Date: August 1989
Creator: McKinney, Timothy R. (Timothy Richmond)
Description: The songs of Hugo Wolf represent the culmination of the Romantic German Lied tradition. Wolf developed a personal chromatic harmonic style that allowed him to respond to every nuance of a poetic text, thereby stretching tonality to its limits. He was convinced, however, that despite its novel nature his music could be explained through the traditional theory of harmony. This study determines the degree to which Wolf's belief is true, and begins with an evaluation of the current state of research into Wolf's harmonic practice. An explanation of my analytical method and its underlying philosophy follows; historical perspective is provided by tracing the development of three major elements of traditional theory from their inception to the present day: fundamental bass, fundamental chords, and tonal function. The analytical method is then applied to the works of Wolf's predecessors in order to allow comparison with Wolf. In the investigation of Wolf's harmonic practice the individual elements of traditional functional tonality are examined, focusing on Wolf's use of traditional harmonic functions in both traditional and innovative ways. This is followed by an investigation of the manner in which Wolf assembles these traditional elements into larger harmonic units. Tonal instability, rapid key shifts, progressive ...
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