The Lessons of Arnold Schoenberg in Teaching the Musikalische Gedanke

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Arnold Schoenberg's teaching career spanned over fifty years and included experiences in Austria, Germany, and the United States. Schoenberg's teaching assistant, Leonard Stein, transcribed Schoenberg's class lectures at UCLA from 1936 to 1944. Most of these notes resulted in publications that provide pedagogical examples of combined elements from Schoenberg's European years of teaching with his years of teaching in America. There are also class notes from Schoenberg's later lectures that have gone unexamined. These notes contain substantial examples of Schoenberg's later theories with analyses of masterworks that have never been published. Both the class notes and the subsequent publications reveal ... continued below

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Conlon, Colleen Marie May 2009.

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  • Conlon, Colleen Marie

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Arnold Schoenberg's teaching career spanned over fifty years and included experiences in Austria, Germany, and the United States. Schoenberg's teaching assistant, Leonard Stein, transcribed Schoenberg's class lectures at UCLA from 1936 to 1944. Most of these notes resulted in publications that provide pedagogical examples of combined elements from Schoenberg's European years of teaching with his years of teaching in America. There are also class notes from Schoenberg's later lectures that have gone unexamined. These notes contain substantial examples of Schoenberg's later theories with analyses of masterworks that have never been published. Both the class notes and the subsequent publications reveal Schoenberg's comprehensive approach to understanding the presentation of the Gedanke or musical idea. In his later classes especially, Schoenberg demonstrated a method of analyzing musical compositions using illustrations of elements of the Grundgestalt or "basic shape," which contains the technical aspects of the musical parts. Through an examination of his published and unpublished manuscripts, this study will demonstrate Schoenberg's commitment to a comprehensive approach to teaching. Schoenberg's heritage of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century music theory is evident in his Harmonielehre and in his other European writings. The latter include Zusammenhang, Kontrapunkt, Instrumentation, Formenlehre (ZKIF), and Der musikalische Gedanke und die Logik, Technik, und Kunst seiner Darstellung (the Gedanke manuscripts), written over the course of several years from the 1920s to the early 1930s. After emigrating to the United States in 1933, Schoenberg immediately began teaching and writing in an attempt to arrive at a comprehensive approach to his pedagogy. The remainder of Schoenberg's textbook publications, with the exception of Models for Beginners in Composition, were left unfinished, were edited primarily by Leonard Stein and published after Schoenberg's death in 1951. Preliminary Exercises in Counterpoint, Fundamentals of Musical Composition, and Structural Functions of Harmony complete his ouevre of theory publications. An examination of the Stein notes offers contributing evidence to Schoenberg's lifelong pursuit to find a comprehensive approach for teaching an understanding of the musikalische Gedanke. With the addition of an analysis of the first movement of Mozart's G minor Symphony, K. 550, which Schoenberg used often to illustrate examples of basic concepts as liquidation, transition, neutralization in the minor key, the role of the subordinate theme, retransitions, codettas, melodic and harmonic overlapping, and motivic analysis, this study focuses on Schoenberg's comprehensive approach to both analyzing the musical work and teaching methods of composing.

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  • May 2009

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  • Sept. 23, 2009, 2:51 p.m.

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  • Jan. 15, 2014, 2:15 p.m.

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Conlon, Colleen Marie. The Lessons of Arnold Schoenberg in Teaching the Musikalische Gedanke, dissertation, May 2009; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9855/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .