Volume 11, Number 4, October 2005
Copyright © 2005 Society for Music Theory

New Dissertations


Gonzales, Cynthia I. "Text-Music Relationships in the Early Songs of Arnold Schoenberg." Harvard University, October 2005.

AUTHOR: Gonzales, Cynthia I.

TITLE: Text-Music Relationships in the Early Songs of Arnold Schoenberg

INSTITUTION: Harvard University

BEGUN: September 1993

COMPLETED: October 2005

ABSTRACT: I engage the music analytical methodology of Heinrich Schenker (1865-1935) to provide detailed readings of the initial three songs from Arnold Schoenberg's opus 6 scored for voice and piano: "Traumleben," "Alles," and "Mädchenlied." Schenkerian analysis reveals the tonal syntax in these songs, and the analyses inform my exploration of the relationships between musical structures and poetic ideas.

Chapter One highlights the relevant research about Schoenberg's early songs and explains my application of Schenkerian analysis, as well as my approach to proposing text-music relationships. Chapter Two contains generalizations about the complex foreground organization in Schoenberg’s opera 2, 3, and 6. I summarize the linear and vertical surface-level features that obfuscate the inherent tonal structures in this repertoire.

Chromaticism permeates all structural levels. Even though "Alles" maintains the traditional tonic-dominant axis, the fundamental line invokes modal mixture in its descent. The presence of scale degree flat-3 in a major-mode song depicts a harsh reality that contrasts with the idealistic protagonist who desires to see all the starts. The fundamental line of "Mädchenlied" engages chromaticism as scale degree flat-2 and the Neapolitan displace diatonic scale degree 2 and the supertonic. The musical substitution depicts a substitution described in the narrative text. "Traumleben" explores the plagal domain. A conflict between dominant and sub-dominant region harmonies depicts the protagonist's struggle. As the protagonist grows less able to resolve the contest between his manifest thoughts expressed by his words and his latent feelings expressed by his actions, the tonic-dominant axis yields to the plagal realm.

Chapter Five considers two implications of the detailed analyses in Chapters Three and Four. One explores a Schenkerian approach to "Lockung," op. 6, no. 7: the foreground analysis does not yield a viable middleground or background. The other views how Schoenberg's use of non-chord members looks forward to the "emancipation of the dissonance."

KEYWORDS: Traumleben, Alles, Mädchenlied, Lockung, opus 6, Schenkerian analysis, text-music relationships

Chapter One: Prelude
Chapter Two: Foreground Organization
Chapter Three: "Alles"
Chapter Four: "Mädchenlied" and "Traumleben"
Chapter Five: Postlude

Cynthia I. Gonzales
PO Box 1480
San Marcos, TX 78667 
(512) 245 2018

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Martens, Peter A. "Beat-Finding, Listener Strategies, and Musical Meter." University of Chicago, June 2005.

AUTHOR: Martens, Peter A.

TITLE: Beat-Finding, Listener Strategies, and Musical Meter

INSTITUTION: University of Chicago

BEGUN: September 2001

COMPLETED: June 2005

ABSTRACT: In this dissertation I investigate the common but complex process of finding a beat in music. My approach combines familiar models of meter from music theory with experimental psychology. I accept the view of meter as a multi-layered hierarchy of beats in which the individual layers (beats) are related by simple integer ratios (1:2 or 1:3). My initial aim was to test an established tenet of meter perception, that an individual's tempo preferences will dictate which beat layer in a meter will be felt as primary, or as the tactus of a piece. I conducted two empirical studies that gathered average listeners' beat-finding responses to excerpts of real music through an accepted tapping paradigm.

The results of these experiments showed that tempo is only part of the story. To better account for participants? beat-finding strategies, I develop a tripartite view of "the listener" based on the initial beat-finding behaviors observed in the experiments, behaviors that are definable in terms of the music's metric structure itself. I propose an explicit, but pluralistic, model of this initial stage of experiencing meter, a model that distributes the responsibility for this experience to the three parties involved: listeners, performers, and composers.Having established a baseline of variability in listener responses, I next explore the degree of control that composers and performers can exercise over those responses. I outline several combinations of metric structure and tempo that can increase or decrease the uniformity of listener responses, and also demonstrate the "priming: effect that a previous metrical context can have on beat-finding behavior.

KEYWORDS: Meter, beat, rhythm, tactus, pulse, perception, cognition, tapping


Peter Martens
3203 21st St.
Lubbock, TX 79410
voice and fax: 806-788-1220

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Prepared by Brent Yorgason, Managing Editor
Updated 13 October 2005