Developing Variation and Melodic Contour Analysis: A New Look at the Music of Max Reger

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Max Reger was a prolific composer on the threshold of modernism. The style of his extensive musical output was polarizing among his contemporaries. A criticism of Reger's music is its complex and dense musical structure. Despite writing tonal music, Reger often pushes the boundaries of tonality so far that all sense of formal organization is seemingly imperceptible. In this dissertation, I offer what I observed to be a new way of discerning Reger's motivic relationships and formal structures within and between movements. There are 3 primary tools and methods I incorporated to make these observations. Schoenberg's developing variation, melodic contour ... continued below

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McConnell, Sarah August 2018.

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  • McConnell, Sarah

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Max Reger was a prolific composer on the threshold of modernism. The style of his extensive musical output was polarizing among his contemporaries. A criticism of Reger's music is its complex and dense musical structure. Despite writing tonal music, Reger often pushes the boundaries of tonality so far that all sense of formal organization is seemingly imperceptible. In this dissertation, I offer what I observed to be a new way of discerning Reger's motivic relationships and formal structures within and between movements. There are 3 primary tools and methods I incorporated to make these observations. Schoenberg's developing variation, melodic contour analysis as discussed by Elizabeth West-Marvin and Diana Deutsch, and Janet Schmalfeldt's motivic cyclicism stemming from internal themes. In this dissertation I examine five different musical works by Reger: D minor Piano Quartet, Clarinet Quintet, Piano Concerto, String Quartet, op. 121 and E minor Piano Trio, op. 102. My analysis shows how Reger relies on melodic contours of his motives to connect musical moments across entire movements and entire works with multiple movements. These motives are developed and often mark structurally significant moments providing the organization often perceived as missing in Reger's music.

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  • August 2018

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  • Sept. 26, 2018, 6:16 p.m.

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McConnell, Sarah. Developing Variation and Melodic Contour Analysis: A New Look at the Music of Max Reger, dissertation, August 2018; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1248493/: accessed December 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .