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Op. 34: Evidence of Arnold Schoenberg's Musikalische Gedanke

Description: Composition for Arnold Schoenberg is a comprehensible presentation of a musical idea (musikalische Gedanke); the totality of a piece represents the idea. For tonal works, he defines Gedanke as a process of resolving the "tonal relation" or "tonal problem." Contrary to the numerous tonal examples illustrating the notion of Gedanke, Schoenberg hardly expounds on the Gedanke principle for his atonal and twelve-tone repertoires. This study reevaluates Schoenberg's compositional philosophy and aesthetics including Gedanke, comprehensibility, Grundgestalt, and developing variation in light of his compositional practices in Begleitungsmusik zu einer Lichtspielszene, Op. 34. Although Schoenberg denies the existence of a tonal problem and hierarchy among pitches in twelve-tone compositions, the registral placement found in Op. 34 indicates certain functionality assigned to each pitch-class, producing a sense of "departure and return." The approach here elucidates the "idea" of Op. 34, in which the large-scale formal organization unfolds through contextually emphasized tonal relations. This study also explores Schoenberg's concept of the multi-dimensional presentation of a musical idea. Even though Schoenberg's discussion of musical coherence is usually limited to the immediate musical surface, I believe that he was also aware of an extended realization of foreground motives in the sense of Heinrich Schenker's "concealed motivic repetition." This analysis of Op. 34 demonstrates how the enlargement of a surface motive facilitates an understanding of the relation between the parts and the whole, which is perceived as the totality of Gedanke.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Fukuchi, Hidetoshi
Partner: UNT Libraries

Sibelius's Seventh Symphony: Genesis, Design, Structure, and Meaning

Description: This study explores Sibelius's last and, perhaps, most enigmatic Symphony from historical (source-critical), Schenkerian, and transtextual perspectives. Through a detailed study of its genesis, musical architecture, and meaning, the author maintains that the Seventh, its composer, and its generative process, can best be understood as a series of verges: conceptual points of interaction between two or more forces. Verges between Sibelius's nature mysticism and the dramatic biographical circumstances of the period (1914-1924), between inspired and reasoned modes of composition, between genres (symphony and fantasy), between various form types, between tragic despair and hopeful yearning, between innovation and classicism, and between a host of other seeming oppositions, all define the Seventh Symphony and illuminate various facets of the composer's life and thought.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Pavlak, F. William
Partner: UNT Libraries