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Non-Linear and Multi-Linear Time in Beethoven's Opus 127: An Analytical Study of the "Krakow" Sketch Materials

Description: Beethoven's complex manipulation of formal structures, especially his tendency to build important connections and transformative continuities between non-adjacent sections of musical works, may be seen to function as an attempt to control and sometimes to distort the listener's perception of both the narrative process of musical directionality, as well as the subjective interpretation of time itself. Temporal distortion often lies at the heart of Beethoven's complex contrapuntal language, demonstrated equally through the composer's often enigmatic disruption of phrase-periodic gestures, as well as by occasional instances of overtly incongruous temporal shifts. The "Krakow" collection of compositional sketches for Beethoven's String Quartet in E-Flat, Op. 127, provides a number of instances of "non-linear" or "multi-linear" musical continuity. The term "Krakow" sketches, when referenced in this dissertation, specifically designates the group of Beethoven manuscripts possessed by the Biblioteka Jagiellońska in Krakow, Poland, but which formerly were held by the Royal Library in Berlin. Structural voice-leading analyses are provided for selected portions of the "Krakow" collection; these analyses are then compared to voice-leading graphs and analytical reductions of the corresponding material from Beethoven's published versions of the same musical passages. In some cases the sketches supply almost complete texts, for which critical transcriptions are included as extended examples within the dissertation. The primary analytical technique applied to both compositional sketches as well as to complete musical texts derives from Heinrich Schenker's theory of structural voice-leading and graphical reduction. An important method of critical assessment, from which a number of theoretical arguments are developed, is the contention that Beethoven's contrapuntal language, at least in regard to the op. 127 String Quartet, relies heavily upon a temporal distortion of both form and phrase-periodic gestures, requiring the listener to actively re-construct the continuity of Beethoven's subjective formal archetypes.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Lively, Michael
Partner: UNT Libraries