Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Music, timbre, colour in fin-de-Siècle Vienna : Zemlinsky, Schreker, Schoenberg
Author: Clayden, Mark John
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 4591
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
Timbre and orchestration are neglected parameters in analytical writing, partly because analysis traditionally privileges pitch organisation as the primary structural parameter in music, but also because timbre appears more resistant than pitch to theoretical abstraction and systematisation. Yet, in the music of early twentieth-century Viennese composers such as Schreker, Zemlinsky and Schoenberg, timbre often assumes a pre-eminent place in musical design and formal architecture. In such works, timbre often moves from what Robert Hopkins (1990) describes as a 'secondary parameter' to the forefront of a listener's consciousness. Conventional analytical approaches - including Schenkerian, Neo-Riemannian or pitch-class set theories - arguably have little to offer at such moments. This thesis begins by examining the 'crisis of response' to timbre in fin-de-siècle Austro-Germanic circles and, in particular, to the increasingly complex timbral constructions of many Viennese composers, such as Franz Schreker and Arnold Schoenberg. The crisis of response appeared to stem from an inherited nineteenth-century view of orchestration as ornamental in function, as well as the lack of an appropriate analytical framework and meta-language with which to critique the growing importance of timbre as a musical parameter. This thesis contributes to the discussion as to the how the area of timbral analysis might develop: firstly, by treating timbre as an 'emergent' property rather than an absolute analytical category (i.e., that timbre often results from a complex interaction of multiple musical parameters); secondly, by considering the effect of timbre's spatial properties within the auditory scene on subject-position through examination of contemporary and more recent theories on the convergence of the visual and auditory arts; and thirdly, through timbre's ability to function as an agent of immanent musical critique through disjunctive juxtapositions, or by historically-contextualized responses to codified orchestral tropes as found in Alexander Zemlinsky's 'Der Zwerg'. Timbre certainly was not always the secondary parameter some fin-de-siècle critics suggested it was, or wanted it to be. The joint purpose of this thesis is to offer historically-engaged analytical readings of neglected works from twentieth-century Vienna (alongside a few better-known works whose timbral construction had been left unanalyzed), and to reflect on the benefits of applying recent research to contemporary theories of timbre. These two aims are set in productive counterpoint rather than a straightforward synthesis, with the adoption of recent cognitive research and theories of subject-position feeding into analyses of historical work in order to try to mediate the gap between theory, text, and musical practice.
Supervisor: Grimley, Daniel Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Music--Austria--Vienna--19th century--History and criticism ; Music--Austria--Vienna--20th century--History and criticism ; Composers--Austria--Vienna ; Tone color (Music)