Type of Document Dissertation Author Sarver, Sarah K. URN etd-07312010-144246 Title Embedded and Parenthetical Chromaticism: A Study of Their Structural and Dramatic Implications in Selected Works by Richard Strauss Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Music, College of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Joseph Kraus Committee Co-Chair Michael Buchler Committee Co-Chair Evan Jones Committee Member Matthew Shaftel Committee Member Douglass Seaton University Representative Keywords
- Voice Leading
Date of Defense 2010-07-01 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis dissertation includes an exploration of the ways in which various chromatic excursions interact with structural (i.e., prolongational) processes in selected works by Richard Strauss. I classify certain kinds of chromatic passages into two broad categories: embedded chromaticism and parenthetical chromaticism. Episodes containing embedded chromaticism participate in prolongational processes at various structural levels, including the foreground and deep middleground. By way of contrast, surface-level chromaticism that counters or challenges a locally governing diatonic framework is described as parenthetical. Although these parenthetical regions create strong disturbances within events occurring close to the musical surface, the binding diatonic background remains intact. Like parentheses in prose, these musical parentheses temporarily disrupt an otherwise continuous idea. In music, these rhetorically marked passages are structurally separated from the music that frames them, and the aural effect of these interjections is indeed disconcerting.
The first chapter of this dissertation includes a thorough review of literature concerning the analysis of chromatic tonal music from the late- and post-Romantic eras, focusing on the various theories that attempt to define the boundaries of tonality as well as those that address the limitations of certain commonly used methodological approaches. Since a primary aim of this dissertation is to consider the structural ramifications of highly chromatic passages in Strauss’s music (i.e., their impact on prolongational processes), the literature review in Chapter 1 concentrates on theories of prolongation that embrace a Schenkerian perspective of tonal structure, including those that expand upon his pivotal work.
The final portion of Chapter 1 considers theories involving musical interpolations. Theorists since at least the late eighteenth century have used the terms “interpolation” and “parenthesis” interchangeably in order to describe vastly different types of musical interjections, including those that function as phrase expansions, as tonal digressions that interrupt normative tonal syntax, and as formal devices (insertions that affect the overall formal structure of the composition). Of particular interest to the current project are Kofi Agawu’s descriptions of chromatic passages in Mahler’s and Strauss’s music as structurally parenthetical. I deconstruct the major tenets of Agawu’s analyses before presenting a formal introduction to the concepts of embedded and parenthetical chromaticism.
Chapter 2 focuses on the structural implications of selected chromatic episodes found in various works by Richard Strauss. The analytical investigation centers on some of the ways in which embedded and parenthetical chromaticism can operate within a fundamentally diatonic framework. The examples of embedded chromaticism presented in Chapter 2 range from simple uses of mixture and tonicization to more complicated and extravagant chromatic techniques. The discussion of parenthetical chromaticism concentrates on two particular kinds of interjections. The first involves striking departures from musical expectation that challenge the unity afforded by the underlying diatonic structure. In these cases, the parentheses may suggest a competing tonal center that strongly contradicts the locally governing tonic. The second chromatic parenthesis features complex dissonances that occur within the context of consonant triadic sonorities.
The examples featured in Chapter 2 range from pieces written for voice with piano accompaniment to works of grander proportions, including examples from an orchestrated Lied, an orchestral tone poem, and operas. These selections span sixty years of Strauss’s compositional output, with compositions ranging in dates from the late 1880s (Don Juan, Op. 20, written in 1888) to the late 1940s (“September,” written in 1948).
Chapters 3 and 4 of this dissertation explore the structural and dramatic implications of these chromatic phenomena, concentrating particularly on the ways in which Strauss marks passages with chromaticism in two songs from his Brentano Lieder, Op. 68—“Säusle, liebe Myrthe” and “Amor” (Nos. 3 and 5). In so doing, I describe how embedded and parenthetical chromaticism interact with surrounding musical material and how these chromatic events can inform both the musical and dramatic unfolding of each song. Since these chapters concentrate on two texted works, the analytical discussions are prefaced with a brief survey of some issues concerning text-music relationships. In the final chapter of this dissertation, I propose some potential extensions to the ideas introduced in Chapters 1 and 2.
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