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Title: The identity, application and legacy of Paul Hindemith's theory of music
Author: Desbruslais, Simon Stephen
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis investigates the relationship between Hindemith’s music theory and his evolving compositional practice. It focuses on the first volume of his Unterweisung im Tonsatz (1937); both evaluating the very identity of the treatise and analysing how it may be applied to free composition. Above all, this work highlights the increased use of quartal pitch collections found in Hindemith’s Unterweisung-based compositions. Archival documents from the universities of Yale, Berlin, Buffalo, and the Frankfurt Hindemith Institute augment this process, and are used to revise our understanding of how Hindemith’s music theory originated, and how it relates to his practice and teaching. The dissertation begins by exploring the theoretical and intellectual climate of the Rundfunkversuchsstelle at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik within a critical commentary of Hindemith’s music theory. It then develops a new theoretical perspective of quartal pitch space, and atonal prolongation, to provide an analytical toolkit. The list of compositions in the Unterweisung appendix, which Hindemith felt most successfully demonstrated his theory in practice, structures the next three chapters. The Sonata for Solo Viola op. 25/1, a pre-Unterweisung composition, is followed by the Ludus Tonalis, which was published soon afterwards, which is investigated for its explicit theoretical connections. The third analytical chapter focuses on the Das Marienleben cycle as a work written before the Unterweisung, and subsequently revised with theoretical concerns. The final two chapters investigate the prominent decline in popularity experienced by Hindemith, both regarding his theory and compositions, from the 1950s. This is epitomised by a number of strongly-worded polemics published in The Music Review, much of which, it may be argued, is inaccurate or unduly critical. The thesis ends by constructing a Hindemith legacy based on a selection of archival documents and scores, together with a selection of trends in composition and music theory.
Supervisor: Clarke, Eric; Cross, Jonathan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Music ; 20th Century music ; 21st Century music ; Composition ; Film and concert music ; Instruments ; Music Theory ; Music Analysis ; Paul Hindemith ; Third Reich ; Schenkerian Analysis ; Set Theory