Dissertation Index

Author: Reddick, Carissa A

Title: Formal Fusion and Rotational Overlap in Sonata Forms from the Chamber Music of Brahms, Dvořák, Franck, and Grieg

Institution: University of Connecticut

Begun: January 2007

Completed: November 2009


While many well-known studies of classical sonata form discuss trends shared by several composers in the same era, studies of sonata form after Schubert tend to focus on the works of individual composers. Using genres of non-programmatic sonatas and chamber music, this dissertation will examine sonata procedures common to Brahms, Dvořák, Franck, and Grieg. Trends in sonata procedure in this repertory fall into two broad categories: expansion of formal areas beyond the eighteenth-century norms, and the exploration of schematic, often symmetrically conceived, tonal designs, both within sections and across entire movements. Both trends tend to result in formal fusion, which occurs when a single section of music simultaneously fulfills more than one formal function. The expansion of thematic areas in sonata expositions infuses those sections with functions traditionally associated with different formal areas, often thwarting listeners’ expectations. These expanded areas are frequently treated differently in a “developmental” recapitulation that either confirms or contradicts the infused functions. These four composers used alternative key schemes in sonata-form expositions far more frequently than composers active in the classical era, and these schemes often initiate a pattern that continues through the development or the entire movement. Such schematic tonal designs cross the boundaries between the main formal divisions, or thematic rotations (exposition, development, recapitulation, and coda), creating rotational overlap. The most common types of large-scale fusion and rotational overlap in these works are the off-tonic recapitulation, the “developmental” recapitulation, tonal closure pushed into the coda section, and schematic tonal designs spanning two or more thematic rotations.

Keywords: sonata form, form, nineteenth-century form, chamber music, Brahms, Dvořák, Franck, Grieg


Chapter 1: Introduction, Sources, and Methodology
•Approaches to Nineteenth-Century Sonata Form
•Formal Fusion and Rotational Overlap
•Theoretical Sources and Theories of Sonata Form
•Methodology and Chapter Summary

Chapter 2: Exposition and Recapitulation Part 1 (P + TR)
•Fusion Within Expanded Primary Themes
•Fusion of Transition and Retransition Function Within P
(TR→P, RT→P)
•Fusion of Introduction and Development Function Within P
(I→P, D→P)
•Fusion of Recapitulation and Development Functions
Within TR (Recap→TR, D→TR)
•Fusion of Primary Theme Function Within TR (P→TR)
•Transition Rhetoric Reversal
•Recapitulation Strategies
•Fusion Removed: Abbreviation of Part 1
•Fulfillment of “Misplaced” Function
•Fusion of Development and Recapitulation of Part 1
•Development—Recapitulation Rotational Overlap
(RT→Recap,I→RT Fusion)

Chapter 3: Exposition and Recapitulation Part 2 (S + C)
•Alternative Key Schemes and Rotational Overlap
•Rotational Overlap in Two-Key Expositions
•Rotational Overlap in Alternative Three-Key Expositions
•Fusion Within Expanded Subordinate and Closing Themes
•Fusion of Development Function Within S (D→S)
•Fusion of Transition Function Within S (TR→S)
•Fusion Within Trimodular Blocks and Three-Key
•Fusion of Subordinate Theme Function Within C (S→C)
•Recapitulation Strategies
•Key Choice and the Sonata Principle
•Rotational Overlap of Recapitulation and Coda

Chapter 4: Development Division
•Thematic Ordering and Development Function
•Fully-Rotational and Multiply-Rotational Development
•Half-Rotational and Nonrotational Development Divisions
•Absent Development Divisions: Expanded Type 1 Sonatas
•Artificial Key Schemes
•Cyclical Schemes
•Schematic Designs

Chapter 5: Fusion and Rotational Overlap Across Whole Movements
•Artificial Schemes, Rotational Overlap, and Schenkerian
•Grieg Cello Sonata in A Minor, Op. 36/i (1883)
•Brahms String Quintet in F Major, Op. 88/i (1882)
•Dvořák Piano Quartet in Eb Major, Op. 87/i (1889)
•Franck Violin Sonata in A Major (1886)

Appendix 1: Table of Salient Features
Appendix 2: Scores


Univ of Northern Colorado, School of Music
Frasier Hall 108, Campus Box 28
Greeley, CO 80639

Date Listed: 07/01/2010

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