Dissertation Index

Author: Silberman, Peter S.

Title: Neighbor Spaces: A Theory of Harmonic Embellishment for Twentieth-Century Neotonal Music

Institution: Eastman School of Music

Begun: July 2001

Completed: May 2006


This dissertation introduces the neighbor space, a model of voice-leading and harmonic embellishment developed for analyzing twentieth-century neotonal music (for example, works by Bartok, Hindemith, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and others). The neighbor space consists of descriptive terms for four features of embellishment by neighboring motion: the space in which that motion occurs (pitch or pitch-class); the scale from which embellished and embellishing harmonies are made; the distance, in steps in that scale, within which a note can be a neighbor to another note; and the set-class of the embellished harmony.

Chapter One investigates the problem of distinguishing stable from unstable harmonies in order to determine which of two adjacent harmonies might embellish which. I identify four phenomena that help determine stability: relative consonance, location, salience, and mimicry of aspects of common-practice tonality. I then develop guidelines for mediating conflicts between the stability-creating phenomena.

Chapter Two develops the neighbor space and presents two properties of neighbor spaces. A neighbor space has the harmony/voice-leading distinction property if the intervals by which its neighbor notes move to their resolutions are not in the harmony those notes embellish. The collectional completeness property refers to neighbor spaces in which the embellished sonority and all of its potential neighbor notes make a complete scalar collection.

Chapter Three presents analyses of works by Barber, Bartok, Milhaud, and Poulenc. The chapter also introduces two extensions of the neighbor space methodology. Harmonic tension is a measurement of the attraction of a neighbor chord to its resolution, based on voice-leading distance. Stratified neighbor spaces occur when two or more simultaneous neighbor spaces are separated by register, dividing a passage into independently embellished streams.

Keywords: embellishment, neighbor note, voice-leading, harmony, neotonal music, post-tonal music, Barber, Bartok, Milhaud, Poulenc


Chapter One: Introduction; Harmonic Stability and Instability in Neotonal Music

1.1 Introduction
1.2 Harmonic Stability and Instability in Neotonal Music
1.3 Stability Conditions in Conflict
1.4 Salience
1.5 A Sample Analysis - Hindemith, Sonata for Viola and Piano, op. 11, no. 4, second movement

Chapter Two: Neighbor Spaces and Related Concepts

2.1 Characteristics of Neighboring Motion
2.2 An Analytical Description of Neighboring Motion: The Neighbor Space
2.3 Neighbor Space Realizations
2.4 Three Types of Neighbors
2.5 Two Properties of Neighbor Spaces
2.6 Examples of Neighbor Spaces fromm the Theoretical Literature

Chapter Three: Analyses

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Graphic Notation
3.3 Bartok, "Melody in the Mist," no. 107 from Mikrokosmos
3.4 Poulenc, Elegie for Horn and Piano
3.5 Barber, Ballade, op. 46, mm. 1 - 32
3.6 Stratified Neighbor Spaces
3.7 Milhaud, Saudades do Brazil

Summary and Future Directions

Appendix: Glossary of New Terms


Department of Music
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627-0052
phone: (585) 275-9397
fax: (585) 273-5337
email: ps005e@mail.rochester.edu

Date Listed: 07/06/2006

     Return to dissertations