Dissertation Index

Author: Powles, Jonathan C.

Title: Continuity and Discontinuity in the Music of Stravinsky: Analysis, Theory and Meta-Theory

Institution: University of Oxford

Begun: October 1989

Completed: March 1995


Taking as a starting premise the assertion by many analysts and observers that the music of Stravinsky displays a consistency of "sound" throughout the many styles and genres in which the composer worked, this dissertation undertakes an examination of the site of such consistency. Analyses by Van den Toorn, Straus, Cone, Kramer and others, as well as various extant theories for the description of pitch and rhythmic structure, are considered from this perspective. The dissertation argues that none of these theories or anayses can provide a description of this consistency of "sound": in fact, it is the music's actual resistance to complete theoretic apprehension, or singular interpretation or hearing, which is characteristic. In this light, a number of analytic topics or themes are defined, each describing a typical means through which formal or autonomous musical process is subverted arbitrarily. A list of the themes defined includes interruption, stratification, mosaic, anachronism and apotheosis. Each is discussed with reference to aspects of pitch, rhythm and texture in works spanning the period 1910-1966.

Through this meta-theoretic approach, a metaphor is constructed of the role of the "composer" as imagined by listener or analyst within the music, so as to circumscribe Stravinsky's compositional "signature". Stravinsky is postulated as both the composer - the initiator of autonomous or organic process - and recomposer - the subverter of such process - in an opposition which informs each of the analytic themes considered.


1-Themes and Speculations 2-Lines and Unities (I):Rhythm 3-Lines and Unities (II): Pitch 4-Punctuations and Interruptions 5-Strata and Layers 6-Mosaic and Interlock 7-Anachronisms (I) 8-Anachronisms (II) 9-Apotheosis and Synthesis


Jonathan Powles, Department of Music, Liverpool Institute of Higher Education, Liverpool L16 8ND, UNITED KINGDOM. Phone 0151 737 3457, Fax 0151 737 3170, email 100632.277@compuserve.com

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