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Title:Tonal and Formal Structure in Selected Larger Works of Chopin
Author(s):Yadeau, William Ronald
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:The dissertation named is a Schenkerian investigation of the tonal unfolding, formal subdivision, and performance interpretation of three large Chopin solo works: the Ballade Op. 38, the Fantaisie Op. 49, and the Polonaise-Fantaisie Op. 61, each of which is characterized by rather unusual tonal and/or formal structures. Analysis of Chopin's larger works according to Schenker's theories has been heretofore largely unattempted. Selected smaller works have been discussed by Franz Eibner and by Schenker himself, but of the larger works only the Ballade Op. 23 and the Scherzo Op. 31 have been so investigated. Moreover, previous analyses have dealt principally with the unfolding of each work's tonal structure; formal structure has not been discussed except in small contexts, and specific interpretive implications have rarely been explored. Hugo Leichtentritt's rigorous analysis of all of Chopin's works is based on a chord-by-chord method of analysis; he does discuss formal as well as tonal structure, but does not concern himself with interpretation.
Chopin's musical and compositional training was essentially in the same practice in which the great eighteenth century composers were trained. In this practice tonality was unquestioned, and a work's harmonic and melodic material was considered to be the product of contrapuntal voiceleading. Moreover, performance and composition were closely related to music theory in this practice; improvisation constituted a spontaneous form of composition, just as written examples manifested a more deliberate form. Schenker's theories are based on the presuppositions of this eighteenth century practice, and are thus especially appropriate for the analysis of Chopin's music. Because Schenkerian analysis theoretically recreates the compositional unfolding of a musical work in terms of contrapuntal voice-leading, insights can be afforded as to how each work might have been composed and how it might be interpreted. Such insights are often overlooked or not achieved in the use of chord-by-chord analytical methods.
In this dissertation the implications of Schenker's theories have been extended to the study of formal structure through examination of the type and degree of formal subdivision which is generated by significant events within a work's tonal movement. For example, the successful completion of an Urlinie-like melodic descent generates a greater or lesser degree of tonal repose, whereas the truncation or diversion of such a descent--when its completion has appeared imminent--generates a repetition or extension of formal (as well as tonal) structure. Such examination explains the generation of commonly occurring formal types (e.g. sonata or rondo), but is even more valuable in analyzing and interpreting unique formal structures.
Suggestions for the interpretation of each work in performance are developed from the analysis of that work's tonal and formal structures. Such suggestions include consideration of the work's overall shape, points of structural-emotional tension and release at various analytical levels, and the highlighting of certain proportional aspects of the work's tonal and formal structures. In addition, divergent textual readings found in present-day authoritative editions of these works are examined and compared in the light of the analyses of the tonal and formal structures of these works.
Issue Date:1980
Description:217 p.
Thesis (D.M.A.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8026622
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-14
Date Deposited:1980

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