Dissertation Index

Author: Rosenhaus, Steven L.

Title: Harmonic Motion in George Perle's Wind Quintet No.4

Institution: New York University

Completed: May 1995


The focus of this study is to extrapolate the general principles of George Perle's system of twelve-tone tonality from Perle's writings, and from those of T. Patrick Carrabre, and to demonstrate the compositional operation of this system through an analysis of Perle's Wind Quintet No.4. The overall objective is to provide interested composers, theorists, and observers with a means to understanding Perle's system and its compositional applications.

The general principles of the system are distilled from Perle's writings on the subject--primarily his books "Twelve-Tone Tonality" and "The Listening Composer"--and Carrabre's dissertation "Twelve-Tone Tonality and the Music of George Perle." From these principles small- and large-scale harmonic relationships of the system are determined, including chord construction, voice leading, harmonic movement, and harmonic hierarchy. The governing principles and relationships are demonstrated with excerpts from available twelve-tone tonal literature and then adapted for analytical use.

The Wind Quintet No.4 is then examined for its prominent harmonic features and large-scale structural significance. Attention is paid to what Perle calls "tonality" (the level of centricity generated by symmetry) and "synoptic" relationships (based on the intervals which generate "cyclic sets" in the system). Analysis is done through an eclectic approach based on the system itself and through Schenkerian-style reductive graphs.

The best methods for understanding such a complex system as twelve-tone tonality are analysis and composition. To that end the researcher has included the score to his Violin Concerto (1994) as an Appendix to the study.

Keywords: Twelve-tone, tonality, atonality, twelve-tone harmony, interval cycles, cyclic sets, arrays, symmetry


Acknowledgments; List of Musical and Theoretical Examples; List of Tables; List of Figures; Chapter I, Introduction; Chapter II, An Overview of George Perle's System of Twelve-Tone Tonality; Chapter III, Larger Relationships in Twelve-Tone Tonality; Chapter IV, Harmonic Motion in George Perle's Wind Quintet No.4; Chapter V, Conclusion; Bibliography; Appendix A, Glossary; Appendix B, Violin Concerto (1994)


Steven L. Rosenhaus; P.O.Box 670218; Flushing, NY 11367. Telephone number (home) is: (718) 591-7943. E-mail: Rosenhss@ACFcluster.nyu.edu

     Return to dissertations