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Title: Towards a theory of nineteenth-century tonality
Author: Horton, J.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1998
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Abstract:
This thesis pursues three successive and related areas of research. First, it undertakes a critique of Schoenberg's interpretation of nineteenth-century tonality, and explores the reception history of these ideas and their relationship with other prominent theoretical models, notably that of Heinrich Schenker. Second, it suggests an analytical theory of nineteenth-century tonality which proceeds from the conclusions of this critique. Lastly, it applies this model in the analysis of an extended work from the period: Bruckner's Eighth Symphony. The initial critique seeks to show that Schoenberg's model of tonality in decline is predicated on a self-justifying argument; the necessity of atonality is not an immanent property of nineteenth-century tonality, but is imposed upon the music by Schoenberg's own theoretical discourse. Schenkerian theory associates with this position in a negative sense; the aspects of this music which Schoenberg perceived to be the precursor of atonality are taken by Schenker as evidence of the decline of the musical art. The error in both interpretations is the assumption that a stable system of tonality must of necessity be founded on a fundamental diatonicism. The suggestions of an alternative model starts with an exploration of the properties of a tonal system arising from a fundamental chromaticism. The taxonomies of modal and harmonic properties advanced in this regard by Gregory Proctor and Robert Bailey are extended, and distilled into four categories, being diatonicism and three identifiable modes of chromatic progression. The theoretical exposition then elaborates a quasi-reductive model, founded upon this taxonomy, which replaces the Schenkerian system with a dualistic theory. The foreground level is characterised by the grouping of material into localised units defined by the control of one or more of the categories of progression and possible modalities arising from the total chromatic. Such structures are defined as 'harmonic fields'. A segmental technique is advanced which facilitates the isolation of these structures. The notion of the Ursatz is then revised to accommodate mixtures of diatonic and non-diatonic tonal relationships, and purely chromatic tonal structures, and a taxonomy of background types is provided.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.604246  DOI: Not available
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