Dissertation Index

Author: Rabinovitch, Gilad

Title: Tracing Galant Threads: Gjerdingen\'s Schemata and the Evolution of Musical Form, 1730-1780

Institution: Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester

Begun: September 2014

Completed: July 2015


My dissertation offers a new view of Gjerdingen’s (1988, 2007) galant schemata in relation to formalized pitch reduction (Lerdahl and Jackendoff 1983) and recent theories of musical form (Caplin 1998, Hepokoski and Darcy 2006). In Chapter 1, I examine the connections between Gjerdingen’s schemata and the Rule of the Octave. I discuss principles for the generation of grammatical soprano skeletal strings in response to input from the Rule of the Octave. I argue that certain well-formed strings are absent from Gjerdingen’s schemata and the galant style due to top-down syntactic constraints that relate them to Caplin’s (1998) formal function. While this reconstruction may suggest that the schemata are a fallout of underlying generative principles, segmentation and surface groupings support the schemata and their boundaries.

In Chapter 2, I formalize one aspect of pitch reduction based on the stylistic knowledge encapsulated in the schemata. I show that a limited set of contrapuntal and metric rules approximates the workings of the schemata in the task of finding the “head of a time span” (Lerdahl and Jackendoff 1983). This partially circumvents the problems of subjectivity and circularity in pattern recognition and categorization that loom over Gjerdingen’s empirically-driven project.

In Chapter 3, I consider the global organization of the schemata within the syntax of musical form. I analyze forty seven randomly sampled first halves of two-reprise movements (from Adas 1991) and show statistically significant correlations between schemata and two formal regions: the pre-proto-MC and post-proto-MC regions within the first half of a two-reprise form. This suggests a global organization of the schemata, beyond the cadential articulations stressed by Hepokoski and Darcy (2006) and Byros (2014). Chapter 4 is an analytical application to three g-minor symphonies by Haydn and Mozart, Hob. I: 39, K. 183, and K. 550.

Keywords: Schema theory, eighteenth-century music, galant style, high-classical style, musical form, pitch reduction.


Chapter 1: The Generative Aspect of the Schemata, or -- Gjerdingen\'s Galant Schemata, the Rule of the Octave, Invertible Counterpoint, and Formal Function Re-Examined.

Chapter 2: Towards an Algorithmic Approach to Galant Pitch Reduction

Chapter 3: Gjerdingen\'s Schemata and the Formal Syntax of the (Proto-)Sonata Exposition

Chapter 4: From the \"Psychology of Convention\" to the \"Masterwork in Music\": Tracing a g-minor Thread in Three Symphonies by Haydn and Mozart



Date Listed: 09/26/2015

     Return to dissertations