Toward a Descriptive Eidetics of Atonality: a Phenomenological Analysis of Webern Op 3, No 1

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David Lewin, in his 1986 article “Music Theory, Phenomenology, and Modes of Perception,” offers a promising methodological approach for the analysis of tonal music from a phenomenological perspective. Lewin’s phenomenological method has a propensity to render seemingly contradictory readings in such a way that their respective validities can be preserved by articulating them within differentiated contexts. Expanding upon Lewin’s phenomenological work with analyzing tonal music, I propose that a phenomenological investigation of an atonal song, Webern op. 3, no. 1, from within a variety of differentiated contexts can shed light upon what it means to perceive a piece of music ... continued below

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Schnitzius, Michael P. August 2012.

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  • Schnitzius, Michael P.

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David Lewin, in his 1986 article “Music Theory, Phenomenology, and Modes of Perception,” offers a promising methodological approach for the analysis of tonal music from a phenomenological perspective. Lewin’s phenomenological method has a propensity to render seemingly contradictory readings in such a way that their respective validities can be preserved by articulating them within differentiated contexts. Expanding upon Lewin’s phenomenological work with analyzing tonal music, I propose that a phenomenological investigation of an atonal song, Webern op. 3, no. 1, from within a variety of differentiated contexts can shed light upon what it means to perceive a piece of music as being “not in a key.” This thesis will open with an introduction to Lewin’s phenomenological work and the writings of Edmund Husserl and Izchak Miller that Lewin used as a point of departure. The analysis of Webern op. 3, no. 1, that follows will regard the voice and piano parts as differentiated musical contexts in order to investigate the interaction between these contexts as they generally undermine the perception of tonality in the song. Finally, the notion of a “musical context” as an organizing factor of musical perception will be expanded to include the different analytical approaches of Olli Väisälä and Elmar Budde as they interact to reveal contrasting aspects of the song’s multivalent structure.

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  • August 2012

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  • March 4, 2013, 2:02 p.m.

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  • Nov. 16, 2016, 3:46 p.m.

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Schnitzius, Michael P. Toward a Descriptive Eidetics of Atonality: a Phenomenological Analysis of Webern Op 3, No 1, thesis, August 2012; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149660/: accessed August 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .