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An Application of Grundgestalt Theory in the Late Chromatic Music of Chopin: a Study of his Last Three Polonaises

Description: The late chromatic music of Chopin is often difficult to analyze, particularly with a system of Roman numerals. The study examines Schoenberg's Grundgestalt concept as a strategy for explaining Chopin's chromatic musical style. Two short Chopin works, Nocturne in E-flat major. Op. 9, No. 2, and Etude in E major, Op. 10, No. 3, serve as models in which the analytic method is formulated. Root analysis, in the manner of eighteenth-century theorist Simon Sechter, is utilized to facilitate harmonic analysis of chromatic passages. Based upon the analytic method developed, the study analyzes the last three polonaises of Chopin: Polonaise in F-sharp minor, Op. 44, Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53, and Polonaise-Fantasie in A-flat major, Op. 61. The Grundgestalt-based analysis shows harmonic, melodic and rhythmic connections in order to view Chopin's chromaticism and formal structure from a new perspective. With this approach, the chromaticism is viewed as essential to the larger form.
Date: December 1994
Creator: Spicer, Mark Joseph
Partner: UNT Libraries