MTO Dissertation Listings

Volume 3.2 1997


  1. Burkett, Lyn E. Counterpoint as a Model for Post-Tonal Experimental Music: Theories of Seeger, Krenek, Hindemith, and Schoenberg
  2. Carter, Chandler. The Progress in "The Rake's" Return
  3. O'Donnell, Shaugn J. Transformational Voice Leading in Atonal Music

Burkett, Lyn E. Counterpoint as a Model for Post-Tonal Experimental Music: Theories of Seeger, Krenek, Hindemith, and Schoenberg

AUTHOR: Burkett, Lyn E.
TITLE: Counterpoint as a Model for Post-Tonal Experimental Music:
   Theories of Seeger, Krenek, Hindemith, and Schoenberg 
INSTITUTION: Indiana University
BEGUN: December 1996
A handful of composers in the period between the first and second
world wars recognized the potential for traditional Fuxian
counterpoint to serve as a vehicle for experimentation in post-tonal
idioms.  Charles Seeger, Ernst Krenek, Paul Hindemith, and Arnold
Schoenberg all developed contrapuntal principles in the course of
their experimentation in atonal, freely tonal, and twelve-tone idioms.
Their writings on counterpoint are distinct from traditional stylistic
counterpoint texts in that their principles were developed before or
during the time that corresponding styles of music were written.  In
an era full of so many questions about music's future, the framework
of traditional counterpoint provided structure and stability that
supported some of the most radical musical experimentation in the
first half of the twentieth century.

The counterpoint treatises of Seeger, Krenek, Hindemith, and
Schoenberg have at least four characteristics in common.  First, they
all use counterpoint as a means of creating an alternative to
traditional tonality.  Second, all four of these authors base their
ideas to some degree on traditional Fuxian counterpoint.  Third, the
authors are attempting to codify a specific compositional practice
based on their own works, not illustrating or explaining an earlier
practice.  Finally, all four of these texts are intended primarily to
train composers rather than analysts or performers.  In the proposed
dissertation, I will examine writings on post-tonal counterpoint by
Seeger, Krenek, Hindemith, and Schoenberg.  After explaining the
reasons for choosing the work of these four theorists as the focus of
my study, I will examine aspects of their musical training and
personal backgrounds that may have motivated their interest in
counterpoint; their relationships with the musical past; their
writings on counterpoint in the context of their other scholarly
writings; their reasons for and approaches to adapting traditional
Fuxian counterpoint to twentieth-century post-tonal idioms; and the
manifestations of their contrapuntal ideas in their music and their
students' music.  After examining each theorist's work, in the final
chapter of the dissertation I will comment on similarities and
differences among the four authors' works.  The primary sources I will
rely on for the proposed study are relatively limited in
scope. Charles Seeger's "Tradition and Experiment in (the New) Music"
will be the focus of my examination of Seeger's theoretical works,
with particular attention given to the second section of the treatise,
"Manual of Dissonant Counterpoint."  For Krenek's writings on
counterpoint, I will focus my study on Studies in Counterpoint,
Krenek's brief text on twelve-tone counterpoint.  For Hindemith, I
will draw from the three volumes of Craft of Musical Composition and
two volumes of Traditional Harmony, with a specific focus on volumes
two and three of Craft and volume two of Traditional Harmony.
Finally, my primary sources for Schoenberg's writings on counterpoint
will be Preliminary Exercises in Counterpoint; The Musical Idea and
the Logic, Technique, and Art of its Presentation; essays from Style
and Idea; and Zusammenhang, Kontrapunkt, Instrumentation, Formenlehre.

In the process of writing the dissertation, I may discover why these
counterpoint treatises seem to have influenced few composers in the
late twentieth century, or perhaps I will discover that these
treatises have been very influential in a manner that is not widely
recognized.  My research will call attention to Krenek and Seeger as
music theorists, and help to give their scholarship a more prominent
place in the history of music theory.

I hope to show how these scholarly writings, as well as music, might
be considered "neoclassical." Joseph Straus's book Remaking the Past:
Musical Modernism and the Influence of Tonal Tradition discusses
twentieth-century composers' relationships with the musical past, and
through a series of analyses, examines how these relationships
influenced the compositional choices of composers such as Stravinsky
and Schoenberg.  Through an adaptation of Harold Bloom's theory of
poetic influence,Straus explains how the "anxiety of influence"
motivated many twentieth-century composers to "misread" tonal
conventions familiar to their predecessors. Although Straus uses his
analyses to compare Schoenberg's compositional methods to those of
earlier composers, he does not compare Schoenberg's theoretical
writings to writings of earlier theorists, or to earlier theoretical
treatises in general; neither does he focus specifically on
counterpoint treatises as contexts in which historical influences may
manifest themselves.  A primary focus of my dissertation will be to
examine how Seeger, Krenek, Hindemith, and Schoenberg misread Fuxian
counterpoint and adapt it to their own experiments with post-tonal
idioms in their theoretical writings and in their compositions.  I
will also examine how their students adapt these post-tonal
contrapuntal principles in their own compositions.

history, theory, counterpoint, twentieth century, 
Krenek, Seeger, Hindemith, Schoenberg, composition

I. Common themes in Seeger, Krenek, Hindemith, and Schoenberg's
   writings on counterpoint
II.  Seeger's "Tradition and Experiment in (the New) Music," Part I:
   Treatise on Musical Composition and Part II: Manual of Dissonant
   Counterpoint (1930)
III.  Krenek, Studies in Counterpoint, 1940
IV.  Hindemith, Craft of Musical Composition, books 1-3 and A
   Concentrated Course in Traditional Harmony, vols. 1 and 2
V.  Schoenberg, writings on post-tonal counterpoint from various sources
VI.  Comparisons between the ideologies and contrapuntal principles of
   each theorist

  Lyn Ellen Thornblad Burkett
  720 Tulip Tree House
  Bloomington, IN 47408
  phone: (812)857-2166

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Carter, Chandler. The Progress in "The Rake's" Return

AUTHOR: Carter, Chandler
TITLE: The Progress in "The Rake's" Return
INSTITUTION: The City University of New York
BEGUN: August, 1992
COMPLETED: January, 1995
Igor Stravinsky's opera The Rake's Progress (1948-51)
represents a culmination of the composer's neo-classical period
(ca. 1920 to ca. 1951), the works of which are characterized by the
adaptation of tonal conventions from the distant past into a modern,
post-tonal context.  The stylistic variety contained in such music
poses challenges that defy any single-faceted analysis.  The
analytical model developed in this paper incorporates tonal and
post-tonal approaches, grouping Schenkerian tonal graphs, basic
motivic analysis and set, theory.  Such an approach offers a field on
which to make connections and measure distinctions between diverse
elements.  More importantly, this model allows for the disjunctions,
abrupt juxtapositions and discontinuity that characterizes so much of
Stravinsky's music.  The important dramatic effects of such stylistic
play on the listener are also addressed.

The story of The Rake's Progress is itself an exploration of
the issue of artistic progress and return.  The choices that the
opera's characters confront reflect important choices that an artist
must make.  Because Stravinsky subsequently abandoned neo-classicism
in favor of a more uniformly modern serialism, the opera offers an
insight into the choices of its own creator.

Igor Stravinsky, "The Rake's Progress", neo-classical, pluralistic
analysis, W. H. Auden, Schenkerian analysis, Set theory, motivic
analysis, theatrical distance
	Meaning in the Music of Stravinsky and his Classical models
	Style, Emotion and Theatrical Distance
	The Rake's Progress and the Modern Stage
		Act III, scene iii - Anne's Lullaby
		Act I, scene ii Chorus - "How sad a song"
		Prelude to Act III, scene ii
		Act I, scene iii - Anne's Recitative, Aria and Cabaletta
		Act II, scene ii - Arioso, Duet, Trio and Finale
			Introduction and Arioso (R79-97)
			Servants Procession and Duet (R97-127)
			Trio (R127-142)
			Finale (R142-152)
		Music Without Time
		Timeless Music
	Re-use of the Musical Past Since The Rake's Progress
	Analyzing Styles

Chandler Carter
255 West 108th St. Apt. 2D
New York, NY, 10025

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O'Donnell, Shaugn J. Transformational Voice Leading in Atonal Music

AUTHOR: O'Donnell, Shaugn, J.
TITLE: Transformational Voice Leading in Atonal Music
INSTITUTION: City University of New York
BEGUN: October, 1994
COMPLETED: March, 1997
Throughout much of modern history two central concerns of music
theorists have been "vertical" pitch structures (chords or
simultaneities) and the "horizontal" connections (voice leading)
among them. In the study of twentieth-century music the former has
received extensive coverage, while the latter remains substantially
less explored. Over the last two decades, a small, but growing, number
of theoretical and analytical works attempt to redress this imbalance,
and "Transformational Voice Leading in Atonal Music" is my
contribution to that effort.

As a point of departure I explore the analytical ramifications of
interpreting operational mappings as contrapuntal voices. Finding that
transposition and inversion cannot sufficiently account for the
point-to-point motions of most musical surfaces, I probe the recent
theoretical literature for alternative transformations. In particular,
Klumpenhouwer networks and three singleton transformations (Forte's
"unary transformations," Lewin's "if-only," and Straus's
"near-transformations") inspire me to develop and generalize a number
of original "dual transformations." These theoretical tools coalesce
in a voice-leading model that combines the mappings generated by dual
transformations with those implied by recursive Klumpenhouwer
networks. This transformational model offers multiple interpretations
of musical passages that I organize into non-hierarchical levels of
voices called "adjacencies" and "recursive structure."

The remainder of the dissertation tests the analytical viability of my
voice-leading model, with its emphasis on dual transformations and
Klumpenhouwer networks, in the context of a wide variety of
twentieth-century atonal musical literature. The nine analytical
essays examine substantial excerpts or complete compositions by
Babbitt, Bartok, Ives, Skryabin, Stravinsky, and Webern.

transformations, voice leading, analysis, Klumpenhouwer networks,
Babbitt, Bartok, Ives, Skryabin, Stravinsky, Webern


Chapter 1 Transformational Techniques
          1.1 Transformations and Mappings
          1.2 Similarity, Networks, and Singleton Transformations
          1.3 Klumpenhouwer Networks
          1.4 Dual Transformations

Chapter 2 Analyses I: Homophonic Applications
          2.1 Bela Bartok, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2, II
          2.2 Igor Stravinsky, Three Pieces for String Quartet, III
          2.3 Alexander Skryabin, Prelude, Op. 74, No. 4
          2.4 Charles Ives, "Serenity"
          2.5 Charles Ives, "The Cage"

Chapter 3 Analyses II: Linear and Polyphonic Applications
          3.1 Anton Webern, Five Pieces for String Quartet, II
          3.2 Anton Webern, Five Pieces for String Quartet, III
          3.3 Milton Babbitt, Semi-Simple Variations
          3.4 Igor Stravinsky, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, I

Newcomb Department of Music
Tulane University
216B Dixon Hall
New Orleans, LA 70118
phone: (504) 862-3217
fax: (504) 865-5270

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