, the metaphorical type of idea is especially tempting to incorporate in such contexts, because it can be understood as a sort of structural text-setting, which reverberates throughout all aspects of a piece. In this particular song, the contrast between the silence of the poet and the personification of the flowers provides an apt example of how a metaphorical idea might work.

Most clearly reinforcing the idea's projection of contrast, the work's only tonal excursions directly parallel the reference to personification in its text. Initially, where the first verse refers to the underlying contrast with an indirect quotation ("Es flüstern und sprechen die Blumen," mm. 7-9), the text is supported with a brief and not totally established tonal drift to vol30id120, the Phrygian II (but never stated as a triadonly with an attached minor 7th). Subsequently, where personification occurs strongly in the second verse, and the flowers actually speak ("Sei unserer Schwester nicht böse," mm. 17-20), the text is supported with a full tonicization of G, the submediant (which has been directly emphasized with the only altered dominant Augmented 6th in the song: vol30id120-vol30id120 resolving to tonic G, mm. 16-17). Not only is the representation of personification reinforced in the song's tonal digressions, the respective strength of each reference is likewise mirrored.

In addition to focusing attention on these specific contrasting events, an awareness of the metaphorical idea can also clarify the underlying connective relationships between their tonal underpinnings. The first discursive key, vol30id120 (mm. 7-9), foreshadows the modally altered third (vol30id120) of the second key, g (mm. 17-20),20 thus establishing a tonal support for the text's climactic personification which is quite distant from the song's original vol30id120 reference tonic. But it hearkens back to its initial vol30id120 origin in the first verse's indirect quotation. This common pitch-class (B) seems also to highlight yet another subtle relationship between the two personifications, signaling the work's underlying textual transformation from allusion to actuality,21 while subsuming the overt and subtle tonal relationships within a larger ideological framework.

The contrast between personification and silence is also suggested by the appearance of the work's structural dominant at the close of the flowers' direct quotation, an event which is followed by a lengthy piano postlude (mm. 20-30) proportionally as long as each of the song's two previous verses (mm. 1-11; 11-20). While this unsung verse resolves some of the work's other syntactic elements and returns to the primary tonality, it can also be seen to throw the piece's focus away from personification and once again on the silence of singer and poet.22

The metaphorical type of idea holds a special appeal in this work. As nonspecific as it originally appears to be, it is able to embrace some of the song's surface tonal and textural aspects, while remaining true to the text and the context of the cyclea particularly attractive quality in musical explanation.


Wolf, "Der Mond hat eine schwere Klag' erhoben," from Italienisches Liederbuch23

The metaphorical type of idea can also be appealing in works whose texts themselves hint at a more specific problem or puzzle.24 In this work, the search for the missing seems to resonate through several aspects of the song.25 The text itself exemplifies the idea's most obvious manifestation: even the object of the initial complaint is missing until well into the work, and the identification and discovery of the two lost stars are not realized until its final two lines. The effect is not lost on the work's tonal and registral activity, which parallel that of the text.

The initial modulations from vol30id120 minor (mm. 1-6), through vol30id120 minor (mm. 7-12), to vol30id120 major (realized in m. 13), seem apparently straightforward and tonally idiomatic; so that it is only in the very last chord of the song (m. 18, where the final vol30id120 tonic emerges) that they are implicated as red herrings. The somewhat surprising tonic at the work's conclusion then necessitates a retrospective reinterpretation of its overall tonal motion as a large-scale iii-V-I arpeggiationa gesture initiated as the search was, so to speak, already in progress.26 The new tonic vol30id120 is itself especially exemplary of the metaphorical missing, since it has been conspicuously absent throughout the bulk of the piece. Yet, like the stars, vol30id120 had always been an inherent possibility even as early as the opening sonority (whose vol30id120-vol30id120 third lacked its harmonically defining fifth). At first supplying the dyad's upper fifth vol30id120 (confirming vol30id120 minor), but ultimately replacing it with the lower fifth vol30id120 (confirming vol30id120 major), the song's roundabout search for triadic completion appears to realize its metaphorical idea in a gradual and deceptive way that mirrors the extensive search of its text.

The work's registral activity is also involved. Just as in the tonal realm, the apparently predominant register of mm. 1-16 (register 5) becomes a foil for the song's eventual resolution to its more structural register in the final two measures (register 4), where m. 16's hanging leading tone (vol30id1203) ultimately resolves to the final covered tonic (vol30id1204) provided only by the piano (mm. 17-18).27 Suggestively, the singer never seems to find conclusive resolution in this work, ending on the vol30id120 leading tonean event which could perhaps deeply reflect the permanence of the moon's loss and poetically beguile the tonally driven heart; but which, at the very least, seems to exemplify a structural setting of the metaphorical missing at the surface of the song's conclusion.

Again, the idea helps to unify aspects of the song's activity and clarify specific and enigmatic musical events. The search for the stars is finally resolved in the work's last measure, not only by the text, but also by the surprising tonic and newly discovered primary registertwo missing elements, musically found.


Analytical Application

Amalgamation of Absolute and Metaphorical Ideas
Stravinsky, "Musick to heare" from Three Songs from William Shakespeare28

Several general advantages of incorporating idea into analytical explanations are embodied in the preceding four brief examples: the absolute type of idea satisfies a desire for specificity of detail without leaving the realm of musical phenomena, whereas the metaphorical type of idea satisfies a desire for suggestion without disrupting or seeming to contradict the more specific analytical observations collected. Although each is appealing in its own right, it can be particularly effective to merge the two idea-types into a more encompassing amalgamation.

The following analysis of Stravinsky's "Musick to heare," from Three Songs from William Shakespeare, exemplifies such a union. The final couplet of text, ending with the words thou single wilt prove none exemplifies an underlying metaphorical idea, which will be seen to be manifested through the juxtaposition and resolution of a serially handled motive and a polar diatonic scale fragmentrepresented by their respective pitch surrogates B and C (an absolute idea). This amalgamation not only underlies broad-scale gestures of form, texture, and structure, but also provides a means through which some of the apparent surface events in the work's serial procedure may be explained.

Metaphorically, the ideathou single wilt prove none is overtly manifested in the song's texture: almost never does the overall texture thin to a single note, and the pervasive texture of the work is most frequently expressed as a duet (reflecting the work's amalgamation of two idea-types). The duet is reinforced beginning with the introduction (mm. 1-8), where a four-note serial motive in the flute melody is superimposed over a C-D-E-F-G scale fragment (split between the clarinet and viola, who form a little duet of their own). [See figure 1A]


Figure 1A & 1B.



© 1954 by Boosey and Hawkes, Inc.
Copyright renewed,
Used by permission of Boosey and Hawkes, Inc.


The two-part texture is continued upon the entry of the voice and throughout the large midsection of the song (mm. 9-43), where the serial element rises to assume exclusive prominence, reinforced in the texture of the accompanimental orchestration (each instrument takes turns assuming a new serial motive in counterpoint with the voice's setting of the sonnet's text). When the final couplet of text explicitly states the metaphorical idea (mm. 44-50), "Whose speechless song being many seeming one, sings this for thee, thou single wilt prove none") the opening coupling of serial-scalar material recurs: the lower two parts rearticulate the original C-D-E-F-G scale fragment, while the added voice line recalls the precise serial ordering of the opening flute melody, aurally reinforcing the return of the opening superposition. [See figure 1B]

The metaphorical idea helps both to emphasize and to elucidate a serial anomaly at this point; since underscoring the words "Thou single" (m. 48) is an occurrence of the serial motive which omits all but the framing pitches of its row (order numbers 1 and 4)an event which may be interpreted as a subtle compositional signal which underscores the underlying metaphorical idea at the very point of its verbal mention in the text. Slightly altered from Shakespeare's original wording, this final phrase expands upon the metaphorical idea still further, by implying an additional address to the role of the listener: as Shakespeare's text reads "Sings this to thee," Stravinsky's reads "sings this for thee," extending a gentle invitation to become part of a more involved duet with the active musical experience, and with the part (not parts, as in Shakespeare) "that thou should'st bear" throughout this composition which not only sets, but truly exemplifies its text.

Yet, the metaphorical idea is only half the amalgamative equation. The compositional materials of the song may also be seen manifested under the auspices of an absolute idea as well: the juxtaposition and resolution of B and Cpitch-classes which respectively function as surrogate representatives for the serial and scalar compositional elements (B from the B-G-A-vol30id120 serial motive, and C from the C-D-E-F-G scale fragment). This juxtaposition is presented at various levels of analysis and perception through the articulation of surface musical phrases which are either B- or C-focused. Clearest in the flute line of the introduction, the opening four-measure phrase begins and ends on the pitch B, resolving to C (the concluding pitch-class of the introduction) in m. 8. [See figure 2A]


Figure 2A & 2B.



© 1954 by Boosey and Hawkes, Inc.
Copyright renewed,
Used by permission of Boosey and Hawkes, Inc.


A smaller-scale B-C motion, seen in the opening subphrase of the flute line (mm. 1-2) foreshadows this larger-scale resolution, as it also foreshadows other such concealed repetitions during the course of the song.29 The voice part can also be seen to articulate the B-C juxtaposition and resolution, entering on B and resolving to C at the first sectional cadence (mm. 20-21), as well as resolving to C at the very end of the piece, in a large-scale B-C (beginning-to-end) gesture. [See figure 2B]

In addition to directing the B-C motion of lines and voices, the underlying serial-tonal juxtaposition can also be seen in the song's large-scale pattern of pitch focus. Sectional cadences (mm. 8, 21, 34, 43, 50) are characteristic open 5ths built above C, C, B, G, and C, respectively.


Figure 3.



The B- and G-focused internal cadences are reminiscent of the opening two pitch-classes of the serial motive (possibly reflecting the inner body of the work's preoccupation with serial manipulations), and the opening emphasis and ultimate re-emergence of the C-focused cadential 5ths are reminiscent of the polar scale fragment (seen as a reminder of the serial-scalar conflict suggested in the underlying premise of the piece).

As the song first begins to turn toward its contrasting B and G pitch focus (mm. 22-34; 35-43, respectively), surface anomalies in text setting occur, reinforcing the underlying idea at significant structural places.


Figure 4A & 4B.




© 1954 by Boosey and Hawkes, Inc.
Copyright renewed,
Used by permission of Boosey and Hawkes, Inc.


Twice the serial motive is shared in two instruments instead of one (the normative texture in this work)clearly examples of subtle but simple text painting. First on "mark how one string, sweet husband to another, strikes each in each by mutual ordering" (mm. 35-37), and again on "one pleasing note do sing" (mm. 40-42), these two instances approach the pitch-class G by semitone from vol30id120, thus supporting and emphasizing the larger pitch focus of their respective section. [See figures 4A, 4B] Likewise, the single serial elision on "They do but sweetly chide thee" (m. 30), expresses a surface compositional chidingbriefly obscuring the aural perception of serial procedure while it supports the underlying B-focus of its respective section. [See figure 5A]


Figure 5A & 5B.




© 1954 by Boosey and Hawkes, Inc.
Copyright renewed,
Used by permission of Boosey and Hawkes, Inc.


Even more unusual is the event which occurs just prior to the chide (mm. 24-28), on "By unions married do offend thine eare." Here I0 pitches are serially reordered 4-2-3-1 instead of 1-2-3-4, resulting in the exchanged order positions of the pitches B and C in this particular motivic presentation. [See figure 5B] Not merely offending the serial ear at the appropriate textual place, the reordering also reinforces the structural displacement of C by B: it thus reflects the segment's preoccupation with serial procedures, while subtly alluding (in a surface anomaly) to the particular B-C serial-scalar juxtaposition expressed by the work's absolute idea.30

The eventual fusion of the absolute B-C juxtaposition with the metaphorical "thou single wilt prove none" is perhaps necessitated by the very essence of amalgamation which drives the piece: after all, a single type of idea would "prove none," and thus would not truly exemplify the essence of Shakespeare's poetry as filtered through Stravinsky's music. The total coalescence of absolute and metaphorical, so mutually fused as to interpenetrate the other's domain, can be said to represent the underlying idea accurately at a deeper philosophical and conceptual level of thought.


Concluding Thoughts

The more exactly we observe, the more enigmatic does the simplest matter become to us. We analyse because we are not satisfied with comprehending nature, effect and function of a totality as a totality and, when we are not able to put together again exactly what we have taken apart, we begin to do injustice to that capacity which gave us the whole together with its spirit, and we lose faith in our finest abilitythe ability to receive a total impression. (Schoenberg, "Gustav Mahler," Style and Idea, 449.)

Music analysis is a complex activity, and theories of unification are not its only goal. Yet, the notion of idea (whether it is inherently absolute, metaphorical, or an amalgamation of the two) can be a useful addition to the process. The disparity among a work's enigmatic details and the ambiguity of their potential interrelations provide the complicated context which makes some type of rhetorical unification attractive: integrated with a comprehension of the analytical dialectic, and combined with the knowledge of other analytic approaches, idea can function as a sort of theoretical glue with which those observations may be merged. By encouraging explanations which attempt to deal with conflict not by choice, but by compromise, we are challenged to discover those aspects that can ultimately yield additional coherence in musical explanation. Perhaps they may prove suggestive for our perception as well.

1This article is based in part on papers presented at the 31st Annual Meeting of the College Music Society, Santa Fe 1988; the 10th Meeting of the Texas Society for Music Theory, Waco 1988; and the Hartt Theory Forum, Hartford 1990.

2Arnold Schoenberg, Style and Idea, ed. and trans. Dika Newlin (New York: Philosophical Library, 1950). Republished ed. Leonard Stein, trans. Leo Black (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1975; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984); all citations are from this edition.

3Thomas McGeary's "The Publishing History of Style and Idea," Journal of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute 9/2 (1986, 180-209) yields especially interesting insights into the initial reception of the collection.

4Walter Frisch, Brahms and the Principle of Developing Variation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984); David Epstein, Beyond Orpheus: Studies in Musical Structure (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1979; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987); Schoenberg's Gendanke Manuscript: A Reconstruction and Edition, eds. Patricia Carpenter and Severine Neff (New York: Columbia University Press, forthcoming).

5How the concept of idea evolved in the primary source material is aptly traced in Alexander Goehr, "Schoenberg's Gedanke Manuscript," Journal of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute 2/1 (October 1977), 4-25.

6Chopin's E Major Prelude, Op. 28, No. 9; Beethoven's Menuetto and Trio from the Piano Sonata Op. 10, No. 3; Schumann's "Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen," from the Dichterliebe cycle; and Wolf's "Der Mond hat eine schwere Klag' erhoben;" from the Italienisches Liederbuch.

7Stravinsky's "Musick to heare," from Three Songs from William Shakespeare, 1953.

8The model appears in Alexander Goehr, "Schoenberg and Karl Kraus: The Idea Behind the Music," Music Analysis 4/1-2 (1985), 63. Translation and annotation of excerpts from the Gedanke Manuscript may be found in Alexander Goehr, "Schoenberg's Gedanke Manuscript," and the extended reconstruction by Carpenter and Neff.

9"Begriff " was sometimes used, but seemed to be relegated to a basic status of notion. Cross also notes that the more philosophical "Idee" is lacking in Schoenberg's writings. Charlotte M. Cross, "Three Levels of 'Idea' in Schoenberg's Thought and Writings," Current Musicology 30 (1980), 25.

10Patricia Carpenter, "Grundgestalt as Tonal Function," Music Theory Spectrum 5 (1983), 16.

11The choice of the absolute and metaphorical labels is based on the desire to expand upon the somewhat limiting but traditional pedagogical distinction between absolute and program music.

12Elaine Barkin, "Notes in Progress," Journal of Music Theory 22/2 (1978), 291-312; Marion Guck, "A Flow of Energy: Density 21.5," Perspectives of New Music 23 (1984), 334-347; Fred Everett Maus, "Music as Drama," Music Theory Spectrum 10 (1988), 56-73. A more extensive bibliography and commentary can be found in John Rahn, "New Research Paradigms," Music Theory Spectrum 11/1 (1989), 84-94.

13Because of space constraints, illustrations for the following examples are not provided. It would, however, be helpful to follow along with a score. Texts for songs may be found in the footnotes.

14Registers are numbered according to the notation suggested by the Acoustical Society of America: the lowest C on the piano is numbered C 1, and each octave higher adds one to the superscript. (e.g., C 4 designates "middle C.") Pitch-class is indicated by uppercase letter only.

15vol30id1204 is the diatonic reinterpretation of the enharmonically notated vol30id1204. According to David Neumeyer, it is this pitch which begins the structural 3-line descent, in counterpoint with the ascending vol30id120- vol30id120 inner voice of a three-part Ursatz. Yet the two parts are not contradictory within the broader idea suggested, since another way of proceeding from five to one would arpeggiate vol30id120- vol30id120- vol30id120, with an upward octave transfer to initiate the vol30id120- vol30id120 descent. David Neumeyer, "The Three-Part Ursatz," In Theory Only 10/1-2 (1987), 27-28.

16Because of the deeper structural significance of the Phrygian II region, the A major triad in m. 7 (which is problematic in some harmonic analyses) can be read as vol30id120:Np, thus reflecting a motivic parallelism within an adjusted tonal context.

17See especially Wallace Berry, Structural Functions in Music (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1976), 68-69.

18The association is suggested despite the reversal of chord quality between B and E (which respectively changes from minor to major, and major to minor between the Menuetto and the Trio).

19 Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen
Geh' ich im Garten herum
Es flüstern und sprechen die Blumen,
Ich aber wandle stumm.

Es flüstern und sprechen die Blumen
Und schau'n mitleidig mich an:
"Sei unserer Schwester nicht böse,
Du trauriger blasser Mann!"
On the gleaming summer morning
I go about the garden.
The flowers whisper and talk
But I wander mute.

The flowers whisper and talk
And look at me sympathetically:
"Don't be angry with our sister,
You mournful, pale man."

Translation from Fred Everett Maus, "Agency in Instrumental Music and Song," College Music Symposium 29 (1989), 41.

20This connection is implied in Arthur Komar's essay in the Norton Critical Score. Komar not only mentions the different functions of the vol30id120 and B in this particular song, but also places them within the context of the entire song cycle. In addition, he discusses the relationship of "Am leuchtenden"'s postlude to the postlude of "Die alten, bösen Lieder," the final song in the cycle. Robert Schumann, Dichterliebe, ed. Arthur Komar, Norton Critical Scores (NY: W.W. Norton and Sons, 1971), 86.

21Because vol30id120, the Phrygian II, is derived from vol30id120 minor, and G, the submediant (itself altered to become major) is derived from vol30id120 major, it is also tempting here to draw an analogy between "allusion-becoming-actuality," and "minor-yielding-to-major."

22Various ramifications of this interpretation are discussed and developed in Maus, "Agency in Instrumental Music and Song," 38-43.

23 Der Mond hat eine schwere Klag' erhoben
Und vor dem Herrn die Sache kund gemacht:
Er wolle nicht mehr stehn am Himmel droben,
Du habest ihn um seinen Glanz gebracht.
Als er zuletzt das Sternenheer gezählt,
Da hab'es an der vollen Zahl gefehlt;
Zwei von den schönsten habest du entwendet:
Die beiden Augen dort, die mich verblendet.
The moon has raised a weighty complaint
And announced before the Lord
That he no longer wants to remain in the sky;
You have robbed him of his splendor.
When he last counted the host of stars,
Something was missing from the full number,
Two of the most beautiful you have stolen:
The two eyes that have blinded [beguiled] me.

Translation from Deborah J. Stein, Hugo Wolf's Lieder and Extensions of Tonality (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press 1985), 153.

24An example of such a piece in the serial idiom is Dallapiccola's second Goethe-Lieder, "Die Sonne kommt!" where the text's riddle is how to unite the sun and moon. The problem is twofold: first, since sun and moon are opposing, they must be complementary but not overlapping; yet second, they need to be represented at the appropriate place in the text where the riddle is set up. The solution is realized at both deep and surface levels. The large-scale gesture sets up a two-voice canon, where the second voice (the moon) delays entry until the first (the sun) begins to set, in a perfect pitch and registral palindrome of its opening two rows. At the surface of the song, the opening two rows (P0 and I1 represent the sun and moon, united by the pitch-order invariance of their opening vol30id120-A dyad, musically emphasized by its enigmatic repetition at the opening of the second phrase, on the text "the sickle moon." Other types of relationships between the text and canonic structure are explored in Thomas DeLio, "A Proliferation of Canons: Luigi Dallapiccola's 'Goethe Lieder No.2'," Perspectives of New Music 23.2 (1985), 186-95.

25Stein (Hugo Wolf's Lieder, Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1985, 149-56) discusses the mystery in the text through an "elaborate metaphor of transformations," an idea which permeates her analysis. In an earlier unpublished work, Steven Gryc (1977) also alludes to the missing as an underlying aspect of the song's unification.

26Stein presents two interpretations of this gesture: one based on Schenkerian principles and the other based on the notion of directional tonality. The primary difference between the two is the interpretation of the opening sonority: the Schenkerian interpretation reads it as vol30id120:iii, whereas the directed tonality interpretation reads it as vol30id120:i, and subsequently modulates so that the piece concludes in a second key. A third possibility would include a reading which keeps vol30id120 minor as the primary tonic throughout the song, which would then end deceptively by tonicizing vol30id120 (vol30id120). All three possibilities are not precluded by the suggested idea.

27In retrospect, the initial voice phrase (mm. 1-2) perhaps foreshadows the work's obligatory resolution: additionally, the octave drop on the final beat of m. 2, combined with the remaining melodic gesture, reflects the relative proportion of time the song spends in its opening and final registers.

28 Musick to heare, why hear'st thou musick sadly,
Sweets with sweets warre not, joy delights in joy:
Why lov'st thou that which thou receav'st not gladly,
Or else receav'st with pleasure thine annoy?
If the true concord of well tuned sounds,
By unions married do offend thine eare,
They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
In singlenesse the parts that thou should'st beare:
Marke how one string sweet husband to an other,
Strikes each in each by mutuall ordering;
Resembling sire, and child, and happy mother,
Who all in one, one pleasing note do sing:
Whose speechlesse song being many, seeming one,
Sings this to thee thou single wilt prove none.

From Poets of the English Language, ed. W.H. Auden and Norman Holmes Pearson (New York: The Viking Press, 1950), Vol. 2, 154. According to Robert Craft, Auden sent this edition to Stravinsky in 1951shortly thereafter the Three Songs from William Shakespeare appeared: "The texts of the Three Songs from William Shakespeare, taken from volume II, contain [Stravinsky's] markings (pp. 154, 171-72, 177). His markings on page 173 indicate that he had originally considered setting 'Come away, come away, death.'" Robert Craft, comp., "Selected Source Material from 'A Catalogue of Books and Music Inscribed to and/or Autographed and Annotated by Igor Stravinsky,'" in Confronting Stravinsky: Man, Musician, and Modernist, ed. Jann Pasler (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1986), 351-52.

29This is reminiscent of Joseph Straus's notion of pattern completion in Stravinsky. Joseph Straus, "A Principle of Voice-Leading in the Music of Stravinsky," Music Theory Spectrum 4 (1982), 106-24. Straus has recently expanded this concept in an examination of how concealed repetition may contribute to structural unity in motivic music. Joseph Straus, Remaking the Past: Musical Modernism and the Influence of the Tonal Tradition (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990).

30Although not extensively developed here, it is also interesting to note that there are scalar influences in the handling of the serial motive and vice-versa. The pitches G-A-B (three of the four notes of the initial serial motive) represent the complementary pitches excluded from the C diatonic scale fragment, and it is tempting to think of B-G-vol30id120 (the emphasized pitches in the motive) as implying a major-minor dominant of C. Similarly, the scalar fragment C-D-E-F-G is rotated in its final introductory presentation (mm. 7-8), so that it may end on its C-G cadential 5th (D-E-F-vol30id120)thus incorporating a serial procedure in the scalar material.

8822 Last modified on October 23, 2018