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Scriabin: A New Theory of Harmony and Structure

Description: The thesis speculates upon the source of Scriabin's pitch selection in several of his atonal works, concluding that Scriabin's "principle" stems from his own "mystic chord," its inversion at the major third, and the transposition of these two chords at the tritone. These four chords share the same invariant harmonic basis, Scriabin's characteristic French-sixth sonority. The quartet of chords combine to form two nine-note scales, each containing as a subset the octatonic scale. The thesis demonstrates how Scriabin composed his works in harmonic blocks, utilizing only the notes from these scales. The thesis traces Scriabin's atonal style back to his tonal period. His fascination with tritone adjacencies and relationships is discussed, and serves to support the theory. Other harmonic and linear theories are discussed. Also, the thesis shows how Scriabin used these scales structurally in his works.
Date: December 1991
Creator: McVay, Michael (Michael Jones)